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SomeGuy892

Experience Making my own Working Jib and Storm Sail

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I recently completed my own Working Jib and Storm Sail with kits purchased from Sailrite.  I currently have a Main Sail kit on order.  I wanted to share my experience so others considering similar projects have some words to consider from someone who has taken this path before.

For those who are not familiar Sailrite cuts the cloth and provides the necessary supplies and instructions so someone with a pair of scissors and a robust sewing machine can make sails themselves.  In my case I have a late 70's era Kenmore that was highly regarded by the sewing machine maintenance technician who sold it to me.  I purchased the scissors a pair of Gingher knife-edged dressmaker shears from Sailrite.  

I found the whole project to be rather well laid out after thoroughly reviewing the instructions provided by Sailrite.  As I constructed the sails which in this case were for a 16 foot Wayfarer I compared the construction of what I was doing to the existing sails and found the quality of the design provided by Sailrite to be superior with additional leather chaffing protection and reinforcements.

I was very satisfied with the availability of the Sail Designer Jeff Frank to answer questions and provide insight as needed.  Overall I found the experience to be positive and do recommend Sailrites services to others.

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That's good to hear that you are satisfied. Can I ask about the sail shape?  Shape is vitally important and even a discount sail maker will discuss the shape with you.  Were you able to have this type of discussion with Sailrite?

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37 minutes ago, Foolish said:

That's good to hear that you are satisfied. Can I ask about the sail shape?  Shape is vitally important and even a discount sail maker will discuss the shape with you.  Were you able to have this type of discussion with Sailrite?

Yes, they asked the intended use of the sail and customized the sail shape to match.  They also included a specifications document that describes in detail how the sail was cut for reference should I ask for another sail of the same or different shape in the future.  The sail designer Jeff Frank was very accessible for questions (though I suspect this is the off-season) and I am confident that he would have accommodated any customizations I had requested.  Each sail's design was the product of a conversation.  It is important to note that each of the sails I ordered was a custom sail they do have popular sail kits available for purchase on their website where there may not be this level of discussion of sail design.

I am very satisfied with the results of my efforts and look forward to making more sails.  After the Main, I am planning to make a drifter for my Wayfarer and next year a new set of sails for my O'Day 20.  I find the process of building my own sails to be informative and hope it will contribute to my improvement as a sailor.

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I have completed the mainsail and I have to say the main was more technically challenging than the foresails I worked on previously.  The key takeaway which is also stated in the instructions is the importance of sewing as many batten pockets and reef points to the individual sail panels as possible before sewing the panel to the larger sail assembly.  Working with individual panels isn't so bad, but attempting to work on something not near an edge of the larger sail assembly can be a challenge.

 

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Did you use basting tape for all the sewing?

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I checked out the price of an Asym spinnaker just the other day online at Sailrite.  Price came in only about 15% less than ordering one from a local loft. It would be interesting to try sewing one, but with such a little amount difference I'm probably going to go with having someone else do the sewing. 

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I did use basting tape for all of the machine sewing.  It helps to make the sewing possible for someone new to sail construction such as myself as all of the sail panels had a clear mark that identified how much to overlap each panel.  The basting would hold the work in place until I was able to stitch it up.

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On 4/1/2020 at 2:19 AM, ordkhntr said:

I checked out the price of an Asym spinnaker just the other day online at Sailrite.  Price came in only about 15% less than ordering one from a local loft. It would be interesting to try sewing one, but with such a little amount difference I'm probably going to go with having someone else do the sewing. 

Sail construction is not for everyone.  Nor are all sails created equally.  I could get a discount mainsail for my O'Day 20 off Amazon  for $389 plus shipping or I could order a kit to make the sail from Sailrite for $435 plus shipping.  The difference between the 2 sails is substantial with more features and higher quality components.  What I mean to say here is that a mainsail from one Sailmaker is not the same as another mainsail from another Sailmaker.  Before electing to make my own I contacted several Sailmakers and was given many options that I could upgrade my basic sail purchase with.  The Sailrite kits that I purchased came with many of these upgrades already priced into the kit.

I don't mean to suggest that you can't get a good sail from a local sailmaker as they must know their reputation is involved in each sail they make.  I only intend to suggest that all sails are not created equally and I would personally recommend a discussion of the details before making my purchase.

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I put together kits for my Sabre 28 (now sold). I made a main, a jib, and a symmetrical spinnaker. We did discuss shape and design a bit in the beginning of each process. All in all, I was pleased with the sails. I was able to buy the sailrite sewing machine and the jib kit for less than a Quantum sail. Having said that, I know (or assume anyway) there is no way the "kit" jib would have been as good as the Quantum but it was certainly good enough for who made it!

I would do a kit again.

 

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