A year and a half later, a sailmaker in Tasmania looked at the repair, with 9,000 miles on it by that time, and told us there was no point in redoing the job — his repair would be prettier, but it wouldn’t be stronger.
If you want to tackle long-distance cruising, you have to free yourself from the need to fall back on shore-based help to keep your boat going. And no other component of a traveling boat combines vulnerability with necessity the way that sails do. Luckily, sail repair is the sort of maintenance that is made for the do-it-yourself approach. Modern sails might be high-tech foils made with advanced techniques, but when they tear, they’re just expensive ripped cloth. And putting them back together basically involves the same stitching and gluing techniques that you’d use to repair any torn cloth. Here are the techniques and equipment that we’ve used to keep our sails going during seven and a half years of voyaging around the Pacific.