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Old 24-02-2013, 17:33   #46
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Just finishing a heavy weather staysail. Kit was great. Project went together with no trouble. Specs were for 8 oz. cloth so the machine had some challenges with the thickness of patches and strapping. But this was very thick and the Sailrite handled it with no trouble.

Nice design with a spliced to thimble bolt rope and sewn in rings. Also a nice bit of soft leather at all three corners for chaff. We are very happy with the results. Only thing I would change is to not order the kit with black thread. I figured this would be more UV resistant and I can see where there might be chaff problems in the future.........which is true. But I did not take into account my less than perfect talent with the machine. Every line of stitch that is not true shows up like a sore thumb. No worries tho.........its just aesthetics.

Some posters had good advice and recommended lots of floor space. They are right!!! Seems like a no brainer but it would be a big help to have a bit more space to spread things out. As far as feeding the bulk of material thru the machine we had no big problems. We found we could tightly roll a panel or two and clamp it such that it was easy to move through the machine...........even a non deep throated one. A bit of planning with regard to the sequence and the way each panel will be sewn in helps here.

The cost savings has been substantial. We have learned a bit along the way. Now I find myself studying other sails to see how they are constructed and checking for quality work. One more headsail, perhaps a nylon drifter, and then we might consider a mainsail. Still on the fence with that one.......

Mentioned here.........

Would not choose the black thread again.
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Old 24-02-2013, 18:46   #47
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

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Mentioned here.........

Would not choose the black thread again.
Is it PTFE or Tenara or something, or just dark Polyester? It looks fine, and worse criticism you'll get, is "damn, (s)he built their own sail". I'm curious if it is one of the UV resistant threads, or just poly, and if the space age stuff how it sewed? I've got an LSZ 1, what's your machine?

You should feel great about that. I had sailrite sails on my last boat. They were so well built -- not by me -- quality cloth, and the same leather on the staysail and yankee. I really liked those sails.

I'm gonna take your advice and go white thread when I make a staysail for my current boat, although there is something really cool about being able to see all the seams, because you can see how it is built. Nevertheless, that'll take the pressure off.

Congrats on your project-
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:17   #48
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

I have yet to build a SailRite kit but I have seen many sails done with them, and sailed many miles on them. All my sail making has been in poly-tarp. If you think Sailrite kits get the sail makers going, you ought to see another site I frequent (I build WoodenBoats ) when Poly tarps come up lol

Now that I have proven the concept I'll be upgrading to "real sails" and you can bet I'll be going to Sail Rite (but then few lofts will do custom lugs in the larger sizes anyway)
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:40   #49
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Is it PTFE or Tenara or something, or just dark Polyester? It looks fine, and worse criticism you'll get, is "damn, (s)he built their own sail". I'm curious if it is one of the UV resistant threads, or just poly, and if the space age stuff how it sewed? I've got an LSZ 1, what's your machine?

You should feel great about that. I had sailrite sails on my last boat. They were so well built -- not by me -- quality cloth, and the same leather on the staysail and yankee. I really liked those sails.

I'm gonna take your advice and go white thread when I make a staysail for my current boat, although there is something really cool about being able to see all the seams, because you can see how it is built. Nevertheless, that'll take the pressure off.

Congrats on your project-
Thanks for the encouragement......

The thread is V92 poly UV resistant. 4oz. We have an LSZ-1 as well. It's a good rugged machine. My wife has a number of projects in mind. We definitely have a few more sails in mind. Still on the fence with regard to building a mainsail. With a bit more experience I just might go for it........
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:58   #50
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GatoGordo,

Love the poly tarp idea!!!!!

We just finished reading Annie Hills book about cruising on a small budget. Love that stuff. Years ago we had a 24 foot double ender.
Backyard built, she had a standing lug rig set up with dead eyes and lanyards. Converted her to a gaffer. Not one gadget on that boat. Sailed her all over the Hawaiian Islands with no engine. Great boat. Best times we had on the water.....

I suppose the Sailrite kits are not for everyone but I would recommend them to anyone if they were interested.

My one good sail was built in Maine by a reputable commercial loft. I am thinking about posting one more pic of the two side by side for comparison.......
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Old 24-02-2013, 22:48   #51
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

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The design is (presumably) the same. Assembly required....

Lets not get personal and use derogatory terms such as "hobbyist."
As a pilot I'd expect you to recognize the biggest hazard in the cockpit is the guy who doesn't know what he doesn't know. And that's where you are when it comes to sailmaking. You've built a handful of sails. That doesn't put you at or even near the level of guys that have been doing it for decades. Your flippant comments about "assembly required" have the connotation that there's no difference between what you're doing in your garage and what happens in a loft. You keep repeating that everything is "presumably" the same. The fact is you have no way to judge.

You're a hobbyist. Get over yourself. I've been a photographer for ages and have had some of my work published and been paid for it. I still consider myself a hobbyist. I don't consider the word derogatory.
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Old 24-02-2013, 22:57   #52
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

For those asking about thread:

Dark thread generally holds up better to UV and has the benefit of immediately revealing problems. We offer a variety of thread colors for those people who want it.

PTFE, typically GoreTex Tenara thread is basically impervious to UV. It is more difficult to sew with than regular polyester thread and not something I'd recommend for someone new to sewing.

At our production loft, we have machines that are adjusted for Tenara and that's the only thread that goes in those machines. Switching back and forth means having to adjust tension which isn't good in a production environment.

As for Polytarp:
For the small boat crowd, I think that's a great option for the DIY'er. It also has a value for building inexpensive prototypes.
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Old 24-02-2013, 23:39   #53
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

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This all I have at the moment.....
You have done a great job w32honu!

I have been watching NornaBiron (a CF member) make a fully battened mainsail from a precut design. Andy is doing a brilliant job. It is not as daunting as it seems and with the skills you already have under your belt I doubt you would find it too difficult.

One comment about your choice of thread though. Having just ripped off the sacrificial strips on both our headsails, I was amazed at the difference in UV deterioration between V92 and V138 thread. If your sailcloth can take a heavier thread (9oz certainly can) I would suggest going heavier for your next project.

Islandplanet, maybe you could comment what weight of sailcloth V138 is suitable for? Great to have sailmakers contributing here on CF .
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Old 25-02-2013, 06:45   #54
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As a pilot I'd expect you to recognize the biggest hazard in the cockpit is the guy who doesn't know what he doesn't know. And that's where you are when it comes to sailmaking. You've built a handful of sails. That doesn't put you at or even near the level of guys that have been doing it for decades. Your flippant comments about "assembly required" have the connotation that there's no difference between what you're doing in your garage and what happens in a loft. You keep repeating that everything is "presumably" the same. The fact is you have no way to judge.

You're a hobbyist. Get over yourself. I've been a photographer for ages and have had some of my work published and been paid for it. I still consider myself a hobbyist. I don't consider the word derogatory.
Nothing flippant here mate. It's just a fact...... Assembly is required. Otherwise all of those individual pieces would blow away in the breeze.

And once again you are correct..... I don't know. That's why it's a presumption.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 25-02-2013, 07:32   #55
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Just a comparison that I thought might be helpful.


The sail on the right was built in Maine by a reputable loft. They do good work and do not outsource. Generally well respected. This is the tack. Small O ring let in after a quick trim with a hot knife. Three lengths of webbing sewn on externally. Minimal but adequate. Quick and efficient production. No UV protection and no chaffing gear. All seams are single stitched. Paid top dollar for this sail and happy to do it. It's a great sail.

On the left is the tack of the kit. Spliced bolt rope let in and sewn and lashed to a hand sewn ring. Heavy patch assembly. Chaffing gear. Seams for patches are double stitched. All panel seams are triple stitched. There is heavy webbing with large D ring sewn in at the clew. All webbing is internally sewn into the patch for UV protection and chaff protection.
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Old 25-02-2013, 08:11   #56
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

The way I see it...........

Based on the input to the forum........ There are roughly 5 groups of us (maybe more in the future).

First is the CAD Kit group. They have built sails in the past from kits that were cut with CAD technology and provided instructions for sewing and assembly. They appear overwhelmingly positive about the experience and would definitely attempt any future projects.......... including a mainsail. With a bit more experience I might fall into this group.

Second is the Pre CAD Kit group. They have built sails themselves using reference guides and booklets provided by Sailrite. Its old school using battens to lay out and cut panels for sewing and assembly. They are a bold group as this would take a bit of talent and gumption. They are also very positive about their experience. but they seem to recommend drifters, light air sails, and or small head sails. Projects that would not require much in the way of tolerance and therefore get good performance from the sail.

Third are the Future DIY. They seem very interested and overwhelmingly positive about the prospect.

Fourth are the Non DIY. They, for a variety of good reasons, seem to not want to make the effort. They would prefer going to a professional sailmaker. Thats fair enough............I can understand that point of view.

Last are the Professional Sailmakers. They have no vested interest in this type of project. Thats fair enough as well............

There may be other perspectives in the future. Maybe subsets within the groups.??

Gonna order up my next sail and press on. We will keep you posted.


Respectfully yours,

The Hobbyist
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Old 25-02-2013, 08:38   #57
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
You have done a great job w32honu!

I have been watching NornaBiron (a CF member) make a fully battened mainsail from a precut design. Andy is doing a brilliant job. It is not as daunting as it seems and with the skills you already have under your belt I doubt you would find it too difficult.

One comment about your choice of thread though. Having just ripped off the sacrificial strips on both our headsails, I was amazed at the difference in UV deterioration between V92 and V138 thread. If your sailcloth can take a heavier thread (9oz certainly can) I would suggest going heavier for your next project.

Islandplanet, maybe you could comment what weight of sailcloth V138 is suitable for? Great to have sailmakers contributing here on CF .
Thanks Lass,

Point well taken. I will have to do a bit more research regarding thread.......
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Old 25-02-2013, 11:47   #58
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

After some time spent doing canvaswork, repairing many sails and replacing sacrificial strips on headsails made from different fabrics, my wonderful husband, Andy, has taken on the job of replacing our fully battened, 45 square metre, mainsail. We raised the boom by approx 800mm to increase safety in the cockpit so the mainsail was a complete new design. We had the sail designed and cut by an Italian company and Andy has been putting it together for the last few days.

We have an LSZ-1 machine, a massive space in a local taverna to use as a sail-loft and are using 9.5oz dacron with V138 thread. The assembly of the sail has taken a lot of thought and planning so that we are not trying to force a large roll of fabric through the arm of the machine. As full-time cruisers we are not aiming for a high performance racing sail but for a sail that is serviceable and sturdy that will last a few ocean crossings.

We estimate that the cost of producing the sail, including buying all materials and the LSZ-1 machine with accessories, is less than ordering and paying for a fully completed sail. Of course this estimate does not include the cost of our labour but we are retired and enjoy being self-reliant in all ways that we can be.

If you are so inclined, it's not rocket science, give it a go - just make sure you thoroughly research the company that will do the design and cutting for you.
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Old 25-02-2013, 12:41   #59
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NornaBiron,


Thanks for the post. Building a sizeable mainsail like that is encouraging. I would be very interested to hear how you guys judge the shape and performance of the sail. Also any problems that might crop up during the assembly.

It's a puzzle to me that more pro lofts that have invested in this technology and have talented designers on staff do not produce kits. It seems to me an opportunity to expand their business.
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Old 25-02-2013, 13:51   #60
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Re: Sailrite kits... Do it yourself sailmaking

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You have done a great job w32honu!


Islandplanet, maybe you could comment what weight of sailcloth V138 is suitable for? Great to have sailmakers contributing here on CF .
Usually it's more a function of the expected loads of the sail that dictates V138 over V92. For instance a mainsail a main I did recently for a Hylas 47 used V138.

Storm sails are sewn with V138 or V207 depending on the application. There's a very strong geared Adler machine used for sewing webbing.
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