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Old 19-02-2016, 11:17   #1
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Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

I'm looking to replace my 15-20yr old cruising genny for my Tartan 41. Standard cross cut dacron, with price and durability in mind. We will be moving aboard next year and taking a year cruise in the Caribbean. I'm basically copying what I have, so I don't need a 'professional' to come measure my boat or go for a sail with me.

Comparing the 2 quotes below, I just can't see the value in the 'North' sail and am dumbfounded as to why I see so many boats with them and other similar cost lofts like Doyle. Please help me understand.

North quote $4,470 for NorDac 7.8oz. Can't find detailed specs on North's proprietary sail cloth.... they don't even report Denier.

Rolly Tasker quote $2,350 for Challenge 8.8oz High Mass Fiber Weave. This seems to be a high quality, high UV resistant cloth.

Both sails have similar appointments with telltales, chafe protection, etc... so, Why pay double??? Will the North cloth last 20 yrs to the Challenge cloths' 10yrs? really?
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Old 19-02-2016, 12:22   #2
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

zstine,
I'd pick neither!


Well 3 quick things....and I think you'll see why I write "neither" would be my advice...


1) First off, like many of my fellow sailors you probably need some "sailcloth" information....

So, here's a LOT of info for you!!

Dacron Sailcloth

Sail Cloth – Mack Sails

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


And, here are some recent discussions, with lots of great info/advice...

Sail Options for 40' Cutter

North Sails: Your Opinion, Please . . .

New sail for the circumnavigating Bene 423 - Page 2 - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

New Sails for Hylas 54 - a maze of chioces!

New sails

New Sails! Advice Needed.



2) And, secondly, my best advice is to call Mack Sails, in Stuart, FL
at 772-283-2306
Ask for Travis, and tell 'em I (John MacDougall) said to call!
Mack Sails – Sailmakers

Travis and his brother (Colin Mack) have been running Mack Sails now for decades, and their Dad ran Mack-Shaw Sails in Ft. Lauderdale in the 1960's and 70's...

What you get from Mack Sails are a few things that you do NOT get anywhere else:
a) Honest information and advice, in a low-key, no-hassle way!
b) ALL your questions answered, even if you never buy a sail from them!
c) Guys who are Sailmakers, not just sail salesmen!! (they design, cut, sew, all of their own sails, right there in their loft in Stuart, FL)!!
d) Guys who are also sailors and cruisers themselves...(yes, they own and sail their own boats, and both grew up sailing/cruising)!!
e) American-made sails, using the highest-quality American-made cloth!!


I've been doing business with them for about 15 years personally, and my older brother for 15 years before me, and my parents since the early 1970's....
Other than being a satisfied customer, I have no connection to them at all!




3) And, third....
It has been my experience, and that of many here abouts, that North isn't forthcoming about a lot...and once you experience the wealth of knowledge and honest advice of Mack Sails, there is no real comparison to be made...
You'll pick Mack Sails!



And, finally....
I grew up in S. FL and sailing the Bahamas, Caribbean, N/ Atl., and Med, in the 60's and 70's....and even with all my years of experience, and my family's long-standing business relationship with Mack, when time came for new sails myself 10+ years ago, I did my own research, read everything, talked to everyone, etc....and I came back to the inevitable...
I bought from Mack Sails!!!
(some might think I wasted a lot of time, but I got quite an education out of it...so, nothing wasted...)



I hope this helps.

Fair winds..

John
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Old 19-02-2016, 12:46   #3
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pirate Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

A little bird told me that one's order is sent to China where its made up then delivered along with other orders to the loft.. where the Logo is stitched on..
You are then informed your sails ready..

Take this with however many grains of salt you choose..
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Old 19-02-2016, 13:10   #4
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Rolly Tasker sails are made in Thailand at one of the oldest (since 1949), largest lofts in the world, not China. We bought our mainsail from them last year. We worked with their Annapolis office and the service was wonderful, the sail is beautiful, and we will be having them make our new furling headsail this year as well. We had purchased one of their sails years ago through Sail Warehouse, that one was "off the shelf," but we were happy with it. Our mainsail of course was custom made for this boat, and as we didn't have the original main to work from their Annapolis representative, Terry Clarence at Annapolis Boat Service, spent a lot of time with us going over options and making sure the sail would be made to our exact requirements, which required he educate us on a lot of things.

I did a lot of online research for several months, read tons of reviews on a lot of different sites, and got quotes from 6 different lofts. Rolly Tasker was the lowest price with the exception of one sailmaker who had lousy reviews, but yet Rolly Tasker had better reviews on some sites than a couple of the higher priced lofts. I read an awful lot of threads where people said they had been cruising with Rolly Tasker sails for years and were happy with them.

We purchased the offshore cruising sail, it is 8.3 oz High Aspect High Modulus Challenge cloth.

In answer to your question, "why pay double?," unless you require something high tech, or feel strongly about American Made, or want something very specific that they don't offer, I can't really say. We're pretty vanilla and are only planning coastal and Caribbean cruising so blowing the bank on high tech, double priced sails didn't seem like a necessary expense to us.
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Old 19-02-2016, 13:36   #5
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pirate Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
Rolly Tasker sails are made in Thailand at one of the oldest (since 1949), largest lofts in the world, not China. We bought our mainsail from them last year. We worked with their Annapolis office and the service was wonderful, the sail is beautiful, and we will be having them make our new furling headsail this year as well. We had purchased one of their sails years ago through Sail Warehouse, that one was "off the shelf," but we were happy with it. Our mainsail of course was custom made for this boat, and as we didn't have the original main to work from their Annapolis representative, Terry Clarence at Annapolis Boat Service, spent a lot of time with us going over options and making sure the sail would be made to our exact requirements, which required he educate us on a lot of things.

I did a lot of online research for several months, read tons of reviews on a lot of different sites, and got quotes from 6 different lofts. Rolly Tasker was the lowest price with the exception of one sailmaker who had lousy reviews, but yet Rolly Tasker had better reviews on some sites than a couple of the higher priced lofts. I read an awful lot of threads where people said they had been cruising with Rolly Tasker sails for years and were happy with them.

We purchased the offshore cruising sail, it is 8.3 oz High Aspect High Modulus Challenge cloth.

In answer to your question, "why pay double?," unless you require something high tech, or feel strongly about American Made, or want something very specific that they don't offer, I can't really say. We're pretty vanilla and are only planning coastal and Caribbean cruising so blowing the bank on high tech, double priced sails didn't seem like a necessary expense to us.
I was not referring to any specific sailmaker.. just mentioning that some sailmakers operate this way.. why do you think so many have offices in Hong Kong..
After that its like clothes.. you pay for the label.
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Old 19-02-2016, 14:03   #6
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Peso (North) vs. Bhat (Rolly)

All about labor cost

The cheep sail vs $$ is as bad as anchor discussions.. Heard a good point recently that good sail shape and design are probably way more important than cost. The vast majority of used sails whering out from UV long before the hand work goes.

Not sure I agree but something to think about.
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Old 19-02-2016, 14:08   #7
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

I will second the recommendation for Mack Sails. We had them make a new main for us and could not be happier. Travis was super helpful during the whole process and came to personally deliver the sail to us at the marina. We also had a Mack Pack made and he came back out to the marina to replace a clip on it that was incorrect.
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Old 19-02-2016, 14:21   #8
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

There is racing and then there is cruising. For racing.the answer is simple: go with the one that is winning. Nothing else matters. With cruising, there are many, many factors to consider. I like the idea of an experienced local sailmaker who believes in quality and service. If I lived in or near Florida, I would find the recommendation of Mack Sails very persuasive.

Paul
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Old 19-02-2016, 14:24   #9
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
zstine,
I'd pick neither!
......

What you get from Mack Sails are a few things that you do NOT get anywhere else:
a) Honest information and advice, in a low-key, no-hassle way!
b) ALL your questions answered, even if you never buy a sail from them!
c) Guys who are Sailmakers, not just sail salesmen!! (they design, cut, sew, all of their own sails, right there in their loft in Stuart, FL)!!
d) Guys who are also sailors and cruisers themselves...(yes, they own and sail their own boats, and both grew up sailing/cruising)!!
e) American-made sails, using the highest-quality American-made cloth!!


I've been doing business with them for about 15 years personally, and my older brother for 15 years before me, and my parents since the early 1970's....
Other than being a satisfied customer, I have no connection to them at all!




3) And, third....
It has been my experience, and that of many here abouts, that North isn't forthcoming about a lot...and once you experience the wealth of knowledge and honest advice of Mack Sails, there is no real comparison to be made...
You'll pick Mack Sails!



And, finally....
I grew up in S. FL and sailing the Bahamas, Caribbean, N/ Atl., and Med, in the 60's and 70's....and even with all my years of experience, and my family's long-standing business relationship with Mack, when time came for new sails myself 10+ years ago, I did my own research, read everything, talked to everyone, etc....and I came back to the inevitable...
I bought from Mack Sails!!!
(some might think I wasted a lot of time, but I got quite an education out of it...so, nothing wasted...)



I hope this helps.

Fair winds..

John
Thanks ka4wja/John for your advice and the links. i have read most of them. The problem I have is not understanding the difference in quality, but getting the information from the sail maker/cloth makers. north provides zero info on their proprietary cloth, though I haven't asked the sailmaker, I don't think every customer should have to ask. The technical specs of their cloth should be on-line for everyone... But even Challenge, a well reputed maker, does not put enough data to really compare their cloth to another makers. Stretch vs load (strain plots) for example, are not provided. So how do I know if Challenge's Fiber 104 is as good as Dupont Type 52 or IW70? Heck... Most makers won't tell you what is in the cloth, so you can't compare.

So John, I get that you like Mack Sail. I see they use Challenge cloth and sew it here in the US. Why not save $1000 and get the same cloth sewn in Thailand by rolly tasker? Same exact product, just cheaper labor = less costly sail... guess Mack will have to answer that.
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Old 19-02-2016, 14:43   #10
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Mack Sails x 1000.

There is no better value.
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Old 19-02-2016, 14:52   #11
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

I have heard several people say that local/US makers have better quality, But I see no evidence of this. Mack sails uses the IDENTICAL cloth to Rolly Tasker. How can they possibly compete with RT in cost and quality while having to pay 5 to 10 times more for labor to sew a sail? I've seen zero evidence that the quality of manufacture at RT in Thailand is inferior in any way to any of the US lofts (Mack, Hood, Doyle, North, etc.) But yet the US lofts are 25% + more expensive. I'm still missing what I get for that premium. I'm cruising, not racing.

I think oldragbagger hit the nail on the head with this quote..
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
R

In answer to your question, "why pay double?," unless you require something high tech, or feel strongly about American Made, or want something very specific that they don't offer, I can't really say. We're pretty vanilla and are only planning coastal and Caribbean cruising so blowing the bank on high tech, double priced sails didn't seem like a necessary expense to us.
And it doesn't seem necessary for me. I was just hoping someone could provide some solid evidence why to buy local. I haven't heard a good reason other than 'service'. But I don't need my sails 'serviced' and I wouldn't pay double just for good service anyway.


LET ME ASK A DIFFERENT QUESTION... How do you value the differences in cloth? In other words, I can get 'challenge performance offshore high mass UV resistant' cloth for say $9/yd, or Marblehead for $15/yd. and some in-between. Why, as a cruiser, would Marblehead be a good investment over the cheap stuff? I understand it has less stretch. That is a performance characteristic, and while I want to perform, by far cost and long life is more important to me. Marblehead won't out last the cheaper cloth as far as I know...?
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Old 19-02-2016, 15:16   #12
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Quote:
So John, I get that you like Mack Sail. I see they use Challenge cloth and sew it here in the US. Why not save $1000 and get the same cloth sewn in Thailand by rolly tasker? Same exact product, just cheaper labor = less costly sail... guess Mack will have to answer that.
How do you know that the products are indeed "exactly the same"? The differences between excellent and run of the mill sails can be pretty subtle. Sure, they may be made from the same nominal cloth, but there are variables between batches. Some sailmakers either run their own tests, or at least fold in the batch test results from the maker into their design calculations while others use the generic values. And sure, the sails will look the same, and have the same area, but small differences in planned shape, in estimation of mast bend or stay sag and other minor factors will have an effect upon the sail's performance and perhaps longevity.

Having face to face conversations with the fellow who will do the design allows him to know how you personally will use the sail. Are you a set and forget trimmer, or are y ou a tweeker? Will you be attentively steering, following the puffs, or will the autopilot be doing the steering? Is the boat sailed light ship or heavily laden? do you reef early or not? This sort of info can influence how the sail is designed, and it is kinda hard for the builder to get this from an internet form. And of course, having a very knowledgeable person do the measuring is important. We just bought a new genoa, and even though the sailmaker knew the boat well, and knew us, he came and spent well over an hour doing the measuring. When he measured for the mainsail a couple of years ago, he took most of an afternoon, checking things like mast bend minima and maxima, location of spreader tips (sweptback spreaders) and so on.

So, IMO there is a lot more than labour rates that determine costs; some firms put a lot more hours into the sail than others. This will boost the price no matter what the hourly rates may be.

I have no advice about specific sail lofts in your area, but I'm confident that the employment of a local loft rather than an internet loft is often a good idea if the overall quality of the sail is important to you. And honestly, many cruisers don't care about performance very much. For them, dollars/mile or dollars/year are the driving parameters, and then the metrics are different. At any rate, enjoy your new sail(s), no matter who builds them. We're just about to go for our first sail with the new genoa, and I'm kinda excited!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 19-02-2016, 15:37   #13
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

You couldn't give me a North Sail! had a new main made a couple of years ago. Put together backwards! jackline was sashcord cleats for leechline upside down leachline not long enough and sail under sized! They would not replace or fix. Stiching after 5 years had to be resewn. I think made in the far east not in Us or Canada. I wound up using a 40 year old Charlie Smith sail for our Atlantic crossing. Still using it.
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Old 19-02-2016, 15:42   #14
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
A little bird told me that one's order is sent to China where its made up then delivered along with other orders to the loft.. where the Logo is stitched on..
You are then informed your sails ready..

Take this with however many grains of salt you choose..
I believe this, but don't see why it matters. As long as you know the material being used, and don't need anything special requiring the sail maker to come to the boat, it is just sewing.
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Old 19-02-2016, 15:48   #15
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Re: Sails, Why Pay Double? What am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
We just bought a new genoa, and even though the sailmaker knew the boat well, and knew us, he came and spent well over an hour doing the measuring. When he measured for the mainsail a couple of years ago, he took most of an afternoon, checking things like mast bend minima and maxima, location of spreader tips (sweptback spreaders) and so on.
No doubt, nice personal service does give me a warm and fussy feeling. How will this translate into the performance and longevity of the sail. Will the average cruiser see the different after the sell. How much will I want to pay for this warm and fussy feeling?

Quote:
So, IMO there is a lot more than labour rates that determine costs; some firms put a lot more hours into the sail than others. This will boost the price no matter what the hourly rates may be.
It sounds good that the guy put in lot of hours in his stuff. Would it because he is inefficient. Many managers argue that his people should have a bigger raise, because they put in a long hours thru out the year. But other will say many people only work from 9 to 5, but their productivity far more than your people.

Sewing two pieces of cloth together is not rocket science. I can't accept that folks in Thailand, Hong Kong or China are less capable than workers in the U.S. I think the oversea worker may pay more attention and are more content because they may not as upward mobile than the States workers. It is all about who is running the company. Good leadership helps.
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