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Old 14-11-2012, 00:00   #16
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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My sails were made in the loft in FL. They were not made offshore. I know many "lofts" are little more than P.O. Boxes. Always ask where the sails are being made. As I said, many are just "agents" and apparently anyone can become a "sailmaker", fill in the blanks, send the e-mail to China.
Rick,

Maybe you can educate us on why you think US made sails are inherently superior to those made in Asia.

I agree that there is a significant issue when you have an "agent" who has never worked in a sail loft. Design and specifications are critical and most of the Asian lofts that use agents with no real sailmaking knowledge make all the design and production decisions for that agent. A more pertinent question than where the sails are made is who is doing the design work and who specifies all the details.
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Old 14-11-2012, 02:29   #17
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

I personally would worry about what you are actually getting. I doubt I could tell exactly which sail cloth or its weight I had received just by looking at it. Is there a risk off a factory in Asia using a fabric classed as "seconds" or subsituting a cheaper fabric?

This is why I recently chose a local sail maker who makes his sails in the UK. Also it supports local sailmakers (important to me) and now if I have a problem mid season I am more likely to get help from a sailmaker who actually made my sails. With 20 plus sail makers within 50 miles I am fortunately to have such a large choice. I am sure any one of a dozen sailmakers could have made a good quality genoa, however, choosing the right sail cloth was a nightmare trying to find the right balance between quality and value for money.

When looking into a new 28sqm Genoa I was offered the following standard cloths like Bainbridge Premium Plus or Contender Supercruise. Premium Plus has a square pattern with a extra strong rip stop thread every cm giving a square pattern but its a budget fabric, price 1000. Also offered was Norths budget fabric is Nordac 4800 and priced at 1200. Our existing Genoa was Supercruise 6.9 oz, with 11 years of light use stretched and the UV strip needs replacing. Perhaps this was all we could have asked of it but I didn't want to use Supercurise again. Its been around a while (as has Marblehead) and perhaps there are newer better fabrics.

Next up were Premium cloths like Challenge Marblehead and Dimension Polyant C-Breeze at 1300. Also offered Dimension Polyant Square was about 1500, this has much smaller square pattern about every 5mm and was an interesting option.

Finally top of the range were Norths Radian 1900, Vectron 2000 and HydraNet 2200. These are tri radial cut sails and the Radian was very tempting but all three over the top for us.

Pete
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Old 14-11-2012, 04:08   #18
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

Don't overlook the used sail market. I know some highly competitive racers with deep pockets who sometimes replace a quality sail after one season. I have purchased some sails with no damage to their shape and no defect other than a small stain,- one with only a 3" patch near the foot on an otherwise pristine surface. Even with a little recut adjustment, good used sails are often found on the market for a fraction of the cost.
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Old 14-11-2012, 06:39   #19
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
Rick,

Maybe you can educate us on why you think US made sails are inherently superior to those made in Asia.

I agree that there is a significant issue when you have an "agent" who has never worked in a sail loft. Design and specifications are critical and most of the Asian lofts that use agents with no real sailmaking knowledge make all the design and production decisions for that agent. A more pertinent question than where the sails are made is who is doing the design work and who specifies all the details.
I don't think that anyone is saying that all Chinese sails are inherently inferior or all US made sails superior. Over the years I have purchased crap quality items produced in every part of the globe.

I checked prices from a reputable Chinese sailmaker and found US made sails at almost the same price. So for a difference of about 3% I dealt with a local loft, been in business 40 years or more, spotless reputation for service and supported a local business.
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Old 14-11-2012, 08:46   #20
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
Rick,

Maybe you can educate us on why you think US made sails are inherently superior to those made in Asia.

I agree that there is a significant issue when you have an "agent" who has never worked in a sail loft. Design and specifications are critical and most of the Asian lofts that use agents with no real sailmaking knowledge make all the design and production decisions for that agent. A more pertinent question than where the sails are made is who is doing the design work and who specifies all the details.
I did not say that " US made sails are inherently superior to those made in Asia." It depends on the sailmaker. Why I prefer a local loft is that I have much more control over the process. I can see the cloth. I can talk to the actual sailmaker. What do I do if I get an offshore sail and there's a problem? Do they just give me a UPS sticker? Do they get a local guy to "fix" the problem? I cruise in the winter. I cannot wait for my sails to go back to China or wherever. So it's service and dependability and the reputation of a local loft. One that actually makes sails.

I got quotes from all over. The local sailmaker was a bit more than some, a bit less than others. I could have paid less but I would not know what I was really buying. And there is the factor of supporting a domestic business, one that employs sailmakers, not just a mail-drop.
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Old 14-11-2012, 13:41   #21
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

I have seen the comment about buying used sails that are pretty much new and having it cut down to fit your boat. Is this really much of a cost savings really? Isn't the labor of cutting it down going to wipe out a lot of that "saved" money?

How do you even know you can do this? Do you only buy the used sails from a loft? If so do they stand behind the work or are you stuck with the result regardless?

Far as local verse overseas lofts, does it really matter where it is sow together? Aren't you really paying for the knowledge of whoever designed etc the sail (a lot of overseas sail makers have local lofts)?

I dread the day I need to replace my sails because the research I've already done makes the whole process scare the crap out me. Seems all the terms are designed to make you feel like an idiot who knows nothing and you wouldn't know the outcome for years after you part with your cash.
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Old 14-11-2012, 14:09   #22
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

Don, I have bought a couple of sails from e bay. Both superb condition and cheap. One I had converted from hanks to roller furling and the luff tape extended so the top widget remains in the normal position, cost 100 from a local sailmaker.

I have the old Genoa folded up in the garage waiting for spring when it goes on e bay. Probably worth 100 and will help someone out for a few years.

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Old 14-11-2012, 14:18   #23
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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I have seen the comment about buying used sails that are pretty much new and having it cut down to fit your boat. Is this really much of a cost savings really? Isn't the labor of cutting it down going to wipe out a lot of that "saved" money?................
My comment was, "..a little recut adjustment" and it referred to my own used sail adjustment that required two inches off the clew an a repositioned gromet. It's possible to view large inventories of sails at places like Bacon & assoc. and come up with something that is right or close enough to require a little,- very little,- adjustment.
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Old 14-11-2012, 14:21   #24
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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Don, I have bought a couple of sails from e bay. Both superb condition and cheap. One I had converted from hanks to roller furling and the luff tape extended so the top widget remains in the normal position, cost 100 from a local sailmaker.

I have the old Genoa folded up in the garage waiting for spring when it goes on e bay. Probably worth 100 and will help someone out for a few years.

Pete
I agree that that sounds reasonable and worth it. I guess I was thinking more about a main as a head sail seems it would be easy and fairly inexpensive to alter. But then I guess if you buy a used main sail that really is a little small for your boat you may not have to do anything.

Buying sails just seems like buying furniture! You can see it and it looks pretty, feels good in the beginning, but you can just not really know how it will hold up!
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Old 14-11-2012, 14:35   #25
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

Asking about costs of sails is like asking about costs of cars... a brand new Ferarri costs over $100,000 and a 25 year old Ford less than $1000.

For a new main and headsail , You could pay, pretty much, anywhere from less than $100 to up towards $20,000. We have a 2nd hand #1 light genoa that I got for $75 on eBay but at the other end of the spectrum and I have also received quotes for a new mainsail at nearly $12,000 (I won't mention the sailmaker, but suffice it to say, we didn't buy that sail).

For a reasonable quality Dacron main for a 37 footer, I'd budget to pay around 4k. For a headsail, maybe 2.5 - 3k. To a certain extent, you do get what you pay for, so cheapest will not necessarily equate to best. My advice... ask other local yachties who they use and how happy they are with the results.
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Old 14-11-2012, 14:59   #26
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

Buying from a local loft that does the cloth selection and design in house and then outsources the cutting and sewing to China(or wherever) seems like an OK idea to me.

As I understand it, you get the local guy to do the measuring and design, with any input that you wish to supply, he sends off a computer file to the loft in China, they cut and sew the panels and return it to the local guy for finishing. He is responsible for fitting the sail and dealing with any problems that might arise. Presumably he has the expertise to tell if they used the correct material.

I don't see any real problem with this scheme,, and I believe that this is basically what Island Planet does (correct me if mistaken, please, IP). You get the advantage of very accurate panel shapes from their very expensive laser cutter and relatively inexpensive labour for the grunt work of seaming the panels together.

I have always preferred to deal with a sailmaker taht I can talk to face to face, inputting my own ideas and listening carefully when he disagrees with me! Filling in the blanks on a computer order form just does not equal that experience!

Cheers,

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Old 14-11-2012, 22:55   #27
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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I personally would worry about what you are actually getting. I doubt I could tell exactly which sail cloth or its weight I had received just by looking at it. Is there a risk off a factory in Asia using a fabric classed as "seconds" or subsituting a cheaper fabric?
The lofts in Asia that sell direct to consumers often do exactly what you described. There was quite a hubbub when I pointed that out about a specific loft some time ago.

The lofts that only sell to the sailmaking industry know they would not stay in business if they pulled that crap. Our production loft performs acceptance testing on cloth they receive to make sure that the material meets specifications. We have recourse when there's a problem. I had a $17,000 sail with a manufacturing defect and there was no argument about them shipping the sail back at their expense, fixing it, and then shipping back to the marina.
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Old 14-11-2012, 23:04   #28
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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Don't overlook the used sail market. I know some highly competitive racers with deep pockets who sometimes replace a quality sail after one season. I have purchased some sails with no damage to their shape and no defect other than a small stain,- one with only a 3" patch near the foot on an otherwise pristine surface. Even with a little recut adjustment, good used sails are often found on the market for a fraction of the cost.
Sometimes it works out that way. I've also seen people spend 80% of the cost of a new sail on a compromised used sail. Used race sails often don't survive long on a cruising boat. You take a sail off a 12,000 racer and put it on a 35,000 cruising boat. Loads are much higher. The sail wasn't built with much reserve strength because it's made to be as light as possible. Racing laminates should be rolled not flaked. If it's kevlar it will break down with flogging.

The luff curve on a race main is often wrong for a cruising boat. The clew height on a racing headsail is often too low for a cruising boat. Race boats usually have plenty of sheeting options. Not always so with a cruising boat. Racing headsails are designed for specific wind ranges and are not the all purpose headsail most people look for on a cruising boat. Putting luff tape and a suncover on a genoa does not magically make it a cruising genoa. It just allows it to go on a furler.
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Old 15-11-2012, 05:40   #29
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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....................l. Used race sails often don't survive long on a cruising boat..............................The sail wasn't built with much reserve strength because it's made to be as light as possible. Racing laminates should be rolled not flaked. If it's kevlar it will break down with flogging...................
These comments and more in your post are reasons to be skeptical of advice from old cruisers like myself. Younger cruisers are likely far more aware of the evolving divergence in comparing cruising sails and racing sails. I continue to draw upon my sailing and sail purchasing experiences from present to times back to three or four decades in the past. I well remember times when a used sail from a racing boat would be very adequate on a cruising boat,- particularly from the casual weekend racer with racing sails of moderate expense. There is likely still a window remaining were lower tech sails of those racing could be well used by cruisers, but I expect the advise from Islandplanet is correct and the window is closing. Still, there remains some excellent deals in the used sail market for cruising sails for those that carefully shop the inventories.
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Old 15-11-2012, 06:26   #30
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Re: Cost for replacement sails?

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These comments and more in your post are reasons to be skeptical of advice from old cruisers like myself. Younger cruisers are likely far more aware of the evolving divergence in comparing cruising sails and racing sails. I continue to draw upon my sailing and sail purchasing experiences from present to times back to three or four decades in the past. I well remember times when a used sail from a racing boat would be very adequate on a cruising boat,- particularly from the casual weekend racer with racing sails of moderate expense. There is likely still a window remaining were lower tech sails of those racing could be well used by cruisers, but I expect the advise from Islandplanet is correct and the window is closing. Still, there remains some excellent deals in the used sail market for cruising sails for those that carefully shop the inventories.
I don't think that is the case at all, and don't think that is what he was trying to say.

You can hoist a fine linen on the mast and get something, but it's not going to work like a purposely made sail for your rig. IP was saying, don't expect the racing sail to work much better (or even equal to) than the same high quality cruising sail. This is due to geometry and rigging. The more effective the rig is, keeping the sail shape right, the more efficient the sail will be. IP was just trying to let people know, to possibly save their money. The best sail is one that is designed for the rigging you have.

You can buy a blue tarp, with a little magic from a Sailrite, make something that works, but probably isn't what most people are looking for. I think that was the point he was trying to make.

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