Sails: Owner and Sailmakers Opinions - click here to add to this discussion RE: Sails

From: Kent Gardam, Foghorn Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
Subject: Sails in general, chutes in particular

My S33 came with a set of lightly used 1997 Sobstad Genesis sails that have seemed pretty decent in the two years we've had the boat. I've been really pleased with the two #1's, especially the light #1 and the main seems pretty fast once we learned to trim it. But now I'm starting to think about replacing the chute so that we can have some of that good crinkley noise that makes the other boats jealous. I 'm looking for an all-purpose chute maybe at its best downwind in light to medium air. My existing chute can cover the heavier ranges. My local sailmaker that I've used successfully for fifteen plus years sold the business to another local guy last year and now that guy has decided to affiliate with North (for whom he had previously worked). Nothing against North in particular (except I haven't been impressed with the speed of 3DL gennies over the years) but I've always felt more at ease with dealing with an individual rather than a corporation. The loft is recommending a "2S", a medium runner with max apparent wind of 13K and made of AirX600 (sort of a 0.5 ounce equivalent but supposedly more durable).

From: Norm Dean, Whacko Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails in general, chutes in particular

We have had success with UK for the working sails and Banks for the kites. Doyle has also been good for us with kites.

UK has worked with most of the boats here in Western Long Island Sound and know the boat well.

From: James Gallacher, Celeritas Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails in general, chutes in particular

I'd call Either Matt Baldwin or Kerri Klingler at UK in City Island New York. They've done a great job with the Soverel sails. Also, the chute North is talking about sounds about right, a runner will give you the most bang for your buck on windward leeward courses. Regarding asyms - the Soverel doesn't really generate quite enough apparent wind for it to be practical. I'd go as far as to say that it's almost pointless on a boat that rates higher than about 30 PHRF (although the shapes are getting better).

North makes great sails if you can afford them.

From: Peter d'Anjou, x-Gryphon Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails in general, chutes in particular

I have a new AirX chute made by Haarstick. Erik Will [Bushwacker] also uses Haarstick. I'm happy with it.

One reason why an asym might not be optimal is that unless you are doing triangular course, the sovs best point of sail is not reaching.

I've been thinking about an asym for a while and the Quantum boys claim their recent designs are always faster, even the downwind asyms, than a symmetric chute because the entry and exit angles can be tailored.

From: Al Johnson, Pegasus Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails in general, chutes in particular

The boat that was the all-around hot boat in PHRF in Seattle for several years and generally horizoned everyone was a Pacific-built Soverel named Pakalolo. They had all Quantum (formerly known as Sobstad) sails.

On Pegasus (1985 Soverel-built) we've just changed from North to Quantum and have bought a new Quantum paneled Kevlar #1, and a new Dacron main for this spring. The North 3DL main and 3DL #1 we had seemed to be very fast when new, but structurally fell apart way too fast. (The #1 ripped in half 3 times in two seasons - in 16 years of racing I'd never torn a #1 before that.) The 0.6 oz poly chute we got from North seems to hold up pretty well after we demanded that they sew all the glue-only seams. (Fifteen feet of one of the glue-only seams blew out in 15 knots of breeze.)

From: Jerry Kedziora, x-Zot Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
RE: Sails in general, chutes in particular

When I bought my boat three years ago they came with Schurr Sails. I believe at one time he was a S-33 national champ. I think they are located in Florida.

The sails were pretty used so I started replacing them with North. I have a North #1 3DL that after two seasons still has great speed and great shape. For upper moderate to heavy I bought a North #3 3DL. This sail has been just great.

Last year I bought a North AP .6 poly, this has been very fast and this year I just bought a North VMG. I have not used it yet. It's suppose to be great for reaching.

I have always had great service from North. I don't buy from the corporation I buy from the individual at North. The Chicago loft is were I go and the guy I talk to is Perry Lewis.

I was going to buy an A-kite but I was talked out of it. I think that on windward-leeward courses a conventional kite is the way to go for our boats because you can sail very deep and still go fast.

Next year I'm going to buy a runner and a main and I will probably buy from North based on the results that I have gotten in my boat with their sails.

As far as price. I have always been able to negotiate price. There are ALOT of sailmakers around usually looking for business in fall. If you tell them that XYZ sail maker has also quoted this usually gets North and maybe every one else to sharpen their pencils.

From: Richard Jones, Outrageous Date: Thur, 21 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sailmaker

Outrageous was second at nationals on Long Island Sound (Yea! Eric was first).

I have all used Mark Ploch, Doyle Sails Long Island. I have always been happy with the sails and also service. I especially have always been happy with their spinnakers Give Mark a call.

Doyle City Island, 225 Fordham St., Bronx, NY 10464
Tel: (800) 237-4453, Tel: (718) 885-2255, Fax: (718) 885-0813

From: Dave McClatchy, Let's Dance Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails

Well guys, I have taken the plunge and purchased an asym from Quantum. First of all, they have done a lot of testing (wind tunnel and on the water) with the owner of an IMS 50 and have found the asym to be faster on all points. Second, MORC, where I will do allot of racing allows the use of asym and symmetrics on the same boat in the same race; PHRF of the Chesapeake has also decided to go this way and it looks like the will be little or no penalty.

It seems to me that almost any boat sails best in light at hot angles downwind and in that scenario I'm hopping the asym will live up to the hype and be faster. We intend to articulate the pole aft so the range of the chute will be from approx. 65 to 70 degrees to perhaps 120 to 130 degrees. We will also carry a 1/2 oz. symmetric all purpose plus a 3/4 oz. runner.

I'll keep you posted

From: Mark Yancey, Manhattan Magic Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails

Well here is an unabashed promo for our guy! My partner, Troy, is a Banks loft and he has done a lot of sail research on the S-33. Not only is he involved in one now, but he has had one before ( # 118). We would like to think that we have a leg up on the S-33 thing.

Give him a call for your sail needs, Banks Sails Gulf Coast 228-374-7777 or

From: Philippe Oulhen, IXO Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails

I'll try to bring my stone here for this subject. First, I have to confess that I am working for North Sails as a dealer for the province of Quebec ... My boat, IXO is kept on the lake Champlain, NY. I have the boat for only one season but before I was sailing on the same boat and supplying the sails for 2 seasons. Last year, I ordered a new 3DL main TF (taffeta) and a S2 kite in Poly .6oz.

I choose the .6 poly for the longevity, the stiffness that suit well a light boat and the fact that on the lake it is mostly flat water. I think that an AIRX (600 or 650) will be lighter and more stable on the chop but after few seasons Nylon absorb more water than polyester. Try to avoid, for this application, the ''glue only". The S2 mold is the most appropriate for upwind-downwind races.

My next one will be an asymmetrical type A5 or A3, more for heavy air running (very stable but tricky to jib) and light/medium reaching. Obviously more a sail for distance racing. Even if the A sail is faster you will not be able to play the shift and tactic like an S sail. On the Soverel 33, the longer SPL (spinnaker pole length) than J, is an advantage for A sail. That's were the carbon pole make even more sense (you will carry the pole lower and the downhaul will apply much more compression). The detailing of the tack-line (on the sail) and guys are another key.

For my main, I asked the designer to make it more on the flat side and I am very happy with this.
I can sail with lots of leech tension but right after a tack you have to take care of keeping some power. Also, this kind of main combine well with specific genoa shape (I have a #1 3DL and #2 panel Kevlar taffeta). I wanted to keep the same sail for racing as well as cruising with the family, that's why I went with the Taffeta option and even allslip slides. I also like the 2 full battens + 3 tapered leech, that help to hold the leech profil for few years.

If you are interested, just ask your North dealer to contact me and I will give them the Order number to get the design and production card.

I am looking forward to learn more things from the group.

From: Johnny Smith, x-Wild Thang Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails

I am an agent for Neil Pryde Sails Int. and of coarse I have all NP sails on my boat (S33 Wild Thang). We have done very well in bringing home Silver in almost every race entered. I also have the pleasure of crewing for other boats with sails from other lofts. UK, Neil Pryde, Doyle, Sobstad, North and Schurr all make great sails. The key is if the sails are measured to fit your boat they will be fast and if you want to stay competitive keep your inventory updated. It takes me 3 to 4 hours to measure a boat and sometimes I will several trips to the boat.

Four year old sails are slow. It doesn't matter who made them. I can tell if my boat is not performing by the reduction of boat lengths I have on Richard J. at the finish. "(Pun intended)". Seriously guys if you do not have an updated sail inventory bring the wine and cheese to the race coarse because you are not going to be racing your just cruising.

[I guess my focus was unclear. When we are on the race coarse we have fun and that is what counts. I was suggesting to Kent and everyone that it is best to purchase sails local so that the sails fit your boat because not 2 Soverels are alike. We have funny saying here on Lake Norman "If you don't read the Instructions You didn't come to race." That is what I meant as for the wine and cheese. Note that my active sail inventory is 2,4,4,6 & 6 years old. I guess I am the pot calling the kettle black. J.S.]

As for Spin. Fabric, Airex 500 is all you need. We had it in 25 knots at 125 degrees with a 8" hole from a stanchion and it did not fail. The 500 only comes in white and cost a bit more than 600 & 700 but is well worth the cost.

Check us out at
Johnny Smith, SMA/Performance Sail
Of: 704-412-4829, Fx: 704-412-2333, Loft:704-412-2333, H: 704-489-0596

From: Paul Jeka, Santana Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002
Subject: RE: Sails

I have been working with North Sails to bring "Santana" up to speed. Since the 1st race on Lake Norman, back in November 2000 , North has been instrumental in the development and service of my sail inventory. I find the sails light, fast and durable. The beauty of the 3dlx product it North's ability to exactly duplicate a fast design. As materials used in production, design and manufacturing techniques advance, it's easy to implement these factors into an already proven shape. This allows for product improvements between sail replacement. For example, my AP / #1 which was new for November 2000 , is still in great shape and has been used more than any of my inventory. Recently Steve Benjamin and I sat down and laid down the plans to supplement this sail with a Light #1. Since the AP is still very fast in it's conditions, we wanted something very specifically designed for light air. (down in the bag at 8-10 true) So using Steve's excellent knowledge of North's product line options, we came up with a Carbon Light #1, using a lighter film and the use of carbon fiber where appropriate. All of this was achieved while utilizing the same proven fast shape designed by Chris Williams one year earlier.

Additionally the .6 poly kite has performed excellently and is not even under consideration for replacement, after about 50 races.

The service provided by North has been outstanding, with the help of North's Jersey Shore loft for mid-season repairs. Ron Leneve has been extremely accommodating and really goes out of his was to ensure that you are back up and running for your next race, including overnight repairs at the local regatta's. Not to mention the help of the facility in South Florida.

North Sails and Steve have really helped with Santana's program.

From: Al Johnson, Pegasus Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002
Subject: RE: Used Sails

There was a question about used sails a couple of days ago, and I wanted to respond since I've gone that route several times. Based on some expert advice, an article I read, plus my own experience -
1) Don't buy used light-air sails - by design they are pretty fragile, and used ones have very likely been carried in too much breeze and are stretched as a result.
2) Don't buy used sails for the sails that you are going to have up 90% of the time. Presumably you are buying used sails for financial reasons - you want to put your money into having good sails that are going to be using most of the time, and save money on the rarely used sails.
3) The logical result of #1 and #2 above is to buy used heavy air sails that you aren't going to be using that often, but when you need them, you really need them. (Assuming that you live someplace that is mostly light to medium air.) This way, the used sails that you have slightly diminished performance from aren't up that much of the time, and when they are, the race isn't so much about raw boat speed as it is about minimizing mistakes and wipeouts.

Having said that, where do you get decent used heavy air sails?

I had great luck getting two sails (1.5 oz chute and #3 jib) from boats that had similar critical dimensions and were raced at more of a grand prix level. That means that sails are replaced when they are still much newer than the typical club racer (like most of us). I just picked up a very nice #3 from a boat that changed hands several years ago, and the new owner's rock star worked for a different loft than the boat's existing sail inventory was from. The new owner bought a whole new suit from the rock star, leaving some nearly new sails piled up in his garage. I found out about both of these sails from a local sailmaker who knew the owners.

Specifically, the one-tonners that were popular at the ending days of IOR were about 39 or 40 feet long with fractional rigs (but don't carry penalty poles like we do). I got a great 1.5 oz tri-radial when I first bought my Soverel (1996) from a Davidson 39 one-tonner. The spinnaker girth measurement was just 3" smaller than our class chute (if it is blowing hard enough to need a 1.5, I don't miss the 3" lost area), but the luffs were about 3 feet too long. My sailmaker was able to take out one of the horizontal panels for minimal money, and we wound up with a very serviceable heavy air chute. I know that lots of guys just have an all-purpose chute, but I can tell you that I've been able to get an extra year or two out of my good chute by not putting it up in 20 knots.

The #3 I just got was off a Mumm 36, which is also a fractional. The J on a Mumm is the same as ours, but the luff length is a couple inches longer. A #3 might be built a couple inches short of full hoist, plus the head angle on a #3 is very narrow, so it works to just cut the top 3" off the sail and put in a new ring. (This might not work quite so well with a #1 that was full hoist and had a wider head. Taking a #1 from a Mumm might require trimming down the entire back edge of the sail if you need to shorten the luff.) There is a glut of Mumm 36s on the market now, so you might be able to contact owners of those boats and see if they'd be willing to sell you their second best #3. They aren't going to get any more money for the boat if there are only four #3s with the boat rather than the five he currently has, and he might jump at the chance to sell one of them for $500.

This doesn't mean that you can't get good sails from your own class. Iris Vogel was very helpful to us in selling us a small, very flat #3 that is a good sail for us in very heavy air, and also a good back-up all purpose chute. I also had good luck many years ago with my Tartan Ten in getting an experimental Dynac chute out of the midwest after Dynac was declared illegal by class one-design rules. That sail was likewise discovered by asking my local sailmaker.

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