Shipping Your Sails

If you are planning to ship your sails, please first contact the race organizers.

Local sailors have used FedEx to ship their sails to the East Coast for previous National events.  We recommend contacting a local sailmaker/sail loft to obtain long boxes.  The cost usually ranges between $200 and $300 for the main & jib, and the travel time takes approximately 5 days.  See the detailed instructions from Quantum Sailmaker, Randy Shore, listed below.

Please ship your sails to the following address:

Turbo Lab
Attn: Shields Nationals
Building 215, Michael J. Smith Lane
Monterey, CA 93940

Folding Your One-Design Sails For Shipment

by Randy Shore, Quantum Sails

Even when shipping sails professionally, we don’t fold the sails until we know the type of box we plan to use.  Obviously, you need to use some judgement to make sure it is big enough, but the rule of thumb is: the longer and more tube like the box, the better.  It is easy to get distracted when planning to fold your sails and forget to tape the bottom of the box, so do that first!

Photo 3

The maximum size guidelines for selecting a box for UPS and FedEx are as follows:
Max length: 108”
Max Length + Girth (tape measure wrapped around the box): 165”

There are two ways to fold a sail: the standard “brick method” and what sail-makers call a “tri-fold and roll method”.  The latter’s advantage puts fewer creases in your sail, although the creases may be deeper. The “brick method” lends itself well to fitting multiple sails into a box.  With any method you use, the trick is to fold the sails immediately before you ship them, and unpack and unfold them as soon as they arrive; this minimizes harmful creasing.  The less time a sail spends folded; the quicker the creases shake out.

Tri-fold and Roll Method

This method is especially useful when you have a smaller sail, a long and narrow box, or if the sail contains non-removable battens.  Start by laying the sail out flat, and fold the tack towards the clew. Then fold the tack back again towards its natural position, so you have three even folds roughly the width of the length of the box you plan to use.

Photo 5

It is important to ensure you do NOT fold the sail on a window.  Sometimes it is tricky to match the size of the folds with the length of the box; try to make the folds slightly narrower than the length of the box (this will become important when you roll the sail). You can see from image above that it may be difficult to fold the sail in line with the box without folding a window.  In this case, a shorter box may work better, as seen in the picture.  Alternatively, you narrow the folds to miss the windows, and cut the box down later.

Photo 4

It is important to note here that you DO NOT intentionally crease the sail as you flake it, or even after you flake it.  The sail will find its natural crease as you roll it in step two.  This serves you well if you have to re-flake the sail, because it does not fit into the box.  If, at any point, you notice you are headed down a path where it will not fit, it is better to stop and start over.

Once the sail is in its tri-folded configuration, start rolling up from the bottom of the sail.  Two people make this job significantly easier.  You can expect the sail to get a little wider as you roll it, this is okay.  If the folds you began with start to move now, that is okay as well.  Keep rolling and allow the sail to get a little bit wider, as opposed to forcing it into a shape.

Brick Method

When it comes to bricking sails, the big secret is to make the folds the size of the widest part of the box.  This allows for the fewest creases in the sail, and also makes it easier to miss folding windows.

Photo 1

Once you have determined the first fold width (horizontal folds), continue flaking the sail while keeping an even width, until the sail is completely folded. You may have to shorten one flake to avoid a fold on the spreader window. Once the sail is flaked, then line up the sail with the shortest end of the box to determine how wide your vertical folds need to be.  Then fold the sail end over end for the vertical folds.


Ideally you will have a box that is big enough to fit the battens lying flat along the bottom.  If your battens don’t fit flat, you can bend them, but you must put caps over the batten tips.  If you don’t, the battens cut through and push out of the box.  My simple solution, also pictured here, is placement of a plastic cap over the batten ends, like the one found on a can of spray paint.

Photo 6

Cutting Down the Box

The box is much more likely to survive the trip in tact while protecting the sails, if it is the correct size.  If too much extra space exists, use a sharpie to draw a line where the box should be folded. Then cut vertically down the box on the corners to create your four flaps.  Next, run a sharp object along the sharpie line to break the inside of the box, but do not cut completely through it. Now the box will fold nicely to keep the sail packed tightly.  Your last step will be to tape the box closed.

Photo 2