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We are going to replace our old 150 with a 135 for our Catalina 36 tall rig. I have 3 quotes - roughly, 2K, 3K, and 4K.

I've never bought a new sail before except for a Laser so if I look uninformed, it's not by accident.

What should I be looking for? We sail in the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay, we don't race, and we reduce sail early.

High intensity Dacron, foam luff, cloth weight ~7 oz ???? The 4K sailmaker wants to come to the boat to take measurements. Is that necessary or am I just as well off buying from someone in Florida or Maine?

If there is a sailmaker that you really like, that would be helpful.
 

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We are going to replace our old 150 with a 135 for our Catalina 36 tall rig. I have 3 quotes - roughly, 2K, 3K, and 4K.

I've never bought a new sail before except for a Laser so if I look uninformed, it's not by accident.

What should I be looking for? We sail in the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay, we don't race, and we reduce sail early.

High intensity Dacron, foam luff, cloth weight ~7 oz ???? The 4K sailmaker wants to come to the boat to take measurements. Is that necessary or am I just as well off buying from someone in Florida or Maine?

If there is a sailmaker that you really like, that would be helpful.
Have the 4k guy come over and measure, and you're likely to enjoy the result for years to come.

For our P31-2 we paid about $2900 for a fully featured 135% made locally by the local Doyle loft and five years later the sail still puts a smile on my face every time we unfurl it.

Unless you know your boat has some Catalina OEM furler arrangement that ensures a 'standard' full hoist distance, it should be measured accurately by whoever will take responsibility for the result. Obviously that can be you, or not. You purchase here is likely to be a case of you get what you pay for...

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You are going to find a lot of strong opinions here about using a local loft versus going online. I am in the camp that has had good experience with buying online. I have gotten quotes from local lofts and unlike some others, have found a huge difference in the quotes compared to online. So as long as you are comfortable taking the measurements, an online loft is worth considering.

Sounds like you have decided on a crosscut dacron sail. If so, the basic cost differences are the cloth used and the options (foam luff, UV cover, etc). Going with the best cloth (like Marblehead) versus the cheapest could increase the cost of your sail by around maybe $700 and the adding the foam luff and UV cover is probably an extra $250. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when getting quotes.

I suspect when you said Florida, you were talking about National Sail. I got a 135 genny from them a few years ago and am very happy with it. They are a Rolly Tasker dealer and the sails are made in Thailand. Dirk is good to deal with and very knowledgeable. Ask him about cloth upgrades as I know they show Catalina sails on the website and not sure what cloth that is based on.

Note I got my main from Doyle Gulf Coast (Island Nautical) and they were also good to deal with and make a very good sail.
 

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Bought my mitre cut dacron 135% with foam luff from Mack sails in Florida. Followed their instructions for measuring and no problems. Went with Mack because were way cheaper than the local loft by a lot. If you value hands on help with measuring, advice about the sail, and after market personal support, a local sail maker might make you happier. Would shop around if you want to go local. The small guy may offer way more service than a Big Name loft and still be price competitive.
 

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Main is Quantum....great sail...excellent customer service....measured the boat and put it on when it came
Doyle is the Genoa. ....just got it. Looks well made. Unsure of the rope they use as replacement for the foam luff
 
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For my racing sails I have always used a local loft I was happy with. The first purchase, I requested a bunch of quotes and only one guy said he wanted to come measure. Turns out my rig was not standard, and I didn't know. If I had not let the guy come measure I would have been screwed.

That said, if I were buying cruising sails I might try an online purchase. I would make very, very sure my rig was standard though. I have seen online is cheaper by a good bit. Still, another advantage of a local loft is that there is a local person to deal with errors or other issues.

Some people argue that it's good to support American business, and in general I support that. But I think most of the sails you buy at a "local" loft are built overseas anyhow. There is just some final finishing done locally.
 

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For my racing sails I have always used a local loft I was happy with. The first purchase, I requested a bunch of quotes and only one guy said he wanted to come measure. Turns out my rig was not standard, and I didn't know. If I had not let the guy come measure I would have been screwed.

That said, if I were buying cruising sails I might try an online purchase. I would make very, very sure my rig was standard though. I have seen online is cheaper by a good bit. Still, another advantage of a local loft is that there is a local person to deal with errors or other issues.

Some people argue that it's good to support American business, and in general I support that. But I think most of the sails you buy at a "local" loft are built overseas anyhow. There is just some final finishing done locally.
Even when a rig is 'standard' if someone has installed a furling system, the full hoist length is likely to be unique...halyard retainer or not...raised drum...who knows if not carefully measured.

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