Looking after your sails

Remember that your sails are made out of textile fibres. Protect them from the sun and damaging UV radiation as much as possible. Avoid letting sails flog and avoid over tensioning. Release tension on your sails when not in use.


Winter service

We recommend fresh water rinsing your sails at least once a year. You can also have them washed before storing them for the winter. Have your sails professionally checked over each season. Technique Voile will be happy to do this free, in order to identify any work required to make sure your sails continue to perform.


Warning! Rodents are very happy to nest in nylon or polyester sails and can cause serious damage.

Trimming Downwind Sails

For some years there have been more and more downwind sails in use which do not require a classic spinnaker pole. Bowsprits and prodders allow easy use.

There are four basic types of sail (in decreasing order of size).

Can use sock On furler On furler On furler
Nylon cloth Nylon cloth Nylon cloth Laminate fabric
0-150 degrees wind angle.

80-140 degrees wind angle.

60-130 degrees wind angle.

50-120 degrees wind angle.


HOISTING – the 7 steps.


  • 1Put the boat approx. 140 degrees from the wind for safety on the foredeck.
  • 2Attach the sheet to the sail.
  • 3Attach the tack to the snap shackle on the bow, prodder or sprit.
  • 4Hoist the halyard.
  • 5If using a sock, pull it up the sail with the integral halyard, gently pulling in some sheet to help.
  • 6For sails on a furler, pull it out with the sheet, making sure the furling line runs freely..
  • 7Finally, trim the sail while luffing up slightly..

We recommend making your first trials with your new sail in 10 knots of wind, so that you can familiarise yourself with the manoeuvres and establish the sail’s wind range – see below.


Once the sail is set, bear away gently until the sail is in the lee of the mainsail and starts to collapse. Follow this by gently coming up towards the wind, trimming in the sheet, until the luff of the sail folds back. You have now established the wind angle range of your sail.
With these types of sails, with the tack on the centreline of the boat, you will find your effective angles vary with wind strength. In more wind, you can sail deeper, whilst in less wind you will have to sail higher for your sail to fill.


DROPPING – the 6 steps


  • 1Bring the boat to approx. 140 degrees true wind angle.
  • 2Ease several metres of sheet …
  • whilst at the same time :
  • 3If using a sock, pull the sock down to snuff the sail, gently easing the sheet.
  • 4For sails on a furler, roll the sail away with the furling line whilst easing the sheet.
  • 5Once the sock is down the sail or the sail is furled, detach the tack and drop the sail onto the deck with the halyard.
  • 6Put the sail into its bag. No folding is needed. It is ready to hoist again.