Laminate Sails Conditioning

/Laminate Sails Conditioning
Laminate Sails Conditioning 2017-11-27T10:09:45+00:00

PRO-2 Laminate Sails Conditioning

Here in Finland we are increasingly dealing with laminate sails of Finnish & international customers, with great success. First, these are sails are mostly assigned by sailmakers and the relevant sailing magazines in the “Cruising Laminates” category.

Some – better quite a few – of the so-called “Racing Laminate” fraction are not wash-resistant nowadays, because their glue compounds do not like water!

(If you are not sure about your Laminates material, ask us or your sailmaker, and sometimes it may just help to send a photo by email, possibly one, where you can see a few details!)

Capillaric effect measured on a Spectra Laminat

Capillaric effect on a Spectra Laminate

At the local importers of the bigger series yacht manufacturers, mainly from France and Germany, has gotten around and also shown to be functional, that it is worth to treat the standard sails, which are supplied with these ships from the shipyard. This i.o. to improve the moisture resistance of the laminates, with help of a RED GULL PRO-2 laminate protective treatment.

Why this whole effort? The devil is in a special detail, that comes only with laminated sails: Moisture absorption by a capillary effect.

Water can be transported to the interior of a laminated sail, via the cut edges. This is a well-known phenomenon so far. The fact that the water also carries a lot with itself is the actual risk. With the water, bacteria, fine particles and mold spores get into the sail. The mold spores can feed on moisture, bacteria and also the esters from the polyester adhesives and thus grow and multiply. This is less known & thereby quite “smashing” news for the one and other owner of such sail.

As the sails are sewn by the sewing machine another problem zone comes up. The pressing rollers of the stitching machines cause a damaged surface to a strip width of twice the size of press rollers – because of the double seams –  that leaves additional water into the sail.

When a lot of rainwater has run into a furling genoa or jib through out a wet summer, the mold starts to spread and becomes visible. As easy as can be explained here, it can be observed so also in reality in the following 3 photos I would like to show you. Unfortunately, I can not show everything on a single sail, because we never get them back several times in a row, once we treated them. Too good are our treatments! But now the photos:

There has been a lot of communication among Finnish sailors through social media as through the press, about the solution offered by us for this matter. Unfortunately, we still get sails that are so moldy, that only with the most massive use of chlorine solutions, the sails become neat again and this often only on the outside. Inside a laminate, it is sometimes advisable not to remove massive mold infestation, as this can or will lead to delaminations. Here are some photos of a laminate where, despite intense warnings, the owner in hope that his sail would remain fully functional, insisted that we work his sail. Hope dies last, as is well known. In the following 2 by 2 photos of the sail, before and after treatment:

Interim conclusion on the RED GULL PRO-2 laminate sail cleaning, but especially about laminated sails

The RED GULL laminate sail cleaning can achieve very good results, if ordered in time. For many Laminates, you can almost make a rule of thumb: If a laminated sail, in the third year of its life, has not formed any visible mold, you should subject it to a RED GULL PRO-2 laminate sail care, so that it can be properly sailed, also in future. Especially if it is a furling sail, which remains out repeatedly/regularly without furling cover. (Hands on your heart, as we say in good German, most sailors are so un-seamanly: I can see that in every harbour!)

Preventive thinking & treating is the best solution

Probably over the years we have gained the most extensive experience in treating laminated sails chemically for protective purposes. I would like to show you how it looks like, if laminated sails are treated from the beginning, with a small but nice photo gallery. These are laminate sails belonging to the “cruising” faction: Spectra Laminates supplied by the Finnish North-Sails Loft for an X-Yacht 50, with a berth in the centre of Helsinki, next to the quays for the overseas and Scandinavian ferries. These sails are exposed to extreme conditions due to inner-city fine dust pollution, high temperature differences day & night and thus a lot of condensation humidity, the emission of the ferry chimneys, as well as the regularly quite humid climate.

These sails were the first laminated sails we ever cleaned, using the RED GULL PRO-2 laminate sail cleaning method and we always sealed with RED GULL PRO-2 protective coatings. The sails are treated by us every 3 years since 07/08 and still look like new today. The sails were first used in 2005 and were treated by us for the first time, in the winter 2007-2008.

What this photo gallery reveals is, how important the nearly invisible RED GULL PRO-2 resins are for such laminated sails. In this regard, the men of the Finnish North-Sails loft around Antti Niiniranta (the big boss) all agree with us. Knowing the results, the North people have ordered since 2011, treatment of new sails of boats like e.g. bigger Swans and similar, to preventively treat those. But see for yourself.

From left to right: 2x sails as delivered, 1x moisture test on old coating, freshly treated sails in winter 2012-2013

Explanations to the photos

In the left photo, sails are inspected, not only the sails are looked through for critical points with us, this is done by the specialists of North-Sails independently of us for a second time, but it is also a check of the overall condition of the sail, with respect to the treatment, that was ordered from us ,

On the second photo from the right we see the leech area of ​​the self-tacking furling jib. Nice to see how a furling sail that is not covered up, suffers from dirt & weather -please realise these sails have been protcted by us! The UV protection was considered a bit skinny and was renewed.  Since the sail got only coated, after the new UV protection was reinstalled, this got protected too. Such a service, of clean first, than repair and finally coat  the refittetd sail can only offer in direct sales.

On the third photo we test the old coating of the sails for its functionality before starting the new treatment. After 3 years it is still perfect. These are better values ​​than many new sails can realise – especially talking laminated and membrane sails!

In the last photo you can see the entire wardrobe newly cleaned and sealed, after application of the RED GULL PRO-2 laminate sail cleaning & coating, as new again!

Price of the treatment 17.50 € / m², incl. 24% Finnish VAT, no transports included