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

  1. #1
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    32-3 sails and compare the 5 Annapolis sail lofts?

    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.

  2. #2
    Principal Partner GrandpaSteve's Avatar
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    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.
    1987 E32-III "Glory Days"
    Hull #711
    Slip in Rock Hall MD.
    Home in Downingtown PA.

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    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandpaSteve View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 08-13-2019 at 07:12 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
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    Fresh Air
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  4. #4
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    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!

  5. #5
    Principal Partner GrandpaSteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Kicker View Post
    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!
    When it is time for sails I will be certainly be in Annapolis!
    1987 E32-III "Glory Days"
    Hull #711
    Slip in Rock Hall MD.
    Home in Downingtown PA.

  6. #6
    Sustaining Partner Slick470's Avatar
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    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.
    Andy H.
    1990 Ericson Olson 911S #149 Hawkeye
    Deale, Maryland
    Yanmar 2GM20F

  7. #7
    Sustaining Partner Slick470's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Slick470; 08-13-2019 at 07:26 AM.
    Andy H.
    1990 Ericson Olson 911S #149 Hawkeye
    Deale, Maryland
    Yanmar 2GM20F

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    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slick470 View Post
    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.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  9. #9
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    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.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
    Table of Contents for Thelonious Blog here
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  10. #10
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    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

  11. #11
    Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm Geoff W.'s Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Geoff W.; 08-13-2019 at 08:55 AM.
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  12. #12
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff W. View Post
    ....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
    Last edited by bgary; 08-13-2019 at 04:10 PM.
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjsouleman View Post

    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.
    Last edited by bolbmw; 08-13-2019 at 10:29 AM.
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    1981 Ericson 30+, rocking the Juan de Fuca

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

    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.
    Don Moran, AKA Navman
    1986 E- 38
    S.V. The Optimist II
    Universal 5432
    Hull# 536

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    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


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