Hyde Sails

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Hyde Sails

Postby kokko » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:39 am

After watching this thread I decided to give Hyde Sails a try for my new main. Judy Blum of Hyde had posted some comments on this thread, and I was prompted to look them up. They do not sell off-the-shelf sails, but require you to take a lot of measurements and send in a number of pics when ordering. There are a lot of little things that my require departures from the norm. In my case I wanted my luff to be about 6" shorter than the standard length so my boom rides that much higher. Then Judy calls and you talk about your sailing and the requirements of the sail.

The sail arrived over a month ago, but only yesterday did I bend it on and try it out. It was beautifully built and will be a nice sail, but I have only used it once.

So I paid about the same as an off-the-shelf sail, but I got what I wanted. Happy to recommend Judy and Hyde Sails.

If I have a chance I will upload their order form. It does guide your thinking about all the little things you need to think about.

I had been using a main recycled from my Catalina 22.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:37 pm

kokko wrote:If I have a chance I will upload their order form. It does guide your thinking about all the little things you need to think about.


I'm not sure that uploading a specific sailmaker's order form is really appropriate for this forum. Other sailmakers are taking out advertisements in DS quarterly and the main website has a section for listing sailmakers.

Having a sailmaker that you can discuss your specific needs with is definitely valuable. I'm glad you are having a positive experience.

However, the alternatives are not totally black and white. When sailmakers offer sails designed specifically for the DS that doesn't mean they are necessarily locked into a one size fits all approach, although some may be. However, by starting with a solid knowledge of the DS down to the various types of masts, the best of them can make the process easier (fewer measurements needed) while delivering well-optimized sails. And certainly the sailmaker that I used suggested areas of customization and adaptations to my sailing style and area.

I fact, some have pretty deep expertise in designing sails for the DS, and, of course, at some point, you do pay for that.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby talbot » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:27 am

Hyde sail also uses local reps. We have one in our town (Prairie Sail & Canvas).
If you have a resource like that, it might pay to talk to a sailmaker in advance or even take your boat around. Price and materials will determine whether the sail should be ordered or built locally.
If you know a lot about sails or if you are buying something standard, you probably can order off the web. I have before (Intensity), and was mostly satisfied.
If you are doing a one-off, like a storm sail or asymmetrical spinnaker, there are a lot of decisions about dimensions and sheet angles that can mess you up.
In my case, PS&C cut down an old jib to make a heavy-weather sail, which has let me figure out the actual rigging and trim through sea trials. Next time I'm feeling flush, I can go in with confidence that a custom sail will work and be worth the money.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:08 pm

The point made during a previous discussion was that some sails are constructed more "simply" than others. A point which should be reflected in the price.

That said, there's even an entire ecosystem of people building their own boats and making sails from blue tarps...

I must say, I was positively shocked when I learned that a new set of sails would cost me more than I had paid for boat and trailer. I was new to sailing then, and this hadn't occurred to me. I postponed getting new sails for a while, but in the end, I realized that there were wind conditions where I simply couldn't trim the old sails into an acceptable shape any longer, for any definition of acceptable.

I got unexpected support on the domestic front, and plunged into the process.

At first, being new at this, I thought that getting a set of sails was like getting any standard replacement part for a mass produced item. There were a number of very reputable-looking sailmaking firms listed on the DS website, with various degrees of online ordering. That certainly reinforced my impression that this was supposed to be an off-the-shelf process.

In the end, I balked at their prices and found a slightly cheaper offering that did not come with online ordering, but with an order form to be printed and mailed (or faxed). A week later, I got a call and had a good discussion over the phone including some details (like mast type, sailing area, intended use etc). If I had expected that, I might have been a little better prepared, but in the end, I can only second what others here have stated, that such a discussion is really at the heart of this kind of transaction.

The sails, when I got them, came with some detailed instructions on how best to trim them - somewhat at odds with other instructions for the DS that I've read before or since, but nevertheless very helpful. They were very well made and fit well. Within a couple of seasons I changed my sailing style, from cruising only to doing weekly after work races; these are no-handicap mixed fleets, so I haven't had to test them against another DS, but they proved capable.

On your first purchase, it can be daunting, because there's a lot riding on it, and yet you may lack the experience to know what you want and how to recognize when you get it. Being able to discuss this with someone knowledgeable in person (or, if you can't, then over the phone) will definitely be helpful. And having them be able to customize their sail to your situation is definitely worth it.

I can't tell the degree of customization my sailmaker did to adapt to my specific mast profile (straight, not tapered) because it would be too subtle, but we worked out where to place reef points. Given that the area is not normally blessed by strong winds, we went with a single reef point, and that has worked well for me.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby talbot » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:26 pm

Now that we've talked about all the caveats, we should repeat what a past author noted on this forum years ago:
If you have been using old blown-out sails, the day you launch with a new set--even bargain-basement, off-the-web, off-rack, offshore, knockoffs--is like having a new boat.
If only the sailor could be rejuvenated as easily as the vessel.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:09 pm

talbot wrote:If only the sailor could be rejuvenated as easily as the vessel.


Hah!

I agree with Talbot, though. Go get a set of sails, if yours have gotten baggy and out of shape.

Sails are complicated because they are both an investment and a consumable item.

They have a finite lifetime, but it's still more than a couple seasons (unless you are a competitive or compulsive racer). That said, like an investment, their cost amortizes over time.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby kokko » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:17 am

There may be nothing like a new set of sails, but I have sent several sails off for cleaning and they came back like new. THe cleaner not only cleaned the sails, but checked the stitching and applied new resin so they were crisp again. In one case the sail cleaner told me the sails were not worth cleaning, which I appreciated. If you have sails in fair to good condition, consider having them cleaned.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby GreenLake » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:00 pm

Can you give us some indication of how much use they saw before you sent them off?

Not sailing races against another DS would make it harder to notice when the sails degrade slowly. When stitching needs to be redone, wouldn't the cloth have stretched already (except for localized chafing).
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby Alan » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:05 pm

I'd be interested also. My boat's original Neil Prydes (orange and white, matching the colors of the hull and topsides) probably saw very little use, but they're three and a half decades old. Their stitching is undamaged, but the cloth is extremely soft. I'm thinking they may need some nips and tucks as well as new resin to be useful.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:07 am

There seem to different qualities of sail cloth, and I think that some of the differences in feel among different sails may not simply be due to age. I really doubt that the sails I originally purchased with boat (possibly not original as they had no sail numbers) became as soft as they were merely with age. I can't imagine my current sails becoming that soft in a long time - after a number of seasons they seem to pick up creases, and then fold more easily there, but in between, and wherever there are several layers of cloth, say at a corner, the sails are still stiff, and there's no uniform softness.

Another boat I own was designed for use as a trainer and appears to be designed for a bit of durability. The sails have a heavy feel, but are much more uniformly pliant. I think, even with more use, they will end up feeling more substantial than the first-mentioned set of DS sails.

My conclusion is that I don't know how to tell from the feel of the fabric how far along a sail is in getting past its best before date.
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Re: Hyde Sails

Postby kokko » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:08 pm

I can't say for certain. When they got dirty I sent them in. I do recall them calling me once to say the sail wasn't worth cleaning. Too much uv degradation
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