PNW main sail repair or replace?

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During the survey on my 86 C34 I saw the main had a couple patches over small tear holes that were coming loose. Overall the sail looked okay to my untrained eye.  Replace or repair? Patch again or send in for professional repair? Best source(s) for sails in PNW?
If human intelligence is insufficient, why think something artificial modeled after it would be better?




Dave and Joan,

Just did almost the same thing with my jib. The UV cover was coming apart along with some threadbare edges. Took it to my local sail loft (Ullman) for repair which they estimated would be around $1,000. After they attempted repair they determined the sail was no longer serviceable. They made me a new 135 jib foe $3,800 and delivered it in three weeks. It was disappointing to have to replace a sail that I thought could be repaired but aside from the problems I had noticed they showed me a number of other issues I hadn't noticed. Oh BTW my sail was 24 years old.

I'd have your sail evaluated at your local sail loft by an expert and then the two of you can decide how best to proceed.

Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273

Jim Hardesty

QuoteOverall the sail looked okay to my untrained eye.  Replace or repair? Patch again or send in for professional repair?

Tough questions to answer without seeing the sail.  My 2 cents is to take it to a good local sail maker and start a relationship with them by having the sail repaired and inspected.  Try to find one that leans to your type of sailing, some very good lofts will sell a set of high performance sails to people that would be better served by sails intended to cruising.  ASAP because the busy time for them is fast approaching.  Have the sail repaired for use then use it.  See how well it sets, see how badly it is stretched.  That may require a sail with the sailmaker or a very experienced sailor. IMHO well made sails last much longer than they are still performing well.  Depending on how much the sail was used in high wind or abused other ways.  Only you can decide on how important performance verses cost is worth.  Also consider taking your favorite head sail along for the inspection.  It generally has more wear.   Ask to be there when they inspect the sails, a lot to be learned from the experts.
Jim Hardesty
2001 MKII hull #1570 M35BC  "Shamrock"
sailing Lake Erie
from Commodore Perry Yacht Club
Erie, PA


Lots of lofts around the area.  Where is the boat specifically? 
Alex - Seattle, WA
91 mk1.5 #1120
Std rig w/wing keel
Universal M35


I replaced my main last year and used Eric Taylor (Taylor Sails) in Port Angeles.  Most new sails are built offshore:  Precision (China), Rolly Tasker (Thailand), and Quantum (Sri Lanka).  Labor is just cheaper offshore.  You can build any quality of sail you want, using the same sailcloth and hardware as more expensive lofts.  I used him the year before when I bought a new Tri-radial furling genoa too.

I used Taylor Sails to measure the sails, consult on the features (# of reef points, where they should be, luff hardware, foot attachment, etc), and develop a CAD drawing of the sail for my specific boat. He then placed the order through Durtek/Quantum in Sri Lanka.  When it arrived, he added some hand work on the tack and clew and generally QC'd the sail.  Then he came down to my boat and helped bend it on.  I saved a lot, and got a great sail that he will stand behind even though it was produced offshore.  Others in the Northwest do the same, and I found it to be the right price/quality balance for my purposes (busy daysail charter boat).

If well designed and constructed, new sails are a game changer in terms sailing.  Beware of cheap sails that you just order online without seeing a 3D version of what the sail looks, and shapes, like on your rig.  I have a friend that ordered a new main that way from a loft in Asia and it was a terrible sail.

Hope this helps,


Ron Hill

Porch : Take that sail to a sailmaker and let them give you an evaluation!!

A thought
Ron, Apache #788


Not certain of the sail's age. PO didn't know a lot about the boat. I'm in Port Orchard, Wa. (or will be in late June).
If human intelligence is insufficient, why think something artificial modeled after it would be better?


Dave and Joan,

From your description I suspect your sail is quite old might even be the original. But even old sails that are blown out still move boats. If it can be repaired it'll be fine for daily cruising if you're not to concerned about performance.

As far as new sails I'll pay extra to have my sails built locally I can talk to the sail maker about what I want in a sail and he can make recommendations about what I might need. If you order a sail from the far east it's a roll of the dice who knows who made it or how it was made. Even the inexpensive sails are still a big investment.
Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273


I have the original mainsail from my '86 standard rig.  Seems to be in pretty good shape as the boat spent a number of years not actively being sailed.  If you want a very low cost replacement it's just sitting in my basement in Kingston, WA.


Sea Glass #126
1986 MK1 Std Rig
Kingston, WA

Breakin Away

I know this is an old thread, but I'll mention this for future people who may see it: One very economical option for improving the shape of an older, bagged out mainsail is to have a sail loft cut the bolt rope. The bolt rope shrinks over time, while the cloth stretches. These two opposite effects lead to severe bagginess. You can't un-stretch the cloth, but you can reduce the bagginess by cutting the bolt rope and allowing it to relax.

I've had this done on two different sails. For my prior boat, the loft removed and replaced the bolt rope along the luff (somewhat costly). They might have done the same thing on the foot, I don't remember. For my current C34, a different loft (Chuck O'Malley in Annapolis) just cut the bolt rope near the bottom without replacing it, and patched the cloth. When we they tensioned the luff, the bolt rope separated by over a foot, which really took the bag out of the sail. It's still the factory original mainsail, and with this adjustment it performs adequately for my needs.

2001 MkII Breakin' Away, #1535, TR/WK, M35BC, Mantus 35# (at Rock Hall Landing Marina)