Luff pocket material ???

For those who make sails, what do you use to make luff pockets? I have always used 1? wide light weight ripstop nylon, folded over the edge and secured on each side using double sided tape.

The material and process I use, works ok but in my opinion it just takes to long to make a set of sails.

What does everyone else use?

It’s not exactly a “pocket”, but you can also tape on short pieces of small tubing and pass your luff wire through those, just like on the main.

for the pocket you want. i just fold a small peice of sail cloth, aorund 1/8 plastic tube. then glue the sail down. when dried. slide the tube out. and you have a good straight line

To clarify my self below you can see the set up I currently use. Last time I remember asking around, this is the method used by all the major sail makers.

       Blue - luff wire

Black ? sail material
Green ? double sided tape
Red ? luff pocket material

The problem with my current set up is that I?m using 1? wide, .75 oz. Ripstop Nylon, as the luff pocket material. For lack of a better term the Ripstop is just to ?rigid?.

To make the luff pocket I first apply the double sided tape to each side of the luff material. To get it to fold, I normally have to spend a good hour, carefully folding it over, and use my fingernail to force a crease down the center. I then apply one side to the sail material, insert the luff wire, and then apply the other side.

This method works, but its very time consuming, and you need to have "the touch? when applying it to the sail, or you get a luff covered with puckers that looks like crap.

I think the issue with the Ripstop is that the weave is just too tight to easily conform to the luff curve. What I think is needed is material that has a little more flexibility to it, like light weight sticky back Dacron, the material to pick up in cloth stores to fix holes in jeans etc.

I know Graham Bantock uses what he calls ?16 mm wide spi cloth tape? to make luff pockets; does any one know what this is?

Hi Dan

I think you can now buy a roll from Graham for a couple of pennies. Check out As far as I can see, it is lightweight ripstop nylon spinnaker material.

  Hi Lester,

I see two tapes listed Dacron and Nylon. When I click on the little ?I? info buttons, I don?t get a pop up so, the extra info must not be set up for this page yet.

If Graham is using Ripstop nylon, he must truly have ?the touch?. I have been working with this stuff for years, and probably have a good 150 sets of sails under my belt, and I have never gotten it perfect.

To me the Ripstop just doesn?t seem to be that pliable, even the light stuff.


I just hot linked this pick from your website, hope you don?t mind? Do you remember what this luff material was? To me it kind of looks like lightweight Dacron.

Hi Dan

No problem! Pity it wasn’t the greatest camera shot… (smile)

Do you remember what this luff material was? To me it kind of looks like lightweight Dacron.

Well, I’m fairly confident (but not absolutely sure!) that it is the “nylon tape” he sells. Graham is in AUS for the IOM Worlds at the moment, but I guess he’d answer an email from you asking if the luff tape he sells is in fact Dacron. Thing is, I’m no expert on sailmaking materials, sorry!

there you go

JIB: IOM IOM CarrSails

MAIN: IOM CarrSails

Its probably Dacron, I used the same stuff on my kites, I must add that the Dacron on the Carrs seems to be lighter!

Hi Wis

The reinforcement is certainly Dacron. But I don’t know that the luff tape is.

The luff tape seems to be “paperish”, not Dacron for sure!!

Will ask Darren Searle!!

I used 1? wide light weight rip stop nylon, I fold it in half then iron it to hold it’s shape. I then sew it with a zig zag stitch. If you use a straight stitch it will be more likely to pucker.
For corner reinforcements I use rip stop nylon or Dacron
and iron it on with heat bond.
How do you like my home made cleat?