UK sailing dad David Swift sends in a great recycling story from the South Coast; these days, saving big money is a big deal, and if it gets more kids on the water, all the better.
This year at Warsash Sailing Club we have a fleet of Picos that our young sailors have adopted, both for training double handed and for breaking into weekly racing. So to get in the fleet, on a strict budget, I managed to get hold of a hull, foils and spars for next to nothing and was proposing to buy a new set of sails when I stumbled across an unwanted 3DL mainsail off a J/109; it had been torn in a race and would otherwise end up in a landfill.
There was just enough good material (given the direction of the strands and shape) to cut two sets of sails for the Laser Pico. The jibs are essentially flat blades, but the mains needed more thought. The Pico main has a mast-sleeve, like the Laser, so I unpicked the sleeves from two old original sails, in preparation to sew them on to the new 3DL sails
I used an smaller ‘training’ sail as a template (given that our boys are aged 8 and 10, the power/weight ratio should be fine for them this year) and, using a domestic sewing machine, got to work.
First, I positioned the template – the training sail – on the 3DL, marking out exact replicas on the ‘new’ cloth, leaving an extra inch all the way around. Next, I cut out 5 layers of corner patches, then positioned the leech line, sticking everything down with double-sided tape. I sewed it all together with decent nylon thread. Well, almost all – a busted sewing machine and ample doses of swearing saw me send of the finishing work to Grant Piggot of GP Sails in Warsash. Grant finished the job and punched some cringles in the corners for me (thanks, Grant!).
The result was quite satisfactory; we saved some plastic from the garbage heap (or handbag/deck chair world) while creating perfectly serviceable kids’ sails for next to nothing. There must be thousands more sails like this out there along with thousands of small dinghies that need them.
You can see more photos here.