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Old 09-09-2009
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One opinion on used sails for newbies: Don't.

Unless you really know sails, and your boat is from such a popular class that there are lots of used sails out there just for it, you can probably get low-end new sails for not a whole lot more (especially if you have to return a couple of sets of sails that didn't work out) and they'll fit and work better, for longer.

Usually a used sail is available because someone thought it was blown out, or badly shaped, or plain old used up. Maybe it has some life left in it, if you plan to use it just once in a while. But overall...Unless you have great luck with used cars, casinos, and poker, pass on the used sails unless you know what you are looking at/for, and you can drive down to eyeball them before you start paying shipping bills.

Skimp on something else, the sails ARE the performance engine at the heart of any sailboat. Until you've sailed the same boat with old sails and then replaced them with new ones--you can't imagine how big a difference they make.
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