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Old 25-08-2012, 17:08   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Boat: bristol 38.88
Posts: 3
Island Planet Sails

This is what we believed we would get when we bought a sail from Island Planet Sails. From Island Planet Sails’ web page:

Our sails are built in the same lofts that build sails for the best known names in the business. Island Planet Sails invests more money on your sails compared to the competition because we have less overhead. Would you prefer a better sail for less money?....Cruising means different things to different sailors. We are keenly aware our customers use their boats differently. Like all sail makers, we offer different levels of cloth and finish quality. We frequently modify our specifications to meet the needs of our cruising customers……Most importantly we take the time to carefully listen and ask the right questions to determine what is truly the best solution for the customer.

This is what the Island Planet Sails website claims but nothing is farther from the truth. If you do order a sail from this company be careful, here is our story.

We ordered a new mainsail in April with an over 50% down payment. We had a trip planed for July 1 and were assured we would have the sail in plenty of time to install it and do some sailing and adjusting. We received the sail on July 2 and had to change our plans which were not easy at that point. But let me start at the beginning.
First task I was told to do was get the sail measurements for which a form was supplied by Island Planet. First red flag, as I read the form I found errors such as this one:

Maximum Leech Length

With the boom set in its normal upwind position, measure to the forward edge of the black band at the top of the boom. If there is no black band, measure to where the shackle pin is when outhaul is fully tensioned. Ensure adequate clearance of bimini or dodger if applicable. As a general rule, the foot measurement should not exceed the published "E".

I questioned this measurement and here is the response from Island Planet:
Oops, there looks to be a typo. Leech is measured from the max hoist down to the top face of the boom.

So we did our measurements, which we did carefully several times to make sure all was right. I ordered a main, with 3 reefs and a Dutchman system, and at that time we were told that was no problem for Island Planet Sails. We also sent plenty of pictures of the old mainsail and hardware. Island Planet’s response:
Looks like a good job on the measurement worksheet and the pics are helpful. We'll want to reuse the Battslides.

After we sent in our measurements we got a drawing from Island Planet Sails of the sail which I was not happy with, decide for yourself:

Image missing

Next problem: Dutchman. The following is a series of emails from Island Planet. Recommend you don’t buy a sail from them unless you have read these:
Will get Dutchman sorted this week.
The loft contacted me in reference to your sail. They received all the Dutchman hardware and the luff boxes. No luff slides were included though. Are you planning to add those yourself or are these the ones that went separately?

Maybe I'm confused then. I was thinking the boat has Strong Track. Let me check what I've got for your luff track.

For some reason I had it fixed in my head you had Strong Track. I went back and checked the record and you obviously don't. Don't know where I got that from. If you had Strong Track we would have needed all the hardware. I've got a couple of other mainsails going right now and each has a different track system so my brain is frazzled.

I'm running into a problem with the Dutchman install. I asked them for a layout diagram last week (supposed to be same day reply) and I didn't hear back until today. They're saying the luff slide spacing has to be over 32 inches but on your sail we had a choice of using the spacing we did or going closer to 34 inches which would be too much spacing. I can modify the spacing but won't be able to guarantee the sail won't scallop. Alternatively I can install the Dutchman but not be able to guarantee how well it will function. We should have a call asap to discuss. We may want to just get the sail on the boat for now so you can get on with your local cruising. For what we've spent on the combination of fairleads and tabs, I could do a "stack-pack" style cover which is our usual approach.

The other thing I don't like about the system is modifying the sail cover with slits and zippers. The slightest bit of sun hits the sail and you end up with damage. I was flown down to San Diego last week to attend a survey and inspect sails on a boat with a Dutchman. I could put my finger through the sail where the cover had a bit of an opening. I have retractable lazy jacks on my boat which never touch the sail except when deployed. I've been doing those for years. They are inexpensive to buy or make and work flawlessly for years. Another issue with the Dutchman is the fact the sail develops a memory and creases the same spots every time. This is not good. Think about what happens when you crease a paper back and forth 5 times. It's easy to tear, isn't it?

If we went with retractable lazy jacks, there would be no need to to change your sail cover. I would just add some bits of dark cloth under the spots where the slits for the Dutchman are to prevent UV damage.

Lastly, I know lots of sailmakers. I've never seen a sailmaker put a Dutchman on his own boat.

After we spoke I went through the drawings of the sail and realized that if we alter the slide placement, we end up with a slide within 4 inches of the reef. This makes the reefing a bit sloppy. The other downside is by going to the spacing require for Dutchman puts slides over 3 feet apart at 36.6". The more I think about this, I really feel that the lazy bag is the way to go. I know you have some reservations about it, but one thing to take into account is that my reps have all ordered them for their own boats, including Jamie who has recently covered 17.000 miles and getting ready to head out again. We're planning on changing over to lazy bags for both main and mizzen before we head back out. Right now we've got retractable lazy jacks and conventional sail covers. I'll be available pretty much all day Tuesday. If we go the lazy bag route, we can get the sail on the way immediately.

We had to give up the Dutchman and go with Lazy Jacks because of Island Planet Sails’ design errors. This did not make me happy but if we wanted a new main for our trip we had no choice. I didn’t want to hear what Island Planet Sail thought was best for my boat, I ordered a sail with a Dutchman system and that’s not what I got.

Then delivery. Here are some of the emails from Island Planet Sails about the shipping time quoted verbatim:
Slight delay on the shipping label. Loft was concerned that I might have requested it in error because they just got a box for your sail (tabs) and wanted to clarify which sail it was for. I fell asleep before seeing the email. Sorry about that. Should be in your inbox late tonight.

We'll have it tonight. As I mentioned in the previous email, our production loft was concerned that I might have given them the wrong job number and I didn't see the email until this morning. Our production loft has you down for this week but I have a suspicion it could be next. I've asked them to confirm the date. They should have the system updated later tonight so I'll know more Monday morning. In any case, the sail will be there before the end of the month. If I get confirmation it's going this week, I'll be charging your card on file for the balance in the next day or two.

Next big mistake: a sail that did not fit.

Emails from Island Planet:

We will design the new main with a leech length to insure clearance from the dodger.
Backstay clearance at max hoist is pretty minimal so we'll want to reduce luff length accordingly.

Sounds good. We can shorten the leech as desired. Only question in my mind is you want to shorten the foot a tad to help with draft location. I'm not thinking anything too major. We can also push the draft forward a bit in the design process. It should work out just fine. If you want to settle on an exact number for the leech, I'll use that.

The sail could be modified but I too would be concerned about sailing with the overlap. You can't really tell until you try tacking or jibing how much potential there is for the sail to hang up. On race boats they tend to hang up in light air and it's quite common for that to occur since we design race sails with overlap. We never design cruising sails that way though. On the race boats we use copious amounts of sticky back Dacron to protect the sail.

Azure software shows overlap to be closer than it really is as it doesn't account for the luff hardware allowance. There is a small tag on the luff with a 5 digit number. For your sail that number is 41899. If there is another number on there, then we would have the wrong sail on your boat. I had this happen once where a customer of mine called to say that I shipped them a spinnaker that was too short on the luff. It's a remote possibility but it's worth checking.

Sorry to hear about the frustrations this weekend. I leaned on our production loft to expedite and get the sail out the door. Maybe I leaned too hard.
Island Planet Sail did a poor design on our mainsail with making one mistake after another, and never taking responsibility for the mistakes they made. We ended up with a sail we didn’t want and didn’t fit. I just think they were not focused on our mainsail for whatever reason. My credit card was even charged weeks before I received the sail which gave me a bad feeling, I was not supposed to make final payment until I received the sail. I also had no idea what cloth the sail was made from, we agreed on a specific cloth in the beginning of the process. I had my doubts that it was this cloth so I sent Island Planet Sails an email asking and this was their response:
Sorry about that. Cloth should have been specified on your invoice, not just in your emailed quote. It's Challenge 8.62 -
It's part of the Challenge Fiber 104 line. Basically, it's a high aspect version of Marblehead and a fantastic long lasting cloth. It offers notably better stretch resistance than the more commonly used "high modulus" cloth.
What we ordered: new full batten mainsail with 3 reef points, Dutchman system, shorter hoist, smaller leach, with minimum roach to push draft forward, shorter foot made out of an agreed specific cloth.

What we got: New mainsail with no Dutchman system, instead a cheap lazy jack system, a full hoist, large roach that hits the backstay made from an unknown cloth a sail that does not fit or perform well on our boat at all

Nothing in the process with Island Planet Sails went right, one mistake after another and we ended up with an expensive mistake. So if you do order from Island Planet be careful every step of the way if you expect to get the sail you wanted.

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Old 27-08-2012, 21:48   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Boat: bristol 38.88
Posts: 3
Re: Island Planet Sails

Attached are the two visuals cited in the above review: the drawing I was sent from Island Planet Sails, and a photo of the sail we received in relaton to the back stay.

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Old 27-08-2012, 21:53   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: US/MX West coast
Posts: 461
Re: Island Planet Sails

Some material facts omitted. I'm not going to monitor this thread so if anyone wants specifics, send me a PM.

Fact #1: Customer ordered in April but did not send measurements until much later. We can't do anything until we have measurements.

Fact #2: We realized there was going to be a problem with the Dutchman due to a mistake in luff slide spacing. I told customer that we should start over and build him a new sail from scratch. This would have delayed the sail slightly but we would have had the Dutchman system properly installed per the drawings generated by the the manufacturer of the system.

Fact #3: This customer claims the cloth is unknown. We specified the cloth like we do with all of our sails and the sail was built with that cloth. I even offered to send him a copy of the pre-acceptance testing of the cloth.

Fact #4: Customer made mistakes in his measurements resulting in backstay overlap. I offered to send someone to the boat to re-measure with him present and he refused us access. My theory is he realized he screwed up the measurement and didn't want to be reminded. Otherwise, why would he refuse us access to check his measurement?

Fact#5: We offered on 4 separate occasions to replace the mainsail at no expense to the customer.

Fact#6: Customer received lazy jacks and lazy cover (similar to stack pack and mack pack) for free.

We're not perfect. Nor is any sailmaker. We offered to make things right on several occasions. In this case part of the customers problem is due to his measurement mistake. Bottom line is we offered a replacement sail and the customer refused. We have a long track record of serving our customers well. Here's an example -

Earlier in this thread P38 has some comments about his experience with us over the course of a few years with multiple sails. I think if anyone does some research they will find a lot of positive recommendations for our services.

Again, if you have a question, please send me a PM and I'd be happy to respond in detail.
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Old 28-08-2012, 08:16   #4
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Location: In Mexico, working on the boat
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 35 14ft.Whitehall pulling skiff.
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Re: Island Planet Sails

I must be living the good life. I have ordered 3 new sails, over the years and every one of them was perfect, delivered on time and worked better than my originals...go figure.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"
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