Numbers on the sail

Looking at changing the numbers on the newly acquired sail. They look like they are vinyl and glued on. Anyone tried to remove them?? How about a source for replacement numbers? Thanks

FS 1385

Numbers are ususally "stick-ons". I did what you are doing a couple of years ago with a used set of North's. The numbers pulled off with some patience and verbal persuasion. I got new numbers from the North loft in Detroit and they charged me a couple of dollars per number.

If you heat the numbers with a hair dryer, you'll need a lot less patience and no verbal persuasion to remove them!

FS 2324

I used acetone to help break the adhesive and it worked great, the numbers peeled off a white spinnaker clean with no residue. Just pick at an edge until you get a grip and then work an acetone-soaked rag at the exposed area while pulling firmly.

I used takenaflyer's method and it worked on some numbers, but not on others. When I finally had the number off, there was residual glue left on the sail. I tried heating and scaping, but it was damaging the sail. I know this is going to sound strange, but I eventually found that a Lacrosse ball worked perfectly as a big eraser. With a little elbow grease, the glue stuck to the ball and came off of the sail. [:0]

Here are notes from a conversation with North Sails people in 1999. The technique uses laquer thinner to soften the glue and works very well.

1. We recommend lacquer thinner for changing numbers. We have found this to be the easiest to use, and it will not harm the sail fabric (dacron or nylon).

2. Place the sail on a smooth surface that will not fade, bleed or be damaged by the lacquer thinner. We use an unvarnished piece of press board.

3. You can either pour a little lacquer thinner directly onto the sail or generously dampen a rag. The best way to remove the numbers is to generously soak the back sides. Soak the back side of one set of numbers. Turn the sail over and soak the back side of the other set of numbers. Then, begin to peel off the first set.

4. Once you get the first set of numbers off, put more lacquer thinner (either on the sail or a rag) and remove the remaining glue. Once all the glue is removed, turn the sail over and repeat the same procedure for the second set of numbers. If you do not remove the glue after the numbers come off, when you turn the sail over you run the risk of having dirt, etc. stick to the sail. Many times the sail will stick to itself.

5. Do not be surprised if this procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes. Many times the numbers are difficult to take off, so be patient.

6. Once you have removed all the numbers and glue, let the sails dry completely! This is very important or your new numbers will not stick to the sail. Also, when the sail is completely dry, you can take a look and see if you missed any glue.

7. Dacron numbers can be particularly difficult to remove. Many times the dacron will tear and fray. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do.

8. If you are working on a spinnaker, sometimes it is easiest to scrape the numbers off using a straight (dull!) edge and lots of lacquer thinner. This can be quite messy, so have lots of rags handy. We use the edge of a batten for the straight edge.

FSSA Forum editor

Great info. Thanks!!

FS 1385

Hi APS LTD has black,blue, and red numbers for $2.35 each. They are self stick.The numbers are of a cloth type material, not plastic. I just purchased a few for my Laser.

[:)]Hi, I bought my Scot #381 with no sails. After purchasing a set from a gentleman in Texas I wanted to make them "official". I purchased my numbers and Flying Scot logo from I received them very quickly and affixing them was extremely easy. They came out awesome. Good Luck?

Bonny & Doug Smith

To make it truly official a "Royality Paid" serialized sail label must be affixed to the sails. See ARTICLE S-IV - SAILS under 2 of the FSSA Handbook.

This label can be purchased at Flying Scot Inc. as the FSSA Measurement Label

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

Tried (finally) removing the old numbers. They are stuck on pretty good. I soaked the backside with laquer thinner and peeled them off witout too much difficulty. Fingernails work the best, I stayed away from anything metalic for scraping. The adhesive gets slippery with the thinner on it and you still have to scrub the cloth clean but it looks great after you get all the adhesive off.

FS 1385

I bought new numbers from Greg Fisher at North for $2 each, plus shipping. North shipped quickly and they are now happily on my hand-me-down spinnaker.

I have removed numbers by the hair dryer heating method and the solvent method. On monofilm windsurfing sails the hair dryer worked great to get the number off quickly, and the solvent made quick work of the leftover glue.

On a dacron sail or a spinnaker (like Scots have), my bet would be on the solvent.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

I tried the hair dryer, and the numbers got too hot and stretched to the point of breaking. Not a big deal but hard to get started again. Soaking the back side with solvent made them slippery, hard to hold on to. The solvent (lacqer thinner) worked great for clean up after the numbers were removed. Make sure you are ona clean surface (no paint or varnish) The sail came out clean and damage free. My thanks to all who shared their wisdom.

FS 1385

I started to remove the numbers off an old sail and the glue underneath had discolored to a brown color. I could not remove the discoloration with acetone so I did not go any further. Does anyone have advice on how to clean the discolored glue off the sail? Thank you.

BA Smith

Don't use a hair dryer and laquer unless you want to burn up your sails & house!