Sunday, March 29, 2015

Applying sail numbers - what worked, what didn't...

This weekend I checked off one of the most venerable items from my to-do list - applying the sail numbers to my Neil Pryde sail.  I think I've had this on the list for about a year, and decided to check it off.

The actual numbers are decals made of a lightweight cloth, and came with the sail.  The numbers all came as '8', so the first step was to cut them down to the needed digits.  I did that and carefully rounded the cut corners to to give a finished look.

The numbers are to be centered below the lantern logo, so I drew a vertical line through that. The numbers are 2" below the logo, and with a 2" separation between them.  Nothing is square to the edges of the sail, or to the seams between the sail panels.

Note that the numbers on the two sides of the sail are not at the same height, so when light is shining through the sail they don't obscure each other.  The number on the port side is placed lower, and full details are at this link: SCAMP sail number placement

I taped down a couple corners so they didn't move around on me.

And then put a sheet of contact paper over the whole works.  My plan was to then hinge the numbers up and remove the sticky backing, putting them back right in place.  This was a fiasco, as the contact paper didn't stick very well to the numbers and things were getting out of whack from the first.  Luckily we had only part of the '3' stuck down and were able to peel that back and start over. 

 Here's the technique that ended up working pretty well.  After putting the numbers in the right place, I stuck them down with a strip of masking table along one edge.

Then using the tape as a hinge, lifted the decal.

And started removing the paper backing. 

Then started pressed the number on to the sail while peeling away more of the backing.

Continuing along until it was all stuck down.  Wrinkles are the enemy here, so go slow.  A second set of hands is very helpful.

I then went over the decals with a laminate roller, and also went over every bit with firm pressure from my thumb.

And the result is good.  The thin fabric of the decal conforms to every wrinkle in the sail.  Now this will be all ready to go when we're ready to splash the boat.


  1. Dave,
    Thanks for blogging about this. My sail should arrive anytime...I'm sure I would have goofed this up. Now I'll use your technique. Your boat looks awesome. When are you hoping to launch?


    1. Thanks, Brent. I've blown by several deadlines already, so am not setting a firm date. But it's getting closer all the time. I've been drilling and epoxying holes for cleats, painting spars, varnishing the mast... There are a lot of little details to take care of, and they all take longer than I expect. -- Dave

  2. Dave looking good. You will be ready for the Lake Pepin Messabout. I didn't get any material for the letters when I got my sail. I don't know if I was suppose to ? I liked your demonstration and pictures. The ice just went out where I live. I am getting anxious to sail still have some things to do. I don't think you are ever really done on a sail boat.

    Pete hull 52 MAX

    1. Thanks, Peter. Yes, looking forward to the Lake Pepin messabout, and hope you can bring your SCAMP over. -- Dave