I do sail repairs, mostly sewing type repairs for myself and friends, and I need to replace the 2″ large grommet in the clew. The largest grommet on your website is 5/8″. I could put on a large ring and tape it, but a grommet would much quicker. Can you supply a larger grommet? What is the best way to set a larger grommet, by hand or with a small press?
This is a very good question. The largest grommet Sailrite offers is a #5 grommet with a 5/8″ ID because relatively small grommets can be installed with hammer type die and anvil tools. Larger grommets require significantly more pressure to close than is possible with a hammer. In fact, large grommets typically found at the corners of modern sails are installed with a specialized hydraulic press with up to 30 tons of pressure. If you want the modern large grommet (aka Rutgerson or Inox Rings), visit a local sailmaker to have one installed.
Alternatives to the large grommet:
Traditional Sewn Rings
Before hydraulic presses were available to sailmakers, the standard method used to build a strong grommet into a sail corner was to sew in a large brass ring and press a liner (eyelet) into the whipped ring. The liner would keep the twine (used to sew the ring in place) from chafing with the movement of the sheet attachment or corner pin/shackle. Brass rings are available in up to 1-1/4″ in size. For really large boats and sails, it’s important to cluster groupings of these rings and bind together with lashings of twine to increase strength. The result is a very strong, but labor intensive ring assembly. For Sailrite’s do-it-yourself customers, this task is fairly reasonable depending upon how your time is valued. Die and anvil sets are available for 7/8″ and 1-1/4″ ring and eyelet assemblies.
Webbed Stainless Steel Rings
As you mentioned, the other alternative is to web a D-ring or round shaped stainless steel ring into the sail corner with three or four straps. Loop the straps through the ring and around to the opposite sail sides and sew to the sail corner. Sometimes webbing straps are covered by an outer layer of sailcloth to protect and conceal the webbing from sun damage. Finely made sails will also have a leather boot that covers the base of the ring to protect the corner from chafe as the ring is tossed about.