High Tech Sail Repair
The sails on the RC Laser are some of the most unusual in the world. Unusual in material and construction – which makes them virtually indestructible. But there is one aspect of their manufacture that occasionally causes a problem.
Along the leach (trailing edge) of the sail is a mylar reinforcing panel. This panel is installed to keep the primary sail material from fraying and stretching along the trailing edge. It is applied with an adhesive and then bound by the corner reinforcements top and bottom. The problem is that the adhesive may fail allowing the mylar panel to separate from the sail.
Somehow in the construction, storage, or transport of RC Laser sails, it appears that the adhesive used does not bond properly on every sail. Unfortunately, it is impossible to visually detect a defective glue joint. Fortunately, an extremely low percentage of sails fail (less than 1%) – but they always fail the same way.
Most racing sailors have learned that adding a strip of clear packing tape along the leading edge of the mylar panel prevents the problem from occurring at all. The tape is transparent, holds up well to the elements, and does not stiffen and change the appearance of the sails. It keeps the wind from getting under the leading edge of the mylar which is what lifts it up in the first place. I mention racing sailors use this tape, because they demand top performance – and that’s what we want from this “fix”.
The best tape to use is a clear 2″ packing tape. It is available in a wide variety of stores, and inexpensive.
Unfortunately, we have seen failures in all three sails. Since the A sail rarely sails in heavier winds, we have seen only a couple of failures in this new sail. It is wise to tape all three sails to completely eliminate the problem.
This defect IS covered by your warranty. If the mylar strip becomes detached, you can apply to receive a replacement sail. However, with the simple preventative measure explained above, you will eliminate the problem.
Ever get a crease in your sail that you would like to remove? Well, if you had a wrinkle in your shirt, you should think first about ironing – right? Well, it works on your RC Laser sails too. Just one very big word of advice. Cover your sail with a terry cloth towel and iron on high steam. Don’t let the iron actually touch the sail or you may melt the mylar surfaces.
This article was written by Steve Lang of SailRC.com.