New sail for Butterfly

  • 22 May 2017 14:06
    Reply # 4845559 on 4845409
    David Tyler wrote:

    You know that saying: " build the first boat for your enemy, the second for your friend and the third for yourself"?

    That sounds far wiser than my 'normal' method: Treat myself as my own worst enemy, by seriously overthinking the first boat before I start, while I'm working, and then end up re-doing half of it as I figure it out.

    And yes, I learned to sew my own sails in a similar fashion. Between the split rigged main and the mizzen, I sure learned a lot about how to do it and how not to do it when I was done, and they are good enough to move the boat. (If I'd just blasted through a poly tarp first set, like David suggested, I might be better of today!)
  • 22 May 2017 11:21
    Reply # 4845409 on 4824664

    You see, Michael? The plain fact is that you're better off making it yourself, with the assistance and advice that you can find here.

    You know that saying: " build the first boat for your enemy, the second for your friend and the third for yourself"?

    Well, I'd adapt it for sail making: " make your first sail from polytarp, so that it costs you next to nothing, your second, third and fourth sails from seconds-quality cloth, so that you don't waste too much money on the inevitable errors, your fifth sail from top-dollar materials (but only if you weren't satisfied with the second, third and fourth. Also, you'll be an expert by this time, and will be giving advice to the newbies coming after you).

  • 22 May 2017 10:51
    Reply # 4845391 on 4824664
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    I get a lot of credit for my junk rigs by local sailors. When I, on request, tell them that I made the sail in my living room, their yaws drop.

    Little do they know how simple it is (when I use my Amateur method B). Maybe you have had a glance on TV programs where amateurs compete in haute couture. Their skills are amazing and can kill the courage of any beginners to sewing. I promise you; the skills you need with a needle or sewing machine is less than 10% of what these hobby tailors show.

    As soon as someone has taught you the basics, which is to feed the thread correctly, filling and installing the under-thread spools ( spool up 3-4 at a time to save time), and balancing the tension between the under- and over-thread, you can set to work. Make a couple of sail bags or whatever first and experiment a little with stitch length and zigzag width, and before you know it, you are in business. Surely, it takes a bit practice to get the seams straight and even since the weight of the cloth will want to pull you off the course, but a un-even seam is just about as strong  as an even one. Besides, and never forget this; the loads in the sailcloth and along the battens of a cambered panel junk sail is only a small fraction of the load in a gaff sail of similar shape and size.

    Actually, I find the lofting of each panel to be more work than the sewing part. However, since I now use the practice of lofting each panel on painter’s paper, I can do any errors there, and spot them well before I start cutting in canvas. Also, remember that you only need floor space enough to loft one batten panel at the time.

    If you look up how I have done it, either shown on “my” page, here or by going through the album, showing how Ingeborg’s sail was made, you will find that there are no extraordinary skills needed and no metal grommets in use anywhere. Btw, here is Ingeborg's sailplan.

    Take a good look and see for yourself.


    PS: If you need a bit help on the design part, just let me know, and I’ll give you a hand.

    Last modified: 22 May 2017 10:53 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 22 May 2017 01:11
    Reply # 4844969 on 4844662
    Michael Moore wrote:

    OK, it seems a little strange that no one has used a sailmaker in the UK? That all UK members have made their own sails? Come on guys, how about a bit of help!!

    If you send me your sail plan and related information, I'd be happy to make you a sail in NZ. Since it's a small sail shipping would not be to expensive. I've sent sails to America and the cost was around US$150.00 for shipping.
  • 21 May 2017 22:42
    Reply # 4844821 on 4824664

    Michael - David is quite right.  If you go to a sailmaker, bearly all of them will try to make a junk sail like a bermudan sail.  It will cost you a lot of money, they will try and sell you bendy battens and it will probably need altering.  If you follow Arne's instructions, you will be able to make your own, learn a new skill, understand how the sail works a lot better and save yourself a heap of money.

    It takes about 40 hours to make a junk sail, so you can do the maths yourself on labour plus materials.  Alan Martienssen managed to make two 350 sq ft sail in a friend's living room, using a hand-crank, straight stitch sewing machine.  Following Arne's methods.

    However, if you insist that you can't make one, you should contact Exe Sails and Covers, who have experience in make junk sails and who advertise on the back of every JRA magazine!!!

    Last modified: 21 May 2017 22:48 | Annie
  • 21 May 2017 20:14
    Reply # 4844683 on 4824664

    Not strange; the truth is that in the UK, only the guys on the Exe have any track record of making junk sails. I can't think of any others who I'd trust to do it right.

    I haven't got the space to make more than a small sail at home, so I've hired the community hall as and when necessary.

    Once upon a time, I didn't have the skill or knowledge to make a sail, either, so I set about learning.

    Last modified: 21 May 2017 20:20 | David
  • 21 May 2017 19:22
    Reply # 4844662 on 4824664

    OK, it seems a little strange that no one has used a sailmaker in the UK? That all UK members have made their own sails? Come on guys, how about a bit of help!!

  • 10 May 2017 19:16
    Message # 4824664

    Hi all, does anyone know of a non VAT reg sailmaker in the UK who would be willing to make a 200 square JR for me? I have tried to contact Chris Skanes without result. Phone number? If VAT then at least not a quote of £2500 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    I know lots of us have made our own, but I have neither the space nor the skill for that!!

    Ideas much appriciated.


       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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