In response to the sail design comments. My wife and I both raced on a dedicated race
boat (really just a 40 foot race dinghy
and just as wet) owned by a loft owner. Even he had to fly a new sail and then make adjustments and he has 30 years of experience and reps one of the bigger, more popular sail makers through his loft. Granted he was much more particular about he accurately his sails trimmed but it's still a look into the complexities of sail design and construction. A program may give you the main dimensions and parameters needed to construct the sail but it all comes down to how it performs on the boat, I'm not implying that every cruiser needs sails that perform to the last tenth of a percent but it sure is nice when you unfurl your sail and it shapes properly and flies well with a minimum of fuss.
The main advantage of buying
through a local loft is that if the sail isn't quite right a reputable loft will take it back and adjust it so it does. It doesn't have to be a completely independent, self produced loft either, many of the lofts attached to the major makers like Doyle, North, etc, etc will provide the same service when selling a sail to you. Just make sure to ask if they back their product to this level before ordering from them. Ask around to see if anyone locally has used them and what their experience was, it can save you a lot of hassle. Mail order lofts are handy, and cheaper but if you have an issue with the sail you will end up paying the shipping
costs to send it back to them if it needs adjustment, so even if they offer the service free it will still cost you.
I've bought sails both ways and have had mixed results both ways, some good, some not, it pays to do a little homework up front and get a better read on whomever you decide to buy your sail through, whether through a local loft or mail order the results vary.
PS: I would never suggest a particular sail maker on a forum since the application, boat, owner, loft rep and original manufacturer can vary dramatically depending on your location, better to ask around in your neighborhood and talk to the different potential sailmakers to see who you feel comfortable with. In my neck of the woods their is a plethora of options so I'm lucky in that respect. Every one has their own take on applications.