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Old 12-09-2014, 01:34   #1
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Getting a new Mainsail in the Med - what worked for us

One of the things we have constantly done is try as best possible to tell what has worked and not worked for us. Being out now for 7 years we have had great and not so great experiences. Recently we experienced both great work and disappointing results in getting a new mainsail in the Med. Some may find our experiences an exception to the rule and some may not but it is simply what we experienced.

First, we blew out our mainsail coming across the boot of Italy. The stitching on the lower panel simply gave way in 15-20k of wind and some great sailing. We were headed to Albania and Croatia so decided that we would buy local. Albania does not have a sailmaker but Croatia has quite a few. We sail a Jeanneau and are on a Jeanneau website and one member suggested a UK sailmaker. We contacted a lot of sailmakers in Croatia as well as the recommended Kemp Sail in the UK and got a variety of answers. The biggest problem was how to pay for the sail as all the Croatian sailmakers wanted to draft my bank account and that included NorthSail. I don’t give my banking information to any USA company and I am not about to give it in Croatia so they were all out. We then tried to contact Kappa Sail, who built our previous sail, and Doyle Sail. After several emails to Kappa we were eventually told that they only got one and promised a quote in 4 days. A week passed and it did not arrive. Doyle seemed to turn us over to a company called sail depot. I have no idea why Doyle could not sell me a sail direct and why I had to go through a middle man who adds nothing but cost and time. (I did logistics for 40 years so I know what a middle man does) Sail Depot quoted a delivery timing of 5-6 weeks to Croatia and that would just not work so I contacted Doyle who had earlier reminded me that they have a loft in Turkey. I did look at their web site and also saw lofts in a couple of other eastern European countries and asked if I could go there and pick up the sail as we were not that far away and road travel is not that difficult. I heard nothing. I eventually sent them an email expressing my disappointment and was told they have only working relationships with lofts in these countries. Why I could not get a sail from them I still do not know.

In the meantime I did contact Kemp Sail in the UK and they were prompt with their replys and their pricing was as good as anywhere. I eventually ordered from Kemp and had a great experience with them and very prompt in the making and shipping of the sail to Croatia. They understood our timing issue and seemed to make it a priority to get us the sail as quickly as possible. We cannot say enough about how great they were to deal with and the quality of the sail.

We went in to Dubrovnik and the Jeanneau dealer there, EuroMarine to help us get the old sail out of the main as well as clean a contaminated fuel tank and fix a nagging electrical problem. All we can say about EuroMarine is wow what a great job. As one of their guys said we are problem solvers and they did a lot of problem solving from getting the torn main out without going up the mast to cleaning out our secondary fuel tank that we think was contaminated from fuel we got in the Caribbean before our crossing and we had not used in a year. We could never thank them enough for their professionalism and their approach to solving problems. What a great team.

Others may of other opinions about the companies we mentioned but to us Kemp Sails and EuroMarine are first class companies and do great work. And I get nothing out of this.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:38   #2
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Re: Getting a new Mainsail in the Med - what worked for us

Thanks chuck, good info. I'll also add that when our lazy bag zip was destroyed by UV due to poor design (bag flaps not covering the zip) after 2 years, we took it to the sailmaker near the marina in split. He did a great job replacing the zip and installing it correctly for 60euro. He also did it the day we took it to him so we could reinstall it the next day, and it was in peak season.
Good service!
I'm glad yours worked out well, there's a lot of horror stories of sails ordered online...
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