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  #1  
Old 11-29-2011
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How can one find a good sail maker?

I need some feedback from others on this one. I'm looking at buying sails for a Catalina 27 tall and would like to know what others think of different sail makers, and their quality.

UK, North, Hyde, sailwarehouse.com, nationalsail.com.

chicago sail show coming up and will probably wait to see if they will offer any deals at the show.

Other sails or suggestions welcome.

Thanks
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Old 11-29-2011
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I personally go with Quantam. They make excellent products. There are many out there but it really depends on what type of sailing are you going to do.
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Old 11-29-2011
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I've dealt with hood
In Salem ma loft very good service and info
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Old 11-29-2011
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I have become a big fan of Quantum Sails. I switched from North to Quantum a few years ago, and never looked back (except to see where my competition ended up).

Serious, I have used quite a few lofts over the years and have been very impressed with Quantum's personal service and attention to details.

In terms of lower cost production lofts, my experience has been that there is a huge difference between the big lofts and the small lofts. The big lofts tend to have more better quality control and more sophisticated stress mapping and shaping programs. This improves the long term durability of the sail, as well as in resulting in a wider wind range for any given sail.

Sails out of the cheaper production lofts do not seem to go through the same rigourous fabric testing and inspection, and tend to have simplier, lower performing panel layouts. This may not show up at first but result in shorter sail life and poorer shape at the edges of their designated wind range.

In the past, when I have priced sails during the " Boat show special discount period" I have found very small price differences between the lofts and if you find that to be the case with your sail, then I would suggest that Quantum should be a no brainer. North makes good sails, but they do not seem to want to pay attention to the individual customer and that makes a big difference if you are not buying one of thier 'stock' sails.

For what it is worth, I have also gotten some great sails out of Haarstick when they were a local loft.
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Old 11-29-2011
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If you are only looking at a basic dacron sail, you have lots of options. The main choice will be going with a local full service loft or on online loft. For a boat like yours that was made in large numbers, either should have no trouble making a sail that will perform well. The sail from the online loft will be less expensive, but you have to do the measuring, and if there's a problem, resolving it will be more difficult. I would get some online prices and compare them to the quotes you get from North, Quantum, UK, etc. I had good experience with a main i got from NorthSailsDirect.com for my previous boat and MaineSail who post here regularly has had some good things to say about National Sail Supply.

A friend in my club just decided to try FX Sails when their quote for a main was about half that of the local UK loft. He was impressed with the knowledgeable sales staff. Another friend ordered a genny from the local North loft last spring. Two sails have been delivered and both were the wrong size. He's still waiting.
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Old 11-29-2011
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Hey,

You didn't state if you plan on racing, cruising, long distance sailing, etc.

If you're looking for basic sails, and want to spend the least, then a mail order place will be best. If you're looking for something else, then I would contact a few local lofts, and talk to the salesman / sale maker. Listen to them, and then decide.

A few years ago, when I was looking to buy a new set of sails, I spoke to the local lofts for UK Halsey, Doyle, and North. They were all knowledgeable and nice, but the UK guy offered the most options and took the most time to speak to me. In the end, he came to the boat, measured everything and gave me his honest opinion on what he thought would be best for me, based on my budget and how I intended to use the sails. When the sails were ready he delivered them and helped me bend them on, and then we went for a short sail to make sure they fit properly, the rig was tuned correctly, and I could trim them as well.

Lastly, those sails were for my Newport 28 and I spend about $3K total, not a lot of money for a sailmaker. I got excellent service and I have bought an additional sail from him when I bought my O'day.

Barry
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Old 11-29-2011
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I am very happy with my UK Tape Drive sails.
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Old 11-29-2011
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+1 for Quantum. The last schooner I sailed on used them. We beat the snot out of the sails training new crew. They are hoisted and lowered 3-4 times a day on average during the season. I found them to be very durable. We had one set that was about 5 seasons old and still kept it's shape pretty well.

I also used the Annapolis loft to repair my non-Quantum sails. The service was great and the turn around times were fast.

When it is time to replace my sails I will be going there.
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Old 11-29-2011
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I've had uniformly excellent support from Quantum in the UK and the US East Coast. Where else can you get a sail test in Annapolis on January 19 from a premier sail designer? Where else can you get someone to come in on a bank holiday in Hamble and put a sail repair kit together for you?
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Old 11-29-2011
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I followed MaineSail's advice and went with national sail supply. They supplied both the sailsail and the main for my Tayana 37 and incorporated some unique features like a leech line that can be adjusted at the tack rather than at the clew.
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