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Old 18-05-2021, 13:19   #1
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Location: Tiverton RI
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Cutting sails

Hi, new sailboat owner. I have a Sabre 28 with old sails. A friend has newer sails from a C&C 35 he is offering me for free. Is it possible for a sail maker to cut them for my boat?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 18-05-2021, 13:32   #2
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Re: Cutting sails

It is possible but often not worthwhile. If the sails can just be recut then that works out OK, but if the sails have had enough use that they are no longer of a good shape - they have stretched and the depth of their curvature has deepened - then even if they are cut down to the proper size they will have poor performance. You basically convert a worn out sail for one boat to a worn out sail for another boat. Not the best use of your money.
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Old 18-05-2021, 13:33   #3
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Re: Cutting sails

Short answer, yes. Newer sails doesn't mean good sails and you may be very surprised at the cost of recutting for size and then making them fit your boat i.e. slides/boltrope/foil tape/hanks. Lots of work involved.

For the money invested you may be close the 50-70% of new sails. Get some online quotes from sailmakers and see if it's worth it.
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Old 18-05-2021, 16:19   #4
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Re: Cutting sails

IMHO, most of the time, recuts are throwing good money after bad.
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Old 18-05-2021, 17:00   #5
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Re: Cutting sails

Not generally a fan of recuts but have done it.

Last round was wanting a training / cruising headsail setup.

Found an oversize genoa and took a largish wedge out of the luff, installed new luff tape and tack.

The wedge took out the worst of the stretch and the preserved the existing sunbrella on the leech.
Luff was cut to match forestay sag resulting in a utilitarian general purpose sail that fits.

Next is a #3 laminated genoa with partially shredded leech.
I'll take out the batten pockets, locally stiffen leech with recycled fabric from a blown out main of similar construction
and add a lightweight UV strip from spinnaker cloth for the roller furling conversion.

If I get one season out of the reclaimed sail I'll have a more valid data set on which to make decisions for a replacement.

You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear but a sail with 60%+ life span that can be made to fit produces a pretty effective handbag.

Realistic expectations are the key.
Free sail cutting software is a great help to visualise the changes and minimise the effort.
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Old 18-05-2021, 17:55   #6
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Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
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Re: Cutting sails

The sails may have been built for a 10' or even taller stick. Making them fit your boat is a matter of making new sails out of old cloth for the bigger sails. A 120 and smaller sails may not be as bad but main and headsails above 120% or so genoas will probably be a no go. Get with a sailmaker and ask their advice. From experience reworking sails gets expensive quickly and you still have an old sail when your done. I'd haunt eBay, Craigs List, and Bacon's or other used sail merchants. There are often some very good buys on used sails that will fit the boat.
Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
'Ms American Pie', Sabre 28 Mark II
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Old 18-05-2021, 18:22   #7
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Boat: 1979 Bristol 35.5 CB
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Re: Cutting sails

The corners are a source of much work. You have to redo two out of the three. Maybe worth it if labor is free (DIY).
John Churchill Ocala, FL
NURDLE, 1979 Bristol 35.5 CB
Homeport currently Hudson Beach FL
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