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Making a Sail Line

The process of making a sail line is very important if you are someone who is into boating since sails play a very important part in the navigation of a boat.

Making a Sail Line

The size of the sail will determine how fast a sailboat will travel and, in many ways, operates as the powering mechanism for a boat. Many boats have both a sail and motor and some just have a sail. In any case, the sail on a boat helps to keep the boat moving along. While there are a number of different ways to propel a boat, using a sail is a perfect option if you want to have more control over the amount of speed your boat can have. The sail line is one of the most important parts of the sail as it helps to control the sail and ultimately the operation of the entire boat.

Types of Sail Lines

Different types of lines can be found on a sail. When making a sail line, it is very important to know where each of the lines should be positioned. Proper positioning of the sail lines ensures the sail is able to obtain enough wind to propel the boat. Other basic lines important for the structural stability of the sail include:

  • The headstay is the line connected to the mast. The mast is usually found in the center of the boat. It provides support to the mast from the bow or front of the boat.
  • The backstay, which is similar to the headstay, provides support towards the stern or back of the boat.
  • The halyard is the line used to raise the sail.
  • The boom is supported by a line called the boom vang, which, when pulled, will add tension in a downward direction.
  • A reefing line is used to shorten the sail.

So, as you can see, there are quite a few lines used to operate the sail and assist with boat navigation.

Making a Sail Line

It is very important you test the materials to be used for making a sail line. A number of different types of braids are used to set up a line on a boat. Choose the braid that offers the most support based on where the specific line is placed on the boat. For example, if you are making a line for a sail and the line is one of the major supporters of the sail, such as the headstay or the backstay, it is very important the braid is strong enough to support both the sail and the force of the wind flapping against the line and the sail.

Also, it is necessary to consider which type of boat you will be using as some boats may require lighter or stronger braids for the lines. Annapolis Performance Sailing ( offers braids in different materials and can be purchased in single or double braided versions.

The Importance of Lines on Boats

Lines on boats are very important since they not only determine how fast the boat is moves but also how well you will be able to navigate the boat. It is vitally important to check the lines on a boat periodically to ensure they are in good condition. A frayed line can cause major damage to a boat and, depending on the conditions you are sailing in, can also be a cause for alarm. This is particularly true if the headstay or backstay lines are broken. Likewise, it is also very important to maintain the halyard and reefing lines as they are vital in the operation of the sail. The ability to raise and lower the sail is very important, so it is crucial you maintain the lines for the sail.