Mainsail Ripped Ericson 28+


Junior Member
<style type="text/css">p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}</style>I'm traveling south on the ICW, and split my mainsail in the Pamlico sound. About 2/3 up at the seam on top of a batten, the sail is ripped from the back edge towards the mast, about 5 feet.

I'd really like to keep this from delaying my trip too long, and am trying to figure out my options.

The sail must be 30 years old, and there didn't seem to be a good reason for it to rip, it was blowing about 16 nts. I'm wondering - is it worth repairing it (or will it just rip somewhere else because it's so old), and what might this kind of repair cost?

Otherwise, are there any good places to pick up used sails for Ericsons in the Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach area?


Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Given the age and your estimate of the wind speed, it sounds like the stitching is old and rotten.
With that amount of accumulated exposure and use the cloth is probably nearing the end of its life.

A long time ago when I was selling sails, I learned of a highly technical method from the loft staff to determine if the stitches were too old/weak.
This was all about the UV cover on a genoa leach, but applies to the rest of the sail.
Get a sharp #2 pencil. Run the point of the lead under a stitch line, if the thread parts, it's bad. If the pencil lead breaks, it's good. This is called... the "pencil test". Really. Not making that up.

All that aside, you ought to consider a new sail. You can source a quality dacron sail from the "cruising line" of products from most lofts, and a friend of mine has been selling Lee Sails for 20 years and they are a good quality product if you are on a tight budget.

Good luck and best wishes,


Member III
Sewing old sails

Easiest option is jib alone for the rest of the trip. And motoring.

What Loren said.

I do a great deal of my own sail maintenance. I have a portable walking foot Consew that looks just like a sail rite LZ1 machine (only different and half the price).

1: Scrub your finger nail on the threads... if they flack away your threads are sunburned.
2: Try to tear the dacron sail cloth... If you can tear it by hand... Its sunburned and not worth the repairing.

I put on a new Dacron Doyle main and I love it... What was left of the old sail I made into shopping bags...


Tom Bradley

tom sailmaker
You should take the sail to some one that has a sewing machine that sews ZIZ-ZAG stiches and resew all the seams with new thread ( v-92 ) wt; Add a third row of stitching in the middle of the seam at least 36inches in from the leach. You should do this to all your old sails 30 years is about 3 X what to expect from dac sails. Then start looking around for replacements