Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Berkeley Marina, San Francisco, CA
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I have bought a new main and new headsail. I also had my sailmaker modify my existing headsails to fit my furler and make a new sail cover. I looked at all my options including online and "mainstream" sailmakers like North. I chose a smaller local shop for several reasons. First, he came to the boat and took time to talk with me about the type of sailing I am doing and want to do. He looked at the rigging, talked about all the different options and ultimately built me sails that I felt are specific to my needs and my boat.
The sails were made locally, not in a foreign country which meant that any changes, adjustments, warranty problems were handled right away. I could drive to the loft and watch the work being done. Delivery time was quick. He wasn't the cheapest but also wasn't nearly as expensive as North Sails. The head sail had a small problem (one I created and one was a build problem). They fixed both in 2 days at no charge. When I finally got sail numbers 6 months after my main sail was delivered, they installed them for me at no charge.
I first went in only to get a main and have now had a lot of business with this shop. A good sailmaker will make you a sail to fit your boat. A GREAT sailmaker will become part of your team to work with you to achieve the type and level of sailing you want to do with your boat now and in the future.
As an aside, I also felt good supporting the local guy over the big commercial shop. North made me feel as if I was being sold a used car while the guy actually designing and making my sail is always available to talk.