How to Repair Sails: A Video Series

How to Repair Sails: A Video Series

Our sail repair posts and videos have been so popular that we recently decided to go all out and create a comprehensive video series on the topic. We filmed all of our techniques as we inspected and did regular maintenance on the sails from Sailrite founder Jim Grant’s Islander 37 sailboat. The series is broken into 13 videos and walks you through a variety of different repairs as well as inspecting and folding your sails. Watch all 13 videos or jump right to the one you need!

Sail Repair Video Series Includes:

  1. Inspecting Your Sails for Next Sailing Season: For seasonal sailors, the end of sailing season is a good time to inspect your sails so you have all winter to make repairs and get them ready to go for the spring. In this video, Jeff Frank, our sail designer, inspects the sails for the Islander 37, sharing as he goes what issues to look for and how to approach common fixes.
  1. How to Replace a Sail Window: If the window material in your sail is cracked or just hard to see through, we’ll show you how to replace it without causing performance issues in your sail. This video also demonstrates how to add a brand new window to a sail.
  1. How to Repair Sail Luff Tape: This video will show you how to repair a rip or a tear in your sail’s luff tape without having to replace the entire tape. Also included is a quick fix for when the end of the luff tape is shredded at the head of the sail.
  1. How to Restitch Damaged Sail Seams: It’s not uncommon for the seams on your sail to fail from UV damage, stress or abrasion—even new sails have this problem. This video is a quick demonstration of how you can fix those seams that are coming apart by sewing right over them.
  1. How to Patch Holes & Rips in Sails: If you find you have holes that need patching after your sails have been in storage or from a rough day on the water, this video will walk you through the process step-by-step.
  1. How to Remove a Spur Grommet: If the grommets on your sail are corroded and failing, you can easily remove them and replace them with new grommets. This video shows you how to use a Dremel tool to remove an old spur grommet and how to set a new one.
  1. How to Repair a Sail’s Batten Pocket: This video demonstrates two different batten repairs. In one, we replace the elastic at end of the batten pocket and in the other repair we replace the Dacron on the pocket because the batten has chafed through the original material.
  1. How to Repair a Sail’s Spreader Patch: A spreader patch is used in sails, especially genoas, to combat damage that the mast’s spreader tip can cause to the sail when they brush against each other. This type of damage is common and on our sail it was pretty extensive. In this video we demonstrate how to remove old patches, replace the damaged sailcloth and install a new Insignia Dacron Spreader Patch.
  1. How to Repair a Leechline Cleat or Tensioning Device: This video will show you how to remove a broken Leechline clamcleat and how to install a new one. We also replace worn out Velcro on a Velcro tensioning device.
  1. Re-cutting a Sail’s Leech and Foot Edge: The genoa on Jim’s Islander 37 is an older sail, and when used it was clear the leech had stretched out because it was fluttering terribly. To get a few more years out of the sail and improve performance we decided to cut down the leech and foot to provide a better shape.
  1. How to Re-Install a Sail’s Corner Ring: When cutting the leech and foot of the sail to enhance the shape the sail’s corner ring had to be removed. This video will show you how to use Dyneema webbing to install a new D-Ring at the clew corner.
  1. How to Fold a Sailboat Sail: This video will show you the proper techniques for folding (or flaking) a mainsail, a dinghy sail and a genoa sail.
  1. Using the Speedy Stitcher to Sew Webbing and Canvas: In this bonus video we demonstrate how to use the Speedy Stitcher® Sewing Awl, which is a handy tool to use for sewing projects and repairs when a sewing machine is not available for practical. To demonstrate the tool we also show how to make a “dog ear” to help the sail reach the tack pin.

We hope these videos will be a help to you the next time you need to make a repair on your sails. You can find all the materials needed for your sail repair including the Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 Sewing Machine at

Did you learn anything new from these videos? Share your thoughts on this new video series in the comments.

  1. Josh said:

    You are doing a great job guys! I do believe that sail repair is one of the most important up&coming DIY markets. The videos you have prepared cover a number of situations but what if you are on an emergency situation, don’t have needle&thread skills or the sewing machine can reach the compromised area?

    As I mentioned in another post, you may want to take a look at DrSails DIY youtube channel

    I’m positive you complement each other!!!

  2. Herb Miller said:

    As I read books and articles about sail trim, there are always suggestions like, “Get your sail maker to add stripes to your main so the can see the draft better”, or “Get your sail maker to add a bisecting strip at the jib clew to determine if the jib car is set properly”.

    Is it possible to do a video on adding these kinds of attachments to sails?


    • Nikki said:

      Hi Herb,

      That’s a great idea and one we’ll put on our video list for sure!

  3. Ian said:

    Thanks I think this series is a great help to cruisers and I will recommend we show it at our meeting in March
    of the Cruising Yacht Association of Victoria in Australia
    many thanks Ian Reichelt
    Editor Newsletter Ebb tidings

    • Nikki said:

      You’re welcome, Ian and thank you for recommending our videos! We appreciate it.

  4. Panos said:

    thanks for all your wonderful job with the videos and thanks for the generous help provided by Sailrite …!!!
    You are sailors’ favorite company !!
    regards from Athens Greece

  5. Tim said:

    I live for these videos

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