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Q&A with Vacuwash

Q&A with Vacuwash

Vacuwash answers some of your important questions:

 

Q: WHY SHOULD BOAT OWNERS WASH THEIR SAILS AND CANVAS?

A: Every leading sailmaker recommends washing your sails yearly to remove any dirt, mould, and accumulated salt. Think of all the other cleaning and maintenance that you do on your boat. Well your sails and canvas need the same amount of attention. Apart from being unsightly and smelly, dirt in your sails will reduce their life; thus, cost you money.

Q: IS IT SAFE TO CLEAN SAILS?

A: Yes, it is perfectly safe to clean your sails and canvas. We have cleaned thousands of different sails and every type of canvas imaginable all without any problem. The process does not involve any agitation, scrubbing, heat or pressure washing.

Q: WHAT ABOUT THE STITCHING? WON’T THE CLEANING DEGRADE THE THREAD?

A: The cleaning process does not harm the stitching in any way. What harms stitching is UV. By design, a UV strip on a sail will deteriorate over time and need restitching and/or replacing whether it is cleaned or not. Dodgers and Biminis, and other boat canvas will see the stitching fail over time as it is always exposed to UV. When we clean a canvas item, we always suggest getting it restitched while it is off the boat.

Q: AREN’T I BETTER OFF TO JUST BUY NEW SAILS?

A: Well, that depends upon how old the sails are and what their purpose is. We have cleaned sails over 40 years old that still have plenty of life in them. A good set of sails should last over 10 years, obviously depending upon usage. Unless you have a crew who regularly take them off the rig, fold and store inside the boat, they are more than likely to stay outside in the weather and will need cleaning before their life is up.

Q: WHAT DOES IT COST?

A: Cost is $11 per sqm for sails and $16.50 per sqm for canvas, which is roughly 10% of replacement cost. A lot of variables are involved here as fabrics can vary well over 100% themselves in cost. In short though, the cleaning cost is not really a consideration compared to the overall cost of the sail or canvas.

Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

A: Five days is the maximum it takes. If you put them in on a Monday, they will be ready for the weekend. We can clean much quicker though if need be. If there is a courier involved, then add another week.

Q: IS THERE ANY COATING THAT YOU CAN USE TO PROTECT THE SAIL OR CANVAS?

A: Yes. We use McLube SailkotePlus, a Teflon-based clear coating that should be applied to all new and near-new sails, and also all canvas items after cleaning. It applies a friction-free layer on the sail and canvas that will reduce water absorption, give tighter sail furls, and help repel dirt and mould. Sails that have had SailkotePlus applied are always cleaner when we see them for their yearly clean, and they also clean up like new again.

Q: WHERE CAN I GET MY SAILS CLEANED?

A: Our factory is in Sydney NSW. We clean sails Australia-wide though. Just pack them up and send them to us via courier. We have insurance outside of normal courier insurance that covers your sails and canvas while they are in transit. We have never had to make a claim. We will also share in the transit costs.

Q: WILL CLEANING MY SAILS MAKE MY BOAT FASTER?

A: Actually, yes, they do. If you think of how much you look at your boat after you have polished it, then the same applies to your sails. You will look at them more and thus trim them to the wind more; hence, you will go faster!

 

 

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