SeaKnots

I'm looking for a good place to send my sails and canvas out to be cleaned. Also, does anyone have thoughts about how often is best for sail cleaning? Is it something that needs to be done once every year after the season? I'm just concerned that too much cleaning might shorten the life of the sails, or is once a year sufficient.

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We tried to clean ours ourselves with Star Brite sail cleaner and it was a mess of a job and not very successful... I believe that if you send your sails to a cleaner too many times the material could deteriorate faster.
Check out these sail cleaning tips:
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I saw a recommendation for this place online. http://www.sailcare.com/
Looks like they are running a fall special right now too! 15% off

Check out the comments on this forum for more specifics:
http://my.boatus.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=50359&PN=1

Good luck-
Thanks. I know you have roller furling main and jib. I have never removed them before. Any suggestions?
The jib is pretty straightforward: Just let the sail out and release the halyard and you will be able to pull it down on the deck in no time. Mainsail is a different story, though! If you keep your boat in the water DON'T TAKE IT DOWN! If you do, the roller furling gear wil bang against the inside of the mast (unless you are hauled out and the boat does not move at all!)
I think every year would be a bit exessive? Mine get a bit of bird poop and some spider guts but that is about it. With dirty sails it makes you look like an old salty dog.
Good luck.
Spray with fresh water hose after every sail, and allow to dry before stowing.
Commercial cleaning every couple of years will keep them crisp and stain free. Sailcare is the best!!
I sent the sails from my old daysailer to SailCare (www.sailcare.com) a few years ago and was very impressed with the results - and the price. My sails were filthy, had a few holes in them, and they were as soft as bedsheets. They came back clean and white, they patched all of the holes very professionally, restitched the grommets, and they have a process to re-resin the fabric to bring back the stiffness. I was very happy.

You can get an online estimate and then ship your sails to them. When they receive them they will look them over and get back to you with an actual cost for services before they do anything to them.

If all you need is a good cleaning, there is a very good article at www.sailnet.com about cleaning and maintaining your sails.
Just give them a good rinse to remove the salt. Scrubbing to get the sails really clean is hard on them.
I take my sails after every sailing season to Doyle sail makers just down the road. They clean them and do any stiching and store them in their attic until the next sailing season. i had them make me a new 130 Geneoa last winter, but if I remember they cleaned the main for around $150.00
I used SailCare before and was very pleased with the results. The sails came back spotlessly clean, bright white, and crisp.

Just be aware that dacron sail material is given a resinated finish at the factory to make it stiff and non-porous. Harsh detergents and mechanical washing tends to remove this resin. Even though they use a re-resining process at Sailcare I doubt that it could ever be as good as what the original manufacturer does, but then maybe it is? I've heard some people say that it is not. The sails do need to be rinsed or lightly washed with a mild cleaner occasionally to remove salt. The salt crystals are damaging to the fibers in the cloth.

Another thing to remember is that once the sails begin to sag or pucker that cannot be removed by cleaning and re-resining. The cleaned sail may be crisp, but the excess belly won't be removed.

read all about sail cleaning here: http://www.sailrite.com/Cleaning-Canvas-Sails

(The following is excerpted from the "Sail Repair Manual" by Jim Grant)
There are a number of ways to clean sails. Some are more effective than others. Unfortunately, the most thorough methods also cause the most serious cloth breakdown which leads to greater stretch and, thus, a poorly setting sail. All mechanical methods fall into this category. Even large agitating tubs designed just for sails with carefully regulated water temperature will have the same effect on the sail as several weeks of hard use. And we definitely do not recommend using the machines at local Laundromats — they are never large enough and water temperature is not carefully controlled.

Here is another place to read about sail cleaning: http://www.doylesails.com/service.htm
I had my sails cleaned here a number of years ago and was pleased. Nice people to work with and they called me before additional repair was done. 2 Extra battens no charge!

http://www.sailcare.com/

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