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Member Since 09 Jan 2004
Offline Last Active Apr 28 2016 11:24 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: How much does a sailmaker make on sails

21 April 2016 - 03:46 AM

It seems like a good retirement gig. Better than slogging around showing cars or houses on weekends.

That's what I thought...


These are actual conversations:


"You don't understand, I own a big boat and I sail in 85 kts frequently." (this is a no shit real statement)

"Cool, what is it?"

"It's a Columbia 26, and I really need the third reef on my main."

"Yeah, ok.  BTW, have you ever had  your instruments calibrated?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, because 85 kts is kind of hard to find here in northern CA except on the freeway."

"are you calling me a liar?"




"If you owned a sailboat, you'd know what I was talking about."

"Actually, I do own a sailboat."

"I'm not talking about one of those dinghys, I mean a real sailboat."

"Yeah, I know. I have a real sailboat."

"Well. I'm not an internet sailor, I like to sail mine in the ocean, have you taken yours anywhere?"

"Does Hawaii work for you?"




Client brings in #4 and #5 jibs. Wants kevlar PSA for chafe protection 30" high along the bottom ON TOP of an insignia cloth base layer. Then he gets hot on a teflon foot tape. He's another big breeze aficionado, but you can seriously hide from pirates behind these things. WTF, it's only money, except the sails are now rather difficult to fold.


Seriously, I could write a book on the weird crap I've heard. 

In Topic: Rain maker found

20 April 2016 - 09:39 PM

Every once in awhile one of you guys really cracks me up.


Maybe he was talking about one of those dudes that used to roam around Oklahoma  in wagons selling snake oil and doing rain chants.  He did say Rain maker, which is kind of a pronoun.

In Topic: Sailing around the world in a San Juan 24

20 April 2016 - 09:34 PM

As the former racing buoy manager for the SF Bay YRA, I spent 7 years chasing wayward buoys. I've had them turn up on Stinson beach 50 miles north, and Pacifica, 15 miles south. ALL of these buoys demonstrated better sailing abilities than Rimas. 28 days and he's under 300 miles away...f me blind.

In Topic: How much does a sailmaker make on sails

20 April 2016 - 09:15 PM

yeah it sucks but it still beats a lot of other jobs out there.

Really? I tried it after I retired. I ended up hating 90% of the people I met. I refuse to be talked down to by the owner of a fucking Catalina, Beneteau, or Hunter of any size. 

In Topic: How much does a sailmaker make on sails

20 April 2016 - 09:04 PM

How many retired sailmakers have you met? Not ones who have moved on but ones who worked their whole lives in sailmaking and lived to retire.
Yep, there are a good deal more salemakers than sailmakers. When I ran a membrane facility folks called me a sailmaker, I would correct them and say I was a sail manufacturer.

There is generally a 35-50% margin in sails (the difference between cost and retail price). Some you make a good amount (spinnakers) and some you make very little (mains). No one ever sells a sail at list price. Generally the lofts I have been involved with look to make 15% or so. Commissions vary and it is usually a variable scale Sell a sail at list, make a 10-12% commission (did I mention no one sells at list?) Sell a sail at 10% off maybe 8-10% commission. Sell a a sail at 15% off and make like 5-7% commission (probably most common). Sell a sail at 20% off (not uncommon) and make like 4%.
It is a shitty business. You sail most weekends, not always on good rides, and sometimes that is for money. However loft owners discourage to outright get pissed off if you take money to sail. BTW we were sort of discouraged from helping out on the floor because if you weren't on the phone you weren't selling. Even doing that side of the biz I didn't refer to myself as a sailmaker, rather a sails/sales consultant.


This is the most accurate answer.  The base salary tends to run around $15k annually, with the commissions as specified above. The commission is based upon the margin, and most manufacturers have been driving the margin down so the salesmen/women are getting screwed.  Where you're really getting ass raped is in service. Labor costs run around $18/hr on average, and you're billed at around $85-90 here in CA. Most service people can't afford rent on what they make repairing sails.  I will tell you this:  SOMEONE is making a shit ton of money.  It just isn't the sales or service people.