New suit of sails for gaff rigged cutter ketch - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-23-2008 Thread Starter
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New suit of sails for gaff rigged cutter ketch

A few question concerning pricing of professionally made sails. I am calculating the costs of an old wooden gaffer. The sails are in usable condition, but by no means good. I don't particularly want to blow out the main a long way from home and have to limp back home on reduced sail, so i am considering getting a whole new set someday. I don't know the actual dimensions of the sails, but she is a 31 footer to give you an idea. My questions were...

Is the cost of a gaff much higher than that of a similarly sized Bermudan sail?

Is tanbark colored material significantly higher?

Do manufacturers vary that much in price? any recommendations?

any vague estimate on the price of a whole new set of sales for a boat of that size? like i said, i dont know the dimensions of the sails yet, so i cant just get an estimate from a sailmaker.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-23-2008
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Cat :

For the current old sails, take them out on a blowy day close to your home port and work them hard, perhaps a day whan you can find a weather shore.
If you can, talk another boat into coming along with you in case things go wrong.
Oversheet them, undersheet them, make them flap, choose all points of sail.

They mightn't be too bad.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-24-2008
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Catfish,

We have built several sets of gaff sails over the past four years. There are some tricks to getting them right. Getting a quote should not be that tough. Measure all fours sides of the sail. For estimating purposes you can estimate the peak and throat angles. Tanbark is salty looking but in reality any dyed cloth will cost more and have a shorter life than regular white Dacron. The reason for this is the cloth must be of a looser weave to accept the dyes and there are some differences in the manufacturing process.

Where are you located? In some parts of the country you can still find sailmakers that are adept with traditional rigs like yours.

Older wooden boats can require a tremendous amount of work and money. Although they are often cheaper than a fiberglass boat of similar size unless you can do all of your own work you may find it a lot less expensive in the long run to go with fiberglass.

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post #4 of 12 Old 11-24-2008
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What I don't understand is why you're going through all of this when you're not even sure the boat is worth buying.

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post #5 of 12 Old 11-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Catfish,

We have built several sets of gaff sails over the past four years. There are some tricks to getting them right. Getting a quote should not be that tough. Measure all fours sides of the sail. For estimating purposes you can estimate the peak and throat angles. Tanbark is salty looking but in reality any dyed cloth will cost more and have a shorter life than regular white Dacron. The reason for this is the cloth must be of a looser weave to accept the dyes and there are some differences in the manufacturing process.

Where are you located? In some parts of the country you can still find sailmakers that are adept with traditional rigs like yours.

Older wooden boats can require a tremendous amount of work and money. Although they are often cheaper than a fiberglass boat of similar size unless you can do all of your own work you may find it a lot less expensive in the long run to go with fiberglass.


IslandPlanetSails (dot) com
Thanks for the reply. I am in Port Huron, Michigan (eastern Michigan). I don't know of any lofts in Michigan, perhaps you do.

As for the costs, I am currently trying to get a rough calculation. I am very well connected with knowledgeable sailors and carpenters and have a full shop designed to cater to a 154 wooden schooner at my disposal, so I have a lot of help there. My intention is to hopefully make up for some of that money with extra labor as much as possible. If i can get the boat into serviceable and safe condition, then i can slowly start fixing her up more and more over the years, ie buy one new sail at a time, upgrade electronics, arrange the interior to my liking, new rigging, new engine, etc. As long as i keep my steady job, i have no costs except for food and smokes (trying to fix the latter) and the other occasional things that come up. with any luck i can turn her into a fairly nice boat in a few years
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What I don't understand is why you're going through all of this when you're not even sure the boat is worth buying.
That is exactly what I am trying to do. If my sails will last me a few years i can get nice, new more efficient ones. If my hull actually does need to be re-caulked, then i will take that into consideration. If during the survey, i find out that more than just a couple planks need replacing, then i wont buy the boat. All these threads are here in hopes of figuring it out.
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Have you gone over the boat yourself yet? If not, I'd recommend doing that before doing much else... and read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread, and take that along with you... as it should help you decide if it is even worth getting a survey on the beast.

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Quote:
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Have you gone over the boat yourself yet? If not, I'd recommend doing that before doing much else... and read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread, and take that along with you... as it should help you decide if it is even worth getting a survey on the beast.
I did a glancing-over survey of it twice, which is why i lack so much info on it. Im going to set up a checklist and write everything down and take pictures sometime soon. How much does a survey generally cost? i've never had to deal with it before. Its likely that i wont be able to afford a survey. I am fairly confident in my own abilities to survey the boat to determine whether or not its a chunk of rot, or has impending major failure in the next 5 years. I've been living on a wooden ship for two years, and just got back from a yard period on her.

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CatfishSoup-

Most surveyors charge per foot...so it depends on the size of the boat, and the area you're in, as well as how experienced the surveyor is. You really would want a wooden boat specialist.

Don't over-estimate your abilities....as that can get you into a very expensive situation... not to be mean or anything, but a proper survey often pays for itself.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 12 Old 11-24-2008
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Bluffton bay sails is located in muskegon, they're hooked up with torresen marine, and a north sails affiliate. From all accounts they're a great loft to deal with, I've had a few small jobs done by them, but never a new sail.

I like wooden boats, but don't have all the facilities to maintain one, there's a small one near me for sale that would be a great project, but the guy that owns her thinks of it as an 'antique' and has a price on it that's way out of line.


Ken.
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