> I'm a bit afraid that I am asking a question on a topic that might
> have been discussed extensively in this newsgroup before...
Yes, it's been discussed, but without Deja.com so you can search
the archives, it would be hard to find.
> I was told not too long ago that when you have surfed in salt water,
> you do not need to dry your sails everytime you pack your gear to
> avoid to get 'the weather' in you sail. Even more so that rinsing your
> sail with sweet water and dry it in the sun might even do more damage
> than storing them wet.
Since your sail are totally made of synthetic (plastic or neoprene
there is no need to dry them or rinse them as long as you can roll the
up mostly free from sand. If you rig/derig on grass, there's no need to
rinse them at all when sailed in salt or fresh (sweet) water. I most
derig my sails IN the water (both salt and fresh) to keep the sand away
Yes, they sometimes take a long time to dry, way down inside the roll
the sail) but I have never had odors, rot, or any other kind of
either cosmetic or structural.
The can't rot, or mildew etc. because they are plastic which doesn't
> The theory behind all this was that the salt in the water would
> prevent certain algae to develop.
No "algae" will develop in fresh water either.
You might want to "wash" your sails periodically to get any residue
(from water pollutants, minerals, alkali, etc.) off your sails, but
this is purely a cosmetic thing.
UV damage (from the sun) when sails are laying out "drying" will be far
more damaging than anything they pick up in the water.
I've heard it said that for every hour your sails lay horizontally on
the beach or out "drying" you reduce it's life span by at least one day.
Sailmakers are using more UV resistant materials, but they are
and the operative word here is "resistant". The UV rays from the sun
still degrade and ultimately destroy monofilm materials, scrim monofilm,
polyester fabrics. In other words the whole sail.
This is why I cover my sails with a UV proof car cover when they are
Drying them is totally unnecessary, and will shorten their life rather
adding to it.