**DISCLAIMER -- Must Read before ordering printed sails**
Due to the very slippery resins used to bond and make sailcloth airtight, sailcloth is very chemical resistant and virtually chemically inert, and graphics or 'paint' is almost impossible to permanently adhere to it. Thus, because of the nature of the abuse a sail gets (flogging in the wind, spattered by water, cloth shifting and stretching) the printed graphics will ultimately start to show signs of flaking off and cracking, etc. over time or quickly if you get caught using them in heavy air. While the sail itself will still be good, the printed graphics will show wear and need to be touched up with a Sharpe Marker over time. If you replace your sails every few years, printed sails really are so cool on the water and can greatly enhance your boats appearance in a bunch. But if you plan on keeping sails for a long time, or sail in windy conditions, plain white sails are the way to go as they will show signs of wear like printed ones do.
Dacron comes in various thicknesses or weights. The heavier the fabric, the stronger it is to take on heavy weather sailing. So, a storm sail will be built out of heavy-weight fabric, whereas a 155-percent genoa made for light air will be made out of lightweight material. The design and weight of the sail are matched for its purpose. Most boats are equipped with a set of sails that can do all conditions - but this nets you a "can do everything moderately well" sail. If you want light-air sails, the lighter fabric is then too thin to fly when the wind pipes up. If you want heavy-weather capability, the fabric will be too heavy to fill when the wind is light. RC sailors typically want super lightweight sails, so they are not too stiff and shape up the best in the lightest of winds.
However, when this super light sailcloth's are used in winds over 12+, it does put wear and tear on the sails causing stretch lines or cracking in the resign applied to make them airtight. Depending on how much boom vang you use, how tight you put on the outhaul, and downhaul, how tight you pull the sails in, and how much the sails luff and are flapped around can all effect the wear and tear on sails especially in heavy air. Just rigging the boat and carrying it to the pond on a windy day is a risk... as a couple of big puffs in the right situation, can flap the sails violently like a towel being whipped.
The only way we have found to print on Dacron sails is to use a process that layers the ink on top of the plastic resign that makes them airtight. Because the Dacron fibers are coated with this resin, the ink cannot penetrate and soak into the Dacron fibers. Thus, when a sail is over stressed and starts stretching and breaking up due upper end wind conditions, or just over time, the sail stretches, but the ink does not... causing it to crack and from lines in the ink. The sail is still as good as any pure white non-printed sail, but these lines are not pleasing to look at. A Sharpe marker is your best solution at this point.
We have been printing Dacron sails not for many years, and most of the customers are getting several years out of the printed sails before they start cracking and breaking up. However, we have had 2 people report they were disappointed after only 10 hours of use their sails looked terrible. But in both cases, it was determined these sails were subjected to substantial upper limit windy spring conditions that ultimately was the main contributor to why the lines formed so quickly.
Windjammin Sails will not replace or be held responsible for any sails whereas the ink start cracking or coming off. We are not the printer and we do not make the sailcloth, so we will not guarantee or feel obligated to be responsible for how quickly the ink comes off. It is a very difficult process, the coating on sail cloth is one which is almost impossible to actually print on in the first place.
Thus, if you are ruff on sails, or typically experience higher winds, you might want to stick to white sails. Or use a backup set of sails in high winds and save your colorful racing sails for non-heavy air days. Most of my customers are getting several years of a printed sail, but your style of sail care and the way you tune and sail your boat, along with what type of weather conditions you sail in, will ultimately determine how long your sails last for you.
These are my own personal Soling sails used for 3 seasons so far. These have been mostly used (98%) of the time in 0-14 mph. Other than the jib luff wearing a little ink off, almost still in perfect conditions. A Sharpe Marker would fix the luff right up. Most of my customers are experiencing the same type of results.
These are 1 of only 2 customers who complained their sails tore up after only a few times out, 10 hours of sailing. In both cases, it was found high winds were the cause. After checking wunderground.com for what the conditions were like those days used, they were windy spring conditions... kind of like sailing in a thunderstorm force wind if scaled from Rc to big boats.
Sat Feb 25, 2023 wind 11 maxg= 12
Tues Feb28, 2023 wind 12 maxg= 14
Thur March 2, 2023 wind 15 maxg= 17
Sat March 4, 2023 wind 14 maxg= 17
Tues March 7, 2023 wind 14 maxg= 17
Thur March 9, 2023 wind 11 maxg= 14
Our lightweight RC sails take a lot of wear and tear in winds like this. If this is your typical conditions, then you may want to stick to white sails or at least use a backup set in these conditions and save your printed good racing sails for not heavy air days and they should last you a long time.