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Anyone dealt with Chinese sailmakers?


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Hi there, I've recently bought an old Maricat 4.3 and the main is looking a little worn. I've been toying with the idea of a new main sail and am curious if anyone has had any experience with getting sails made in China.

I've read excellent reviews on Redhead Sails but seeing as second hand Redhead main sales seem to be selling for ~$800 (more than what I paid for the old girl with trailer) I'm looking at alternatives that may be more budget friendly.

Has anyone ever dealt with these guys: http://www.fareastsails.com/Contact.html





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Give them a go.

Bear in mind:

1. New sails here in Oz generally include battens.  These can be expensive to ship so make sure you know what you're getting

2. Somewhere there is a PDF file with the sail measurements compying with class rules.

3. I bought a new Rolly Tasker main a few years ago.  It was undersized when compared to the other new sails but otherwise was pretty good.  It cost $850 with battens.  I had bought their sails before for my Careel 18 and one of the genoas was made of the same material that Redhead use, ie a ripstop type material.  It was Dacron too but had this extra pattern - anyway I asked RT to use that but they didn't.  Sail was pretty good, I sold it to someone who did ok with it in one of the big regattas a year or so ago.

4. If you do order them I would suggest cross cut as it's relatively easy to construct (rather than tri-radial which must be a nightmare in terms of design and construction).  Make sure you get a high resin content Dacron. They are soft as a baby's bum and crack like a rifle.  My Eastwind sail still does that after ten years.

5. Jibs are a pain but I think getting a decent one is more a case of how you rig it (ie more mainsheet tension creates more jib luff tension).  I've not seen a really nice jib yet but I'm not an expert (I sail cat rigged).

6. Take pictures of your sail.  Put it up and put a string line from mast base to top of mast and pull the mainsheet in very tight.  You can then measure the widest point between the string and the mast so you can show them mast bend.

Best of luck.

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I myself personally, would not deal with a sailmaker that has not made sails for the class of boat that you are requesting it for. As from seeing in the past, if it is there first sail made for that class of boat, often recutting is involved to get optimum performance. And that means getting the sail back to the sailmaker, Which means expense unless you use someone local. Local sailmakers generally don't mind putting in the efforts to get things right, they often will even like to come and see it actually on the boat, and even sailing. They do this, in the hopes of getting increase business for the sail, and for their reputation.

I too only paid $1000 for my boat with the original sails, and the registered trailer. I have spent money on it, to make it perform better. And that includes spending $1000 for a very good secondhand mainsail and jib, made by redhead sails. Well worth the money, as it was virtually half the price of a new set of sails. And I know that the sails have previously performed very well.

I also wonder about the quality of the sails. It is a bit like a lot of stuff out of China, i.e, Steel, Cars, Motorbikes, Timber, Glass,  all very very cheap when you compare to Australian price products, but then the quality is no where near as good, and in some cases no where near as reliable. You get what you pay for.  Plus freight for sails from China, probably not that expensive, but add in the battens, and the freight could then be exorbitant.

So think very hard before you make the decision. If the price from China is similar to secondhand used set of very good race sails, then I definitely  know what my choice would be, and that is the way that I chose.


Cheers David.

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The sail maketh the boat.

Age shall not weary a Maricat but a new sail will transform it.

You will be amazed at how fast an old Maricat with a good sail and properly tuned will go.

A  35 year old boat can beat a 10 year old boat if both have similar condition sails.

A new mainsail made locally by the few experienced Maricat sail makers will cost about $1600.

There are a few poor sails around which don’t work very well.

I have a copy of the class rules and sail drawings and measurements if required.

Anyone can make sails for Maricats and be class legal as long as they comply with the specifications.

Where are you located ? Where do you sail ?

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Thanks for the tips/opinions.

@Pointed Reply I'm based just outside of Canberra, little place called Googong - has a decent water catchment dam to sail on. So far I've sailed on Googona Dam (1st sail - gentle conditions with wife and 7yo son on board), Lake Burley Griffin (2nd sail - minimal wind, was more going out for a float than a sail) and Carcoar Dam (3rd sail - Maricat Regatta, storm conditions no idea how I didn't turtle it). I'd love a copy of the sail drawings, I've been Googling but haven't been able to find Appendix 2 to the class rules which apparently covers sail dimensions/measurements. Would be very grateful if you could share, it'll make sending measurements off for a quote from China easier.

@Badgered Cat The cost comparison between good second hand sails, like the set you bought (the look awesome on your 4.3 by the way), and a new set from China is what I'm trying to find. I'm leaning toward finding a second hand set as they're a known quantity, but if the Chinese price comes in favourably it's worth consideration.

@knobblyoldjimbo I've been doing some research on cross cut vs. tri-radial, there's some really good info on the redhead sails website. Most of it is to do with the papertiger sail development they did but it's interesting reading. From what I've read, I'd rather go for a radial design... this could play in my decision whether to buy second hand local or Chinese import.

Regarding battens: Am I correct to assume that if I go for a radial sail design I wouldn't be able to re-use my battens? If I can re-use the battens it may help keep shipping costs down, but if it's not an option to change from cross cut to radial without needing new battens it may not be worth it.






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You should buy the battens with the sail.  If you were really expert then you might be able to modify the battens.  We can reasonably assume that the sailmaker knows which batten should be used (even if it does cost us a fortune) also your old battens may be too short (unlikely to be too long).

Doesn't cost that much to ship a sail within AUS.  When I sold my Rolly Tasker sail I think it cost $50 to pack up and courier from NSW Central Coast to NSW North Coast.

I've had a radial and it required a different approach.  Don't expect to be able to get it recut, I just don't think that's feasible.  There must be about 40 panels which leads to the other issue which is they have to be glued and stitched exactly in order to work.  In addition to that different parts of the sail use different materials.  The outer part of a Redhead is made with a ripstop reinforced dacron while the luff and foot are coloured standard dacron.  They do wear/stretch at different rates.  My Redhead needed the foot trimmed off because (after quite a bit of use) it started to flap and once it did that unless you pulled the foot really tight the whole sail vibrated.  That wasn't a hard recut - just $90 to chop the bottom off.

Cross cut can be recut much more easily as there are only what five or six panels.  One of my issues with the Rolly Tasker sail was that they made the sail then put the battens in different places which seemed stupid to me.

The recent NSW States - Super Sloop - Hot Pepper cross cut Adams sails.  Cat - 1st (on countback) Me Eastwind cross cut 1st equal Dave Redhead radial 3rd Pointed Reply Redhead radial 4th Darcy Mid North Sails radial.



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The drawings are too big to post. If I make them smaller they will loose definition.

If you give me an email address I will email you the drawings and class rules.

See the notes on radial sails on a previous post.

Mannering Park Open regatta on Oz Day weekend - lots of Maricats there.

Canberra YMCA cat regatta on the 4th Feb, I will probably be there - I only live just over the hill from Canberra

I can help you tune your boat and give a few tips - maybe even let you try my “spare” sail.


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Sorry about the slow reply, was away over Christmas.

@Pointed Reply - if you could email the PDF to: somelad75@yahoo.com.au I'd be eternally grateful and happy to buy you a beer at the CYC. Where abouts over the hill are you from Canberra? Sounds like you could be pretty close by? Will have a look at the CYC regatta on the 4th, would be great to have a look at your spare sail - it's not for sale is it? ;)



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