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  #1  
Old 12-15-2008
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Difference in Sail Quality

I need a new mainsail and was looking at different online suppliers. I was wondering is there a difference in quality between sails offered. I have a catalina 27 Tall rig. I was looking at the links below which say sails are 6.5oz dacron, I was wondering if there are any other differences which would make the cheaper one not as good as the more expensive one. Thanks!

Catalina Sails (stock or custom built) and New In-Stock Surplus Sails

Catalina 27 Tall Rig Mainsail
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Old 12-15-2008
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Just curious, but have you priced the sails at FX Sails, which is a part of sailnet, and helps sponsor this forum. It would be worth giving them a shot as well.
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The latter is the price on FX sails from sailnet, but is there a quality difference from your experience?
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A friend was sent a 150 genny for a tall 27 by mistake from the cheap place, we put it on the furler before discovering it was the wrong sail. Overall it seemed a little lacking in some areas for hard use, single stitched seams, small reinforcing patches at the tack and clew etc. It would probably be fine for "coastal" or "inshore" use which is common among sailmakers for their 'budget' line of sails.
The Sailstore is the "off the shelf" arm of FX sails and I'm not familiar with their sails.
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Old 12-16-2008
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I have bought two new discount sails from North Sails Direct. The first was a storm jib, which was well made, cut flat, triple stitched, all the bells & whistles and had satisfactory craftsmanship.
The second sail was a working jib. Not so impressed with this one. It had a horrible belly and couldn't be used to sail upwind at all. It made me want to pull my old mylar jib out of the dumpster and break out the duct tape and super glue... Money not well spent. And of course you can't take it back to the loft (in China) and talk to the sailmaker about getting it recut... I won't ever buy one again. Local lofts give competitive pricing and usually great service. Sailmakers are our friend, don;t outsource them off our continent(s).
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The quality of sailcloth is not the only difference between sails. Off-the-shelf sails are cut to fit many similarly-sized boats. Good sails are cut to fit one make and model of boat, and they are designed for your anticipated use. If you intend to sail mostly in light air in sheltered waters, the sailcloth might be lighter-weight, so that the sails will fill more easily in light air. If you plan to sail in typically stronger winds, the weight of the sailcloth will be heavier. If you intend to cruise, the foot of the jib will be cut higher. If you intend to race, the foot of the jib will be low-cut, to maximize sail area. Likewise, a racing mainsail will have a big roach to maximize sail area.

Some (not all) off-the-shelf sails are made so that, if the buyer wants a roller furled jib, the sail can be used that way, and, if the buyer wants a hanked-on jib, the sailmaker can attach hanks to the same sail and send it to the buyer.

All that having been said, if you just want a sail suitable for daysailing and poking around in local waters, a lesser sail might serve you adequately. If you want a sail designed for optimum performance, whether cruising or racing, in coastal waters or offshore, then you should opt for a better, pricier sail.

One factor you should consider is how long you intend to keep the same boat. I bought my previous boat new and sailed it for over 22 years, and bought top quality sails. During all that time, I enjoyed superior sailing from those sails, and not only fully amortized their cost, but, looking back, the price I paid for them was dirt cheap by comparison with the cost of similar sails when I finally sold the boat. If you're going to keep the boat for awhile, opt for the better sails.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 12-16-2008 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008
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Half the "name brand" conventional sails get built overseas. There is no difference in cloth unless you are buying something fancy...and for normal cruising you don't need to do that. You can specify the features you want in your sails and the robustness of the construction and still come out way ahead when compared to local options. I bought my genny out of New Zealand and it was perfect and exactly what I wanted and I saved $1500 bucks at the time. I got my main done locally because it had to be exactingly cut and built to be compatible with my roller boom. I can't recall even one complaint about FX sails sold here in the last several years and I would not hesitate to use them for a quality cruising sail at a very good price.
If you race or use exotic materials or need a guy on your boat to measure and fit, it makes sense to go local. I makes no sense to pay extra for a sail that will be built overseas anyway with NO difference in cloth or construction quality.
I believe in paying for added value....not for overhead and branding.
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Last edited by camaraderie; 12-16-2008 at 10:34 AM.
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One nice thing about having a popular boat like the Catalina 27 is that you have lots of places to choose from and that "everyone" has made sails for them.

I'm very happy with the 135% Genoa for my Catalina 30 I purchased from FX sails. Good workmanship, good shape...good service...low price.

I would not hesitate to go back to them.

If others had problems, you would have heard of it here.

David.
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Old 12-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saurav16 View Post
I need a new mainsail and was looking at different online suppliers. I was wondering is there a difference in quality between sails offered. I have a catalina 27 Tall rig. I was looking at the links below which say sails are 6.5oz dacron, I was wondering if there are any other differences which would make the cheaper one not as good as the more expensive one. Thanks!

Catalina Sails (stock or custom built) and New In-Stock Surplus Sails

Catalina 27 Tall Rig Mainsail

It's really, really ,really hard to beat National Sail Supply on Catalina sails. Believe me I've tried. The Rolly Tasker sails that Dirk sells are very ,very well built using the same materials as you'd find a local sailmaker using. The difference is that they are built in Thailand with CHEAP labor..

I've owned seven sails from National Sail supply and every one has exceeded my expectations...

I'm about to order a main for my curent boat at less than half what my local quoted me uisng the identical specs, rows of threads, reef points and cloth brand and weight...

If you're not buying racing sails the online deals can be very, very good...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Half the "name brand" conventional sails get built overseas.
I wonder what the four or so sewing machines around the perimeter of the big ol' raised, polished wood floor at the local North Sails sail loft are for, then? I'll have to ask them next time I'm over there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I believe in paying for added value....not for overhead and branding.
I agree wrt to the "branding" issue (tho sometimes it does matter), but you're mistaken wrt to the "overhead" issue. Overhead, as it applies to having a local facility that employs local people and pays local taxes, is added value, in my book. How much is that worth? Hard to say, but I will usually pay a bit more for that added value. For example: A local marine supply store offered to "deal" on the new compass we wanted for Abracadabra. I knew his price was "in the ballpark." I think we paid $160, or there-abouts, plus tax, and I think I later found I could've gotten it on-line for about $140 + shipping. I was glad to have given the business to the local merchant.

FX Sails, for example, I doubt would've fixed our old main, inspected the sail for other necessary maintenance (there was none, btw), and added floppy rings and tell-tales, all for less than $100, have done it in three days or less, thrown in a half-dozen quality sail ties and shown us a better way to fold sails for storage, to boot . Had that sail loft not been there: Then what? If they go out of business: Then what? I guess just like everything else in this country, anymore: If it breaks, just send it off to a landfill and buy a new one for cheap from somebody overseas?

We're losing something in this country by buying everything from the lowest bidder, from some place far away .

Jim
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