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Old 13-12-2015, 21:25   #1
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New Sails

I am an owner of a 36.5 Pearson Ketch. Currently in Fiji and am looking to replace my headsail (120%), my main, and mizzen. I am currently considering Lee Sails to place my order.

My intentions are to spend a year here in Fiji, and then sail to Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.) where I would sail for the next few years.

I am interested in knowing what sail cloth weight other cruisers may suggest in placing my order. Lee Sail's suggested using 7.7 weight Challenge Dacron material for all 3 sails. I would like a material that could hold up in 20 - 25 knot winds, considering this would be the worst conditions I may encounter.

Any suggestions on what I may want to considering in placing my order?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Lonnie
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Old 19-12-2015, 20:25   #2
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Re: New Sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
I am an owner of a 36.5 Pearson Ketch. Currently in Fiji and am looking to replace my headsail (120%), my main, and mizzen. I am currently considering Lee Sails to place my order.

My intentions are to spend a year here in Fiji, and then sail to Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.) where I would sail for the next few years.

I am interested in knowing what sail cloth weight other cruisers may suggest in placing my order. Lee Sail's suggested using 7.7 weight Challenge Dacron material for all 3 sails. I would like a material that could hold up in 20 - 25 knot winds, considering this would be the worst conditions I may encounter.

Any suggestions on what I may want to considering in placing my order?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Lonnie
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Normal dacron weight for your size boat and bluewater sailing is 8-8.5oz. Some really serious cruisers prefer heavier but if you are only sailing in Asia there is no need.
I've met a lot of disappointed cruisers where the low grade challenge darcon has only lasted 4-5 years from Lee and others. It is the cheapest dacron so you get what you pay for I guess. The dacron they used to use years ago lasted very well. Challenge do make better quality dacron called Marblehead but it costs more.
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Old 19-12-2015, 20:50   #3
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Re: New Sails

We just had new cruising sails built by Rolly Tasker. We ordered through their Annapolis distributor but their loft happens to be in Thailand. Our sails are 8.3 oz. High Aspect High Modulus cloth, the sails are beautifully made, triple rows of stitching, leather patches and reinforcement everywhere needed. We are extremely well pleased with the quality. We got 6 estimates and Rolly Tasker was far and away less expensive than anyone else except one other loft that had rather bad reviews on several of the forums. If you haven't looked into them, you should.
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Old 19-12-2015, 22:44   #4
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Re: New Sails

You want Contender dacron.
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Old 20-12-2015, 01:16   #5
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Re: New Sails

I've used Lee Sails and Rolly Tasker before but my best experience, both with customer service and sail shape, has been with UK Halsey in Hong Kong.
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Old 20-12-2015, 08:08   #6
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Re: New Sails

I appreciate all the info. I will check into a couple of other sail makers for their suggestions and quotes. Having done some research 7.7 seems a little lite to me. The 8.3 high aspect modulus sounds more appropriate for my type of sailing. I want something that will hold up. I will also check out the Dacron Contender.

Any further suggestion would be welcome.

Lonnie
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Old 20-12-2015, 09:24   #7
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Re: New Sails

I have used Lee sails for 2 sails, a new main and a new staysail. I worked with William out of Vancouver who was extremely professional. My staysail doesn't get much use but my main after 3 years is still in excellent condition. I have since used another sail maker which was nothing short of a disaster and a complete loss of money. I would hesitate to use Lee as I found their follow up to any issues impeccable. My only advice is to be involved with youre sail, know what YOU want and don't be afraid to ask for it. I would go with a thicker cloth then 7.7 as well. Good luck. Let us know how it went
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:04   #8
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Re: New Sails

Contender like most cloth companies also make good dacron (expensive) and bad dacron (cheap). I've seen some of their supercruise that has also failed very early on. Almost all the retail lofts in Asia use the cheapest cloth they can get their hands on.
High aspect cloth also isn't good for extended cruising as it will tear vertically.

Why don't you talk to Marshall Sails since you are in Fiji. From what I hear they are designed by someone who is actually a sailor, they don't use cheap dacron like in Asia and they are local so can sort out any issues and measure your boat.
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:47   #9
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Re: New Sails

Far East Sails ? Good or bad news ?
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Old 22-12-2015, 12:05   #10
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Re: New Sails

Great Information! Yes, I am going to contact Marshall sails and see what suggestions they have.

There are many considerations to take into account here when ordering sails. Any further insights will be taken into consideration.

Once again, thanks for the info.

Lonnie
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Old 22-12-2015, 18:11   #11
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
Contender like most cloth companies also make good dacron (expensive) and bad dacron (cheap). I've seen some of their supercruise that has also failed very early on. Almost all the retail lofts in Asia use the cheapest cloth they can get their hands on.
High aspect cloth also isn't good for extended cruising as it will tear vertically.

Why don't you talk to Marshall Sails since you are in Fiji. From what I hear they are designed by someone who is actually a sailor, they don't use cheap dacron like in Asia and they are local so can sort out any issues and measure your boat.
You seem to have a serious 'Asia' problem, but you're based in Malaysia? Careful how you go there, can you trust anyone?

This reminds me of an interview I saw, printed in the yachting press, with a staunchly bri'ish sailmaker who said "How can you expect a chinaman to understand that each model of Moody has 10 different sail shape options?" and I thought to myself - well your business isn't going to survive long, and I won't be sorry..
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Old 22-12-2015, 20:17   #12
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by cortezsailor View Post
I have used Lee sails for 2 sails, a new main and a new staysail. I worked with William out of Vancouver who was extremely professional. My staysail doesn't get much use but my main after 3 years is still in excellent condition. I have since used another sail maker which was nothing short of a disaster and a complete loss of money. I would hesitate to use Lee as I found their follow up to any issues impeccable. My only advice is to be involved with youre sail, know what YOU want and don't be afraid to ask for it. I would go with a thicker cloth then 7.7 as well. Good luck. Let us know how it went
Is that Lee Sails, as in Lee Sails from HK? Did they move to Vancouver with all the Asians?
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Old 22-12-2015, 20:28   #13
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Re: New Sails

I'd check with Roger at the North Sails loft in Opua, NZ. I've seen people getting quotes on dacron North sails that are only a little more than the low-cost Asia guys and with much better material. Plus a wealth of good info on what would be the best construction.
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Old 24-12-2015, 06:22   #14
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Re: New Sails

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Originally Posted by chris in SG View Post
You seem to have a serious 'Asia' problem, but you're based in Malaysia? Careful how you go there, can you trust anyone?
A serious Asia problem, really? Kestrahl is a sailmaker living in Asia stating fact based on much experience. I am also a sailmaker and completely agree with Kestrahl. He specifically did not say all lofts in Asia and this in a forum where people often do make blanket statements naively trashing all sails made in Asia - should suggest his is a more educated opinion. Your comment is way out of line.

Fact is, even with lower cost labor, cost of goods that make sails is high. Many lofts (not limited to Asia by any means) choose to control this with low cost/quality materials and/or using flawed (2nds or 3rds quality) of more expensive materials that come discounted from cloth manufacturers. And the real problem is that it's easy to say cloth is premium quality but use something else - or is but from flawed batches. I've tested a lot of cloth in my time and differences in tensile strength can be huge AND you certainly cannot tell by just by eye.

And to the original point, yes a majority of retail loft in Asia use cheap cloth. The consequences may be structural or aesthetic (cosmetic flaw) or shape affecting (wavy cloth). A friend bought a Lee mainsail for a 44' mono. They paid extra for "premium" Dacron. In 1 yeare, their 10 year old daughter put her hand through the sail when folding it. Lee replaced the sail, but only when they agreed to pay for material costs - again. That's one example, there are many.

There are excellent sails that come out of Asia - mostly, from companies like China Sail Factory that build to spec for sailmakers (not retail). They can also build low quality - depends what their sailmaker customer specifies.

The cloth issue is certainly not limited to Asia or to low cost sailmakers. I'd love to see more accountability from sailmakers by educating customers on cloth and verifying what materials they use. I'd also love to see sailors learn more about sails - to get past loft reputations, regional perceptions, ego, and BS that muddies what's real.
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Old 24-12-2015, 07:48   #15
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Re: New Sails

My highlighted quotes from Kestrahl's advice were exactly the sort of generalizations that you now agree are unacceptable. Of course, I don't know him personally, unlike you, so I can only form an impression from what he writes. If anyone says "..they don't use cheap Dacron like in Asia", I'm bound to conclude that the writer is generalizing unreasonably.

Thank you for clarifying that Kestrahl is not actually that type..
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