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Thread: Sailmaker recommendations?

  1. #1
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    Default Sailmaker recommendations?

    I'm getting close enough to building spars for my 20' trailer sailor, that I feel it is probably an appropriate time to find a good sailmaker. I have no intention in straying far from the designer's plan (Gartside). This boat is sloop-rigged, with a furling jib and standard sewn dacron sails. I'm interested in a professional's experience with constructing small boat sails to help fill in details regarding sail fabric, sail battening, sail tracks, sail shape adjustment hardware, furler and perhaps synthetic rigging. No doubt there are many issues to be considered about which I remain clueless. The sails for our current boat were sewn by Eddy and Duff and we have been very happy with these sails. However, for this next boat I would like to have a face to face relationship and so I am looking for a business in the PNW. For what it's worth, my wife has sewn an asym spinnaker for our Fulmar using a Sailrite kit and she will probably do the same for the #170.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    A few suggestions --

    Sailrite - You already know about.
    Really Simple Sails - Michael Storers low-nonsense, good-quality loft. http://reallysimplesails.com/
    Sailmaker's Art - Eugene, OR. Last I knew, they were out near Fern Ridge. http://sailmakersart.com/about_us.php
    Polysail Intl. - Interested in polysail, perhaps as a way to test out a sail shape without spending a ton? http://www.polysail.com/
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Corvallis Oregon
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Hi bheys -

    I think I met you & your Fulmar on Waldo Lake a few years back, but I was thinking you had Gamble & Hunter sails, as do I. I was very happy with Gamble & Hunter, very responsive, patient with my questions, etc. although they are back east so probably no face to face feasible.

    Not sure about Sailmakers Art, the sign on Rt 99 seems to be gone. Maybe Carol Hasse up in Port Townsend?

    I have the Gaff Rig Handbook and Brion Toss' rigging book, if you would like to have a look. I think maybe we are in the same locale?

    Bill in Corvallis

    Let me know if I can be of any assistance, I did sail a gaff rig, although it was long ago.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Sounds like you want to hire someone for the basic suit. If that's so, Carol Hasse, in Port Townsend, made Bucephalus's current sails, and is my first choice anywhere. Not cheap, but her sails are works of art. I will be going back to her for the next suit, too, no matter where I live.

    B's previous suits were made on the east coast by Bohndell (strong but very basic) and Nat Wilson (excellent, but I like Hasse's better).

    Alex

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Thanks for the replies. Bill I'm embarrassed to admit you're correct about the sails. Wow - I have to wonder ... Perhaps I should have morning coffee before I make an entry. I have those two books as well. Thanks. Perhaps 10 years ago I had the good fortune to meet Carol Hasse and have seen examples of her sails. Perhaps I have been under the wrong impression that her customers were all owners of large boats intended for big water.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Things to know:

    Dacron sailcloth comes in various grades and weaves from the major manufacturers. Most weave a variety of high-end fabrics, some for very specific types of sails, others for more general purpose cruising use. They also usually make some lower quality weaves, aimed at the OEM and budget markets. The weaving is what makes cloth expensive, and rather than sophisticated weaving, these budget fabrics get nearly all of their stability from just the fabric's resin coating. As it breaks down (which can happen in a season or two) the fabric loses its stability and the sail loses its designed shape and the ability to maintain that shape. On a 20' sloop the actual cost difference between budget fabric and really good fabric (which may last and maintain its shape much longer) is likely to be a couple hundred bucks or less. It won't affect the labor involved in designing or building the sail, so the price difference is just the cost of the materials. It is worth the extra money to let your sailmaker know that you want really high quality fabric and that you understand that it will cost more.

    The same is true of battens. Cheap battens make for poor sailshape and tend to wear-out the forward ends of the batten pockets, causing pricey little repairs. Specify that you want good quality tapered battens. Again, in the long run it is worth the extra expense and you'll come out ahead.

    A furling jib on a 20' boat is a bit of a compromise. If the boat will be day-sailed and disassembled for storage at the end of the day, that's great. If it will sit in a slip or on a mooring between outings with the furled jib hoisted, then the jib has to have UV protection. This can be a Sunbrella sock that is pulled aloft with the spinnaker halyard, or the protection can be in the form of a protective cloth layer stuck and sewn to the leech and foot edges of the jib. The sock is best for sailing performance (as it's stowed when sailing) but in use between outings they can flap like nobody's business in the wind, shaking the whole boat. The extra layer of sewn-on cloth method on a boat that size is done with a light layer of peel and stick, special UV resistant coated Dacron, sewn along the jib's edges. It's not a heavy as the Sunbrella edge coverings used on big boats, but it's still not so great for performance - especially in light air. On small-ish boats, the best option whenever possible is to drop and stow the rolled jib when not in use. This is usually fairly simple to do with the small drum-and -swivel furlers like the Harkens. If the boat will remain mast-up though, you will need a separate headstay to keep the mast up.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    I second the Carol Hasse recommendation. I have been an extremely satisfied customer - would absolutely use her again if I had a need.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Thank you Todd. All your points and suggestions are well taken. In fact this boat will spend time in a slip as well as being fairly frequently disassembled for trailering. It would certainly be handy to have the option to lower the jib and leave the mast up. I'm going to assume that you are referring to a Harken furler such as this: http://www.harken.com/productdetail....5671&taxid=535 . In the text associated with this product it indicates there is an "optional hoistable ball bearing swivel that can be installed on the headstay". It then goes on to say : "the swivels are independent of the headstay". I wish Harken had a diagram. It's a bit confusing to read "installed on the headstay" followed by the independent statement. Pardon my ignorance. What is the purpose of the stainless flange coming off one of the swivels? How are the swivels mounted?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    perhaps synthetic rigging.
    By all means do this. You can set up the entire rig and maintain it yourself very easily; when you drop the rig for trailering you won't have wire stays trying to chafe through that hard-earned finish on the decks, and if you use dyneema with in a natural color, it actually can look more traditional than a mass of stainless wire and fittings. You can even opt for deadeyes if you like. It's not hard to learn to splice 12-strand if you haven't done this already, and on top of everything else, you'll have much less weight aloft.
    -Dave

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    I suspect you could go down to the heavy-duty version of their smaller furler (part #435). I think the main difference between the two small ones is just that the heavy duty one uses torlon ball bearings inside, instead of the more crush-able nylon ones. I'm not clear on what the deal is with their hoistable thing. I haven't seen one. The ones I have used were built with the drum positioned about 3"-4" or so aft of the boat's headstay. The jib was built with a luff wire sturdy enough to function as the working headstay when sailing, and when hoisting the sail you would tighten the jib halyard enough that the regular headstay would go slightly slack - transferring the load to the jib luff. This kept the jib's luff from sagging and making excessive draft in the sail. The stainless "fins" sticking out of the upper swivel are to prevent the swivel's body from spinning and the sail from catching and wrapping on the headstay when being furled. None of the Harken furlers I ever had used them. The only photo of the furler/headstay setup I have handy are those of my Mini-12, which used the smallest furler. You can just make out the normal headstay a few inches forward of the jib luff. The jib halyard was Kevlar to eliminate stretch and keep the jib luff tight and the boat's headstay slightly slack.



    Our Speedball and Nordica also had the small furlers installed - but without the headstay. The jib luff was the headstay and when the mast was up, so was the jib. The Speedball was just daysailed, so it didn't matter. The Nordica had protective fabric along the edges of the jib, as it was kept on the water.



  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomRose View Post
    I second the Carol Hasse recommendation. I have been an extremely satisfied customer - would absolutely use her again if I had a need.
    Carol has, iirc, retired. But her loft - Port Townsend Sails - is still going strong and providing top quality sails - from what I hear.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    If you are thinking about a roller furler, consider the Ronstan Series 60. It uses a continuous line system. I like this. There is no chance for a rat's nest of line accumulating on the drum. Because the disc carrying the furling line is thin, the sail is closer to the deck when hoisted. Gambell and Hunter sewed a relatively stiff wire into the luff of my jib. The furler has a swivel for the lower end of the rig. A swivel is attached to the head of the sail and is hoisted by the jib halyard.

    This rig has worked nicely for my Vivier/Chase Jewell for the last 3 years.

    The only down side of this system I can think of is the mildly abraisive surface of the furling line. I had to rig a chafe guard where line comes close to the cabin side.


  13. #13
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    Default

    Axel and Frank Schattauer will do right by you. The loft was started by their father, a German-trained sailmaker, in 1966: it's 2nd generation now. They're in Seattle (Ballard), on Seaview, near Shilshole Bay Marina. And they are (or used to be) wooden boat sailors themselves.

    http://www.schattauersails.com



    And the North Sails loft in Seattle does good work too. They're on Northlake in Wallingford.

    https://northsails.com/sailing/locat...tle-washington
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Carol has, iirc, retired.
    NO!! When did that happen!?

    Alex

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    NO!! When did that happen!?

    Alex
    Haven't confirmed, just heard it in passing from a PT friend.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    You've got lots of great west coast recommendations and you should probably take one of them. For any east coasters clicking on this thread, though, I will highly recommend Roy Downs of Downs Sails in Danvers, Mass. The sails come close to indestructible and seem to have a bit of magic to them. Like how can you make a heavy cruising main that takes it's shape easily in F1 wind?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Roy Downs is the best.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Sean Rankins at NW Sails and Canvas did a nice job on my second sail. At my request, Sean sewed the fabric together and let me do all of the rope work and eyelets. He did very nice work for a reasonable price. Sean's loft is in Port Ludlow.

    [IMG][/IMG]

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    I tend to lean towards the sailmaker I have delt with for nearly fifty years, Elliott Pattison Sailmakers in Newport Beach CA. That is not to detract from my friend Carol Hasse who is a darn good wing builder as well! Both are tops in their trade!
    Jay

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sailmaker recommendations?

    Carol makes beautiful sails. I certainly hope that the rumor about her retirement is false.

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