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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-13-2008
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New Mainsail advice

I am thinking of buying a new main, since mine is showing signs of age (seams fraying, sail shape etc). This sail came with the boat and I've had the boat thirteen years now, so I really don't know its exact age.
The sail that I have is a Hood cruising sail with full battens and fairly heavy cloth and I would like to stick with the same type of cruising sail.
My question is: will it make a big enough of a difference between the local sailmakers or should I go for one of the big names? How about the discount sails, are they any good long-term? What are your experiences with your sails? Are there any I should avoid?
I ask these questions for this is a major investment on the boat and I don't want to blow 2 to 4 thousand on garbage!! The boat is a Tartan 37c and we sail hard and plan on cruising the islands, but no serious ocean crossings yet planned.
Thanks, Tom
P.S. I tried searching for this topic, but the search engine did not seem to be working for me
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Old 03-13-2008
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ehmanta...I would suggest checking out the fx sails sold here as the price is right and from all reports, they are very well made and offshore ones have an excellent 5 year warranty. You can use their auto quote feature to price the sail out with the exact features you want.

FX Sails Frequently Asked Questions fotr FAQ's
Customer Testimonials on FX Sails for customer comments
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Old 03-13-2008
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FX sails is an intriguing idea.. and by all accounts they are decent AND delivery time is similar to local suppliers. Certainly they win the price war in a big way.

My own hesitation was due to concern about after-purchase service, feeling we would get better service if we were customers already. I don't know for sure if that's true, in fact we ended up with a smoking deal on some lightly used sails, and we've had them modified to fit by locals without a problem.

Given the price advantage (nearly half the cost) next time I'll be giving them a call.
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Old 03-13-2008
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Check out Cruising Direct, a North Sails company

Cruising Direct: Cruising Sails at an affordable price!
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Old 03-13-2008
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Cam,
I got a quote from FX yesterday, but was unsure of the quality. Do you know of anyone with these? They are about $1200 less than Hood. I know Hood uses their own proprietary cloth, but can it make that much of a difference?
Chef: I talked to North Sails at the last Annapolis show and they kind of talked down on the Cruising Direct sails, even though its from the same company ? Tartan sells Doyle Sails off of their website....
I really would like some feedback on real-world experience and not the sales pitch of the people trying to sell me their product.
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Old 03-13-2008
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I did a lot of research on new sails last year. I ended up ordering a new 145 genoa from a local loft simply because he could come out take custom measurements and tailor the sail exactly how I wanted it. He also came out and raced one weekend with we to check the sails performance. We actually ended up damaging the sail in that race when some bad weather rolled-in. The sailmaker took the sail the next day, repaired it, and made some adjustments in the luff tape that should allow it to furl better. All services that a big chain would not be able to offer.

That being said, if I were going to order from a large corp. loft, I would look very hard at FX and also Sobstad. Sobstad (sp?) by far offered many more features as standard that others were up-charging for. Additionally, Sobstads order paperwork requested a lot more detailed measurement information then other lofts. I can't help but think the additional info requested can only help insure a better design and fit.
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Old 03-13-2008
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ehmanta,

I can second the advise for Curising Direct. I purchased a 150 Genoa and a full batten performance mainsail for my 30' Catalina. I have had the main on my boat for 3 months and I'm very happy with the workmanship and dealing with Crusing Direct. It took about 6 weeks to build both sails. Good Luck.
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Old 03-13-2008
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I have all UK sails and love them but then my brother runs the loft so I am biased
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Old 03-13-2008
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ehmanta,

If price point is the biggest factor, then FX or CD sails might be the way to go.

We have a new mainsail on order. We went with the local loft of a larger international sail manufacturer. I like to get more on-site service, with a sailmaker coming to the boat and taking measurement, etc. I also like that the sail we ordered is made domestically, rather than "overseas".

In addition to taking measurements on our boat, we were able to spread the old main out on the floor of the sail loft and discuss the layout of reefs, battens, etc. Unless you are especially good at drawing and communicating these details, it's helpful to do it in person with the sailmaker. Also, almost any new sail is gong to require a few tweeks to get it just right, so a local loft makes returning for adjustments that much easier.

Just my 2 cents...
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Old 03-13-2008
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Thanks everyone so far.......keep 'em coming, I'm soaking it all in
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