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Old 11-07-2011, 21:23   #1
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Mainsail Disappointment :(

This spring we ordered a new mainsail from a poplular local loft. They do good work but the demand is greater that their output.

Anyway after a few weeks of delays and a promise of delivery for this Friday, I have just been informed that they ordered the wrong cloth for our 36ft 16000lb sloop. We had requested a heavier 8.5 oz Challenger cloth and the loft only has 7.5 oz. We are now faced with more delays that risk eating into our precious cruising time (and elmininates our shakedown time).

In actual fact, the 7.5oz cloth is what typically is recommended for our size of boat in the Great Lakes but we requested the heavier cloth in the possible event of cruising down to the Carribean in some nebulous future.

The question is if I should continue to demand what I ordered or should I strike a deal with the sailmaker and go with the 7.5oz?

The benefits I see is a sail that may be better suited for our current light wind environment, easier handling and being able to actually sail this season. I may also be able to turn this to my advantage by upgrading other parts of my order at cost (assuming he could deliver).

The drawbacks may be a sail that is too light for coastal sailing and a shorter servicable life.

Any comments?
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:00   #2
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

I looked up Emiliano Marino's reccommendations for cloth weight in The sailmaker's Apprentice, table 6.2. Working sails for midsized offshore voyagers are reccommended at 7-9ox, large sized at 9-12oz.

Given that the weather on the Lakes can be as bad as offshore the only reason I can see for using a lighter cloth there is that no one goes voyaging there for extended periods. The shorter use season equates to less use per year so more total years of use though fewer hours of total use.

I would hold out for the heavier cloth.

What is your fall back position? Do you still have the old main so the boat is usable? If so, you could start your summer cruise, and the sailmaker could ship the new one to you. The downside to that is the sailmaker is not available for final fitting.

In your position, with the details given and assuming you had the old sail, I would probably use this screwup to get a decent discount. Use the old main for the summer and get the new one fitted right when I was back in town.
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Old 11-07-2011, 22:13   #3
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

I would go ahead and just take the lighter sail. It will serve you just as well considering that most of your sailing (as I have read, at any rate)will be in lighter winds. I dunno but I don't think the difference in weight will create that dramatic a difference in how well it stands up to most any cirumstance. I also don't think it's a good practice to keep your working main up when things get blowing really hard anyway. All that being said I don't have a lot of storm experience (some) experience in this regard... maybe someone else who does have more will have more to offer on the subject.
Check with the sailmaker about the correct reinforcements for off shore work on this lighter sail and either get some money back or maybe see if they have any unclaimed sails that would be handy (storm trysail or nice drifter or???) . The sailmaker owes ya now so see if there is some way to work that (in a posative way). What the heck!
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Old 11-07-2011, 23:42   #4
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

No. The 8.5 is what you want for cruising in a 16,000 lb boat. Cancel the order if you must. I don't understand the issue. Many sail lofts order the cloth for each sail so 8.5 or 9 or whatever specification should not be a problem. I know my sailmaker does not have every cloth to please every whim on big rolls. They order it. You are getting BS it seems.
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Old 11-07-2011, 23:52   #5
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Cancel the order, go with another vendor that is less busy. There are many more good reputable sail lofts out there.
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Old 12-07-2011, 00:22   #6
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Cancel the order, imagine trying to get the thing repaired, recut when it isn't quite right.

Walk down the road to another loft and get a quote, time frame etc and tell the current mob to get nicked.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:33   #7
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Have they actually made the sail, because I would be tempted to take it at a substaintial discount, otherwise if they only have the cloth then walk. Plenty of other sail makers.

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Old 12-07-2011, 03:44   #8
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Thank you for your comments everyone.

Yes, daddle, it seems odd to me as well that the loft would not have a variety of stock available but I guess being a small independent he doesn't want to carry a large inventory of raw materials. My sense he is honourable but is so overwhelmed that if I give him a foot he takes a mile. He is a good sail-maker and a terrible business man. It is troublesome, however.

It seems that the consensus is to stand firm and either cancel the order or be patient.

Thank you Adelie for looking up that reference. It helps reassure me that I made the correct decision in the first place.

My fallback condition is precarious. We lost a number of lofts in our area as work went overseas so if I go to another local loft I am probably looking at a significant price increase and possibly even longer delays. I do know of one maker who has a partially completed sail that he would give me at a discount but it is again made from the lighter cloth.

Yes, Pete7, Johnathon123 and Khagan1227, I think I will at least call around and investigate my options with other lofts although I am facing a bit of a financial issue because the current loft was giving me easy terms (which may be why he thinks he can delay in this way).

I do have a previous sail but it was cut for a roller furling that has been removed from the boat so it would need to be modified.

Butler, your point is well taken. The lighter sail would probably do me many years if service and as you indicate it definitely gives me negotiating room. However, while my plans for extended cruising are at least 5 years away I was hoping to reduce the need to purchase a new sail in that event. But then again, we can plan for the future but life takes it's own course.

This is my payback for trying to support the local economy .

Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:11   #9
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Cancell the order. Because when you are behind the wheel is some unexpected blow and you look up at your mainsail you don't want to be thinnking "Damn, I wonder if that will hang up there?"

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Old 12-07-2011, 17:48   #10
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

I have given my sailmaker one last chance (I know, I am too kind ) and he has committed to delivering my original order in two weeks. It cuts the shakedown cruise to a day sail but that should be enough as long as there is some wind to sail in. I was also able to negotiate an upgrade on one of my requests at a significant discount so I may be able to turn this lemon in to lemon aid.

Wish me luck.
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Old 12-07-2011, 18:29   #11
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADMPRTR View Post
It cuts the shakedown cruise to a day sail .

Wish me luck.
You can still go sailinig under genny alone, and motor sailing. A shakedown cruise is not, I think, to shake the boat apart, but just to run all the gear you can. So just go have fun while you wait for this drongo to be late....

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Old 12-07-2011, 22:15   #12
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Ya, that is our plan. We also have a new furling to try out so it will be good non the less.
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Old 12-07-2011, 22:21   #13
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

You might also want to consider adding an additional condition to the renegotiated delivery date: For every day past the new date that the sail (as ordered) is late, he takes off X amount from the bill.

That sort of condition is usually quite a spur in the side of tardy contractors!

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Old 12-07-2011, 22:27   #14
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

Good luck, I hope he delivers as promised!
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Old 12-07-2011, 22:28   #15
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Re: Mainsail Disappointment :(

I actually gave him a drop dead date. If he doesn't meet that then I will consider the contract cancelled although in truth I may negotiate further. Probably easier than getting my deposit back.

Unfortunately, he is waiting for the cloth to come through customs so part of it is beyond his control. Apparently the story is he thought he had the correct cloth but when he started work it was discovered to be wrong. What bothers me is it took a month to make this discovery...
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