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Old 11-01-2022, 10:49   #1
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Do I need to measure for sails?

Well it's time. I have both the need and the cash to get a new set of sails. What I don't have is access to the boat.

I was wondering how much of an issue ordering sails using the builders specs would be on a 2003 Hunter 386—its pretty well documented and afaik has no modifications done to it. I am not due to get to the coast until May and I would absolutely love to cruise on brand new sails this spring. I've done an initial round of quotes, but most videos/articles seem to suggest that whatever loft I choose is going to want actual measurements and that isn't likely to be possible until we get out there.

So... how dumb would it be to trust the specs?
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Old 11-01-2022, 10:57   #2
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
but most videos/articles seem to suggest that whatever loft I choose is going to want actual measurements and that isn't ?
Two options:
1. You could depend on a bunch of strangers for dubious advice, or
2. You can ask the sail loft.

Tough choice?
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:00   #3
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

I'm looking for sails too for a Catalina 30. I talked to local lofts and some "online" lofts. No one that I spoke to would build a sail without measurements.

The best reason I got was "boats are not build like cars, they don't go down assembly lines"

I like the idea of measure twice cut once.
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:01   #4
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Two options:
1. You could depend on a bunch of strangers for dubious advice, or
2. You can ask the sail loft.

Tough choice?
Duh. But a bit of knowledge going into a new situation never hurts. It kills me some people think a bit of research before hand is dumb while others think trusting someone who is trying to sell you some thing is stupid. Personally I think neither is a bad choice...trusting blindly on the other hand...

Just trying to do some due diligence
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:02   #5
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

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Originally Posted by GSpencerCat30 View Post
I'm looking for sails too for a Catalina 30. I talked to local lofts and some "online" lofts. No one that I spoke to would build a sail without measurements.

The best reason I got was "boats are not build like cars, they don't go down assembly lines"

I like the idea of measure twice cut once.
Ya, that's my suspicion. I wonder how much to costs to hire a guy—the idea of new sails is just so inviting
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:07   #6
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

Talk to the loft. Unless they were the OEM for your builder, they will want a lot more data. When I ordered mine they wanted the published numbers, the actually measured numbers I,E,P,J, etc. measurements from the old sails, pictures of the boat with the old sails hoisted, and any track measurements, foil tape info, my notes on how the existing sails fit and any changes I wanted
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:06   #7
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

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Ya, that's my suspicion. I wonder how much to costs to hire a guy—the idea of new sails is just so inviting
I've watched a few how to videos and really looks very simple....

https://www.youtube.com/c/PrecisionS...=dd&shelf_id=5

I've seen a few forms from sail lofts.... You don't need to hire anyone... just take your time and fill out the forms...

I'm going to order my sails this week.
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:08   #8
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

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Originally Posted by GSpencerCat30 View Post
I've watched a few how to videos and really looks very simple....

https://www.youtube.com/c/PrecisionS...=dd&shelf_id=5

I've seen a few forms from sail lofts.... You don't need to hire anyone... just take your time and fill out the forms...

I'm going to order my sails this week.
Ah, you missed the salient part of my post

I am currently 1300 km away.
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:16   #9
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

You can go to Bacon Sails and look up your boat on the used sails site and get the I, J, P, and E measurements.

https://baconsails.com/bacon/select_sailboat_API.php

Then compare those to sailboatdata. (I, J, P, and E.

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/hunter-386

The last mainsail I had made the sailmaker used the sailboatdata I, J, P, and E numbers for my boat to make the sail. even though he came out and measured himself.
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:45   #10
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

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Ah, you missed the salient part of my post

I am currently 1300 km away.
You are correct... I missed that.... Hire a guy.... 4 out of 4 sail makers I've spoken to said they would not build a sail without measurements.
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:53   #11
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

It's one of those things that's probably fine if the boat is still OEM spec, but if you are wrong you are out a large amount of money.

One of the local sail lofts may be able to send a guy over to measure for a hundred bucks or so
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:53   #12
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

There isn't a loft that is near the boat? Sounds like your best bet to me.

A good sailmaker won't just measure the boat, they will take into account the sailing conditions in the area, and the sailing you want to do. Could be using a heavier or lighter grade of cloth, more reef points, where the reef points are (% sail area), cutting the foot of the jib a little higher so you can see under it, and so on - all these were part of my conversation with the sailmaker.

Need a cunningham? What kind of slides in the mast? In the boom? Lots of things where they really need to see the boat.
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Old 11-01-2022, 13:11   #13
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

It comes down to good,better, best!
What will you be happy with? Of course sails can be made off of online specs, but how well will it fit.
Part of why we chose who we did for our new mainsail was we were able to dock the boat near him. He visited our boat several times prior to be finished, and made a few trips after to install and tweak things to be absolutely perfect!
The flip side is, many people order sails online from across the world, especially for mass produced models.
It all depends on what finished product level you are looking for
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Old 11-01-2022, 13:48   #14
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

After having bought several suits of sails... measure.

Measure once yourself and then have the sailmaker measure. There are a number of other decisions, too, about shape, reefing, furling, fabric, etc. Call a couple of pros and get some input.
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Old 11-01-2022, 13:56   #15
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Re: Do I need to measure for sails?

I've purchased a lot of sails over the years. I have used local lofts rather than on-line for many reasons, but an important one is that in every case the sailmaker himself came to the boat to make the measurements. And a local loft can send someone to your boat in your absence to do so now, so I don't see any problem in your situation.

After the measuring, a telephone interview with the sailmaker to discuss options would be essential.

Jim
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