The Sailmaker’s Apprentice


How to make classic sails

The author covers both traditional and modern sail materials and sailmaking skills. He’s not so much about design as technique. I particularly liked the associations with the history and self-sufficiency aspects of learning a skill like sailmaking. The book talks you through a simple version of making a ditty bag while giving you the skills to do it up to your liking. I’ve made two. One’s served me well everywhere including at the top of my boat’s mast. Get the book and then buy the materials and tools from SailRite.com and make your own.

-- Dale L. 09/22/09



Holding the needle.



In a crosscut sail the first panel, or cloth, is laid along the tack seam, which is the perpendicular from tack to leech.



Let gravity help feed a large sticky-taped sail through the sewing machine. Building a temporary chute can be a fun challenge. Tables, boards, cloth--in the door, out the window, up the stairs, whatever it takes to get a big enough run on both sides of the machine. The less friction there is, and the fewer bumps, the more smoothly the cloth will slide.



Pass the twine repeatedly back and forth through thimble and ring.