PDRacer Sails Down Under click here to read or make an observation about this  article
by Peter Hyndman - Mountain Creek, Queensland - Australia


As far as we can tell, there are no PDRacers in Australia, so we (Michael Storer and I) have set out to rectify that situation by building a pair of them. Some of our northern hemisphere compatriots, have produced boats that are mildly efficient. Many are spectacularly economical and simple to construct, although not all could be described as beautiful, and some aren't even handsome.

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Michael Storer did the design for our PDRacers.

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Making the sails could have been a pain in the bum, but thankfully when we renovated, I pulled all the walls out and now have a large living space which makes a quite terrific sail loft, and spare-boats that-we-aren't-working-on space!

here I am playing sailmaker...

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I'm not at all sure about polytarp, it's cheap, stretchy awful stuff, and we can't be sure that it won't delaminate under load. Masking tape pulls the blue surface off it!!

Polytarp is the cheapest, daggiest material known to man I reckon! It has a few interesting issues if you are going to join it yourself, like.. it's polypropylene and therefore immune to all known adhesives and solvents, it can be heat joined if you have the equipment. I tried with a soldering iron (using a bit of masking tape to stop it melting) and had limited success.

We are using sailmakers double-sided tape, and sewing the edges, but many in the US use duct tape to hold them down.

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The notorious polytarp cut, reinforcing patches stuck on with double sided tape, and edge seams ready to turn over. The mark of the outline of the sail is clearly visible in the pic.

Well into the night, the whole place starts to look like a sail loft (if you can believe that sails are made of blue polytarp that is).

I'm currently looking at Tyvek, for the next lot, it comes in 100 m rolls 1500 wide for $300.00 and that may be a better deal. It's white, but can be painted or even printed on.

Decorating the sails

I used a product called B-I-N which is a white shellac based primer sealer and available in a spray can, it's good for lots of things, and has the best chance of anything of sticking to polyprop, and it has the advantage that overspray just wipes off with a metho soaked rag! (Correction: The shellac type sealer wasn't all that successful! Normal Pressure Pack Enamel stays on a lot longer! - PH)

First cut the stencil of the star of your choice, spray it with an ever-so light dusting of spray adhesive (do this outside even if she's not home, it will save wiping everything down with turps afterwards, to stop your feet sticking to the floor as you walk.)

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Paper stencil, first coat on.

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Now you have a tacky stencil. I mean tacky to touch... so press it firmly into place on your polytarp. (This also works on roadsigns, electricity boxes, post boxes and anything else that needs a custom pattern on it, but get the owner's permission first ok?)

Finished. What a Star!

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Now spray a couple of light coats. Wait five or ten or fifteen minutes between them and don't build up so thick that the stuff will want to flake off when you fold the sail over. This will happen with wear anyway, but the thinnest coat that covers properly is best.

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What the whole catastrophe looks like in progress.

Now peel off the stencil and admire your work. Clean the overspray with metho, and you are done!

Done and waiting for the red bits now.

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Tomorrow: The red bits, but I'll have to do them outside! By the way, they'll just stick to the primer coat, so I'll use ordinary SuperCheap spray can stuff.

Back to business:-

I finished painting the sail tonight.

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Well I painted the red bits..

Well I painted the red bits.. the white bits are flaking off where it is a bit thick, and when ever the sail folds across them, which is everytime we move it! That's why I wasn't too concerned with a bit of red overspray for now, hopefully it'll bind the surface a bit, and I'll touch it up very simply later.

I'll do a few other touch ups with a brush once we've sewn it all together

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I'll do a few other touch ups with a brush once we've sewn it all together, but I may hang off doing the other one till we see if we can get enough paint to stick to make it worthwhile!

FWIW, it looks the goods!! Quite like the original sketch really, I love it when a plan comes together!

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