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Neil Pryde Sails FAQs: click on the title to expand information.

Sail Cleaning

Question: Is there a way that I can remove rust stains from my sail?

Answer: Woven dacron (polyester) is quite resistant to solvents and cleansers. We have found that a commercially available product called "Whink Rust Stain Remover" in the brown bottle ( does a great job at rust removal.

Question: How long will my new sails last?

Answer: With proper care and use you can expect optimum performance from your sails with regular use for many years. With continued service, proper care and use, for many years to follow. Ultimately, a sails life is greatly determined on how it used and cared for.

Question: Do you recommend having my sails cleaned?

Answer: Yes, dirt and soil act as an aggregate and can chafe the very fibers of your sails. Airborne pollutants can also promote a faster breakdown of the cloth finish as well and retains moisture which in turn promotes mildew. Another benefit of having your sails cleaned is that sails are inspected for signs of trouble to which you alerted too. Having minor repairs made annually further helps your sails longevity.

Question: I would like to wash my own sails. Can you explain this procedure?

Answer: Washing your own sails is an important but straight-forward practice. The first thing to remember when washing your sails is not to use harsh chemicals or solvents. (Paint thinners, Acetone, ect . . ) Grease, oil, rust and many organic substances can have a permanent staining effect on the fibers of your sail without much risk of damage so proceed with caution in your attempts to rid the sail of these stains as your efforts may cause more harm than good. Woven Dacron is a very forgiving material and with a good scrub will come surprisingly clean.

If you plan to do this yourself, start on a clear, calm, sunny day - choose an open area with access to a water hose that has space enough to spread out the sail. (Please be sure to use a clean or new water hose – many older hoses found at docks and boatyard often carry lots filth that can be mistakenly transferred to your sail while in the process of cleaning it.) We recommend, commercially available organic or environmentally sound detergents such as Simple Green are very effective on all sailcloth and are less offensive to the surrounding environment. Spread out your sail over a clean poly-tarp to work on so as not to pick up any additional grime from the area you are working in. Wet out the sail, washing away any loose grime. Before scrubbing begins, pre-treat heavily soiled areas directly with a concentrated detergent solution and let it stand for few minutes while keeping the sail wet. This will greatly help to loosen and break up the pollution and dirt particles that have set into the weave of the fabric. Attentively scrub each side of the sail with a with a stiff, plastic bristle brush. Rinse and repeat on the other side. Rinse both sides of the sail and hang to dry. That’s it. After your sails are clean and dry inspect the entire sail including all stitch work and look for small tears or holes. If you discover either broken stitches or holes, mark theses areas with blue painters masking tape and bring the sail to your local sail repair shop to have the repairs made. Once your sails have been cleaned and repaired, you can further protect the sail with liberal applications 303 waterproofing and UV inhibitor or with HOLMENKOL’S “Textile Proof”. ( Both of these products will repel water, dirt and the potential of stains.

Question: My sail has developed tiny black spots that won’t go away. Can you tell me what that is?

Answer: Mildew! Sailors have been in a battle with mildew since the first sail was made. Sails provide a great place for mildew to grow and thrive. The best defense against mildew is keeping you sails clean and dry. This is especially true with laminate sails. Never store your sails if they are wet. The Sun’s UV rays also kill mildew spores – so sailing often is another way to prevent and to remove mildew from sails. Having your sails cleaned annually will help and you might consider some form of surface treatment such as the HOLMENKOL’S “Textile Proof” which can be found on our web-site.

Question: My sail is fairly new and since I have owned it, it has developed black streaks on the UV cover and on the leech of the sail, can you tell me why?

Answer: The black streaks you see on your sail is caused by air pollution that is caught by the rain and deposited on your sails and boat. Further grime can soil your sails as they make contact with the standing rigging which also is prone to catching dirt. Depending on where you keep your boat will determine much about how that environment will affect your boat and sails. Washing you sails annually, removing them from the rigging when not being used for extended periods and waterproofing your sails and UV cover will greatly reduce the sails exposure to pollution and dirt and the results of that exposure. We have had customers whose marinas are under the flight paths of major airports and actually clean their rigging a few times during the season to remove the black soot from the jet airplanes!

Sail Fabrics

Question: I would like to know more about the cloth used in my sail. Do you have any information that I can look at on line?

Answer: We build our sails with premium cloth materials from the four leading sailcloth suppliers in the world. Dimension Polyant, Challenge Sailcloth, Contender Sailcloth, and Bainbridge Sailcloth. The materials vary from sail to sail and boat to boat. Contact your local Neil Pryde Agent for information specific to your sails.

Question: I am considering radial designed sails but I like Dacron for it’s durability, can I have radial sails made from Dacron?

Answer: Yes- Building Radial designed sails with Dacron is a great option to consider and there are many woven cloths available for radial sails to be made from. Give us call and we would be happy to go through any special details that are specific to your boat.

Sail Handling Systems

Question: Do you have any pictures or a "how to" guide the covers the installation of the Neil Pryde Lazy Bags?

Answer: Yes, we do. You can download this PDF file that will guide you through the process.

Answer: Officially sail numbers are assigned to racing boats by US Sailing using the national sail numbering system. Follow this link to learn more about this.

Question: What are the advantages of a fully battened main sail?

Answer: There are many advantages to a fully battened mainsail over those of the traditional leech battened main.

1. Creates a more consistent shape profile

2. Affords better sail performance in all wind conditions Decreases the fabric break down caused from slatting.

3. Designed sail shape is preserved longer.

4. Eliminates shape deforming hard points common to traditional leech battens.

5. Greater ease of handling when couple with a lazy jack system

Question: Can you fit new or retro fit mainsails with a Dutchman system?

Answer: Yes, we do both. The Dutchman sail stowage system is a very effective way to handle your mainsail and we work directly with Dutchman to ensure that the layouts for the system work flawlessly with your particular boat.

Sail Storage

Question: What is the best way to store my sails during the off season?

Answer: Different factors will determine much of how your sails are handled annually. In some cases sails are only taken off when they are need of replacement, cleaning or changing. To be sure, it is in the best interest of the sails to be removed, cleaned and have any stitching and repairs made at least once per year. For sails that will be stored for several months the most important rule to follow is to never store your sails before they are completely dry and never store sails in a damp or wet environment. Washing and drying your sails before storing is best as even if they are new sails the salt and dirt that accumulates on your sails after only a few hours can absorb moisture which can lead to mildew growth.

Question: Can I store my roller furling main in the mast in the off season.

Answer: Yes, but remember to ease off a bit on the main halyard and remove the outhaul as well as covering the exposed clew of the sail with a protective canvas or cover so that while boat is not in use the clew is protected from the elements.

Sail Replacement

Question: How often should I expect to replace the sacrificial UV COVER on my headsail?

Answer: Most U.V. cover materials, acrylic and U. V. treated Dacron will last from three to five years dependant upon your latitude as this ultimately determines how much time and use per year your sails will see. It is important to note that the stitching that holds your cover in place along the outer edge of both the foot and leech of your headsail should be inspected annually, as the stitching is exposed both to U.V. and chafe from the rigging which can damage the thread. This stitching can be inspected for damage easily by your Neil Pryde Agent or sailmaker

Question: The standard genoa on by boat is a 140% headsail, can I have a larger headsail made for the boat.

Answer: Most contemporary boats can use headsails up to 150% for light air sailing locals or to conform to maximum size requirements for racing. Call us to confirm if your particular model can be fitted with a 150% headsail.

Question: Will a commercially available “waterproofing agent” help the performance in sail protection and life span of my “Lazy Bag” and other acrylic based sun-covers on the boat?

Answer: Yes – Rainwater and spray all carry particulate which can soil your sails and canvas. Water repellants shed the water which in turn keeps more particulate off of the canvas. There are several commercially available waterproofing agents on the market today. Contact us regarding HOLMENKOL’S “Textile Proof” which we think is one of the better systems on the market.

Question: I have a white UV cover on my mainsail. How can I be certain that I am furling my sail in the correct direction such that when furled I know that the U.V. cover is the area that left exposed?

Answer: Often with close inspection it can be easily determined if your sail is being furled in the correct direction. White Sunbrella, Acrylic can easily be recognized as being a dissimilar material in contrast to Dacron. The U.V. treated Dacron can be more difficult to discern and gets it’s ultra-violate inhibitor performance characteristics from a special application of Titanium Dioxide, Ti02 which occurs in the finishing process. Again, a close inspection will normally make much more apparent the seemily subtle differences between the U.V. material and the actual sail.

If with closer inspection you are still unsure, make a small strike mark in an inconspicuous area of the leech or foot where the U.V. cover should be exposed. If the ink wicks out into the weave of the cloth this would indicate the sail and not the U.V. cover. If you mark the U.V. cloth you see that ink doesn’t wick out, this is the Ti02 finished U.V. cover. In the case of either Acrylic or Dacron, if it is discovered that you sail is being furled such that the U.V. cover is not protecting your sail, correct the problem by re-winding the furling drum in the opposite direction.

Sail Tuning

Question: What are Parrel Beads?

Answer: Parrel Beads are not new to the world of sailing and have been used in a variety of ways on traditional and gaff rigged boats for hundreds of years. The basic concept of their use is for the beads or rollers to allow movement within the scope of their captured work area. A common use of parrel beads on a gaff rigged boat is to secure the jaws of the main boom and gaff from separating from the mast the while sail is in use.

We use this technology to keep the tacks of our asymmetrical spinnakers on centerline of the boat by way of bringing the parrel beads around the furled headsail and back to the tack ring of the sail. See this link for more information on flying asymmetrical spinnakers with the use of Parrel Beads. You can also purchase Parrel Beads from NP.

Question: My sail does not have any sail numbers, are sail numbers assigned and who do I speak to about getting a sail number.

Question: I need new sails but I can’t afford them can you suggest how I might get better performance out of my old sails?

Answer: Bring your sails to a Neil Pryde Agent to have them evaluated. Depending on the sails they may be able to be recut.


Your new Neil Pryde Woven and Cruising Laminate sails come complete with a two year guarantee on material and workmanship. Racing Laminate sails have a one year guarantee.

In your owner’s kit provided with the sails, there is a Customer Service Questionnaire and warranty information card that has your order number written on it and directs you to our registration page at:

Our warranty covers workmanship and materials under normal use. We reserve the right to withdraw warranty if we feel the sail has been abused. All warranty claims must be pre-approved by Neil Pryde Sails International.

The cost of shipping and insurance sails to us is not covered by warranty The warranty applies only to sails used in non-commercial applications.