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3 Mainsail Quotes - Advice on which you would pick and why

Nov 14, 2020
2
Hunter 26.5 Gloucester
Hi,

Admittedly, I'm part of that influx of new sailors that saw a summer of restricted COVID travel as an opportunity to pursue purchasing my first sailboat, an '88 Hunter 26.5, this past May. This forum has been invaluable for information as was a combination of youtube videos and books I used to learn how to sail. I come seeking your advice again. I believe my mainsail is original to the boat and is in dire need of replacement. I have sought out 3 quotes. They are all offering a very similar product; cross cut, dacron, 2 full battens, 1 reef point, same size. The material seems to be the biggest differentiator between them but I have no idea which material is the best, or if it even matters. All have their own marketing claims, hoping someone may be able to offer some advice.

1) North Sails: Material: NPc NorDac, 1 full batten, 3 partial, cheapest option, most involved in terms of asking me questions and willing to go measure the boat.

2) Doyle: Material: 6.62 HA, 2 full battens, 2 partial, hasn't asked many questions but they do have a local loft. Middle of the road cost.

3) Quantum: Material: Contender Supercruise 6.4, 2 full battens, 2 partial, most expensive option, loft is a little further away, they come highly recommended from peers however.

For background, I mostly day sail now but I want to start taking weekend trips. I don't race right now but I do like some speed on the water. Can't spend top dollar, these are all in my range, under $2k. If you need any additional information, just let me know! Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 
May 1, 2011
1,885
Pearson 37 Lusby MD
I'm partial to Quantum as that's where I got my new main several years ago. Is the sailmaker from Quantum going to come measure on the boat? Will they bring the sail to the boat to make sure it fits correctly? My loft is local, so I got both.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
13,914
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I have a dog in the fight. I bought North Sails. They fit first hoist without any hiccups. The manager brought the sail out to the boat, hoisted it and made sure I knew how to adjust the batten and trim the main. After buying the Main Sail I went back for a Genoa and an asymmetrical.

I liked that the local loft manager came out and spent about 2 hours on the boat measuring the boat and reviewing the options based on the type of sailing I am planning. After the process I felt the he knew the boat and would create a sail that will meet my cruising needs at a fair price. I love the sails and the way they trim. I recommend the North Sails.

That said, Doyle makes good sails. As you experienced they were not as hands on. They are available through the SBO website. I know several Hunter owners who have purchased Doyle Sails and are pleased with the results when hoisted. One of them I saw and they made a nice suit for his boat.

Quantum has always intrigued me. I had several discussions with one of their sales people. We could not find a price or the service that beat (or came close) to that of North Sail.

Good luck. Do not be shy about asking for discounts when you shop for your sails.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
6,567
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Look around for a local non-affiliated loft, i.e., one that is not paying franchise fees to the brand names. Often the sails are made in the same lofts as the big guys without the brand name label.

Check Great Circle Sails, Brian Hancock has a good reputation and based in Marblehead. I've purchased 2 sails from have been very pleased with the quality, the performance, and the price.

 
Oct 1, 2007
1,602
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
Hi,

Admittedly, I'm part of that influx of new sailors that saw a summer of restricted COVID travel as an opportunity to pursue purchasing my first sailboat, an '88 Hunter 26.5, this past May. This forum has been invaluable for information as was a combination of youtube videos and books I used to learn how to sail. I come seeking your advice again. I believe my mainsail is original to the boat and is in dire need of replacement. I have sought out 3 quotes. They are all offering a very similar product; cross cut, dacron, 2 full battens, 1 reef point, same size. The material seems to be the biggest differentiator between them but I have no idea which material is the best, or if it even matters. All have their own marketing claims, hoping someone may be able to offer some advice.

1) North Sails: Material: NPc NorDac, 1 full batten, 3 partial, cheapest option, most involved in terms of asking me questions and willing to go measure the boat.

2) Doyle: Material: 6.62 HA, 2 full battens, 2 partial, hasn't asked many questions but they do have a local loft. Middle of the road cost.

3) Quantum: Material: Contender Supercruise 6.4, 2 full battens, 2 partial, most expensive option, loft is a little further away, they come highly recommended from peers however.

For background, I mostly day sail now but I want to start taking weekend trips. I don't race right now but I do like some speed on the water. Can't spend top dollar, these are all in my range, under $2k. If you need any additional information, just let me know! Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
This is always loft dependent, regardless of the affiliation. I have had excellent results from the Quantum loft in Bristol, RI. They have made 6 sails for me over many years, and canvas in addition.
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,362
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I think you're going to get great sails from any of them - and many other lofts. But I'd really like for them to measure the boat. That would sway it for me. Also "Most involved."
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,274
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
When I ripped my main sail last September, I called a few places in the Chicago area, and looked at several on-line sail sellers.

Maybe I was lucky, but the North Sail rep called me and said, I will be in your marina tomorrow measuring a set of sails for another sailer (Turns out it was my slip mate).

I met the rep the next day, talked about what I wanted, and he gave me several options on cloth, etc. I wanted full battens, and he recommended a Tides Marine Strong Track.

I didn’t order the most expensive cloth, I went with cross cut NorDac 6.4 oz, 2 reefs, Tides slides.

They didn’t come out to install the sail (but I didn’t ask them to). I got the sail delivered UPS a week before haulout, and wanted to bend it on before I put the boat away for the winter (really wanted to make sure it fit when I put it on in the spring).

I am very happy with the sail, and the Strong Track. Makes raising and lowering the sail so much easier. I can reef or shake out a reef with my single-line reefing so much easier.

You will get a kick out of any new sail.

Greg

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Jul 27, 2011
4,227
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Of those you mentioned, North has the best customer service plan. I have a 3-yr-old Quantum mainsail now, but I don’t think I’d buy another one. “Loft service”was mediocre in this case. The sail did not fit properly; bolt rope too long. The US “fitting factory” is on the east coast; I’m in CA. I’ve been the most satisfied with my North and Ulman sails and service.
 
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Nov 8, 2007
1,365
Hunter 27_75-84 Sandusky Harbor Marina, Ohio
When I was buying my first set of sails in Cleveland, the situation was similar. I went with the sailmaker who came out to the boat, listened to me, and made the most sense. He was Doyle at the time, and Ullman when I bought another set 10 years later. He will store and maintain the sails in the winter. Most importantly, he is a reliable source of good advice any time I am wondering about sails Over the past 21 years. That’s worth more than any price difference between lofts. But his prices have been competitive, too.

So my advice is to choose your sailmaker over any brand.
 
Nov 26, 2008
1,926
Endeavour 42 Cruisin
I've done some work for Mack Sails and have had discussions with the owners about sail construction. They do repairs as well as new and what he has found frequently are sails that have a high quality cloth for the body, such as Marblehead, the best. But the maker (not Mack) will use whatever they have on hand ( inferior) for the patches, batten pockets, corners, etc. And the repair always involves those areas. Typical weekender day sailors likely won't sail often enough to bag out a sail quickly but a mistake or sudden squall can tax those cheaply done tacks, leaches, etc. So consider asking more about all those high wear and high stress areas. Perhaps get a look at some of their existing work. And ask about ALL the materials being used. This isn't aimed at any particular loft, just an observation to consider.
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
944
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
If you are happy with the price of the North sail - buy the North sail. North has done more sailcloth material testing than any other manufacturer and their material is second to none. Having said that, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Make sure the cut of the sails is the same (cross cut, radial) and weight of the cloth is similar. Do they include the same number of reef points, reinforcements, insignia, tell tales...
I bought North Dacron sails for my C&C 27 and was very happy with them for many years. The main was still in excellent condition after 15 years. The #1 genoa was about 18 years and getting a little stretched out when I sold the boat but that was mostly from racing and keeping the #1 up at the top of (or above) it's wind range.
Service is really dependent on your local loft.
If you want a more budget oriented sail, you could check Precision. My current boat came with a Precision Jib that looks really good and is around 5 years old.
 
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CarlN

.
Jan 4, 2009
524
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
Any of these lofts can make a good sail. You're right that the issue is the sailcloth. A premium Dacron will last much longer without stretching. I believe that what Doyle quoted (6.62HA) may be what's known as Marblehead. This is generally considered the best Dacron cloth made - and not cheap. Woven very tightly the way that Ted Hood used to weave cloth (thus the name "Marblehead" where he had his loft). When I first raced in the late '70s a 10 year old Hood sail would still look good and be competitive. I would ask each loft about the quoted cloth and what cloth would they quote if you wanted to go up one level but still stay with a Dacron.

I personally disliked partial battens (except maybe the top one). Full length make the sail easier to handle and to my eye sets a much better shape - ask them why they aren't all full length. They might have a good reason. I would also ask about a 2nd reef point. Just because you aren't crossing oceans doesn't mean you won't someday get caught in a blow.

I have Marblehead cloth sails made by Mack Sails - and love them. After six years of pretty heavy sailing the shape is as good as day 1. Here's their discussion about sailcloth. http://macksails.com/sail-cloth/

And if you are using a local loft, ask the sailmaker to come sailing with you after the sails are delivered. Every time I've done this the sailmaker has decided to take the sail back to the loft for a few tweaks (no charge). And I also learned a lot about sail trim.
 
Last edited:
Dec 28, 2015
1,018
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
I agree with a second reef if your rig can accommodate. You don’t need it until you really need it especially in our smaller boats
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
944
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
Well, it seems we are as divided over sail makers as we are for anchors. We have 4 votes for North, 2 for Doyle and 2 for Quantum. The only slightly negative comment on these brands was from @Kings Gambit for Quantum but that seemed to be directed at his local loft. So I'd say any of these big 3 brands would provide a great product but as was mentioned above, get a feel for your loft to make sure you will be happy working with them.
 
Jan 22, 2008
4
Hunter 29.5 Fort Walton Beach, FL
Make certain the sailmaker or you measure the mainsail roach. The first mainsail replacement on my Hunter 29.5 had to be redone. I believe most Hunters have considerable roach designed in the sail plan.

Roach. A fore-and-aft triangular mainsail achieves a better approximation of a wing form by extending the leech aft, beyond the line between the head and clew in an arc called the roach, rather than having a triangular shape.
 

Panera

.
Jan 18, 2014
37
Hunter 280 Portland, ME
I have used Loong Sails for both my O'Day 25 and Hunter 280. Extremely pleased with product, cost and fast delivery. Chris has been extremely helpful.

Christopher Cole
30 Freedom Road
Middlebury, CT 06762
USA
Phone: 203-725-6740
 
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