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Thread: Sail Lacing

  1. #1
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    Default Sail Lacing

    It's funny how my thoughts on an idea can change sometimes. I had thought that I wanted to attach my sails with robands and wanted no part of lacing. Now after trying this lacing technique, I think this is the way I want to go. The sail raises and lowers very smoothly. I did not try any other lacing styles yet, and may not if I can get past one little hurdle here...
    My question is how to start and end my lacing. I've seen a number of different lacing techniques shown in print, but none I've seen shows the beginning and ending of the lacing. I searched around some and came up empty. Didn't even find anything in The Sailmaker's Apprentice.
    Can anybody help me out with this one?
    The rig is a sprit boom leg-o-mutten on my 13' sharpie skiff.
    Would 1/4" line be too heavy for the lacing? I know I could use lighter, but have plenty of 1/4" to use up.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    I lace sails all the time. I generally clove hitch into the throat grommet then forth and back lace for little boats where you might want more bits around the mast than the bigger boat lacing that you see in the illustration above. Works just as well. When I get to the bottom another tight clove hitch into the tack grommet. You will be setting the cloves up tightly passing them through the grommets and around the luff rope.

    For a small sail like yours I generally use some slippery braided line, cheap nylon clothes line will do.
    Last edited by Ben Fuller; 05-18-2013 at 10:30 PM. Reason: additional information
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    I haven't tried it yet, but have a look at this method.

    http://www.polysail.com/lufftie.htm
    ...and maybe find find something other than wire ties.

    Payson's original way (just a cross over) is the one I ended up using, but I found they all bind to one degree or another, specially on a well tapered mast.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Bay View Post
    I haven't tried it yet, but have a look at this method.

    http://www.polysail.com/lufftie.htm
    ...and maybe find find something other than wire ties.

    Payson's original way (just a cross over) is the one I ended up using, but I found they all bind to one degree or another, specially on a well tapered mast.
    For me this is too elaborate and requires too much work. Slippery light line is the answer. I have forth and back lacing on three or four masts and use it for my gaff rigged iceboat in winter.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    My line may not have been slippery enough

    Seems like it would work well on a gaff rig where the mast is relatively uniform in diameter. It was the very narrow top of a sharpie mast vs, the wide bottom, where the line would need to slip a lot for it to slide smoothly. I ended up furling it against the mast most of the time.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Small slippery line - I was using nylon mason's twine on my experiments today. maybe that's why it went up and down so smooth. ?
    My 1/4" line probably won't work that way, huh?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    Small slippery line - I was using nylon mason's twine on my experiments today. maybe that's why it went up and down so smooth. ?
    My 1/4" line probably won't work that way, huh?
    One way to know for sure. Give it a whirl...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Timo, 100% with you on that lacing pattern. It's the way to easily lower sail to reef. More turns around the mast and it won't come down. How do I know?

    I now leave my sails permanently laced on. It saves 30 minutes at the ramp. Even better, I just roll it up by the leach, and then tie it to the mast. I put a long sock-style cover over it. This way keeps the sail in good shape, and you can still grip the mast for when you want to step it. If you wrap the sail around the mast, you can't lift it anymore.

    I leave the sheets on the sprit booms as well, so rigging is simply stepping two masts, running the end of each sheet through the deck mounted block, and I'm off. Five minutes at the most.

    I do think one day I will run my sails up on a mast track though, as it makes reefing a sprit boomed sail very easy.
    Flat bottomed boats, you make the rockin' world go round.............

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    I also just leave my sprits'l laced on; been using parachute cord now these 29 years...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    waxing the mast helps reduce friction whatever line/lacing you use.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    I've noticed that you can also get some rather nice small diameter 3-strand polyester at fabric stores. They sell it for drapery and home décor use and it tends to be smaller than the stuff generally sold by the marine equipment stores.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    I imagine you'll be stepping your mast everytime you use your boat. In which case I'd leave the sail laced on all the time. I have to lace my sails everytime I use 'em and got tired of lacing the whole length of line, keeping track of which way I was going, etc. I attatched short lengths to every other grommet, just a stopper knot on either side. I go once around the mast and tie another stopper knot after passing through the next grommet. It doesn't bind and the little pieces of rope are always right where I need them.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Thanks all
    Parachute cord looks good.
    What would be the better choice - nylon or polyester?
    Looks like some comes round and some flat. I'm pretty sure round is the right choice there.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Nylon is a bit stretchy, which can make it grab surfaces. I'd probably go with a fairly static (non-stretch) poly fiber, round rather than flat. 1/4" is plenty big. I laced my lugsail to the boom and yard with a bootlace-type cord, that's about 1/8". If hell broke loose, I'd rather have the sail come off the spars than have the fabric rip, or break the spars or the mast.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Polyester is better - just one more stretch variable that you can help control.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    It's funny how my thoughts on an idea can change sometimes. I had thought that I wanted to attach my sails with robands and wanted no part of lacing. Now after trying this lacing technique, I think this is the way I want to go. The sail raises and lowers very smoothly. I did not try any other lacing styles yet, and may not if I can get past one little hurdle here...
    My question is how to start and end my lacing. I've seen a number of different lacing techniques shown in print, but none I've seen shows the beginning and ending of the lacing. I searched around some and came up empty. Didn't even find anything in The Sailmaker's Apprentice.
    Can anybody help me out with this one?
    The rig is a sprit boom leg-o-mutten on my 13' sharpie skiff.
    Would 1/4" line be too heavy for the lacing? I know I could use lighter, but have plenty of 1/4" to use up.
    That's the lacing pattern I use. The key is not to go all the way around the mast, whatever lacing pattern you use. You'll want the lacing fairly loose, the luff tension comes from the halyard and the bolt rope, not from the lacing. I think parachute cord will work fine. It's smooth enough to slide easily through the grommets, that's key.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    On the leg o mutton rig I had on my Cartopper I ran a fairly loose loop between two grommets closed with a reef knot and left long tails. When attaching to the mast it was a simple matter of passing both tails around the mast to the other side of the loop and tying off with another reef knot. Dynamite Payson's method.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    I use the OP's proposed lacing method (from Leather's 'Gaff Rig') on my 18' gaff sloop. The lace is 6mm buff polyester braid attached to the throat cringle with a bowline & finished off to the tack cringle with another bowline. Very smooth running hoisting & lowering & has never (so far - touch wood !) jammed.

    Nick

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sail Lacing

    Modern Spectra kite line is super slippery, but tends to melt at places it's bent in a knot or around something. The 500 pound test is about 1.5 mm in diameter.
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