Sail Repair At Sea
04 August 2011
Winds were light enough for us to take the ripped mainsail down today and begin repairs. Getting the sail down was no small task; it required Daniel going aloft in the bosun's chair to pull the shreds of torn sail out of top of the mast so that it would unfurl. Daniel stalwartly hung on as the mast swung back and forth with the ocean swells.
Once we got the mainsail down to the deck we began the task of repairing the 2 foot long horizontal rip in the sail. The leech (trailing edge) of the sail was completely severed, and as this part of the sail carries the entire load, it was necessary to reinforce it. To do this we sewed 2 feet of nylon webbing along the leech on both sides of the fabric, one foot of nylon webbing above and below the tear.
Next came the repair of the tear itself, which actually was along a seam, so the seam merely had to be restitched. We got about 75 percent of that done, when a squall arrived with high winds so we had to tie the sail to the boom and wait until sometime tomorrow to finish the job.