Keven Talks Sails: Boat Tips from a Sailmaker

Keven Talks Sail

June 24, 2021

At the start of the season, many boat owners tend to do some things the hard way. Here are some tips to get you sailing in less time, and with better outcomes.

Furling Lines – Furling system rope that squishes flat, tends to bury itself in the spooled up drum if you are sailing reefed. It is only 15m or less rope, so do yourself a favour with a good firm round rope like New England Sta-Set, Samson XLS, or Marlowbraid or Heatset Doublebraid. Spend a bit more, and get a better working furling system.

Turnbuckle Maintenance – Every time I go to adjust a boat’s shrouds, the threads are dry and often caked with tape residue; a recipe for galled threads. Go get a can of Fluidfilm lanolin based spray lube spray them down. Even better, remove them in the fall and store them in a plastic bag after liberally spraying down the barrels and studs. Wipe them down in the spring and they are clean and lubed (and smell like a nice wool sweater).

Adjusting the Turnbuckles – Every year, most sailors start from ground zero and centre the rig and eyeball and measure. What changed from last year? If it did, check your chainplates and mast step for damage! Simply measure the distance between your turnbuckle stud once you get the rig perfect and write it down in your log book. It will be the same every year.












Keven Talks Sail













Sailtrack cleaning and lubing – Blue Dawn dish soap. With the mast down, use a small paint brush and liberally brush it into your mast groove. Every month or so, squirt some on the top few slides to refresh. Spiders don’t seem to like it either!

Keven Talks Sails












Stiff and Dirty Ropes – I know, there are no ropes on a sailboat, bear with me. Use only real soap to wash ropes. I recommend Dr Bronner’s Castile Oil Soap, no detergents like Dawn here. Soak in warm 30 C water and agitate for at least 20 minutes. Rinse well and hang to dry. Your hands will thank you and rope damaging grit will be removed.

Look at your rigged boat! – Look for this,

Keven Talks Sails












Or this….

Keven Talks Sails












Or even this…

Keven Talks Sails










Take the photo to your nearest chandlery and have them help you get the correct toggles, pins and shims.

What shall we discuss next month? I was thinking about tips on sail handling that really do make sailing better.

Keven Piper
Keven Piper – Sailmaker, Bay Sails, Hamilton, Ontario

Keven Piper, two-time Shark 24 World Champion, founded Hamilton, ON-based Bay Sails in 1998.


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