Sugar Shack has been propelled by the same double layer dacron sails for the last 22 years! Yep, you read that right, our sails are over two decades old and still propelling us forward. Granted, the sail shape is not ideal and they look a well “used” but they still worked. After all, they got us from Fiji to New Zealand in 6 days which is pretty darn impressive.
But it certainly was time to replace them. We interviewed several sail lofts in New Zealand before landing on North Sails. Roger, came prepared to talk to us about different fabrics, techniques, and sails. He was the only one to bring us material samples and was very honest about being the most expensive sailmaker. He was right, he was the most expensive one.
But, that is not why we selected him and North sails to make our new sails. Roger has been manufacturing sails for 40 years. He used to work for Doyle sails but moved to North Sails because of their 3Di technology.
The Technology of Tour Ultra X Sails
Our new custom designed main sail will be one giant sail with no seams, edges, or joints. The corners and high pressure points will be built up to sustain heavier loads. These sails are meant for reefing and designed to handle reefing.
The sails have a life expectancy of 8-12 years if treated well and a 5 year warranty. We are also given a free annual check up at any North Sails location. A repair kit is provided for us to do small minor repairs while at sea which is a simple patch and glue (no sewing).
We paid a little extra to have a mildew spray on both the main and genoa since we plan to spend a lot of time in the tropics. The material itself has UV protection as well, but we plan to have her tucked nicely into her new sail bag when she is not in use.
Roger came by a few times to measure our sails, note the placement of reefs, attachments, battens, and mast cars. He then heads off to place our special order.
The Sails Arrive
It took a few months to manufacture our new Tour Ultra X sails but it was worth the wait. Roger came with our new main, battens, and genoa.
The genoa goes up first as it is the easiest. She is a slate gray with a gray protective UV cover. There is a small patch on the sail to protect it from our spreaders (bottom left photo). The top right photo is our new main flaked out.
We have no problems getting the genoa on. However, we have a few issues with the main sail. The cars that attach the main to the mast have the wrong size screw hole. So, Roger has to return them and get new ones. A week later he comes back and Matt and Roger put up the new main!
Matt and Roger work diligently in the early morning to get the sail up before the wind picks up.
The full main sail up and proud – just needs some wind…
New Sail Bag
Matt had a very specific idea in mind of what he wanted in a sail bag / stack pack. He wanted it to be low profile to keep the shadow off the solar panels. He also wanted it to either wrap in front of or behind the mast to prevent the sail bag from billowing in high winds. This is in addition to specifications for size, shape, style, fabric, zippers, clips, and velcro attachments.
Our old sail bag had a very high profile and a lot of extra room inside the bag (waster space). But she was beautiful and lasted 13 years!
The new sail bag has a much lower profile, does not have a lot of extra space inside and is really kick a$$! It took us awhile to get to where we wanted, but Roger came through in the end! We are thrilled with the new bag.
Matt made new lazy jacks out of 4mm dynema which make it look even better.
A few Snags
Roger from North Sails in Opua is fantastic to work with. He is extremely professional, friendly, responsive, honest, and true to his word. We did have a few snafus, but overall we are very pleased with our new sails. What happened?
I mentioned above that our mast cars had to be remade because the manufacture made the screw holes a size 8 when they should have been a 10. Also, we had two batten cars that had to be replaced because they did not fit properly. The sail bag was supposed to be made within a week of delivering the main sail, but it did not arrive for almost 6 weeks. Partially due to the the various holidays and bad weather, but it is what its.
However, Roger was up front with us along the way, kept us informed, and made sure we were happy in the end – and we are!
Events from this blog post occurred in early November (bidding) and in late March (initial install) thru May (sea trial). Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual events. Did you see our new canvas work throughout the boat in our last blog?