Step Finishing

At this point the sail was an aerodynamic shape built from a fabric that was appropriate for the job for which it was designed. Still, it needed to be reinforced in the corners and have edge tapes sewn around its entire border in order to withstand the rigors of wind and waves. Then the head, tack, and clew patches, and reef patches would be constructed from multiple layers of fabric cut to different sizes. The aim was to create a patch that had the required strength at the corner of the patch while tapering down toward the body of the sail. The loads in a sail diminish as they get further from the corner, and the sailmaker wants a smooth transition from the patch into the body of the sail. Triangular patches were (and are) the most common kind of patches, but patch technology has evolved, and now these once over-engineered pieces of fabric are a sophisticated part of the overall engineering process.

Part of the second layout process is drawing the luff curve on the sail. Here workers at the Quantum Loft in South Africa draw the luff curve on a large mainsail.

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