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Old 28-09-2020, 12:01   #1
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Sail Makers

What differentiates sail makers? Are they all the same? What should one look for? Who are the better sail makers?
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Old 29-09-2020, 03:17   #2
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Re: Sail Makers

Some sail makers, like North, Doyle, and Quantum are geared toward high-end racing, and make fancy laminated mylar, kevlar, and carbon sails. Their interest is not so much in dacron cruising sails.
Others, like Carol Hasse and Jasper & Bailey and Sperry, specialize more in traditional sails and can cut you a nice gaff-headed main, where North doesn't even have an entry in their measurement software for peak length.
Mack makes a lot of cruising sails and low-end racing sails, and they churn out a lot of material.
Lee made sails for my boat which are still going strong ten years later.
Look at the sail brands on other boats like yours. If your boat is a racer, use one of the first three mentioned. If it's a production boat of which there are hundreds, go with Mack. If you need a special fit or oddball shape (like a gaffer), go with someone like the second three.
If you are on a tight budget, one of the Hong Kong companies (Lee, Neil Pride, Hong Kong Sailmakers) might fit the bill.
FWIW, I have a new suit of sails from Jasper & Bailey waiting to be used when I go cruising again; the old sails from Lee will then become secondaries.
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Old 29-09-2020, 16:29   #3
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Re: Sail Makers

I’ll get my popcorn
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Old 03-10-2020, 21:33   #4
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Re: Sail Makers

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Originally Posted by Benz View Post
If you are on a tight budget, one of the Hong Kong companies (Lee, Neil Pride, Hong Kong Sailmakers) might fit the bill.
FWIW, I have a new suit of sails from Jasper & Bailey waiting to be used when I go cruising again; the old sails from Lee will then become secondary's.
Actually Lee shut down their manufacturing and use another loft in China now to make the sails. Neil Pryde sails are made in Philippines, and probably not in the low cost bracket. Best to support the local guy if he has a good reputation, but if not then shop around and generally you will get what you pay for.
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Old 03-10-2020, 21:37   #5
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Re: Sail Makers

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Iíll get my popcorn

Yes the "I brought my sails here and they are the best"
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Old 04-10-2020, 02:09   #6
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Re: Sail Makers

The big guys first mentioned also are happy to make cruising sails. Any reputable sail maker will send a technician to measure your boat. He will also help you choose best options for your boat and cruising conditions. Find one in your area and arrange a visit. Ask your boat neighbors if they have a local favorite. We have both North and Quantum on our 1984 cruising ketch.
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Old 04-10-2020, 03:20   #7
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Re: Sail Makers

We had Quantum out of Chicago measure our boat and make a cruising mains'l for us.

We got a full 3-reef offshore quality main in tanbark-colored Dacron with one full and three partial battens. They even did a jackline luff all the way up the reefs.

Kieth Church, who I believe has since moved to North Sails, was very knowledgeable and helpful and gave us a full range of options and prices and also gave us a lot of advice and help in choosing the best options for our needs and to fit our budget. He was there to educate us on the pros and cons of each choice along the process and did his due diligence in measuring all of our old sails as well as the boat itself, and not just going off of the factory specs.

They don't just make racing sails.
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:49   #8
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Re: Sail Makers

If you have local lofts consider service and the value of long term relationship. For example, the UV cover on my UK Genoa needed restitching mid season. UK Chicago picked it up at the boat, fixed and returned within a few days.

A friend had a new set of sails made. UK delivered and went on a test sail to make sure everything fit and gave him hints on sail shape.
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Old 04-10-2020, 06:47   #9
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Re: Sail Makers

Mac Sails in Stuart, Florida.

Great sails, made in their sail loft with skill.

Value Quality Service

I 've used them for 20 years
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Old 04-10-2020, 07:33   #10
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Re: Sail Makers

Where are you located?
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Old 04-10-2020, 07:49   #11
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Re: Sail Makers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
Some sail makers, like North, Doyle, and Quantum are geared toward high-end racing, and make fancy laminated mylar, kevlar, and carbon sails. Their interest is not so much in dacron cruising sails.
Others, like Carol Hasse and Jasper & Bailey and Sperry, specialize more in traditional sails and can cut you a nice gaff-headed main, where North doesn't even have an entry in their measurement software for peak length.
Mack makes a lot of cruising sails and low-end racing sails, and they churn out a lot of material.
Lee made sails for my boat which are still going strong ten years later.
Look at the sail brands on other boats like yours. If your boat is a racer, use one of the first three mentioned. If it's a production boat of which there are hundreds, go with Mack. If you need a special fit or oddball shape (like a gaffer), go with someone like the second three.
If you are on a tight budget, one of the Hong Kong companies (Lee, Neil Pride, Hong Kong Sailmakers) might fit the bill.
FWIW, I have a new suit of sails from Jasper & Bailey waiting to be used when I go cruising again; the old sails from Lee will then become secondaries.
There are three kinds of sail lofts, in my view:
  1. National or International lofts
    These will include the ones listed above (at the top) and quite a few others. All of the ones I've ever dealt with (and that has been many) are well staffed, and well resourced. They can, and are happy, to make any kind of sail you want from highest tech racing sail to gaff rigged tanbark mizzens. You generally get great service and a wide support network. I've found that the prices are higher but you get what you pay for, mainly in service, expertise, and quality of materials. If they make a mistake, they make it good.
  2. Local lofts (unaffiliated)
    Here you find the independent, hard working, sailmakers who live on their reputation for service and quality. Some are specialists, Carol Hasse, in PT, for example. Their sails are not always any cheaper but you will certainly get their full attention and they they too will make sure your sails are right.
  3. Overseas (mail order) lofts or sail factories
    This is where you get a bargain but take some of the risk. There isn't any personalized service, and if you measure your boat incorrectly, you have to take the responsibility. They use the best of materials (if you select that) and they make large volumes of sails. If you have confidence in your own knowledge and are a risk taker, you can save as much as 2/3 of the cost. By the way, many "local" lofts actually have their sails made by these overseas factories.

I have dealt with all of these. The most important thing is to develop a relationship with the sailmaker you choose. Sails are still not a commodity, and the sailmaker who knows you can really help you in your choice and by finding the cost effective ways to deliver it.

I now buy sails for myself and others, from overseas lofts, and it's the only way I can afford the sails I want. It has worked well for me, but I also still have at least one sail, very heavily used, made by the smallest of local lofts, 30 years ago, still on board and I'll be using it today, and I still value the relationship I have with that sailmaker.
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Old 05-10-2020, 22:38   #12
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Re: Sail Makers

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
By the way, many "local" lofts actually have their sails made by these overseas factories.[/INDENT]
This is generally not true. Some lofts here in Asia push the narrative that you are buying sails directly from the same company that is making sails for the big brands. This is pure marketing.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:41   #13
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Re: Sail Makers

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
This is generally not true. Some lofts here in Asia push the narrative that you are buying sails directly from the same company that is making sails for the big brands. This is pure marketing.
I don't think that the Asian brands which do promote direct retail sales are making sails for the big brands either.

The "local Lofts" I was referring are not the franchises of major brands but individual lofts with their own brand. The Asian factories they use may be ones who also make sails for big brands. The factories they use don't generally promote or allow direct retail sales; you go through a sailmaker to get sails from them.
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