Your Marine Sanitation Device Suppliers Share Tips On How to Select a Sailmaker
Raritan Engineering your marine sanitation device manufacturers would like to share with you this week some great information regarding how to choose a sailmaker.
Historically, fall has been the best time to order new sails. Boat show specials abound and you have plenty of wiggle room on delivery date—at least if you are snowed in for most of the winter. But our wants and needs seem to rarely dovetail with the perfect season.
The following article from our print archives is aimed primarily at the first-time sail-buyer. For more specific guidance on sail buying, be sure to check out our recent articles on choosing a cruising main, which includes a link to PS readers’ favorite sailmakers and list of recommended sailmakers, and “State of the Main,” a look at how the industry has dramatically changed over the past two decades.
For a one-stop comprehensive look at building a sail inventory we also have a downloadable e-book series in our bookstore. You can buy the individual e-book you need, or save on the complete three-part series that covers all the essentials as well as more esoteric sail subjects like storm sails and riding sails.
You’re best off selecting up to a half-dozen candidates that make the kind of sails you want and sticking with them. In identifying them, you’ll want to consider a number of variables. If you’re a heavy-duty, serious racing fanatic, you may do well with one of the national franchise groups, particularly if you are good at it and likely to add to their victory list.
If you are not involved in racing, you probably have a wider choice of sailmakers who will do a genuinely good job for you. You may still want to try a franchise, particularly one that has a loft close to you, though you should remember that the large companies, for the most part, got that way through their involvement with racing.
And remember, even a phone call to Hong Kong is not likely to result in that sailmaker’s arriving on board next Saturday to check out your sails. If you are really serious about your boat, and want to get her all the best things for your Great Cruise, then you’ll probably spend a little more time on selecting the sailmaker who will be compatible with your style of sailing and your type of involvement with boats.
Sometimes, even the advertising can be believed! Once you’ve narrowed the selection down to a manageable number, ask for an appointment to see the loft, and the opportunity to discuss how they make sails and why they recommend their methods.
Interpreting Price Quotations
Your marine sanitation device experts discuss how sooner or later, you’ll get together the quotes on the sails you need. Unless you’ve been very specific about the exact sails you want, you may be overwhelmed by the apparent choices offered. You may also be amazed by the variation in prices for sails of a given designation, and it is easy to arrive at misleading conclusions about the cost of sails as a result. Any price quote you get should include at least the size and weight of the sail, as well as the price.
Most sailmakers will offer some incentive to place your order during their slack season on the premise that it is better to work for a small profit than not to work at all. In the Northeast, the discount season is generally October through December, the particular dates varying from one loft to another. At least one loft we know offers a sliding discount, largest in October, tapering down to smallest at year’s end.
How big your order has to be to negotiate such a discount varies from one loft to another, and not all lofts are approachable, but if you have over $5,000 to spend, it is probably worth asking.
Adding it Up
No discussion on buying sails would be complete without mention of quality. Of course, every sailmaker sells only the finest quality, so it is up to the buyer to determine for himself which “finest quality” sails are right for him. In fact, not all sails are made the same. Price is a guide to quality, at least to the extent that you are unlikely to buy the best sails at the lowest price. Of course, not everyone needs or wants the very best, and the budget-priced discount sailmakers certainly have a place in the “best” market if the best thing you want to say about your sails is that they didn’t cost much.
In the end, you play as great a part in getting good sails as the sailmaker himself, because ultimately, you make the crucial decisions. Providing the correct and adequate information, deciding which of the many options you want, and selecting a sailmaker you feel confident will do his best to serve you with products appropriate to your usage all are matters for you to resolve. It’s your money.
So don’t forget these helpful tips when choosing your next sailmaker. 1) If you’re a heavy-duty, serious racing fanatic, you may do well with one of the national franchise groups; 2) don’t rush in making a decision; and 3) be very specific in asking for price quotes.
Power boats: National rowing winners helping spread the sport
When John and Hannah Huppi met in 2007, they had three things in common: They were both from Washington — Hannah from Washington state and John from Washington, D.C. — they were both freshmen at Tulane University, and they both had an interest, but no experience, in rowing.
Ten years later, the Huppis are a young married couple who, having just competed in the World Rowing Championships in Slovenia last month — where they came in fifth — are continuing their daily mission to spur the popularity of rowing in the Crescent City.
Drawing members from as far away as Mandeville, Slidell and Baton Rouge, the New Orleans Rowing Club can be found skimming along Bayou St. John at 6 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
“Rowing is something you can pick up in high school and continue to do into your 70s and 80s,” he said. “It’s unique in that it’s both an endurance and power sport that is also low-impact. We have a lot of people that are drawn to it as a good way to get their exercise in even with things like knee or back injuries. Plus, you get to be outside and on the water. It’s so calming, so peaceful.”
Dedicated to the sport that gave them so much, including each other, the Huppis started thinking in 2015 about the future — both their own and the future of the sport in their adopted city. It was just a year after taking over command of the New Orleans Rowing Club that the couple decided to start the first high school rowing team in New Orleans.
“The program is really attractive to students who are looking for a team environment and also may be looking to improve their chances when it comes to college admission and scholarships,” John said. “There are some great opportunities for rowing scholarships out there, and rowing is popular for both men and women at most prestigious schools.”
The hope is to instill a lifelong love of the sport in rowers who may find themselves at the New Orleans Rowing Club after college, itching to compete again, just like the Huppis did.
“Hannah and I married last year, and while we were planning the wedding, we decided that we really wanted to go to Europe, and we really wanted to get back into competition shape, so we set our sights on two big goals: the national championships in Tennessee this past August and the world championships in Slovenia this past September,” John said. “We started training really hard, and we took gold at nationals.”
Still high off their European adventure, the Huppis are gearing up for the next competition — in November, 24 members of the New Orleans Rowing Club will be competing in a race in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“There are large rowing communities in Florida, Tennessee and Texas,” said John Huppi. Louisiana, not so much, but the Huppis are working on that.
“The plan is absolutely to make it to the world championships again next year,” said John Huppi. “How could we not when it’s going to be right in our backyard — Sarasota, Florida?”
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