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New Sail Sticker Shock

Discussion in 'The Cherubini Hunters' started by lingerfeltja, Nov 9, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. lingerfeltja


    Joined Jun 4, 2004
    46 posts, 7 likes
    Hunter 37 Cutter
    US St. Joseph, Michigan
    I have been gathering quotes for a new set of cruising sails for my 1982 H37C. I am suffering sticker shock. Has anyone had any success purchasing used sails? Reconditioning?

    I also need a new dodger and bimini. I will be grateful for any advice or recommendations in both areas. Thank you.


    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  2. Simon Sexton

    Simon Sexton

    Joined Nov 1, 2017
    276 posts, 98 likes
    Catalina 25 Tall Rig
    Valiant US Watergate Marina, Kemah, TX

    Oh how I do know the familiarity of the pain of purchasing new sails...I went out to look for a new jib for my Catalina 25 Tall Rig. I didn't want anything fancy, just a furling 135 genoa like the one that came with the boat when I bought her. But I was in for a surprise. Even used jibs were going to cost me at the least $1,000, and they still needed repair. So instead of searching for a new sail, I took my original jib to Quantum to have it resewn and retrimmed; when they brought it back, it wasn't a shiny or stiff as a new sail, but looked and performed a thousand times better. The repair cost me $900, even having had the sunbrella removed from the luff. As for the dodger and bimini, things heavily depend on how popular and mass-produced they are for your specific boat. For example, I've only seen one Catalina 25 with a bimini in my whole life, and that one looked like the folding cover on a baby stroller. Make sure that if your builder (in your case, Hunter) offers the correct fittings and dimensions that fit your vessel, and that they also offer your preferred color and GET IT RIGHT WHEN THEY SHIP IT. My Skipper ordered a specific shade of green for his dodger for his Almand 31. When it arrived, it was a ridiculously noticeable shade of darker green, and he sent it back with a full refund. It took them THREE TRIES to get the color right and FINALLY after five months of waiting for the correct shade, he received the dodger that matches his boat, Envie. Thus, be VERY careful and specific if you order online, because you may want your bimini to be blue, but they'll then assume "Royal" blue, or "Navy" blue, or even a blue you've never heard of before in your life! Now, if there's a place close to you where you can walk in and purchase a dodger and bimini, that is one heck of a privilege. I also don't know about Michigan, but in Kemah there are sailmaker shops who can actually custom design a bimini or dodger specifically designed to fit your boat the way you want it, where you want it; this, however, often costs a fortune, usually around 4,500K for one or the other. If you look online at a bimini and dodger, together they'll cost you around $2,000 plus shipping. Another thing to worry about is installation; I once spent five whole days installing one dodger because the boat owner had fitted his companionway entrance with extra instruments, which conveniently happened to be in the exact spot where the snap-button bases were to be drilled and riveted into the fiberglass. So I had to cut out and remove the instruments, install the dodger buttons, and then refit the instruments (depth finder and compass) on the binnacle.

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  3. Roland5048


    Joined May 12, 2004
    1,093 posts, 333 likes
    Hunter Cherubini 30
    US New Port Richey
    Just had a new main built for my h30 by Doyle. Just a hair under $2000. Looks and performs great but still... I feel your pain.

  4. Sailm8


    Joined Feb 21, 2008
    1,529 posts, 192 likes
    Hunter 29.5
    US Punta Gorda
    Just ordered a new 110 furling jib from Mack sails for $1600. Will wait for next summer for a new main. My bimini is being made at for $830. Waiting for delivery for both.

  5. Parsons


    Joined Jul 12, 2011
    603 posts, 197 likes
    Catalina 36
    US Bay City, MI
    Just finished paying off a new tri-radial main for my C36 tall. It was a multi-thousand dollar pain! I'd be concerned about buying used, particularly for traditional cruising boats like ours. I'm thinking about previous owners of the sails. If I was buying cruising sails for a J-boat, then I'd be buying three year old racing sails from a go-fast guy that is very particular. The cruisers I know are invariably cheap, so they will try every re-cut and fix, then wait two more seasons until the sails are worthless before selling. Like buying a used car - get the three-year lease return, not the 200K mile junker.

  6. Kings Gambit

    Kings Gambit

    Joined Jul 27, 2011
    2,781 posts, 542 likes
    Bavaria 38E
    US Alamitos Bay
    A bit more luck finding a genoa than a mainsail. In my history of boat ownership, therefore, I've bought three new, custom genoas and one new mainsail--the latter this year. (Of course, when you buy a "newer" boat it usually has "newer" sails on it, particularly if the previous owner had been racing it and put new sails on every two to three years.) However, I had all of my sails "worked on", or as you say--reconditioned, to extend their useful lives b/f swapping for a new replacement. I looked hard and long for a used No. 2 or No. 3 for my Bavaria b/f eventually buying a new No. 2 genoa about 3 yr ago. So, did not have much luck on that one. I did not even try with the mainsail as the "stock" sail was fully battened. That said, I don't think your basic cruising Dacron sails are exceedingly expensive considering the useful life most of us will get from them. The Bavaria now has a 3-yr-old No. 2 and a new (< 1 yr) main. Both Dacron x-cuts; about $6,000 for the two of 'em. Of course, I could easily have spent twice that much!:yikes: I sold the old genoa (16 yr old) for about 20-23% of the cost of the new one I had made, and the guy was happy.

    As for the dodger and Bimini; I'd go cheap if you don't think you're going to have the boat for the 20-yr life that some of the canvass folks claim their products will last. They will still fade if made of Sunbrella, even if the materials hold up. So, you may get the itch to replace again b/f they are totally kaput if you don't like the "faded look."

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  7. pateco


    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    2,165 posts, 598 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL
    I don't know how long this link will work, but I just got a quote for my Hunter 31 from Precision Sails. They have a sale going on right now.
    Quote from Precision Sails

  8. Kings Gambit

    Kings Gambit

    Joined Jul 27, 2011
    2,781 posts, 542 likes
    Bavaria 38E
    US Alamitos Bay
    The downside of buying from those guys is that you have to supply the measurements.

  9. JRacer


    Joined Aug 9, 2011
    788 posts, 213 likes
    Beneteau 310
    US Cheney KS (Wichita)
    To quote Igore, "could be worse". A new 150HP Merc will run 10.5K. Then you have to gas it up! :biggrin:

    Will Gilmore likes this.
  10. jeepbluetj


    Joined Jan 18, 2016
    458 posts, 135 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Dana Point
    I got my new main from National Sail Supply (it's a Rolly Tasker sail) - was around $1300 for a C-30 standard rig. They did not need measurements. It's a nice sail - not some fancy laminate racing thing, but it does what I need it to and it's not all bagged out like the old one.

  11. Jim Legere

    Jim Legere

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    843 posts, 60 likes
    Hunter 37-cutter
    CA 44°38'15"N63°55'36"W
    I know you are suffering 'sticker shock' but I would recommend new. Look around to the small sail lofts, rather than the big international names. You are buying cruising sails, not racing sails, right? The local sailmaker will make sure they fit and will stand behind them. Used sails come with someone else's problems. Two years ago I replaced 30+ year old sails on my H37C with a brand new suit from a local sailmaker - less than $5500 USD ($7000 CDN). No regrets. These sails will outlive me if they last as long as the original set. As well, I have heard good things about some of the offshore lofts - Lee, Tasker, etc. if you don't have qualms about buying outside USA.

    But talk about sticker shock ... my dodger and bimini replacements cost almost as much as my sails!

  12. pateco


    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    2,165 posts, 598 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL
    I got several quotes in the $850 area when looking for a replacement Bimini cover at local canvas shops. Then I found a guy on Craigslist who sounded good. Older gentleman who worked out of his home. He came to my boat, measured and built me a gorgeous replacement for less than $300 and in less than a week. Keep Looking

    2016-12-24 13.36.30.jpg

  13. Ed Schenck

    Ed Schenck

    Joined Jun 2, 2004
    5,802 posts, 16 likes
    Hunter 37-cutter, '79
    US 41 23' 30"N 82 33' 20"W--------Huron, OH
    Lee Sails probably has my H37C yankee dimensions from fifteen years ago. Still a good sail.
    My Spirit 23 bimini cost me $150. from Amazon. I bought the oversize model then cut it down to size, Modifying the frame was easy. I have a split backstay so I had to cut a couple of slots and sew in a binder around it. It's not stainless but the aluminum frame on my H37C bimini is good fifteen years later. That bimini was from Sailrite, a kit that now lists for $680.! My H37C dodger was over $800. from a local canvas guy.

  14. lingerfeltja


    Joined Jun 4, 2004
    46 posts, 7 likes
    Hunter 37 Cutter
    US St. Joseph, Michigan
    As always, the forum has been great in its responses. Very useful. Thanks. I'm still getting quotes. Precision and FX are almost 1/3 less cost than the Big lofts. Any experience with either vendor? Does the price delta correspond to a difference in quality?
    I am not extremely knowledgeable about sail design so I have some questions. I have 2 reefs in my main but have never used the second reef. is one reef sufficient? I also want a bigger genoa. Will lengthening the leech make it harder to tack around the staysail? Is a 135 too much? I know some have converted to a sloop rig. Has this made sailing easier? I like the stay sail in the fall when Lake Michigan can be quite rambunctious but, at 62 I am looking for ways to simplify things. Again, thank you for your advice.

  15. Parsons


    Joined Jul 12, 2011
    603 posts, 197 likes
    Catalina 36
    US Bay City, MI
    Reefs - on the mains that I have purchased, each reef is about $250. Personally, I like having the second one as I go out in "rambunctious" weather by choice and even on lighter days, some of my crew really does not like healing. That said, if you're not planning to use it, why bother installing the second one.

  16. Ned Ludd

    Ned Ludd

    Joined Apr 4, 2016
    201 posts, 84 likes
    Newport 28
    US Richardson Marina
    I am in the process of looking at a new main for my boat. Every cruising used sail I have seen is not worth the money. Be realistic about how you use the boat, if you sail in 12 knots of breeze on protected waters you don't need a voyaging quality sail.

  17. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    808 posts, 200 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Guntersville, AL
    Precision just gave me a nice package price for main, 110 jib and CDI Furler. I too would like feedback on them. Are they USA?

  18. FastOlson


    Joined Apr 8, 2010
    989 posts, 99 likes
    Ericson Yachts Olson 34
    US Portland OR
    This thread would be more useful if you do a quick word search for 'racing' and 'cruising' and then remove those references. The wind does not care whether you have entered a race or not. :)
    Just try to find a sailmaker who can give you both a proper shape for sailing in your area, and can do a quality job. Of course, prices will rise some as materials get more "exotic" than dacron, but then even today's dacron is better than it used to be.
    Another point: whether you own an expensive boat or one you bought on the cheap, sails (and every other piece of gear !) will cost about the same for it.
    Some folks seem to believe that if they paid 20K for their boat and I put a new North jib on my 65K boat for $3K, several years ago, they expect (!) to pay 1/3 what I paid. If their boat has a smaller rig, yes it will cost less... but not astoundingly less. Labor is a large part of sail making.
    I am several decades past when I was a rep for a national loft, but the basics of the business have not changed very much.
    Having said all those cautionary things, I do know a very honest rep for Lee Sails, with over 20 years experience. He gets people a good deal on a strong dacron sail.
    So save money when it's logical and practical to do so, but do not expect to get "something for nothing"... :)
    And as others have warned on these forums, watch out for bottom feeders in that business. Any quick search will flush out the name(s) to avoid.
    Best of luck to you!
    Our new jib has been worth every penny, compared to the old one. It turns out that with the right shape and sail construction the non-overlap sail has cost us almost no speed and has hugely increased our enjoyment.


  19. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    3,154 posts, 1,417 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    Did you sell the old sails or throw them out? o_O

    When I brought Dragonfly home last year, a 1973 O'day mariner 19 one-class. She came with no main so I gathered quotes from both local lofts in Maine, NH and VT, plus North Sails, Sail Warehouse and Hyde Sails. I just wanted a basic cruising sail. The small, local lofts were twice the price and more. They all had very logical sounding reasons why it was so much better to spend the money for their sails, more attention to custom fit, longer life from superior materials...
    In the end price was the deciding factor and over the phone interactions. So I went with Hyde Sails. They had significantly better pricing, responded to my quote request the fastest and Judy was absolutely a pleasure to talk to over the phone. I was surprised that they sent out a measuring kit for a popular little one-class but, it was the first time I'd ever bought sails. What surprised me was the wait. It took a couple of months. No big deal, knowing that ahead, I would wait 'till the season was over when I needed to replace. Hyde Sails has a pretty good reputation. As far as used sails go, maybe if I were looking for spares to carry on a long trip. I'm not all about performance but, I don't want worn looking, wrinkles from poor fit, close to failing slugs or grommets, or chafe holes. A good tight luff is a must for going to windward.
    Get a good set of sails and you shouldn't have to replace them for years, unless you are a serious racer.

    - Will (Dragonfly)

  20. jviss


    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,106 posts, 408 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    I had a main for my C36 made by FX last year. Great sail, fantastic price. Challenge high-aspect, high-modulus cloth, great workmanship, and an unbeatable price. Highly recommended, especially now, with pre-winter pricing.