How to fold a sail
Last week my boss asked me to fold the sails properly, so he can send them to repair. Well the problem was that I have never had done this before and only knew from watching other teams do it in regatta. Did a little google research and found some great articles and advices on how to fold main sail and genoa.
Rolling your sails is the best way to prevent wrinkles and sharp bends in the fibers of the sailcloth. However, storing a sausage sail is a bit difficult. At the end of the season, take extra time to prepare your sails for storage. Correct folding will take the work of 2 people- one person kneeling along the leech of the sail, and another along the luff.
First, remove all mainsail battens from their batten pockets. Begin the folds, or flakes, along the foot, both on mainsails and genoas. Stretch the foot of the sail until all wrinkles disappear. Move towards the head of the sail with each fold. While facing the center of the sail, place one knee on the foot of the sail and the other approximately 14 to 18 inches from the foot. This will vary with the size of the sail and the size you desire for the finished package.
Using your hand closest to the head of the sail, grab the leech (or luff) at a point approximately the same distance as your intended fold. Lift the material and pull it toward the foot of the sail placing it on top of the first fold and stretching it away from the center to remove any wrinkles.
Move your kneeling position toward the center of the sail, trying not to kneel on the fold areas, to prepare for the next fold. Place one knee along the foot of the sail and the order to hold the folded portion from sliding. With each successive fold your kneeling position will move forward toward the center as the sail material gets narrower with each fold. Gently lay each fold on top of the previous folds without creasing the material.
Sails with plastic windows need special attentions. Plan your folds so plastic windows lie flat in the center of a fold. Do not allow the plastic windows to be positioned along the middle of a crease. In cold weather, the plastic will become stiff and possibly brittle. It is likely to split when unfolding in the spring. On each plastic window, sprinkle a small amount of talcum powder to prevent the plastic window from sticking to the sail while folded. Continue this same folding procedure until the entire sail is flaked.
Finish by returning to the original positions at the tack and clew. Fold the flaked sail toward the center to create a brick like shape.
Jibs and Genoas
Jibs and genoas are folded in the same manner with one exception. When the entire sail is spread out and before flaking has begun, place the head of the sail on top of the tack. This will quickly reduce the size of the sail by one half. Then continue with the flaking process. The person folding at the luff side of the sail can remain in place while the person folding the leech moves toward the center of the sail with each fold. The advantage of this is that you will have both the head and tack exposed when it is time to install the sail in the spring. Simply attach the halyard to the head and attach the tack to the deck fitting on the bow. All jib hanks will be exposed and ready for attachment to the fore stay. If the sail is being fed into a roller-furling slot, the bolt rope will be ready and accessible.
Original source: http://www.captainjacksailing.com/
Also a video instruction on how to fold a jib or a genoa sail:
Here is another guys way how to do it:
I lay the sail out and start at the bottom, making 18-24″ folds until I reach the head, which lays in the last fold. Then I start at the foot and roll the sail up. BTW, I grab the sail and fold down to the foot, not the foot up. That way I end up with everything stacked with the foot on the bottom before I roll it. Makes it faster to bend the sails on. It’s easy with two peeps but can be done solo.
Some other guy suggests a great method to do it singlehand:
I lay my sails out flat, grab the top corner (head) and walk back and forth dragging it into neat little 2-3′ folds as I go. It takes a lot of walking back and forth, but is the best way singlehanded to fold them. Once I get to the accordian shape with the head stacked on top of the pile, I make two or three lateral folds to shorten them and they go right in the “short style” bag.
With racing sails, I take them right from the boat to the dock, having two helpers fold as the sail is drug off the deck, and then we use a LONG bag to put them into because the less folding you do on those the better.
Of course, that’s my way because I short or singlehand so often, but there could be others. The main thing you don’t want is wrinkles or creases in it especially if they run top to bottom like this.
Original source: http://www.sailnet.com/
For me the information was very helpful and now all sets of sails are folded and ready to send for repair.