Appendices -- Useful Supplemental Information


Since Dabbler Sails specializes in traditional sails, our customers often choose a dyed cloth that mimics either the off-white, creamy color of Egyptian cotton sailcloth (which is extinct), or the tanbarked canvas of yesteryear’s working watercraft. The flavors we usually stock (from the top down) are Contender tanbark (a rich chocolate brown) from Holland; Hayward Mills tan (a brownish red) from England; Challenge tanbark (a reddish brown) made in America; Contender cream (very pale); Bainbridge Classic Cream (creamier with a hint of yellow) from England; and Challenge Egyptian Cream (pale, with a hint of tan). On receipt of a deposit, we are happy to send sample swatches of the cloths available
These traditional-colored cloths are woven for low-aspect applications like four-sided sails and leg-o-mutton shapes. They tend to be “softer” than the standard white cloths, and make friendly sails for small craft. Mills seem unable to supply cloth with consistent color -- the next roll will not perfectly match the previous one. To minimize waste, the sailmaker uses the slightly different left-over cloth for patches and tablings, or hopes for a very small sail to use up the short rolls. Higher initial cloth cost and the inevitable waste because of color variation raise the cost of tanbark and cream sails significantly.

Most of these cloths are available in weights of 4oz and up.

Historically “tanbarked” sails were those soaked in a solution of oak bark to keep the natural fiber from mildewing. Modern day tanbark and cream polyester fabrics are dyed in the bolt with synthetic colors.

Beware -- all dyed sailcloth will fade if left uncovered in sunlight for weeks at a time. If left uncovered on a boom, only the portions most exposed will fade -- resulting in a streaked effect. Dyes do not significantly protect the polyester from UV damage.

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