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jaschrumpf 02-08-2009 01:19 PM

Fair payment for sail repair?
Last season I managed to tear my genny right across the leech line and about six or seven feet across the sail, as you can see below:

I knew that my sailing club, the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center, had an old machine and a volunteer group that did sail repairs for the club's boats, so I emailed the president and asked if they would have a look at my sail. I told him that I'd rather give the money to the DSC if they could fix it, and if they couldn't at least maybe they could tell me if it was worth taking to a "real" sail loft.

I dropped the sail off, and after a few days I got an email that they'd been able to make all the repairs, and reinforce a few weak spots they'd found as well. I asked what they'd like for a donation (I know nothing about sail repair expenses), and he said they'd spent 2 1/2 hours working on it and that sail lofts had charged them between $45 and $150 an hour.

That's not much guidance for a no-nothing :o, as that would mean anywhere from $112.50 to $375 for the repairs. I'm thinking that $200 seems a fair price, but I have no real idea. I know it's not the middle of the range, but does it seem like a fair price, good for both sides?

I'm not trying to be cheap, but I don't want to overpay, either. I figured you guys would have experience enough to tell if I'm in the right ballpark.

AllThumbs 02-08-2009 01:47 PM

Sounds fair to me.

TxLnghrn 02-08-2009 02:14 PM

Lofts down here charge about $75/hr. Sailcare charges about $50/hr, but you would have to pay shipping. I think $200 is a very fair donation.


billyruffn 02-08-2009 02:54 PM

If you get away with a few hundred, it seems reasonable. While it's hard to see exactly what was damaged, with minor repair (a few hours) like they apparently did you may have a repeat of the failure. Be gentle with the sail.

I have a "drifter" (130% light air reaching sail) that ripped along a seam from leach to luff (like your genny appears to have done) and I had it repaired two times ($140 and then $250). It failed shortly after each repair. In both repairs they re-stitched the seam that failed and put a patch on the leech a foot or so above and below the point where the seam failed. Obviously, that wasn't enough to solve the problem.

The final solution (so far) was to have the leech re-built top to bottom and the seam reinforced with additional fabric. This repair was about $900, if I remember correctly. Expensive, but still a fraction of what a new sail would cost.

In sail repairs, you often get what you pay for. Good luck with yours.

Valiente 02-08-2009 03:26 PM

If the repair gives you two more seasons, $200 is a bargain. If it goes in the first 15 knot breeze, you've had a $200 lesson.

My point is that you haven't mentioned whether or not the amateurs warranty their work. A loft will do this in most cases, if you can prove you weren't stupid about the conditions.

Of course, a reputable loft would also decline to do the work if the sail was too far gone and would only likely rip elsewhere at the milder sort of provocation. Most lofts I deal with keep the concepts of "repair/rebuild" and "make a new one" fairly separate, which is good as my "thing" is to recycle racer's jibs into cruiser hank-ons that I can get three to five years out of.

121Guy 02-08-2009 03:35 PM

Fair Compensation
I'd agree that $200 is quite fair. Looking at the photo, it appears tha sail ripped just under the first reef point on the leech. I'm guessing the reinforcement they did was to extend the reinforcement patches down further on the sail, resew the seam that ripped out, replace or repair the leech cord and do some other small things. An easy 2 or 3 hours plus thread and cloth etc.

Good luck,


jaschrumpf 02-08-2009 05:12 PM

OK, my conscience is assuaged. I'll post a pic of the repaired sail later and you all can see what kind of job they did.

Thanks for the feedback.

Valiente 02-08-2009 10:20 PM

There's jobs that look nice, and jobs that keep the sail in one piece and pulling as is customary. They aren't always the same job, but that's often the difference between a decent loft and a quick repair.

Post a pic of the repair after ten typical sails. That's what will speak to the quality of the job.

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