Our ultimate offshore cruising mainsail (also mizzen and storm trysail) includes all of the standard offshore cruising specifications and then we upgrade to a tabling and a totally hand sewn bolt rope. A tabling is fabric cut directly from the sail (not a separate tape heat slit tape), creased and sewn back on to the sail at the luff and foot in preparation for the hand sewn bolt rope. The tabling gives us a minimum of 4 layers of fabric in the body of the sail to which we attach the bolt rope or sew in the hand sewn rings. Then, at all the corners and reef patches, the bolt rope is sewn through all those layers as well so that the bolt rope literally becomes part of the sail. The tabling ensures that its creased edges will not fray and that the bias of the tabling is exactly the same as the sail underneath, so that they will both move uniformly under load.
The completely hand sewn boltrope starts along the leech with a rat tail and wraps around the clew, goes along the foot, up the luff, over the head and down along the leech, finishing off with another rat tail. No other West Coast loft completely hand ropes their mains (also mizzens and storm trysails) and few world-wide even have the skills necessary to do it any more. A hand sewn bolt rope is sewn onto the sail with heavy, waxed thread. It will provide superior resistance to over-stretching the sail through the application of halyard or outhaul tension. It helps give the sail some additional shape when the halyard or outhaul is eased because as the rope is sewn to the sail, the edges are gathered slightly and this is basically a built-in spring, to resist over-tensioning the edges. Not only is a hand sewn bolt rope very beautiful to look at, it is very functional as well. There is no comparison of strength and stretch resistance between a hand sewn bolt rope and a machine sewn bolt rope. Again, it is "old-fashioned", but there is nothing better. There is no stronger way to attach a boltrope to the edge of a sail and no stronger can a sail be made!