We just got new North Sails for Rainshadow, our 38' Camper and Nicholson ketch
. We went with North Sails because we liked the salesman in Seattle
- he was knowledgable, friendly, and very helpful. And they were price competitive.
However, the sails were a disaster. The geneoa was made too short - the luff requires a ten inch pennant to prevent halyard
wraps. The main now has battens, and these do not clear the backstay - not even close. In light air, we cannot tack or jibe unless I literally hang my full weight on the end of the boom, and in good air, the whole rig shakes as the battens pop through. The mizzen is fine, though.
Also, the sail designer
clearly did not take any account of the need to balance the rig. With our old sails, it was always easy (and a pleasure) to balance the helm
perfectly on almost any point of sail. Now, it's a struggle - and it's obvious why. The designer
added to the roaches of the main and mizzen, and reduced the sail area of the genoa by a LOT (especially with it being ten inches too short), so of course now we have bad weather helm
North Sails have agreed to add some extra length to the top panel of the genoa, although it will still need a 3 or 4 inch pennant to fit. And I don't believe that this is going to give us as good a sail as if they had designed it right from the start. (It's radial cut btw).
They've agreed to cut the roach back on the main, and shorten the battens.
But overall, it was a bad experience, and not one I will repeat. I feel kind of sorry for the salesman in Seattle
. Assuming he gave the designer correct measurements, it should not really be seen as his fault. However, it seems he's limited in what he can do. For instance, I would have much preferred them to remake the genoa - adding ten inches to the sail at the foot would have added a lot of useful area and better helped balance the helm. However, that would have required they make a new sail because of the radial cut. Instead, they decided they could squeeze in 7 inches in the upper panels
, and save themselves a lot of money
, no doubt.