The best place to start is by answering the question, “what are lead lines?” Well, a lead line is anything (other than tensioning hardware) used between the attachment point and the corner of the sail to increase the distance between the two. Lead lines are often synthetic rope, wire rope, or chain.
Our sails are designed to be attached to solid attachment points using tensioning hardware such as turnbuckles, so we recommend that customers don’t move away from that intended design. Often the use of lead lines is the result of a person taking a shortcut to installing a sail because installing it properly would require more effort. For example, a person wants to install a sail without installing any attachment points, instead opting to use large trees that are already in the yard.
The problem with this is that while installation may be faster and easier, issues are quite likely to arise. The main problem is that it is difficult to properly tension a sail that has been installed with lead lines. This leads to a loose sail that will flap around in the wind. This is a huge contributor to a sail wearing out prematurely. Additionally, it is more difficult to get good height variation when lead lines are used. This diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the sail and hampers its ability to shed water effectively.
There are situations where the use of lead lines is unavoidable, so we won’t say that it should never be done. However, those situations are few and far between. If you are planning a shade project and need help avoiding the use of lead lines, call us and we can help.