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Old 15-10-2009, 15:38   #16
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Sails, Sailcloth, Sailmakers, Lofts...

Chris and Marisa,

1) While the easy and short answer is:
Go with someone local and who has a good reputation.....
(In your case, it seems that is North....so, that's the easy answer...)

But, you may wish to learn a bit about what you're buying.....and then your choice may be different.....

2) If you wish to learn what the names / models / brands / etc. actually mean, and what Dacron sailcloth you may wish to have your sails made from.....then the answer gets tougher and longer:

a) First off, sailmakers do NOT make their own sailcloth, NO MATTER who tells you they do.....they do NOT....

b) Next, some sailmakers DO use specific cloths, from specific mills, with specific yarns, for certain models of their sails.....

Macks Sails use of "Bainbridge Challenge Marblehead" (the top-of-the-line high-tenacity Dacron from a top-of-the-line mill), for their sails....and North's use of "Bainbridge Challenge High-Aspect" (2nd from-the-top-of-the-line high-tenacity Dacron, from that same mill), for their "Premium NorDac" sails ......are two examples of the higher-end of the market.....

At the other end of the market (the Low-end / Bargain-end) is North's use of "Bainbridge Challenge Performance Cruise" for their "4800 NorDac" sails...

c) This subject was discussed recently at SSCA disc board....
Have a look...

SSCA Discussion Board • View topic - Dacron Sailcloth


d) Also, have a look at these two sites, where you'll find a much better explaination than I can give you....

Sail Cloth

Good Old Boat - I've got the new sail blues article


e) For the typical cruising sailboat (which will not see too much high-latitude sailing, nor is involved in racing), the choice is of course woven Dacron.....
But, as you can see....there's a big difference in costs from one type / model / weave of sailcoth to another.....
(Costs range from $9 / yd. to $15/yd. for 8oz. cloth)


3) If you wish to know more, call one of the sailmakers sand ask them some questions.....
I KNOW Travis and Colin Mack, at Mack Sails, will answer whatever questions you have.....and I suspect that Will Keyworth will do the same....


4) My opinion / advice:

Go with Mack Sails or North.....

Stay away from JSI (who sell mainly OEM / low-quality sails), and the other "offshore" companies.....
Just my thoughts....



I do hope this helps...

John
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Old 15-10-2009, 15:53   #17
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There ARE companies that stand behind their product (Mack Sails, etc.)

I have nothing against North Sails....
But, they are NOT the only ones that stand behind their products....

Myself (and my family) have been customers of Mak Sails for decades....starting back in the 70's with Mack-Shaw Sailmakers in Ft. Lauderdale, and continuing to this day with Mack Sails in Stuart, FL....
Same family, same business, same high-quality products/services.....
And the same GREAT guys!!!

I could not recommend them more highly.....Travis and Colin grew up sailing and working on sailboats, as well as learned sailmaking.....they are sailors and cruisers....and truly gentlemen to boot!


And, I have a minor correction for Joli....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joli View Post
All sailmakers have offshore lofts and will often build sails there.
That's not really true, since Mack Sails does NOT have any offshore lofts, nor offshore sources, etc....
They make all their sails right there in their own loft, in Stuart, FL.....

I know, I know....they're not as big as some of the others....but they are the "biggest little loft" around....


Okay.....now that's off my chest....
Fair winds!!!

John
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Old 15-10-2009, 16:40   #18
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We met both Colin and Travis at the show. They are impressive to say the least. They are number 2 on our short list, and might be number one if not for the fact that they don't have a presence up here to measure and work with. I have NO DOUBT that they would build a great sail, and their knowledge was astounding. My biggest issue is that there are very few of my boat out there, and even fewer ketch rigged versions. The genny fit scares me, and a live body onboard with a head full of knowledge would ease my worry big time. I should have mentioned before that the boat came with ruined sails, and the sailplan drawing is marginal at best. Measuring the main and mizzen is easy...not so for the genny...
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Old 15-10-2009, 16:52   #19
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NORTH SAILS

I have used Norths in Auckland New Zealand for over 10 years...service and quality of production has been excellent.

I have had dealings with Norths in Fort Lauderdale and had the same experience.


All the guys I dealt with from both lofts are experienced sailors that know their stuff.

The only minor delays I ever experienced were because someone was at the Americas Cup or on a Volvo 60 somewhere....

I'm currently having a new staysail and storm jib built by Norths in Auckland.

I recommend them highly

Alan
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Old 15-10-2009, 17:03   #20
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North has made good sails for me. Not as nicely done (should I say overdone?) as from some small one of a kind lofts, but the Norths had great shape to them and were just simple straightforward sails..
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Old 15-10-2009, 19:32   #21
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I have a new North Sail Main which is excellent,reasonably priced.My only complaint is the stainless reefing grommets at leach of sail,they are sharp and cut through my reefing lines.My old sail had big smooth rounded brass ones that never wore lines at all.I want to get them changed, but my sailmaker is back in Vancouver and I'm in San Diego.
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Old 15-10-2009, 19:45   #22
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I've been dealing with the Ullman loft in Havre de Grace, MD. I've bought one genoa, and have had various repairs done and I'm quite happy. Note that Havre de Grace is way closer to NJ than Annapolis.
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Old 15-10-2009, 22:21   #23
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Highseas
theres a north loft in San Diego contact them and see if they can hepl you out. I would expect an North Loft to correct that problem for you.


Caelestis,
Quote "North's dacron fabric (Nordac) is not very good. It is a somewhat antiquated product. Superior fabrics are available from Dimension-Polyant, and Bainbridge, regardless of who actually builds the sail for you."

Would you please give some facts to back this up? Do you work for Dimeension or Bainbrdge?
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Old 15-10-2009, 22:40   #24
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I think you all skip an important step. Your old sails should be checked out in detail. Every problem written down and the cause determined. Was it chafing in that spot? what can be done about that? Was it a failure of the material? Has that material been improved or do we need something different? Are the reefs in the right spots? Does the end of the boom go up higher with each extra reef? 3rd reef? How about those battens? Wasn't that genoa a bit too big? Why didn't that leech control line work? etc. etc.

And another one: why do we need to replace this sail? What is the ultimate reason that we need to replace instead of repair? Sewing thread UV damage? delamination? or loss of shape? You can request different thread, we even specified three rows of stitching using the 3-step zig-zag for each. If the sail lost it's shape but is otherwise still okay, maybe you can save money by specifying a more expensive material that holds shape (much) longer. Our laminated spectra sails were delaminated. We now have woven dacron with spectra reinforcing fibers (Bainbridge Hydranet, yes they hold up great!). A tri-radial cut? How about a high aspect jib? Or a loose footed main?

We did the inspection of the old sails together with the sailmaker and even went out and sailed with them. Half of the problems could have been prevented with adjustments of position of sacrificial chafing panels (spreaders) etc. That was all precisely measured and corrected with the new sails at no extra cost.

When you work with the sailmaker and he gets enthousiatic, ask him about tri-radial cut high aspect jib instead of that old fashioned cross cut. He'll probably like that subject and I got him to throw that in for a symbolic additional fee.

Finally, don't forget to order spare materials. We have enough for the largest panel of each sail in each weight of cloth used. We also have dacron tapes, seamstick etc. so we can make repairs regardless of where we are.

Buy the book "Sail care and repair" by Dan Heri.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 16-10-2009, 09:40   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gudgeon View Post
Highseas
theres a north loft in San Diego contact them and see if they can hepl you out. I would expect an North Loft to correct that problem for you.


Caelestis,
Quote "North's dacron fabric (Nordac) is not very good. It is a somewhat antiquated product. Superior fabrics are available from Dimension-Polyant, and Bainbridge, regardless of who actually builds the sail for you."

Would you please give some facts to back this up? Do you work for Dimeension or Bainbrdge?
I do not work in the marine industry, period. Ka4wja put a very good explanation in his post above. The Nordac 4800 is the specific cloth I was referring to in my previous post. I was simply trying to point out the fact that there are superior fabrics available from other companies.
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Old 16-10-2009, 11:13   #26
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I see where Caelestis was coming from now...I didn't know it before, but North does offer two different cruising dacrons, and the Nordac 4800 is apparently no where near as good a cloth as the Premium Nordac. Will Keyworth had quoted only Premium to us after asking us questions about our use of the boat...
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Old 16-10-2009, 11:25   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Buy the book "Sail care and repair" by Dan Heri.

ciao!
Nick.
You mean Dan Neri. Good guy, great sailor, used to race against him.

Amazon.com: The Complete Guide to Sail Care & Repair (9781930086050): Dan Neri: Books

The book is now on my "to buy" list.
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Old 16-10-2009, 12:50   #28
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Then there is this: The Seattle Times: Pacific Northwest Magazine

Port Townsend Sails - new sails and repair for all sailboats
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Old 16-10-2009, 12:58   #29
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Jedi makes a good point, for a full set of sails, a local loft should look your current sails over and possibly even go for a short sail. This way things get corrected that are obvious. Does your boat have much weather helm? (flatter main) etc., chafing issues, how do the reef points work, what is your reefing system?
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Old 16-10-2009, 14:34   #30
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She has an excellent rep. I know of at least one very satisfied customer who is now in the South Pacific, having sailed out of Seattle with a full suit of her sails.
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