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Is there a better way to protect my sail?

2010 May 12

Dear Boat Doctor,
I am looking for a better way to handle the mainsail on my CSY 44. I currently have a conventional mainsail with a sail cover that is sewn on, and the head and lower panels of the sail are covered in Sunbrella fabric. The idea is that with the proper flake the only material exposed is Sunbrella, and all the Dacron is sandwiched inside. In theory this works OK, but is a little tougher in practice, as the sail is pretty heavy and I often singlehand. There must be an easier way.

Eric Anderson
Roatan, Honduras

Dear Eric,
Yes, the boom on the CSY 44 is pretty long and I imagine that a good part of your cockpit is covered with a bimini top. It would be tough to do the precise flake that you need, especially by yourself.

In most instances, I'd suggest the addition of lazy jacks. These will contain the sail on top of the boom when you lower. However, it may be tough to get the flake you need to "cover" your sail. You could add a conventional mainsail cover over the flaked sail but that defeats the purpose of the Sunbrella on your sail and is equally as much work to put on as a proper flake. But it would be a low cost option; you could probably get these setup for a few hundred dollars in materials.

A better option may be a Doyle Cradle Cover or Stack Pack (www.doylesails.com, 800-94-DOYLE). The Cradle Cover or Stack Pack is effectively a sail cover sewn into a set of lazy jacks. The sail drops into the lazy jacks and cover and then you zip up the top of the cover. You'll need to discuss options with a Doyle loft, they are often able to modify your existing sail to work with this system. This option will cost a bit more, but will likely give the ease-of-use that you are seeking.