Rat attack! or Extreme Sail Patching

eastbay

Member
389
18
Oakland
I recently bought at auction a very cool Dragonfly 800 that had been abandoned and infested with rats. The sails have been chewed upon to various degrees- what I don't know is if it is worth taking to a sail maker? I can't imagine that they would be thrilled to have these stinky things at all (I've been over them once with Simple Green and a scrub brush) but another question for me is is this a case of "anything can be repaired" or is it more "aw hell no just throw them out and spend 12 large"?

The chew loss varies from hand size holes to quite good size chunks out of the luff and the leech. 2 laminate sails and one dacron jib. All cloth in good shape except rats.

I guess if we're talking about the rat problem I also have to ask if there are any known best methods for getting the cabin and all good and cleaned out. Something like TSP or whatever, or stay with Simple Green? I plan on getting the bunny suit and respirator out and having at it this next weekend- from what little I know it seems that wetting everything down to avoid airborne dust is a good idea so I'm bringing the weed sprayer too.

Main luff.jpeg
Lam jib.jpeg
Dacron jib.jpeg
 

Tylo

Member
195
111
Sweden
Congrats on your purchase, I'd love to have a DF800. Is it a fixed or folding model?

With regards to the sail damage I think the areas in the middle of sails can probably be repaired quite easily (i.e. not take too long/be too expensive) by a good sailmaker.
Some of the damage is large enough that you may see a slight change in shape but the sails will definitely be usable at least, I've seen rat/mouse damage like this repaired before with decent results. The biggest issue when repairing extensive damage in old sails is trying to find a sailcloth that matches the current state of the sail; new sailcloth is usually no good (this is most obivous when an old spinnaker is repaired with new cloth, the new cloth shrinks when it develops folds and creases and the repair looks like crap). For this reason going to a well-stocked and good sailmaker is important to get as good a result as possible.

The one with the chewed off luff rope may be more difficult/time consuming, so more expensive. I don't know if luff rope can be spliced or if they'll need to replace the entire thing. Sails for these boats often have a lot of full battens and every batten receptacle means screws that need to be coaxed out of old plastic components, holes that need to be punched and reinforcements that need to be replicated.

I would definitely say it's worth bringing them to a sailmaker for a quote at least (or email them the pictures).

I don't have any tips for cleaning it out, sorry!
 

eastbay

Member
389
18
Oakland
Congrats on your purchase, I'd love to have a DF800. Is it a fixed or folding model?

With regards to the sail damage I think the areas in the middle of sails can probably be repaired quite easily (i.e. not take too long/be too expensive) by a good sailmaker.
Some of the damage is large enough that you may see a slight change in shape but the sails will definitely be usable at least, I've seen rat/mouse damage like this repaired before with decent results. The biggest issue when repairing extensive damage in old sails is trying to find a sailcloth that matches the current state of the sail; new sailcloth is usually no good (this is most obivous when an old spinnaker is repaired with new cloth, the new cloth shrinks when it develops folds and creases and the repair looks like crap). For this reason going to a well-stocked and good sailmaker is important to get as good a result as possible.

The one with the chewed off luff rope may be more difficult/time consuming, so more expensive. I don't know if luff rope can be spliced or if they'll need to replace the entire thing. Sails for these boats often have a lot of full battens and every batten receptacle means screws that need to be coaxed out of old plastic components, holes that need to be punched and reinforcements that need to be replicated.

I would definitely say it's worth bringing them to a sailmaker for a quote at least (or email them the pictures).

I don't have any tips for cleaning it out, sorry!
Swing wing. Also the Racing (as opposed to Cruising) model- the mast seems crazy long.
 
Last edited:

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,802
1,145
San Diego
Check to age date on your mylar laminate sdails. After about 10 yrs, the glue & the mylar start to fail badly. And the mylar shrinks with age, doesn't do good things to sail shape. The dacron main is the only one I'd think of saving. If the cloth is still stiff, repair it. At worst you'll have a good delivery sail.
 




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