Old Wives Tales? … They Never Happen to Me….

My standing assumption is always that old wives tales will never happen to me…. And so it was when The Admiral, The VC and I got together recently to donate sails to the Loan Boat Programme.

I have to admit, I hoard sails…  The VC sells them on eBay, but I hoard. I did manage to sell a real large number with 3644 in 2008, but I still found myself with unused sets. When I looked at my ‘donation’ though, I could only bear to part with one suit of Batts.

We had a large number of sails to inspect, around 10 maybe, and to my horror my mainsail had mildew. Not only that, but it looked like mice had nibbled through the bags and made a nest in the mainsail !!!  Quite a jolt….  I had always been told that you must care for your sails and if you don’t, this is the kind of thing that happens. My sails are all stored in a snug dry Sail Storage Unit which my wife likes to refer to as ‘The Garden Shed”. It is exactly the length of an FF mainsail – and slightly too short for a Dragon genoa. It was obvious that we were made for each other.

It is actually very dry in there, and I just have to assume that the sail itself was damp when put away mid 2008 – almost 3 years ago. It is probably because the Sail Storage Unit is warm and snug that the mice were attracted in. The sails were not stored on the floor but along the top of a retired triple kitchen cupboard unit. Can mice climb? I know they used to in Tom and Jerry, but well, that’s not real, is it??  Anyway, the little devils chewed through four sailbags and nested in the Batt main.

This shook me immediately out of my DIY lethargy, I can tell you. My ‘best’ suits number four all together, and each costs more than the suits I wear to work! With the two spinnakers, that’s about £5000 worth of sails (more? It will be when we go Mylar!…) that need looking after.

The Dragon sails were kept in a special garage roof drop down cradle at my Middleman’s garage. For various geometric reasons, I could not do the same for the FF sails in my garage. Instead I decided the critical things were (a) lots of air circulation, so no shelves  (b) off the ground, assuming Tom and Jerry are not real.

I opted for some shelving brackets from Wickes, about £120 worth. Four wall racks are screwed to the wall of the Sail Storage Unit – and from them I have arranged four ‘shelves’ of just the brackets sticking out, so the air can circulate. On the chosen 370mm brackets I discovered that there is room for a mainsail and a genoa side by side. It only needs about 7 to 8 inch gaps between the racks to accommodate FF sails, so even the bottom set are a good way off the ground. A couple of spinnakers in bags can hang from the upper rack ends.

Go on, Jerry !!… Lets see if you can deal with that !!….. it’ll be traps next….