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Once known as Hartley18
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Discussion Starter #1
At the recent regatta I discovered my new-to-me mainsail needs some significant re-work and was advised that any money might be better spent on a second-hand sail a season or two old and then sell what I've got now. Problem is, my boat isn't exactly one of a class, hence I'm unlikely to ever find one with the correct dimensions just sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for me to buy it...

I know enough to know I would need to buy a bigger sail than what I have for it to be cut down the luff - but what dimensions should I be looking for (% bigger) and on what axes? Foot? Luff? Both?? :confused:

Any ideas as to how I might work out what I need??

Thanks,
Cameron
 

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I can't imagine in Melborne there aren't a number of local sail lofts. They all likely have used sails on consignment, and if not have a network to track them down.

Generally it is easiest to cut down the luff, but it depends on the make of the sail, what material, and how much it needs to be cut down.
 

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The 'on-line/used' sail lofts have search engines where you can enter your limits for dimensions and search that way.. Use them now and you'll come up with some standard 'designs' that might be a good fit if only for reference.

Sacrificing 4-6 inches in hoist will probably not be terribly noticeable. We got a main and jib from the SF J-105 fleet for a great price.. and going on the 6th or 7th season with it now - the main fit fine (slightly short on hoist) the jib required a major cut down. It's since 'died' and we bought a new headsail last season.

The other thing to watch for is excessive roach.. if your boom is longish vis-a-vis the backstay a larger roach sail will be a PITA to gibe in light air.
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys - all good advice :)

Fast: Roach - yes, good point. I won't be wanting a main with any more roach than I have now! In some ways, knowing that the sail I want is exactly the dimensions of what I have now will make it easier.

Stumble: I'm after an ordinary Dacron 'cruising' main. I'll check again, but AFAIK the local sailmakers around here don't do stuff on consignment - that's left to the on-line folks. There used to be a guy in Sandringham who sold second-hand sails, but after years of slow business he's shut up shop and passed his stock to a guy in Sydney.

Assuming I find something with the correct measurements on-line, not being able to look at it first I suppose I have to take the sellers word that if the quality is "good" then it is, right? It's not like shipping sails is cheap..
 

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Thanks guys - all good advice :)

Assuming I find something with the correct measurements on-line, not being able to look at it first I suppose I have to take the sellers word that if the quality is "good" then it is, right? It's not like shipping sails is cheap..
From what I've seen, what these places call "good condition" I call blown out but still in the shape of a triangle. But I like nice sails. You will always get your money's worth out of new sails unless you sell the boat right after. I can't see throwing good money after bad.
 

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Was it a sailmaker who gave you that advice Cam ?
 

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I had the pleasure of sailing on a boat about a month ago with new sails, it was amazing how close to the wind we could point. The owner said before the new sails he was 15-20 degrees farther from the wind.
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Discussion Starter #8
From what I've seen, what these places call "good condition" I call blown out but still in the shape of a triangle. But I like nice sails. You will always get your money's worth out of new sails unless you sell the boat right after. I can't see throwing good money after bad.
That's what worries me. I like nice sails too... and I expect to get more than a year's life out of them!

Having spent $1,000 on this thing already I could put this down to experience (sometimes a free sail isn't free!), but a new main is going to cost +$2,000 where a second-hand swap-over should be less than half that.. although a new sail will be far, far easier to organise.

Was it a sailmaker who gave you that advice Cam ?
Yes, it was - a visiting sailmaker from NZ who had no interest in the sails other than wanting the boat to go as quickly as possible, since he happened to be crewing for me in the Regatta that day. ;)

He pointed out two major faults with my main - one is that the new panel I had inserted to raise the height of the sail wasn't stitched properly (by Doyles) and is wrinkling the panels either side; the other is that the bottom foot or so was braced incorrectly and should be cut out and replaced - oh, and the leech wasn't double-stitched so the leech line is starting to wear through in places. It looked to him like (and probably was) a rush job.. "get it out the door" "we're too busy right now to do it properly" "he won't even notice" :mad:

Given that the cloth is ok, he suggested a second-hand sail simply because it would cost more for me to fix it than to buy a 2nd hand sail and sell this one for some else to cut down.

..and my lovely 2nd-hand-bought-with-the-boat kite is getting a little thread-bare.. :(
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Discussion Starter #9
I had the pleasure of sailing on a boat about a month ago with new sails, it was amazing how close to the wind we could point. The owner said before the new sails he was 15-20 degrees farther from the wind.
Yeah, yeah, I know.. rub it in... :rolleyes:
 

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Cam.

A jib I might not have an issue buying used. Especially if like faster, found, one can get a used jib from say a J105 fleet. They do there 25-50 tacks with the thing, then out it goes. So from a probably not as performance oriented raceing as you and I do, along with some light cruising, you can still get plenty of use from the Jib, even if slightly small. I know a number of folks with 40' boat that get used farr 40 jibs. Used very little vs what they want, yeah a bit smaller, but from there stand point, plenty of life left for half the cost of new.

A main on the other hand, seem to get thrown out when well worn! So I personally am not sure you could get a main used, cut, and make it work per say vs just going new! I would just go for the new one if you have time to wait etc.

any way, my 02 on this.

Marty
 

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I have bought used sails before. If I were you I would buy from bacon sails. There located in Annapolis but they ship. I have bought from them before and got a storm sail that was practically new, all the stitching looked new not a single wrinkle in the cloth, the hanks were shiny. Speaking of which i need to get a new main, the marina I kept my boat at up until the last year seems to have misplaced mine I have called them trying to locate it but alas no luck so i am in the same metaphorical boat as you.
 

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Just noticed you aren't in north america so scratch bacon sails off your list but I am sure you have a used sails dealer that is good over there. If not i have heard that lee sails makes good sails that are decently priced and from where you are located shipping wouldn't be awful either.
 

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I'm considering buying a sail from Bacon Sails, but it is really hard to evaluate condition from their tiny blurb. What I primarily want to know about is sail shape, and what they primarily write about is fabric staining. Shipping the sail across the country and back will cost close to $100, so I don't want to make a mistake.

How have others found their experiences to be with sails that they purchased there? For a sail that says "Very Good" was the shape also very good? You could still get the draft ahead of the center of the sail, and the draft wasn't too deep? Also, do they negotiate pricing at all?

The only large source for used sails in Seattle was Second Wave, and they've stopped handling sails. The sail that I'm looking for also isn't a common size.
 

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Shipping the sail across the country and back will cost close to $100.
at least. If it's not too heavy, you'll be under $100.


How have others found their experiences to be with sails that they purchased there? For a sail that says "Very Good" was the shape also very good? You could still get the draft ahead of the center of the sail, and the draft wasn't too deep? Also, do they negotiate pricing at all?
They don't look at shape. Period. They look at material, stitching, and staining to get an idea of how they were used. I'm sure they'll take a reasonable offer, never hurts to ask.

I was in the market for a #4 headsail (storm jib) when racing and a reef and a #3 was too much. Bacons had one. I asked for photos, it looked like it was cut down from a larger main. No worries, I picked it up and tried to hoist it on my boat, the luff they listed was 5/32 tape, it was actually 3/16, didn't fit. They're in annapolis, my boat is in Solomons (1.5 hours away). 3 hours on the road and a full refund, the day was a wash. I think the sail would've been ok with another tape on it, but that's another $100.

Something as simple as that can waste a lot of time and money. I would only buy a used chute online and even then, you have to ask yourself, 'why are they selling it if it's that good'? There must be something wrong with it. Occassionally you can get a great deal, but that's the exception.........not the rule.

If you're looking for economic sails talk to your local rep. Or even email Bacons, they also cut sails. You won't win a regional champ w/ em, but they'll get you around the course just fine.
 

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I've bought two chutes used and online, both were asymmetrical North Sails gennakers. I think they likely lived on a cruising boat for 10 years but were never used. Eventually someone sold the boat, then a year later they found the sail in their garage and sold the sail. I got good deals both times.

A friend got great deals on some sails at Second Wave back when they sold them. A storm jib and #1 for $350 combined, both were in barely used condition and still had a nice shape to them. Second Wave didn't have the sail that I wanted anytime in the last year, and has stopped handling sails as of 2 months ago. Sadly they are likely to be closing soon, they've lost their lease and last I heard they hadn't found a new spot.

I'm looking for a #3 for my Pearson for when the furling genoa is too much sail. I hate flying a rolled up headsail, I'd rather change sails at the dock. I have a feeling that a 100% would end up living on my boat most of the winter. In the end I may end up buying a new sail just to make sure that I get a sail that fits and is cut for my needs.
 

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I'm looking for a #3 for my Pearson for when the furling genoa is too much sail. I hate flying a rolled up headsail, I'd rather change sails at the dock. I have a feeling that a 100% would end up living on my boat most of the winter. In the end I may end up buying a new sail just to make sure that I get a sail that fits and is cut for my needs.
Alex we were in the same boat this time last year.. only our 'jib' was undersized and getting tired. We scoured the onlines and used sails bins everywhere looking for a decent fit. Did find a couple of boats with similar dimensions, but, looking at the costs, shipping, the question marks you're entertaining now, we decided to buy new from a local loft. Quite happy with the result. We've kept the undersized, tired jib on board and will 'change down' if conditions warrant, I'm with you in the 'no partial rolls' page - esp beating.
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Discussion Starter #17
A main on the other hand, seem to get thrown out when well worn! So I personally am not sure you could get a main used, cut, and make it work per say vs just going new! I would just go for the new one if you have time to wait etc.
After making some enquiries, it seems that the second-hand sail joint around here has shut up shop after 32 years and shipped all their stock to Sydney!! :eek: :(

I'm going to see a sailmaker today (not the bunny I've been using.. another one) about getting the luff curve cut out of my headsail, so I'll ask him for a quote on a new main..
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Seems I underestimated how much a new main might cost: $3,230.00 including short battens and three reefs. Yee..OUCH!! :eek:
 

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How big of a main do you have? with that cost, I am going to swag 250-300sq ft? That would be a big boy!

Marty
 

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Marty: note that he is in Australia. Even though the exchange rate is close these days there might be other factors that make sail prices pretty different.

Classic30: Get a couple of quotes. Quotes on sails from lofts in Seattle have varied by 100% for me. Recommendations on fabric and features (types of battens, depth of reef, etc) have varied quite a bit as well.

There is one sail that has the right size and shape for my boat on Craigslist, but the seller seems to be ignoring phone calls and email (aka flakelist). I'll probably end up with a new sail, one that will match the new genoa that I bought in June.
 
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