The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the Sage 17’s, and upcoming Sage 15’s, sails is Elliott/Pattison Sailmakers. The loft is located in the Newport Beach, CA, and made in the USA. In addition to E/P we have also worked, at Sage owner request, with Hyde Sails of Northern California (aka, ‘Judy B. Sails’), Haarstick Sailmakers, and Sailrite.
When the sails for a new Sage 17 are completed they are shipped from CA to Golden, CO. Once at the shop I inspect the sails for:
- hardware placement (such as hanks, bolt rope, slugs, reefing, and leech & foot lines, and clew grommet)
- correct sail logo placement
- correct sail number (on the main)
- correct color (if custom color ordered)
Once the headsails are OKed they are folded and placed into the appropriately marked sailbag (ie, ‘working jib’, ‘lapper’, ‘genoa’). The bags are then tagged to note the boat hull number and the owner’s name.
After the main is checked I install the reef cringle lines. The main is the folded and placed in a sailbag. I also put the main’s battens and sail ties in the bag. As with the headsails the mainsail bag is tagged with the boat hull number and the owner’s name.
New sails are wonderful things. Their shape is perfect and they power a sailboat to her fullest potential.
Two common questions I am asked by person purchasing a ‘new to them’ boat are:
- ‘Should I get new sails?’
- “Why doesn’t my boat sail that well?’
Sails wear out. Racers will change sails yearly, or a couple of times a year. Cruisers replace sails less often as they are not as stressed by being used in heavy winds and the shape isn’t as important … but not unimportant.
In general if you sail a lot a cruiser will need to replace the sails used most often, such as the main and the genoa, around 5-10 years. After ten years it is VERY unlikely a sail that is used often will retain a shape that will move the boat well.
Old, or well used, sails no longer hold their shape. This means the ‘engine’ of the boat isn’t working. The boat will sail slow, the helm will feel wrong (either to much weather or lee helm) and the boat will not go to weather.
One of the many bonuses to owning a trailer sailor is the sails are not that expensive. A new main on a 17′ boat will run about $800; a 150% genoa about $550. This is about 1/3rd the cost for a boat just ten feet longer.
So, if your boat is older than 10 years, YES she needs new sails. If you boat isn’t sailing well … I bet you need new sails.