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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello.

I got a quote for a main from FX. I also got one from Doyle whose offices are right in my marina.

Now the price difference was more than 60% for the same quoted fabric! (Challenge 7.03 Dacron). I want the convenience of a very local loft but does it make sense?

Thanks,

Florent
 

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Hello.

I got a quote for a main from FX. I also got one from Doyle whose offices are right in my marina.

Now the price difference was more than 60% for the same quoted fabric! (Challenge 7.03 Dacron). I want the convenience of a very local loft but does it make sense?

Thanks,

Florent
60% difference seems a lot, maybe there are some differences that is not clear in the offers.
- How many reef's is included?
- How are reinforcements made?
- Shipping included?
- Other differences between the two offers?

I would contact both contenders and ask for more details.
I would have asked the most expensive why he is 60% off (you don't need to reveal the name of the competitor)
 

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FX is usually not as inexpensive as one is led to believe

I have got online quotes from FX for both my main and genoa. In both cases, they were within $100 from the local shop prices.

When you fill out the online FX form, the price you get is just for a basic sail at a specific size with basic stitches. Once you start adding stuff like headboards, leech lines, UV cover for RF headsails, slugs, foam luff, triple stitching etc., the price increases considerably. I just went online and did a FX sail quote for my boat, 135% Genoa. Once I added UV cover, foam luff, price went from $1650 to $2220.

The other thing is that a local guys should come out and measure the rig for the dimensions. If they make the sail wrong, if they are stand up, they will fix it. I am not sure with the FX folks will. The FX guys have standard templates on a variety of boats, which may or may not be the best dimensions for your boat and rely on you for the measurements.

DrB
 
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I've known a couple people that got the FX sails and, while not dissatisfied, they have also not been completely overjoyed.

When it was time for my new sails I considered FX. I decicided to go with a local loft even though it was slightly more expensive. Why?

1. I know that for the most part my $$$ went to a local company that helped to keep American Jobs in America! (as opposed to outsourcing labor and material to China)
2. The folks at my local loft (Ullman) came and measured. They had made a mistake and immediately rectified the problem within a week... no questions asked.

My vote is to stay local! You will feel much better for it later.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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This same subject has been debated endlessly here in many threads. If you want a racing sail designed for your boat, go local. If you want the same fabric and quality in a cruising sail it is available from some very reputable sail makers (Rolly Tasker, Lee, etc). It's not unusual for local lofts to be 50% higher for the convenience of having them make a few measurements and to install the sail. For the normal cruiser you can't go wrong contacting Dirk at National Sail in Fl. (Rolly T), or Lee Sails, IMHO.
 

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I was going to post something witty to fan the flames of this seldom debated topic, but I won't. :hammer
 

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I don't discuss my member
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Re: FX is usually not as inexpensive as one is led to believe

I have got online quotes from FX for both my main and genoa. In both cases, they were within $100 from the local shop prices.
DrB
Same experience here. Make sure you're getting quotes for the same options at both lofts. Apples to apples and all that.

I happen to have a local quantum loft, and have been very pleased. Sailmaker has measured the boat 3 times and sailed with me twice over the past 5 sail purchases. Also, you can ask for another 10% off. Typically you can get 10% off retail whenever. Then in the off season or multiple sail purchases, you can get 15-20% off retail. Sailmakers should be begging for your business. If you don't get that impression, go somewhere else.

I'd give the local guy a chance to justify his price before writting them off.
 

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Remember you're a womble
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My new 110% genoa is currently being designed by my local sailmaker and will shortly be getting cut, sewn, fitted, tweaked and supported by my local sailmaker. It's almost certainly going to be better made and longer lasting, and as importantly to me, I am putting money into my local economy and helping to ensure that hopefully in the future I actually still have someone local that can look after my sails.
Is it more expensive? Yes, a bit, but I don't think you can ever truly compare since the intangibles are impossible to measure (quality of stitching, finish etc).
 

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While I agree with Paul about the "local" aspect of the discussion, being 800 miles away from the left coast has it's disadvantages. That said, I have a very large kite, and a drifter from Dirk, who has just about the best service I've ever seen, and I also have a plastic 155 from FX, which was precisely as advertised, and will in a few weeks have a main to match. Neither loft is remotely close, but both come highly recommended, particularly in a land where most folk have a hard time distinguishing between a sailboat and a garden tractor.
 
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Not so sure that going local is better. I went with a local loft a few years back when ordering a new main and genoa. Genoa: ordered 150, got 135. The loft did not notice it until I brought it to their attention. "No problem" they said and they did make a new sail, correct size and all. However, it did leave a question in my mind about their attention to detail. And they did install the sail. How they could not have noticed the difference, I have no idea. Main: was a little bit better, though there were issues with the cut and when I brought it up they just blamed it on my Dutchman flaking system setup. It sure was not a problem with the previous mainsail. Needless to say in the future I will give the online lofts a try because local shops seem to take their customers for granted and the quality is simply not there.
Just my two cents :)
 

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Remember you're a womble
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That sucks, did they actually make the sails or send them out to someone else to make? Who was the loft?
 

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A sailmaker is much like one's personal doctor, IMO. Sure you can go to a clinic and get cheap medical care, but your own GP will know you, your medical history and expect you to return.
I am in the process of designing a new main as I don't think enough thought has gone into the design of the infinite reefing, in mast roller furling sail. On every island down here we go into the sail lofts and discuss my thoughts and listen to theirs, not just get quotes. It's the little things, like leathering, double stitching where necessary, etc. that will ultimately decide for me, not price. After all, I want this sail to last as long as possible, thereby making it cheaper each year it is still functional.
 

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Not so sure that going local is better. I went with a local loft a few years back when ordering a new main and genoa. Genoa: ordered 150, got 135. The loft did not notice it until I brought it to their attention. "No problem" they said and they did make a new sail, correct size and all. However, it did leave a question in my mind about their attention to detail. And they did install the sail. How they could not have noticed the difference, I have no idea. Main: was a little bit better, though there were issues with the cut and when I brought it up they just blamed it on my Dutchman flaking system setup. It sure was not a problem with the previous mainsail. Needless to say in the future I will give the online lofts a try because local shops seem to take their customers for granted and the quality is simply not there.
Just my two cents :)
You make is sound as if there is only one local loft in the world.. :)

Getting quotes from more than one sailmaker is a good idea, but it's important to have comparable quotes.
  • Make sure that the offers include the same details in the sail.
  • The services included are the same (If you don't need the sailmaker to fit the new sail - ask to take this service out)
  • Same quality sail cloth.
  • Taking rig measures is a good idea, an old "standard" boat is not necessarily standard.
  • If the sailmaker is far away it might be a good idea to take some control measures your self.

Where I live we have at least 5 sailmakers in the area
Some is only a sales office for one of the big brands, others have skilled sailmakers / sail designers locally.

My local sailmaker have delivered my last eight sails (two boats).
They do all designs locally, the designer is an experienced sailor who take time to listen to the user before he starts the design process.
Most new sails are made in Thailand at the same plant where Rolly tasker make their sails.
Warranty, Sail checks and repairs are done locally.

I could have bought Rolly Tasker sails from this sailmaker but I chose the locally designed and specified sail because it suited my use best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the input.

I decided to go with Doyle for peace of mind. And their loft is in my marina so it's uber local if one can say so.

They are finishing my sail but which I spec'd with two reef lines but now I wonder if I should have them add third reef for 250$.

I'm not about to go to Hawaii but summer wind can be a bit strong in the slot and huge weather helm was what prompted me to get a new sail done although the older Lee that came with the boat did not look totaled.

I know that those CCA boat tend to have stronger weather helm (columbia29) built in their design and maybe a third reef with a larger head sail (110?) could balance the boat better than a jib with a second reef.

Then again, my boom is not setup for a third reef at that moment.

Would you wait and see how the sail works and have the third reef added later or just save the hassle and get it done while the sail is in the loft?

Would a third reef affect the sail performance noticeably on this old boat?

Thanks
 

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stay with 2...on small boat the difference between 2 and 3 reefs is negligeble unless its a huge 3rd reef down to 30 percent or so...

you can spill wind if needed on old cca boats...or any boat for that matter with different degrees of success

try it out first at least
 
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Flo, I use Dominic over at Grand Marina so I don’t have any direct experience with Doyle Alameda. Unless you have the tall rig version, the second reef will be sufficient. I am assuming that Doyle spec’d out a (slightly) heavier cloth weight and a higher modulus Dacron? Your old main might be a combination of being a little bagged out, old and stretchy, and a little bit under weight. That combination is probably what is putting you over on your ear. FLAT sails go a long way out here in the Bay. Before going to a 3rd reef, I’d consider full length battens. With a flatter cut sail you will find yourself dropping the traveler a lot more to maintain a comfortable heel angle and lessen the weather helm. A new sail will mean adjusting your sailing style.

To put it in perspective, I have a UK Spectra tape drive main that I bought with the LongPac and Pac Cup in mind. I inquired about a 3rd reef of which my sail maker, in no uncertain terms, said it was a bad idea (weight issue aloft). And even went so far as to offer me her storm trysail (for free) to use on either of those races. I go in and out of reef 1 with regularity and occasionally go to reef 2 if it is nuclear and have never really had the need for a 3rd reef. I do use a blade or a lapper in the summer however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I see,

Maybe I have some form of PTSD from last season when I would let go the sheet and still have my boat heeling while my sail was luffing and making a lot of noise and two hands firmly holding the tiller wondering if the rudder will break before my arm.

I don't like flogging sails.
 

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All of us who sail the Bay can relate. How long is your traveler and can you control it from back in the cockpit? Easing the mainsheet to spill wind also increases it’s camber which will give you that lingering heeling feeling while you wait for the rig to unload. Typically, we play the traveler controls instead mainsheet to control heel when in the slot. I also “feather” the helm by heading up in the gusts. Not to spend all your money, but a smaller headsail will help too. Never let your sails flog – that is the sound of your sail maker sending his kids to an Ivy League school!
 

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Don't know why your boat, or any boat, necessarily has a lot of weather helm. Not sure it is a characteristic of CCA boats if they were well-designed. Has your sail been done? If not, why not make the two reefs a bit deeper than standard, so your second reef is more like a 2 1/2 reef and first like a 1 1/2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't know, maybe the tendency to heel more.

Also maybe the raked rudder does not increase the weather helm itself but makes the helm harder for the same amount of weather helm.

But I'm really not an expert.

I think they are about to start. I'm tempted to stick with the regular size and get one added later if needed. They say price would be the same later.
 
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