Sail Care - Furling Genoas
By Andy Pilcher
Furling systems have now reached the stage where it is unusual to see a cruising boat (and even some racing boats) without a furling system of some type.
In terms of sail care, the most obvious thing is to make sure the sail is protected from the sun once it’s furled away. It is also important to remember that the UV suncover is ultimately just a sacrificial strip. While it should be made from a UV resistant material, it should not be expected to last the full life span of the Genoa that it’s protecting. Remember that once the sail is furled away, the UV strip is working every hour of every day that it’s exposed to the sunlight.
Depending on the material used, the suncover could be expected to last up to five or six years, however during this time you should also accept that you will need to get the sail serviced regularly to check the stitching and corner attachment points etc, in order to keep on top of general wear and tear. Ideally this should be done every season, typically over winter when you’re probably not using the boat so often. Even if you don’t take your Genoa into a sail loft for servicing, we strongly recommend that you remove the Genoa, flake it up and store it in a dry place if you know that you’re not going to be using the boat for any period of time.
An example of a Furling genoa that was furled away and left: you can see cracks in the suncover, caused by extended exposure to sunlight
It’s not good enough just to step off the boat and walk away telling yourself that the sail will be fine because it’s got a suncover. Just because you’re not using the boat, doesn’t mean that the sail isn’t doing it tough. Aside from the UV cover working every day, moisture can also get trapped inside the furled up Genoa, promoting mildew growth that, at best, is unsightly and can ultimately deteriorate the sailcloth itself, potentially leading to a complete failure. You’ve invested a lot of money into the sails for your boat, so make sure you take good care of them and you’ll get many years happy sailing out of them!
An example of a Furling genoa that was furled away and left: the mildew is clearly visible
Doyle Sails NZ offers a full service department: our experienced service, cleaning and repair team will provide you with top advice and service on all your sail maintenance needs