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Barquito
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Discussion Starter #1
I may be in the market for better sails soon. I can't afford new sails, so am looking at the used market. I gather that used sails are sold based on, basically, how crispy they are. The seller really has no idea if the thing is blown out, or not. Would there be any way to get some idea if a sail has lost it's shape w/o putting it on a boat and sailing? Maybe, string it up horizontally on land so each corner has the same tension as on the boat, then look at the depth of draft? Maybe simulate wind pressure by filling with water?
 

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I don't think you can really know until you fly the sail on a boat.

I've primarily bought used sails locally with a 5 day return policy so that I'd have a chance to try them out. That is my preferred way to do it. Sadly the one place with a selection of used sails in Seattle is no longer selling sails, and is likely to go out of business completely in the near future (they've lost their lease). That leaves Craigslist as my primary option.

I've bought two used spinnakers online because I think they are easier to evaluate based on fabric condition. Both were a known shape (they were both North Sails Direct cruising gennakers) which kept me from having to guess how they'd fly.

I'm very hesitant on purchasing used Dacron sails from across the country because of the difficulty in evaluating them and the costs of shipping sails. There are a couple of sails that I've been interested in at Bacon's, but there is $100 in shipping if they don't fly properly. Given that Bacon's pricing doesn't seem that great anyway it's taken them out of the running for me.
 

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I would stay away from used sails. They were given up for a reason. Crunchiness or cleanliness has almost no bearing on shape. It's a better value to save up for a new online sail.

I only ever bought a used sail once and it was in "excellent" condition. It didn't last a season and I cut it up to make duffel bags. I know of blown out 30 YO sails listed by the broker as "excellent". I buy used cars and boats but not used sails.
 

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That is about like me suggesting that you go sail shopping at a used loft in Florida. Costa Mesa is a 20 hour drive one way from Seattle.
 

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The sail consignment store we had here allowed you to try a used sail to check it for fit etc.. you had a week to bring it back for refund. Sadly it's no longer in business..
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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Barquito, unless you just want sails for putzing around, or you get extremely lucky and find a bargain (better luck in Vegas) you might be better off searching for a good price on a less expensive sail and just figuring out a way to pay for them.

There might be some decent used sails to fit you, IF you have a popular model, and IF they are salvaged by a breaker from last year's big storm salvage. Might. But unless you can go check them out, shipping and returns (if it wasn't right) can push the budget into new sail territory very easily.

Filling with water ain't gonna happen unless you've got a little boat in a sunny place, because no one wants that big ugly wet sail to have to dry out after you've done that. Ignoring anything else.

If the resin is gone and the fabric isn't stiff, odds are it is already losing shape. And then that's assuming it is really the right cut for your boat. But if you tend to be lucky, and you don't mind investing lots of time...
 

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islander bahama 24
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Any ideas on unloading the never new 150 off a 40 c&c to my knoweladge never flown the owner replaced it with kevlar when he took delivery of the boat I got it for work done several 5 years ago its been flaked and stowed dry since day one
 

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$100.00 shipping!?!?!?!?

Now THERE'S a rip, indeed!
ast year I bought a 150 Genny and it shipped from PNW to the Chessie for a mere $25 +/-. Bacon;s prices are outrageous for what they show in inventory. www search on Craigslist or e-bay will get you the same for far less. Sure! You take a chance but ya can always request an inspection period and pay the freight back to the seller if he agrees.
A new main for my 27 cost upwards and onwards from $600. For pottering around on the Bay or pleasure sailing near anywhere, I'd gladly pay 1/5 of that for a decent sail. ;) Gonna race or go offshore?? Spend the bux!

just my $.02
 

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$100 round trip (if I don't like the sail and need to return it). That is a guess, not based on me getting a quote from them.

It looks like my estimate isn't far off. FedEx quote for shipping from 21401 to 98115 for a 35lb package is $52.

I've looked quite a bit on eBay. It is a lot more time consuming to search (since there is no standard schema for them to categorize used sails) and many of the sellers are no cheaper than Bacon Sails.
 

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I tried the used sails route via all the usual suspects.. in the end decided it wasn't worth the risk and had UK build me a new headsail last spring.. Quite happy with the result, and with the service. I've already forgotten about the extra bucks ;)
 
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Barquito
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Discussion Starter #12
I really haven't decided if I will go with new or used. But, I guess what my post should have said was, "Wouldn't it be nice if there was some way to objectively get an idea of some basic measurements like depth and position of draft under consistent testing conditions." This is data that would help a lot in purchasing a used sail. I'm guessing the used sailing outfits wouldn't really want to know how bad their sails are... and nobody has come up with any nifty way of testing this.
 

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barquito-
Having objective measurements on a used sail would be meaningless--unless you also knew the same measurements on a new sail. And there the problem is that every loft may be cutting "the same" sails differently, using a different model and of course you know that every loft claims they do a better job and make a physically different and better sail.

So measuring a used sail? That's like measuring a used pair of blue jeans, taken at random. Are they a size 32? So was that a 32 waist when new? Or maybe it was "slim" 30 or "full" 34? All of them are sold as "32". Flat in the butt? Extra roomy? All of them are "size 32" jeans.

Good idea, but given that it is still the rag trade, only rubber rulers can be applied.

Go by the condition of the cloth, if it is still undistorted, unworn, undamaged, then it is still close to what is was when new. Whether that particular cut is optimum, what it was optimized for, even whether it really was for your boat, are all still going to be a guess, unless you've got some kind of documents with it.

(More reasons to take hostages, rob a 7-11, find some other way to just buy a new sail from a reputable source.)
 

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Try having a sail loft look for you. At times the loft can encourage a prospect to purchase a new sail if they have a market for a trade in. I concur with Sabreman used sails don't strike me as a good deal. From what I've seen you 60% of new for a sail that has 50% of its life left.
 

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Superior Sailor
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Given the choice between sailing and not sailing, I would go with the used sail and get out there...

When I got my boat the head sail(s) were in good shape, but the main had seen better days (30 some years ago)... But I wanted to get out there so I bought a HD sewing machine and patched up the holes, relined the leach and resewed most of the seams...First time I took it out I blew the one seam I didn't restich...sailed on headsail alone that weekend...Brought it home ran some more thread thru it and it worked for me all that season...

Last year I bought another main off e-bay...$100 free shipping... It too needed some repair and reinforcement, but was a grade newer (crisper) than my original...I kept it for back up.

2nd or 3rd time out this year I was caught in my first Lake Superior "Squall"... Sure wish I started reefing 20 minutes before the 30-40 knot winds came up...I didn't have my main fully secure and during the squall the head started working it's way up the pole....needless to say the top 4'-6' of the top was shredded beyond repair...

Once the winds calmed down I was able to replace the sail with my "spare" and finish the weekend and the rest of the season for that matter on the "used" e-bay sail...

Does it point as high or run as fast as a new sail would...? doubt full but I don't race so I don't care too much at this point...I was still out there having fun.

Having said all that I don't think I'll be in the market for a $300-$400 "used" sail this winter, but hope to save up the $600 needed for a new sail in my size...

I might be cheap, but I'm sure glad I didn't miss the last two seasons holding out for new rags...
 

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Corsair 24
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buying used sails is time consuming but very rewarding...when cruising we had swaps and stuff and we once got a donated sail that we cut at a canvas loft(not a sail loft) and that worked fine for the rest of that particular trip

look for in addition to crispy yet pliable fabric

"stitching" and quality of stiitching by that I mean what kind of sewing pattern did they use on the panels, leech and luff lines etc...

does the nylon look dry and brittle? if so walk away

clew and tacks?

rust anywhere if using metal?

hanks look good?

etc...many things to look at!

I also try to broaden my searches and not be so specific, look for max luff length and maybe foot but if you serach really specifically you end up short in results sometimes...
 

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oh if you have clubs nearby racers are known to give away sails at very cheap prices...youd be surprised how many cruiser racers go cruising with mylar and kevlar sails...I always ask and the answer is always oh some racer had 20 bags of sails and practically gave this one away to me!
 

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Forget crisp! You can make an old sock rigid by coating it with sizing.
For evaluation, lay it flat on the floor. You can immediately tell if it's blown out by the degree of curl inside the periphery.

Dick
 

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Dick, have you ever met a scoundrel who has bothered to use spray sizing on something the size of a sail?

I suppose it certainly could be done, but anything you can spray on, or iron on, can and will just as easily wash off. The crispness of new fiber, before it has broken down, and before the resin calendaring has worn off, can't be replicated with a can of spray starch. Not for long.
 

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You may want to look and see if you can find a retired Cal 25 sail. The main is slightly smaller, but retired racing sails will have a lot more life than some random sail on the internet.

CAL 25. P25.00 E11.00
Bristol 27 P25.5 E12.2
 
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