Sails – What To Look For And Avoid
General age of the mono-film – When mono-film has gone, it’s gone. And there’s no bringing it back. If the sail looks milky, feels and sounds like a crisp packet and is brittle, not pliable, then it’s life is pretty much over. Avoid at all costs.
Any tears in the main body of the sail. These aren’t good news, as it could take £40-80 per panel to repair. Where you get the repair done will determine the cost and standard of repair. Watch out for suspicious stickers, make sure they’re not hiding a tear, rip or puncture.
Dents in mono-film shouldn’t be a worry at all. A small dent (maybe made by the harness or similar) are probably OK and shouldn’t turn into a tear. They also won’t affect the performance of the sail.
Damage on the luff tube – that could include scuffing or tearing (also on batten pockets) probably from carrying the sail up and down the beach aren’t ideal but are less of a worry than a rip or tear in the main sail panels.
If a whole panel has been replaced asked for more details about who’s done it and why. If done by a great sal repairer the sail could be 95% what it was before, if not a whole new panel put in by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing could seriously affect the performance of the sail. Make sure this work is reflected in the price.
Check the battens – take them out, all the way out. These can be damaged easily so check that they’re not cracked. This is especially prevalent in tube rod battens, you’ll find these in more high performance freeride sails and race sails – this join is particularly delicate and breaks easily.
Cringles – in both the downhaul and outhaul. These are the load points in your sail, you definitely don’t want them to be ripping out. If they are, walk away.
X-ply is generally a safer option for sails to be made of, especially in wave sails, as it’s more durable. So anything small it is worth getting with some of this woven mono-film. However, it is less common in freeride sails, mainly due to the weight. You definitely wouldn’t want an 8m made of the stuff!