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Old 28-08-2014, 19:03   #16
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Absolutely yes if by high end you mean good cloth and well built. Good solid triple stitching, extra reinforcement, heavy webbing tape on clue in particular also tack and head. All these really make a difference to longevity. The other thing is having suitable sails for different conditions. If you fly a medium wt roller furling sail in heavy weather it will lose it's shape (as well as not sailing well). Construction is definitely as important as cloth and not just the hand finishing bits.
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Old 28-08-2014, 19:29   #17
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Quote:
Originally Posted by soozem View Post
We are outfitting our 48' Aluminum Cutter Rigged Ketch to sail to New Zealand...and beyond, we hope.!
Quite a bit depends on (1) how highly loaded your sails are, which depends on how high aspect they are and how high the boat's righting moment is. And (2) How you personally value the trade-off between performance and cost/durability. and (3) do you like your current sails or know what you want modified/changed for the next round?

We personally have tried a wide variety of sail cloth, from dacron to spectra laminate thru to 3dl. There is a real trade-off there and personally, for the size boat you have, I would suggest there is a sweet spot with the spectra laminate. It combines good durability (much better than 'string' sails) with good performance (much better than dacron or hydranet).

The trick with the loft is to find a designer who know your type of sailing and will build the sort of sail you want. For biggish offshore cruising this is difficult. Most of the 'good' reputation designers are really racing sail makers (because that is were the money is) and don't really understand offshore cruising sails. Some of the boutique sail makers ( like Hasse) make a specialty product that may or may not fit your boat and style. I saw a set of Hasse sails on a 60' aluminum boat in Iceland and while they were beautifully made sails they did not in fact match the boat's needs at all. They belonged on a wooden ketch rather than an aluminum/carbon performance boat.

The best sails I have gotten recently have been from doyle marblehead, but that has a lot to do with the fact that I know what I want and they listened to me. I am not honestly sure how well they would do for a cruising sailor who is looking for guidance from the sail makers - they might be excellent or they might not be at that.

If you really like your current sails, or know exactly how you want to improve/change/develop them in the next round, it will be a lot easier for you to get a great product. If you just go to the sailmaker and say 'I need some new sails" (and don't buy the bottom of the line) then you will most probably get a pretty decent product but it will (probably) not be perfect/excellent. There are a lot of little details to make a sail work for a very specific owner/boat, which the designer just simply will not know.
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Old 28-08-2014, 19:59   #18
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Neptunes Gear said:
"If you are to go offshore, and something needs repair/service while under warrantee, how will you do that? Sometimes, an international loft (Like Norths?) can provide service in many locations."

That has been my experience.

North Sails in Puerto Vallarta helped us quite a bit, at almost no cost, to repair damages due to an inadvertent gype. They were very interested in our North Seattle sails and seemed to enjoy working on them.

Here in San Diego the North loft has also been very helpful and interested in our custom North Seattle sails.
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Old 28-08-2014, 20:25   #19
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Dacron for Main, Mizzen, storm trisail, cutter storm jib, #2 genoa factional hoist. AS spinnaker, mizzen staysail.

We added a 5-layer Quantum Fusion Membrane high cut genoa (Yankee) as the new #1. Includes furling pads.

We are 58 feet with 80 foot mast. 36 tons displacement. This limits the options for the Genoa. With Roller furling, we never take it down. This is good since the bag is 4 feet diameter & 4 feet tall. The sail can only be bagged ashore & only if well folded. It weighs around 200 #. It is not conceivable to stuff it below. It would fill the entire cabin.

One thing to consider is how much time you might spend close hauled. The membrane sail will do this better. If you plan to run the trades, mostly reaching, then maybe you will be very pleased with dacron. Our genoa is fabulous to weather.

This season we also added a code zero, 132.5 sq meter in an ATN sock. This is easy to handle and really helps our sluggish light wind performance.
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Old 29-08-2014, 07:38   #20
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

all this talk of service and repair reminds me - carry a sewing machine, minor stitching damage can quickly get worse and on long passages chafe is significant. 1/3 hour in repairs can often put a sail back into service and stop it turning into a major repair. particularly aplies to spinackers and light weather gear. Sailright do excellent small machines
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Old 29-08-2014, 13:06   #21
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Mack in Florida makes a nice quality sail. Reasonable and no nonsense. I personally think Carol Hasse PT sails is one of the best. Evans is right about matching sails to boat type as well as your idea of performance. So too one must consider chafe and personal care. No sail will hold up well to chafe and abuse. Regardless of material and hand work.


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Old 29-08-2014, 14:50   #22
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Soozem:

Something to ask about is the possible use PTFE thread for the sewing of the mainsail. It is more chafe and UV resistant, potentially adding to the longevity of the sail, but also, could add too much to the expense of the sail.

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Old 29-08-2014, 16:50   #23
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

^^ the sailmakers generally hate PTFE thread - it is very slippery which makes setting (and keeping) proper tread tension on the machine very difficult. So there is a bunch of extra labor and more importantly a risk that the seam tension will not end up right. That all said - it has been done, and would be brilliant if it ended up well, as on a dacron sail its almost always the sewing that fails first.
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Old 30-08-2014, 09:04   #24
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

One last caution about using a loft that outsources to China or Sri Lanka or wherever............

I don't have personal experience with the lofts that the OP mentioned. So this is not meant as a comment on their quality.....etc. but I have had sails made by other lofts that outsource. Supposedly high quality lofts with a strong brand. At the time I did not know that they outsourced their work and they of course did not see fit to mention it. So in the end it was my lack research........my fault.

As mentioned in a previous post there is a wide disparity in the quality of Dacron material. In my own experience I have ordered sails specifying certain material and specific seam widths and stitching requirements. None of which happened for me. In the end I had no recourse "because the sail was made in Sri Lanka." It was either accept it or reject it and forfeit most of my down payment.

Others may have had better luck with outsourced work. But for me it is BUYER BEWARE. In the end I would rather pay much more for a locally produced sail of known quality. A sail that will be built to your specs and if not, then you would have some recourse to correct it. Especially for good rugged offshore sails. Ultimately we get what we pay for. Or so it seems.


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Old 30-08-2014, 10:32   #25
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Our club decided to save a few bucks buying a new main for our pearson 30, by buying from an Asian loft. Gave the "sailmaker" a sizeable deposit. Three months later and no sail, just excuses. Only threats to run him out of the sailing community finally got our deposit back...
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Old 30-08-2014, 10:48   #26
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

The boys at Schautthauer's in Seattle! Accept no substitute! I've had them on 3 boats.
Don't try to design the sails yourself with the latest thing you've read on the internet... just do what the boys tell you to do.
Carol Hasse learned to make sails from Schautthauer...
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Old 30-08-2014, 10:52   #27
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Sooze-
It sounds like you have a custom boat and that would argue for having sails made locally, where the loft can come out, measure, fit, and refit if necessary. If it was a production model with hundreds of hulls out there, any mail-order loft might be familiar with the sails for it, but if it isn't so common...better to have someone hands-on to make it right.
And also, to make sure that you put everything in writing beforehand. Somehow little things like "I want a window in the job" or "I want sail numbers" just often get forgotten by lofts. Then there's more back-and-forth to be done.

The advantage of a global brand (i.e. North) in the event that you need repairs while somewhere far from home, could also be a point. If you want to use the local sailmakers, be up front and ask them, what can they do to stand behind their product, if they are ten thousand miles away? They may say "take it to a local loft wherever you are and we'll reimburse you". You never know unless you ask.
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Old 30-08-2014, 13:06   #28
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

My 2 cents--

My sailmaker claimed that PTFE thread is not as strong as dacron initially, so we compromised and used it on the sun covers, where strength is not critical and dacron thread has to be replaced every 3 years.

NEVER let sailmaker talk you into a dacron sun cover.

Using a roller furling genoa in high winds will not deform the sail if you furl it in far enough that the boat is not overpowered. Make sure that you specify foam or rope in the luff to keep the shape decent as you furl it.

Never leave your sails uncovered in the tropics.

A repair loft could care less about who built your sails.

Although my emphasis is on performance cruising, my next set of sails will be dacron and I would anticipate they would last 10-15 years and 50-75,000 miles, like the last set. The boat came with a UK tape drive cruising genoa and it lasted less than 2 years.

+1 on having to replace the stitching before the sail.
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Old 30-08-2014, 13:32   #29
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Re: Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

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My sailmaker claimed that PTFE thread is not as strong as dacron initially.

This is correct. When new V92 size PTFE thread is about 10lbs test, while V92 polyester when new is about 13lbs.

But after two years of tropical sun the polyester will have degraded by 50% (to say 6-7lbs) while the PTFE will essentially be as new (say 9-10lbs).

.........
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Old 30-08-2014, 15:34   #30
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Offshore Sails - Are High-end Worth the $$

Also be wary of "global brands". My experience with sails that were built offshore came from a North Sails loft. Besides if the OP is off cruising with whatever sail they decide on.......... And they find that they need repairs........... My guess is that they will use palm and needle to do their own repairs. If not any local loft can do a repair to any sail. Brand will have little or nothing to do with any repair work.

Research the loft and specify the quality and type of sails that will best suit your needs.


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