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Old 18-02-2004, 00:07   #1
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Question New Sails

In the near future I plan on the purchase of a new main sail and roller furling.

First, my question is should I go with a well-known sailmaker LIKE Hood or ?, having to deal over the phone or net. Or should I go with a local sailmaker that can stand on the vessel and look it over and make suggestions and/or comments for improvements.

Second, I kind of like the idea of a full batten main with the swiveling battslides. Has anyone had experience with these?

And third, I'm stuck between the Schaefer, Hood or Furlex furling rig. Which is the most dependable? I'm leaning towards the Furlex because of the forestay extrusion has no fasteners and a full-length internal stay bushing.

Your experience would be greatly appreciated!.........................._/)

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Old 18-02-2004, 07:14   #2
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I prefer working with well known larger sail lofts. They have much better access to current research on sail cloths and sail cutting. from attending symposiums on that include discussions on sail design, there is a lot happening with the design of sails and sail cloths that lead to sails that cause less heel, have longer lifespans and offer better performance through a wider range of windspeeds. Companies like North, Quantum, Haarstick, and to a less extent Doyle, Hood, and UK seem to have access to better fabrics, cutting patterns, and quality control (they reserve the right to test and reject every piece of fabric going into a sail and the materials that they reject are sold off to smaller lofts.)

I find that by taking advantage of special deals (Boatshow, winter and prepayment discounts) I can typically buy first quality sails for second rate quality loft prices when priced on an apples to apple basis. I strongly suggest that you work with a big name local loft so that you can get your sails measured on board and have reasonable follow up.

I strongly prefer harken and Profurl to Hood, Schaefer or Furlex.


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Old 18-02-2004, 11:08   #3
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New sails

I thought about this issue for a long time. I like to support local workers and I want some service when the need arises. Price is always an issue. North had a sale on, and that put their price below the local manufacturer. So I got a new main and headsail. They also looked at all my other sails and provided comment,at no charge. I left an old main for them to sell and will get a used no 4 when it is sold. The mast on our boat is not too tall so I got the main with a fair bit of roach in it and four ( I think ) full battens up high. The new sail is a joy and I can spill the air if needed. I might not get full battens if I was in a hurricane hole or for an ocean passage as I have heard they could have problems. For that I would use the old main. BC Mike C
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Old 18-02-2004, 11:24   #4
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I am going through this process now.

I was going to buy NeilPryde, but finally went North. The NP sail would be manufactured in China, the NP UV strip would have been glued instead of sewn on, and the North was being assembled close enough to me such that having the sail bent on and looking at it could be done before the final payment, such that any imperfections could be corrected. As a result, I am paying more for the sails, but feel more secure.

Make sure you communicate cloth specs between the "bidders", as otherwise you may be talking apples and oranges.

Hope this helps.
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Old 30-04-2004, 14:10   #5
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the difference between a good loft and just any loft is the difference between good and bad sails. if you are not accustomed to good sails, or if your boat is a full keel heavy displacement boat with limited performance paramers, it may not matter.
My boat is an ims design and it is very important to me and my boat.
the design draft depth for new mainsails is 8% of the mid girth length.
dacron sials lose this quickly and become deep and less effective.

compostie sails dont last as long as dacron but do a far better job maintaining their flattness
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Old 30-04-2004, 15:16   #6
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I had to make a similar coice a couple of years ago.
Went with a local sailmaker her in FL, called "Super Sailmaker".

They did a good job, came to the boat 3 times to make sure the measurements were right on...Also offered expert advice.
Happy with the product and the price.
(Then again, the CSY 33 is not a performance boat and putting hich tech sails on this one would be like putting lip-stick on a pig )

Like the ProFurls, have 2 of them and have no regrets.
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Old 09-05-2004, 06:21   #7
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Last year I replaced the sails aboard Jentine with Lee Sails. The quality is as good or better than any of the other sails I have seen. The cost is considerably less. More sail----------less money!

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Old 09-05-2004, 12:37   #8
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I thank you all for your input.
There seems to be mixed feelings between local and big name sailmakers. I guess I'll try and get some references/complaints of our local SM and decide from that.
It'll be another year before the decision. I'm still working on getting the deck gear up the snuff.
.................................................. _/)
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Old 09-05-2004, 13:57   #9
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The best recommendations will come from other sailors in your area. All sail-makers are not alike. Even if the name is the same. We have had bad experiences with North Sails in Annapolis and great experience with North sails elsewhere. A named sail-maker here in Marathon did a crappy job for us and is now out of business. Many sail lofts franchise the name. Our neighbors have had great experience with a local sail-maker. Ask around.
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Old 28-07-2004, 20:17   #10
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I am in the process of learning the sail making trade .. and have some thoughts on this subject. If your boat is an absolute factory production model, with NO modifications to the rig whatsoever ... it may be possible to get decent sails made over the phone, or the internet. Most major manufactures rely on a database of the exact factory specs for such situations. However, if you have made ANY modifications, such as going from a hanked on foresail, to roller furler ... you want them to measure the boat.
As for the quality of sailcloth, it would be in your best interest to specify exactly what cloth you want. For example, I offer my customers a wide variety of choices between Bainbrige Int. & Challenge Sailcloth. If they are qualified at all, they should be able to point out what you are ... and are not getting for your money. One of the things that I discuss (and offer my customers) is different widths of sailcloth. For example, on my own boat, I used Bainbridge's Ocean 650 cloth, which comes in a 54" width ... but I had them "slit" the width down to 38". This increased the wastage of cloth, and the amount of time spent sewing, as I went from 8 panels to 10 ... so why would anybody do such a thing? The more panels the more draft control ... simple as that.
I would also ask to see the computer drawing of the sail before they start cutting cloth. Hard as it may be to believe in this day & age, some sailmakers rely on "eyeball engineering" ... completely unacceptable from my viewpoint.
Lastly, laminates VS Dacron ... making my own sails, I sweated that one for a looong time. My own boat is rather ... uh ... unique ... anybody out there know of another fin keeled boat with a cutter rig? From the waterline up, she's all blue water cruiser, underneath she's all PHRF racer. The high aspect ratio rig & fin keel asked for laminate sails, the traditional appearance & my inteneded cruising usage suggested Dacron ... AND modern laminates can last 5-7 years ... even in the Caribbean .. an acceptable lifespan in my book. I finally decided on Dacron, because of the cost factor ... if intended to race the boat (I don't) I probably would have gone with laminate sails ... for my money, I couldn't justify the added expense ... I could however justify the expense of slitting the cloth I used!

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Old 19-03-2006, 05:01   #11
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I have had a great deal of work done by Nick Mussett he is based in Mersea, Essex. A family firm and the quality of work has been excellent (much better than some of the larger firms that I have tried in the past and will not mention!). He is very experienced and was able to give some very sound advice. Give him a try if you are looking - 01206 385658.
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Old 19-03-2006, 08:41   #12
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Have you tryed the spectra reinforced Dacron (e.g. Hood's Hydranet) this would seem to offer a good compromise, but I dont know its cost.
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Old 19-03-2006, 20:48   #13
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I got new sails in the past 2 years, and I used Airforce Sails. This was after going to the boat shows, getting quotes from the large lofts such as UK, North, Doyle, and some small ones like Lithicum, and Benson (I know Brent well). Airforce worked out great, and unfortunately they were messed up with the sailnet saga, but I gather they have been rescued by the Boyle themselves, and I think they operate under both fx and airforcesails, but I may be wrong. At any rate, Bill James does the specs. They have excellent measuring templates which are very exacting. The sails I got had good cloth; I was able to spec whatever I wanted, and for the genoa I went with a sandwich laminate, due to tri-radial design. I also opted for dacron cover, which furls thinner and retains sail shape better. The main has traditional cross cut design, and hence I went with dacron. Bill was very helpful. Their designer worked out great for my boat, and the measurements were very detailed. They even wanted to know angles of sheeting tracks, distance from centerline, etc. The designs were excellent.

Boat sails now in a grove. I feel the sails have been optimized for the type of sailing I do, and the luff, and even the size sail were optimized for that -- i.e. I wanted the genoa on a furler primarily as a means to reduce sail when it blows. Since ghost sailing was not something I was into, I did not opt for a huge genoa, but settled for a 115, which then furls excellently, and retains a good shape when furled. Also the foam is tripple stitched longitunidally, which helps it roll really smooth.

Bill was helpful and informative, and his designer did a good job. Apparently the sails are made in Sri Lanka. They send the design as a cad, and they get cut over there. Hence the price saving.

I would gladly do it over again and use Airforce. I am curious if anyone has other experiences with them.

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Old 07-04-2006, 00:01   #14
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Originally Posted by Talbot
Have you tryed the spectra reinforced Dacron (e.g. Hood's Hydranet) this would seem to offer a good compromise, but I dont know its cost.
Ummm... Hydranet is a D-P product, and they mfg cloth and laminates for all sailmakers. It's not a Hood mfg cloth. Cost for Hydranet Radial is as much as the high end vectran laminates or cuben. About 6k to 7k on my boat, however the mfg and sailmakers claim (w some exageration) that the Hydranet will outlive the boat.

It is mildew free because it's not a laminate (the cuben is also free of mildew issues)
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Old 07-04-2006, 00:11   #15
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We ended up with a new main from a local sailloft affiliated with one of the larger franchises.

At first I thought we'd be going with one with the most agressive pricing, but we learned some things during the search. After talking to a number of sailmakers we spotted some differences in their answers.

The better sailmakers had very specific answers to our questions and made an effort to back those answers up. Then as I looked at what some of the faster boats were using, I began to see that this one local loft had made a significant number of sails for boats that did well on the race course.

When that loft came over to look at our sails, their observations were very focused about which sail needed to be changed first. Bottom line -- we love the result.

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