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Where should I get offshore sails for one year of use

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Tartan 27' owner
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We shopped around for prices for a new main for our Tartan 27' over a year ago and found similar price differences from the various types of sail lofts.
After 2 seasons using our Rolly Tasker full battened, loose footed main I am quite happy with it. Happy enough to order a new head sail from them a few weeks ago.
Hey, a boat buck is a boat buck, right? If you can save $1000 (a boat buck) why not?
 

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Corsair 24
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I have a rolly tasker on my boat an islander 36...looks mighty fine and its been on the boat for 5-10 years or so...in the tropics

for whatever thats worth

I usually dont judge something solely by brand but current condition...if it looks and feels decent and stitching is strong and not uv degraded its good

ps. a rolly tasker sail will for sure outlive 1 year unless I dont know you like dumping your mast in mud or something with sails up...
 

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I have talked to the rigger where I work about not RT but Lee Sails, a similar offshore company. Lee Sails: Sailmaker to the world
His opinion is that they are well made but not always of the kind of cut he likes - but he is a racer (I'm not) and I wouldn't expect him to sail in the Melges Worlds (as he did) with them. Any option available from any sailmaker is available - eg full/partial batten, loose foot, number of reefs optional etc.

For a cruising sail I think it makes sense.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Boat buck, not heard that one. Sad but true!

For lake sailing I would get a RT without thinking. But for a year in the carib with maybe 75-100 sailing days.....
So you could buy 2 RT sails for the price of 1 name brand/local loft store. My RT sail was nicely stitched and I expect more than 75-100 sailing days from it.
 

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I still see a boat we sold 9 years ago that remained local and the RT sails still look exceptional at 11 years old.

I am still a very happy RT customer and a very picky one to boot... There is also a guy in Annapolis who is a very good RT dealer though a tad more expensive than Dirk...

The RT main on our current boat is our 9th if I am not mistaken.. When I order a new 150% head sail it will be RT again..
 

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I purchased a Rolly Tasker main and cover for my C27 last summer and it seems to be just fine. The stitching is nicely done and it looks great. Their customer service also was good and the transaction was dram free. I would easily buy another from them.
 

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I purchased a RT mainsail several years ago. Price was $750 less than buying local. Dirk was great to work with. However by the end of the first season one batten pocket had come apart and 6 of the slugs had to be reintalled.... Nothing that a few hundred dollars at the local sail loft could not fix.

This year when pricing a new headsail, I did not even consider Roller Tasker.

I feel I got what I paid for...

Garner
 

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I think it was about 3 years ago that I bought some sails from Dirk of RT. The first purchase was the staysail and it turned out fine so I ordered the main. It too was very well done and even incorporated an over the top leach line control that I had specified. It works great and I no longer have to hang over the boom to tighten up that leech.
 

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IF RT supports their product, how's that shipping going to work for you? Long-distance communication? Sailmaker come aboard your boat to see how his product is working out/fits/etc?

Go local.
 

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the issue is local isnt necessarily local anymore...but I do agree if you have an issue its awesome to have live real help from the sailmaker or rigger etc...
 

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IF RT supports their product, how's that shipping going to work for you? Long-distance communication? Sailmaker come aboard your boat to see how his product is working out/fits/etc?

Go local.
Go local often means they too ship your order off over-seas, just the reality that the sail making industry is changing....

When you go direct you are on your own for measurements, even with North Direct etc.. Any local sailmaker will be glad to service your sails. Mine are and they get my cleaning and repair work every winter......

Let's also not fool ourselves into believing all local sail-makers are actually making your sail. While some still do the prices are very steep for the same thread, material etc.... I support my locals with my canvas work, cushions and sail repairs & cleanings all of which can't be out sourced as well.. They get plenty of my business and are happy to work on my RT sails and clean them.

For many locals these days cruising sails are outsourced over-seas, even the big guys do it. RT makes a LOT of sails for small independents to put their names on. Just because it does not say RT on it does not mean your local sail was not made in Phuket or China...

You would be amazed at how many "name brand" sails come out of the worlds largest sail makers such as China Sail Factory or RT. China Sail Factory for instance builds for Elvestron-Sobstad, UK Sails, Ullman, Doyle, Momentum and many other smaller lofts. Rolly Tasker does the same for smaller lofts..

This is not just for cruising but CSF also has a one design division that has built for classes from 420's (4 of the top ten sails in the 420 worlds were built by CSF) to J-24's to Swan 45's and even Farr 65's and Volvo ocean race boats....

North has a loft in Sri Lanka, Quantum in South Africa, Hyde in the Philippines etc. etc...

My local North Loft essentially wanted 2.4K more to measure my boat, type in an order and pass the sail to me when it came in.. They wanted 1.7K more if I measured it (North Direct)...

Sure if there was a problem he would have fixed it for no charge. I instead measured myself, very easy, ordered myself also very easy, and 9 TIMES, the sails have been spot on. I only broke a head board slug on one sail and it cost me $9.00 and about $20 minutes to hand stitch back on... I have saved well over $15,000.00 on those 9 sails! That is more in savings than what some folks boats cost on this forum.....;)

Not a single local guy has boned me on repairs or refused to work on my sails.. Why would I pay 2.3k for someone to "measure" my boat......? If you are disinclined to do so then that 2.3K could be well spent but this is not rocket science, especially for cruising sails like the OP wants.....
 

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The local lofts that are working with these factories don't charge prices that are $2.3k over RT, at least in my experience. I do agree with you that North Sails is expensive, but I think that they are about the highest priced option.

I've had two sails order through a small loft in Seattle. The first one was made by them, but the second one was imported and made by China Sail Factory. I just was buying a third sail (working jib) and priced it there, at Island Planet Sails (who also uses CSF), National Sail, and a few others. The pricing was within $100 in all cases. However working with the local loft gets the the advantage of having them measure the boat and to provide after sale service if necessary.

Island Planet did give me two quotes, one was for a sail delivered 6 months out. That one was the cheapest option of all quotes by far.

Here are some raw numbers from the quotes that I can find:
* Island Planet now: $1396
* Island Planet March: $1085
* local Loft built by CSF: $1450
* local Loft built in Seattle: $2037
* Mack Sails (built in FL, order online): $1592
* Rolly Tasker: about $1350 (seem to have deleted the email from them)

All prices are without taxes or shipping. That adds $50-$150. I also got quotes from a few other places, but they all ended up in this rough price range.

I ended up buying a "never used" second hand custom sail on eBay that had the correct dimensions for a working jib on my boat and which was made about an hour away by Halsey Lidgard. That one was $750. The fabric was a little heavier (8.5oz) than I wanted, but should help it last longer as a heavy weather jib. I'll be flying it tomorrow (in sub freezing temps...brr!) to verify shape and fit before knowing for sure if I did the right thing. I can verify from condition as delivered that it does look new, I don't think it has ever been installed on a furler.

For my dollars it has been worth buying local on new sails. I'll probably be buying a new mainsail sometime in the next few years and it will almost certainly be from one of the lofts operating near my marina.
 

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I said nothing about who was actually fabricating the sails. I don't care. I care about service and quality.

In my experience, my sailmaker guaranteed a RACING sail over a YEAR after the sale. Jib clew tore out during a race. Sailmaker came to the boat, looked at the sail, said 'this wasn't done right,' fixed it overnight. No shipping, no back-and-forth, no problem. Done.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great responses guys, but perhaps I can redirect, after all it's all about me =P

I'd be curious as to your thoughts as to my very specific context.

1. The local loft does make its own sails, employs local people, and is double the cost.
2. I only need the sails for one year cruising full time in the Caribbean. After that I'll be selling the boat (it has a set of racing sails I'll not be cruising with)
3. Because of the above, I'll be nowhere near the local sailmaker if something needs adjusting
3. We are on a budget. The $2k difference will come out of something like forgoing radar, or not taking paddle boards (I have three kids).
 

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There is only a single loft in your area? We have a dozen or more in the Seattle area (including most of the national/big ones like North, Doyle, Ullman, Quantum, etc), which makes it easier to shop around for different levels of service.

Having the boat measured and fit locally is still a useful service. The chances of requiring service immediately is higher than requiring service once you are on your major trip. I'd argue that the chances of requiring immediate service also go up if your specific boat wasn't measured as part of having the sail made.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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Another vote for RT (Dirk). Bought one furling headsail and I was so impressed with the quality and fit I ordered another. 4-5 years later they still perform like new, no problems whatsoever. The measuring (as Maine has explained) is a no brainer as long as you have someone like Dirk to guide you through it. I saved a minimum of $1750 on the genoa and staysail over the lowest priced local loft.
 

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69' Coronado 25
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local lofts may be expensive but you can talk with them and get a better sail.
 
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