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MichaelNW 09-27-2009 12:16 PM

Buying Sails
 
I am purchasing a boat that needs a new mainsail. I live in Olympia Washington USA. I am looking at the best combination of price vs. quality within a reasonable distance. I buy a lot online, but I am unsure how that would work with sails, but I am willing to entertain the possibility.

The other sails need inspection and repair/restitching/refurbishing. Any help, direction or advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

rikhall 09-27-2009 01:13 PM

What kind of boat?

jarcher 09-27-2009 07:03 PM

My suggestion is buy local, and deal with a sail maker who comes out and measures the boat. If they give you a quote without measuring, make very sure they plan to come measure before processing the order. I got four quotes, and only one guy came up to measure before quoting. We discovered my rig is not exactly standard.

One guy told a friend of mine that for the head sail on his Tanzer 22, "I don't measure for that little money." Who would do business with a guy that says that?

sailingfool 09-27-2009 09:03 PM

Having bought a new main over the internet the last time, my sage advice is to take JARCHER's advice

Faster 09-27-2009 10:03 PM

Interesting, SF... care to share which "loft"?

I can see buying a headsail or a spinnaker that way (on-line), but the fit on a mainsail is much more critical, and there I agree with Jarcher and others re: buying local. If you're not racing look for a small independant loft; they are often less expensive than the major players like Quantum, North and others.

Comparatively the prices of on-line providers are very tempting... but...

As for touch-up and restitching, you've little choice but to go for local. You'll probably get a better deal getting your repairs done by the same guy you buy the new sail from. Hopefully some of the other local members here will chime in with some suggestions!

erikdj 09-27-2009 10:16 PM

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.

Erik

mitiempo 09-27-2009 10:47 PM

What kind or size of boat is it? If not a daysailor here are 2 good choices near you.

Port Townsend Sails - new sails and repair for all sailboats

Lidgard Sails - world class sail design, technology and production through our sail lofts internationally.

Both are excellent in everything I've heard. As a matter of fact my neighbors in Victoria sail to Port Townsend specifically for sails by Carol Hasse. Lidgard has been around for years and includes John Guzzwell as a customer and outfits a lot of custom Perry designs. I think with a mainsail you have to pick between cheap and good.
Brian

sailingfool 09-28-2009 12:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Faster (Post 526909)
Interesting, SF... care to share which "loft"?

.....!

FX...when my new main arrived just in time for the season, I got it half-unpacked and noticed there were only four numbers on the sail---the middle number was missing. So it went right back.

After four weeks of cajoling (and no sailing...) it arrived again, this time I bent it on,,, and it was six inches short in the foot...The whole mess went on for over a year.

jpd531 09-28-2009 05:42 AM

Theres an online sail sales spot near you actually in Washington state, do a google for used sails. This guy is great, couldn't believe the sails I got for sooo cheap.

JohnRPollard 09-28-2009 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingfool (Post 526944)
FX...when my new main arrived just in time for the season, I got it half-unpacked and noticed there were only four numbers on the sail---the middle number was missing. So it went right back.

After four weeks of cajoling (and no sailing...) it arrived again, this time I bent it on,,, and it was six inches short in the foot...The whole mess went on for over a year.

Ouch!!:eek:

Those are exactly the sort of problems I've worried about whenever I was tempted by the "on-line" pricing. And believe me, I've been tempted.

We ended up going with local lofts for the three new sails we purchased for our boat. We ended up getting what I felt was a fair price, good service (they measured at the boat), and good follow-up after the fact. It's almost inevitable that the sails will require some tweaking -- there are just so many variables involved.

And, you'll need repairs and maintenance from time to time. So it's nice to have a "relationship" with a local loft, too. Plus, I really enjoy stopping by the loft every so often to hear the latest racing news and see their big projects under way. It's a great way to get a "fix" during mid-winter when sailing season has shut down.:)


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