Updated: Jun 2
Towards the end of the 2022 summer season a key part broke right before I was about to launch on Day 1 if the UK Wētā Swarm.
Hoisting the sail (an original Gastra mainsail) up the mast I went to clip the tack strap around the mast only to have the clip snap. If this had been the male part that went around the mast it would have been a relatively easy fix - but alas it was the sewn in female part which is not such an easy fix, unless you have an industrial sewing machine available, or a sail loft nearby and you're happy to get someone to do it for you.
I have neither and basically finished the season using a bit of 2-3mm line, lashing it on each time I went sailing as a short term fix. This worked fine, except that after being on the water for a while cold fingers didn't like undoing tight knots in thin line, so a better fix was definitely required.
So how do you get this fixed quickly, at a good price?
Over winter I did some hunting and came across the answer to my problem on Amazon.
Its a 'field repair' buckle from Sea To Summit (link at the end). There’s a range of sizes but the 25mm (1inch) version is the perfect size to accommodate the existing strap loop.
When checking out product details and images I wasn’’t 100% sure if it would be up for the task, in particular the screw in stainless steel pin. However, this little pin was the key feature as it meant no unstitching and re-sewing was required. So I got it ordered and waited for it to arrive.
The buckle has a slight directional curved shape to it which meant I needed to screw the pin on the underside. I would have preferred to have fitted it from the top so it won't drop out, but it was a breeze to fit and the little rod actually has a nice strong feel to it as I screwed it in place, but I will monitor it over time.
Once fitted it was apparent the existing male clip was not compatible with the newly fitted female part (the old clip is slightly smaller) so I attempted to unthread the old one to simply rethread the strap end in to the new clip.
Maybe because of the age of the existing white strap (see image below) , or that it's a stitched double layer of webbing, but it was impossible to unthread.
Before going crazy I also thought it was worth trying to thread the tail through the new clip just to see if it was possible? If I managed it I was simply going to snap the old one off and throw it away.
Neither option worked.
In the end I got a sharp blade and carefully sliced the stitching to open the strap out to one layer. This worked perfectly and the new clip was also fitted. I then folded the strap back over and used electrical tape to hold the double layer together.
I've now sailed with it in breeze gusting over 20 knots and it's held up fine.
So if you have an old Gastra sail (or even a North Sail) and the clip happens to break due to age, or gets broken by someone accidentally and you need to do a quick Weta sail repair, I highly recommend this option as a quick and simple fix. It's maybe even worth having one in your tool box just in case.
Happy sailing everyone.
Here's the link - https://amzn.to/3qgMuhb