32-3 sails and compare the 5 Annapolis sail lofts?

Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
I've got a collection of 10 and 20 year old North and Quantum sails and ought to replace at least the old ones and have two questions. Price is a factor, so I'm looking at Dacron and the jib is on a roller.

1. I'm a cruiser in the Chesapeake area with hopes to make it to the Bahamas before too long. The original boat owner was definitely a racer and the older jib is 150%. For you on the Chesapeake with a 32, would you suggest staying with the 150 or go to another size? Folks are going to answer by saying "talk to your local sail loft" and I've already started doing that but not yet had somebody from a loft come to the boat. The reason for posting this question first is because the people I have spoken to are either at two of the lofts or they don't own Ericsons in this area, let alone a 1980s 32.

2. Being in the Annapolis area, we are blessed with no less than FIVE well-known lofts, North, Quantum, Ullman, Bacon, and Chesapeake. North and Quantum are considered to be the better Ford and Chevy sailmakers, in that you know that you will get a good product and they have great warranties. I like Bacon but their backlog is months long and have no experience with either Ullman (great rep but pricey?) or Chesapeake Sails. I already know of people who have had good experience with each of these lofts, so am not asking "Whose sails do you use?"
My question #2 even for the non-area crowd, is what experience or recommendations do you have in comparing the five lofts.
 

GrandpaSteve

Sustaining Member
I probably need new sails as well, by Ullman do you mean Ulmer (UK Sails)? I know that they made sails for Christian Williams former Thelonius (probably not at Annapolis though) and I would talk to them. They also supplied his E-380, Thelonius II. I am interested in UK sails when I finally do get new sails.

I sail with a 150, and will probably get a 130 ish headsail when I get a newer modern shape with a foam luff and whatnot.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I probably need new sails as well, by Ullman do you mean Ulmer (UK Sails)? I know that they made sails for Christian Williams former Thelonius (probably not at Annapolis though) and I would talk to them. They also supplied his E-380, Thelonius II. I am interested in UK sails when I finally do get new sails.

I sail with a 150, and will probably get a 130 ish headsail when I get a newer modern shape with a foam luff and whatnot.
For any TW of 7 or 8 kt, or more, our smaller headsail with three vertical battens that roll in with the sail performs way better than you might think it would based on the % of LP.
There is a picture of ours in my album here. We used a 135 for many many years and finally tired of cranking it in. Admittedly we might look at this differently if we had a lot more open water and could set up the boat and just sail in one direction for an hour or two. :)

The E-32/3 has an easily-driven hull form and you may be pleasantly surprised at how well you can drive to weather with a smaller LP jib.

Edit: note that the "secret sauce" in our 97% jib is a combination of composite material, three vertical battens giving the upper half a useable shape, and that it is full hoist.
 
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Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
Thanks guys for this start. I was kinda wondering about going with something more like the 130-135 that you mentioned.

Steve -
I missed a loft and intentionally left out Cambridge and Meade/Easton. In Annapolis we have:

Bacon https://baconsails.com
Chesapeake https://www.chesapeake-sailmakers.com
North https://www.northsails.com
Quantum https://www.quantumsails.com/en/lofts/quantum-annapolis
Ullman https://ullmansails.com
UK https://www.uksailmakers.com

Of course, having choices is a nice problem to have!
:nerd:
 

GrandpaSteve

Sustaining Member
Thanks guys for this start. I was kinda wondering about going with something more like the 130-135 that you mentioned.

Steve -
I missed a loft and intentionally left out Cambridge and Meade/Easton. In Annapolis we have:

Bacon https://baconsails.com
Chesapeake https://www.chesapeake-sailmakers.com
North https://www.northsails.com
Quantum https://www.quantumsails.com/en/lofts/quantum-annapolis
Ullman https://ullmansails.com
UK https://www.uksailmakers.com

Of course, having choices is a nice problem to have!
:nerd:
When it is time for sails I will be certainly be in Annapolis!
 

Slick470

Member III
I've spoken with the North loft about a new dacron roller furling #2 to live on my furler. So far they have been very helpful and easy to work with, but I haven't put in the order yet. I was recommended to them by the boat I race with that has a full 3Di suite. They are a big and busy loft so my understanding is that you have to stay on top of them on the little details. I'm a bit more of a racer than you seem to be, so I have been more interested in the lofts and products that are geared towards performance or dual racer/cruiser utility so my lean is more towards North, Quantum, Ullman and UK. Ullman has a pretty limited presence in Annapolis but is bigger down in Solomons and I don't think UK actually has a local loft anymore.

For the small lofts, A good friend with more of a cruising focus has used Bacons with good results but currently gets all of his sails from Force 10 sails. The guy there, Matt Simmington has given him great, personal service.

I have been told by a few to avoid Chesapeake Sailmakers, but I have no personal experience.
 

Slick470

Member III
On sizing, I tend to day sail with a 105% jib that has battens but when talking to the north sailmaker, he recommended a sail no smaller than 140% for our Olson to be an all purpose sail. The % will probably be different for your boat, but he mentioned that due to the spreader locations, sheeting angles, and how the sail will interact with the main, 140% was as small as he would recommend for a #2 for optimum efficiency. Just a thought.

Also bigger is probably somewhat better given our lighter winds for most of the season on the Chesapeake.
 
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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
On sizing, I tend to day sail with a 105% jib that has battens but when talking to the north sailmaker, he recommended a sail no smaller than 140% for our Olson to be an all purpose sail. The % will probably be different for your boat, but he mentioned that due to the spreader locations, sheeting angles, and how the sail will interact with the main, 140% was as small as he would recommend for a #2 for optimum efficiency. Just a thought.

Also bigger is probably somewhat better given our lighter winds for most of the season on the Chesapeake.
Local Knowledge Rules!
:)
And, I forgot to mention that the O-34 has (sometimes ignored) short factory tracks on the deck inside the shrouds, and that is what my 'wonder jib' sheets to. If the LP was more, it would sheet to the main tracks, so a 110 or a 120 might be very good too. Repeat: it's the three vertical battens that differentiate it from the older-style full hoist "mule" jib.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
For cruising and informal racing in Annapolis environment, my opinons/observations:

1. 130-140 genoa of medium-lightweight cloth with foam luff. This can be furled small in spring when the winds blow.
A real light-air sail of larger overlap is not as versatile, and we do want to be able to sail in April in 25 knots without changing headsails. (Or at least I do).

2. Some sort of larger free-flown headsail if you like sailing in seven knots of wind in August. (I turn on the engine.)

Dacron is the cheapest and also, interestingly, the longest-lived sail material. The heavier the weight the longer the life.

But I gotta tell you, I really miss a UK Sails Tape-Drive lightweight genoa or equivalent. Sets perfectly, looks cool. And my bulletproof mainsail, of 9.1 ounce Dacron, is great for an offshore gale, but stiff and heavy around the buoys.

As was said, the opinion of a local sailmaker is usually right, especially if you can predict actual usage. Beware that if you mention "racing" a whole new world of potential bankruptcy opens up.
 

mjsouleman

Member III
Moderator
Tin Kicker

I am a cruiser closer to 70 than 60 and also sail the Cehsapeake (Annapolis, South River, Eastern Bay, and Solomn Island areas)
When I purchased Discovery, (1983 Ericson 30+) 5 years ago, she came with a 150% Genoa and mail with a single reefing point.
After completing 5 years worth of upgrades it is overdue time to upgrade her sail plan.

My plans mirror yours in that retirement is right around the corner and off shore is my destination.

I am looking for a sail plan that will give me solo capability for someone my age and physical condition in light (6-16), mild (16-25), and heavy air (> 25).

Would be interested in meeting over a cup/glass to talk

MJS
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
I just had new sails bent on, went with a dacron cross-cut full batten mainsail and a 135% (#2) genoa made from cruising laminate - went with Dimension-Polyant's "Tec" fabric finished with white taffeta. Sails made by Doyle in Seattle, who came in quite a bit cheaper than Ballard Sails, our local loft. This may have been due to mismeasuring / misquoting by the rep...but I won't complain. I was able to carry full sails upwind in 12-15+kts this last weekend and while I may have been slightly overpowered, the full battens meant dumping the main entirely was not an exercise in how hard I can flog my sails.

The genoa is bi-radial construction, which is supposed to be more favorable when it comes to roller-reefing, which I plan to do a fair bit.

Happy to send you more details if you'd like.

PS -

I tried to get quotes from Ullman, North, and Quantum - heard nothing back from any of them. I've RACED with the rep from Ullman around here and know him personally even, I think he just falls asleep when he gets to his PC. Our local loft Ballard Sails is extremely responsive and every job gets the white glove treatment. Doyle Sails' rep was also extremely responsive to me, and when the time came to bend them on, the rep personally came to the boat at 6PM on a Friday night and spent the evening helping me get things ready before the race the next day. Really great customer service, and the sails look good to boot.
 
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bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
....heard nothing back from any of them.
All other things being equal, ^^^this is the tie-breaker.

Just about any sailmaker can make sails that fit and have the right shape. Just about all of them have access to the same sources of fabric (Contender, Bainbridge, Dimension/Polyant...) Most of the details (fabric choices, panel-pattern, etc) can be worked through with any of them. Some of them will have proprietary differentiators that you may care about - North 3DI/3DL, or UK TapeDrive, for example - but finding a sailmaker that will answer your questions, return your calls and continue the "relationship" after the check has cleared, they're worth their weight in gold.

I'd note (personal experience) that price seems to be more correlated with brand-name than with quality and service. The big-name lofts (where frequently you're working with a salesperson rather than an actual sailmaker) tend to be expensive, and may or may not put value in the relationship beyond the transaction. The local lofts - where you may be talking to the person who will actually be designing and/or building your sail) - in my experience - tend to be less money AND better service.

I generally prefer Ullman, but largely because I know the people at the Newport Beach loft and they answer their phone when I call. On the opposite side of the spectrum, when I wanted a spinnaker built I reached out to North, Quantum and a few others to get quotes, and none of them bothered to return my call. I even went to the boat show specifically to track down the North guy, had him fill out all the info for a quote, and STILL never heard from him.

The UK guy up here actually did return my call, answered all my questions, but then talked me *out* of going with UK because all their production was outsourced/overseas and he had no control over what they built, he was just the order-taker and delivery guy. He's since gone independent, primarily because he thinks there is a value in customer service, and next time I need a sail he's where I'm going first.

ymmv...
Bruce
 
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bolbmw

Member III
When I purchased Discovery, (1983 Ericson 30+) 5 years ago, she came with a 150% Genoa and mail with a single reefing point.


MJS

I am happy with the sail plan on my 30+, with some exceptions. I have a 130% genoa which is on the furler almost all of the time, and I have a 95% high cut jib for when the going gets tough (25kn+ sustained.) My main is fully battened with two reefs, with traditional reefing hooks near the mast. Reefing can be done single handed, and with two reefs in the main + the furled jib (or the 95%) the boat handles heavier wind excellent. For offshore I would want a third reefing point. For downwind, I have the original symmetrical spinnaker.

The exceptions, or improvements I would make to my plan are:
- Have a solid downwind option. My spinnaker is old, small and is rarely used. For my sailing, I should have bought a symmetrical or gennaker, with a sock. When the wind picks up, the 130 genoa poled to windward works excellent and white sails are a solid option. I need something for light air.
- Eliminate friction during reefing (smaller diameter line, low friction rings at the reefing cringles would help. My reef controls are oversized.
- My 95% uses Challenge 8.62HA Marblehead cloth. A lighter cloth at the sacrifice of durability would make the sail more well rounded (think short tacking and sailing the boat like a dinghy.) Because changing the headsail is a PITA, it would be nice for this sail to be more well rounded and useful to leave on the furler longer.

I bought my 95% from Precision Sails, which is local to me, but all of their sails are manufactured elsewhere (which is apparently true for nearly all lofts, according to them.) I was happy with them and would purchase again.
 
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Navman

Member III
I am looking to replace my main next year as a part of my 1 big project per year upgrade. I will be sailing into the Annapolis sailboat show this fall to get quotes from the sail makers there and to take advantage of the discounts being offered at the show. I will have a list of sail weight, reef points, batten configuration etc. to give the rep's so I can get quotes with equal spec's. I will do the jib the following year. I had been sailing with a 130 all of last year and decided to put my 150/155 back on due to light winds this summer. I think I will be putting the 130 back on as in my opinion it is more versatile over a broader range of conditions and easier to handle. Performing the sail change only take me about 1/2 hour doing it solo of which most of the time is spent folding the sail being put away so it's not a big issue. That being said it is still a pain and it does detract from getting out there sooner.
 

mjsouleman

Member III
Moderator
bolbmw/Navman,

Always good to get advice from another 30+er. Navman, I'll see you at the Annapolis show. Thanks for the tip to write up the specs ahead of time.

MJS

 

Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
All -

I really appreciate the time to share your wisdom. I have years on workboats but selecting sails is relatively new to me.

Navman - The Oct 10-14 show is fast approaching and is promising but I'd like to have something in the bag by then. (sorry bad pun) I've borrowed your idea to more formally have a checklist to talk to the lofts when I can get to them. Right now, everything is a rush at work to get to retirement on August 30 so the boat is on the back burner for two more weeks.

Christian - Really like the idea of the foam luff. I do know the difference that would make on the leading edge of an airfoil. And I do keep hearing that the 130-140% range is the sweet spot.

Fwiw, while I am sure they have a lot of happy customers I've now heard of three people having issues with Chesapeake so they are off my list. One was how the sail was cut and two were about having to complain to get assistance after delivery. There's just too much competition here to have that worry.

I've dealt with dacron in light airplanes for 50 years and while am doubtful about the condition of my main set, Bacon currently has my existing sails for exam and recommendations. They recommend Challenge Fastnet Dacron for a cruising sail material. Any thoughts? http://www.challengesailcloth.com/fastnet/

With thanks!
 

Brad Johnson

Member II
I got a new main and 135 Roller furler 3di Nordac sails from North this season. I am very happy with them. I think and hope this is a big advancement in sail shape and duribility .and the price was not that much more than a high grade dacron sail. If you go with a dacron sail the cloth is VERY important. Cheaper cloth may seam like a good deal but after a few seasons you will be right back to where you are now. Save up and buy the best , its the cheapest in the long run.
 

eknebel

Member III
" I like Bacon but their backlog is months long "

I just purchased a 150%with foam reefing luff from Bacons. Gary gave great service, and the sail was ready in exactly 4 weeks to the day, as promised. it has good shape and was $2000.
 

mjsouleman

Member III
Moderator
Ullman Quotes just in


135% Dacron Navigator Genoa w/ Sunbrella UV and foam luff
2,444
20% Discount: 1,955

135% Dacron Endurance Genoa w/Sunbrella UV and foam luff
2,844
20% Discount: 2,275

Dacron Navigator Mainsail w/ One Row of Reefs $2,834
2,834
20% Discount: 2,267

Dacron Endurance Mainsail w/ One Row of Reefs
3,080
20% Discount: 2,464



Additional Row of Reefs: $133
20% discount: 110


Full Baten Upgrade: 166
20% discount: 133

MJS
 
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