Building A Sail Pack

Jules

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This is for an Aloha 32 mainsail

Materials:

  1. Sunbrella Marine Grade canvas in Aruba
  2. Dacron Supercruise 4oz sailcloth liner
  3. #10 YKK chain zipper and pulls
  4. Sailrite Lifetime PTFE thread
  5. Harken micro blocks
  6. 3/8" SS grommets
  7. SS Twist-Lock fasteners
  8. 1" polyester webbing

After cutting the Sunbrella with a hot knife, I folded in the 1" webbing into the bottom where the grommets will go - 3 layers of canvas + webbing should hold well

SlPk_001.jpg
I used 3/8" basting tape to keep things in place

SlPk_002.jpg

To sew it, I had to modify the "sewing table".  Bottom row was sewn first
SlPk_004.jpg

Then I took the sailcloth liner and tucked it under the fold and sewed that in.  I used a clamp as a weight to help things along.
SlPk_005.jpg

Both bottoms and front ends sewn.
SlPk_006.jpg

Today I installed the SS grommets, leaving the last two out.  I need to measure the extents of the main outhaul slider.  I really had to beat the crap out of the grommets to get them to sit flush.
SlPk_007.jpg

I'm getting the battens from Doyle and will pick them up when the genny is ready.  Once I get them, I'll sew in the pockets. the zipper and see how she fits.

 

Zonker

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You can,also use. PVC pipe for battens.

Why the sailcloth liner?

From experience make sure the zipper cover totally hides the zipper from the sun.

 

Jules

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You can,also use. PVC pipe for battens.

Why the sailcloth liner? 

From experience make sure the zipper cover totally hides the zipper from the sun.
I was going to use 3/4" PVC as recommended by Sailrite but I can only get 10' lengths and didn't want a coupling in there.

Sailcloth is slippery and helps the sail drop into the pack easier.  Plus it adds a bit of strength to the sides.  From what I saw, Doyle puts in a liner, too.

There will be Sunbrella covering the zipper.  Something I learned from Sailrite videos.  Speaking of zippers, when the Doyle guy came out to measure for sails, he told me they switched from #10 zippers to #15 zippers for tropical climate boats.  He said since doing that, they have had no zipper failures.

 

Jules

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Looks great. I like sailpacks is that have the zipper on the side - makes everything dryer.

Paul
After drawing up the initial design, I've been thinking about the potential weak points in the design.  Water getting in through the zipper is one of them.  But the zipper has to fall between the battens and the battens create a catch for rain.  So putting the zipper in the center, where it will rest on the top of the stowed sail, seems the best place to have it.

I have also seen some sail lofts adding vent panels on the bottom of the sail pack.  Maybe a large flap over the zippers is worth considering.

 

IStream

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FWIW, my zipper is on top and even though it's not 100% watertight, even a rainy winter in Seattle doesn't result in a lot of water on the sail itself. However, the boom end portion of the bag is open and I keep my boat in a slip oriented parallel to the prevailing winds, so that might help keep things dry. 

 

Zonker

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I don't think you can make it watertight so don't stress. Dacron really doesn't care if it gets wet.

Yeah our UK cover had the biggest zipper I ever saw. Certainly bigger than a #10. It held up well in the tropics but the tail was exposed at the aft end and that eventually caused failure.

 

Jules

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I don't think you can make it watertight so don't stress. Dacron really doesn't care if it gets wet.

Yeah our UK cover had the biggest zipper I ever saw. Certainly bigger than a #10. It held up well in the tropics but the tail was exposed at the aft end and that eventually caused failure.
I know I'm being totally ridiculous with this but my hopes are this is the last sail pack/cover I'll ever make. 

Since moving down in microwave land I've learned just how much damage salt and UV do here as compared to Chicago.  I used to never think about it before.  Now I'm constantly thinking about protecting stuff, from tools to pretty much everything in, on and around the boat.  It's like a career.

 

Jules

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It's hard to believe this was started 2 months ago.  It's true what they say - the older you get, the faster times flies.

The sail pack is finished with the exception of creating an attachment means for the aft-bottom end of the pack.  The two outer D-rings will attach to the lazy jacks and the center D-ring will keep tension on the zipper. 
SlPk_010.jpg
Not sure if there will be grommets on the bottom or some means to tension the bottom to the aft end of the boom.  Is it better to secure the aft-bottom around the boom or tension it aft?

This might work great or cause regret.  I simply didn't know how to meet the forward part of the pack with the mast.  There will be 3 Loxx fasteners on either side of the mast, from top to bottom, the topmost being in line with the batten pockets.  Fingers crossed this works.
SlPk_011.jpg

 

Max Rockatansky

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To mate the bag with the mast, have a look at the Mack Pack. It’s D-shaped bits, effectively.

The liner usually is just at the fwd end to reduce chafe on the bag (luff rope, battens). Chafe is the Achilles’ heel of Sunbrella 

Madame designed our bag’s whole bottom of Phifertex for ventilation and drainage

 
Jules, are you happy with the zippers you used?  Going to build two stack packs and need to source zippers.  Sailrite has way too many options, have had terrible luck with plastic ones deteriorating and the metal pulls corroding.  Wondering what the best option is, want something big that will take the sun.

 

Jules

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Jules, are you happy with the zippers you used?  Going to build two stack packs and need to source zippers.  Sailrite has way too many options, have had terrible luck with plastic ones deteriorating and the metal pulls corroding.  Wondering what the best option is, want something big that will take the sun.
The sail pack hasn't been installed yet but we've had a binnacle cover on for several months.  Both have the same #10 YKK plastic zipper Sailrite sells.  So far the binnacle zipper is holding up great.  The cover is pretty snug, so no flapping but the zipper is strained a bit.  Seems to work fine but several months really isn't long enough to know for sure.

When the Doyle guy came out to measure the sails, I asked him about their Stack Pack.  He said they switched from a #10 to a #15 zipper and haven't had a problem with zippers since.  The #10 was giving them problems in tropical climates.

 

El Borracho

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Have never seen a good zipper other than YKK. ^^^ Bigger is better. ^^^Cover them completely or plan on replacing often in the tropics. All plastic seems to be best: I.e. zero metal parts, not even the pull tab, that's just silly.

Zippers are not hard to replace, actually, in a finished item.

 

Jules

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Madame designed our bag’s whole bottom of Phifertex for ventilation and drainage
I saw some sail packs with what looked like Phifertex in patches along the bottom.  The old sail cover we had was the typical over the top, secure at the bottom type.  No sign of mold or mildew in the year+ we've had the boat, and everything here gets grungy really fast.  But the sail pack has that zipper on top, and it's between battens that act like river banks.  We'll see how it goes.

 

IStream

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FWIW, most of my zipper problems are due to the stitching holding the zipper to the cloth degrading rather than due to the zipper itself. If you use Tenara thread or equivalent, the zipper itself probably becomes the weak link but you need to pay attention to both factors.

 

Max Rockatansky

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Call Jean at Sailmaker’s Supply and see if you can’t get RIRI zippers. Absolutely the best.
 

Keep the zips lubed, that helps a lot. You can replace a metal slide with a plastic slide except on coil zip, which I wouldn’t use in any case. There may be plastic slides available for coil, been awhile since I looked

 

Jules

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FWIW, most of my zipper problems are due to the stitching holding the zipper to the cloth degrading rather than due to the zipper itself. If you use Tenara thread or equivalent, the zipper itself probably becomes the weak link but you need to pay attention to both factors.
Sailrite has what they label as "Lifetime" thread.  I've been using that on all exterior projects.  Yesterday I tried to break it by hand and it didn't want to cooperate.

Just this short time in Florida has taught me you can't skimp on anything that will be outside.

 




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