With the world of sailing and global cruising being squeezed by the chokehold of worldwide border closures and restrictions imposed by many countries, we feel very fortunate to be sequestered within the borders of New Zealand. Although, waiting out the time and tides here has been an awesome experience we’re ready to get Dazzler back on the water to do what she was made to do…sail! Don’t get me wrong, the New Zealand backdrop for land adventures and scenic vistas has been wonderful but it would seem that we have spent much more time attached to floating concrete real estate fighting off the chill of the prevailing temperatures and sand flies over the last year than sailing. That being said, we are fortunate to have first world marine tradesmen and parts and accessories available to upgrade our floating, voyaging home in preparation of that day when the gates open and we set sail again for foreign isles.
We’ve been sailing with sails that were added new in 2009. Our mainsail being the most used sail also is the one that gets the most exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, has seen better days and has been crying out for retirement. Last August, we started the process of getting quotes for a new mainsail. Quantum USA, Doyle Sails NZ, Willis Sails Opua and Calibre Sails Whangarei. We ultimately chose Calibre Sails here in Whangarei. Quantum was asked for a quote because that is the sail maker I chose back in 2009. Their cruising sails are made out of the country as are the Doyle sails. Willis Sails appear to be made locally but there were some questions with regards to the Dutchman flaking system we have come to rely on while sailing. What pushed Calibre Sails over the top and gained our business was several things. First and foremost the owner David Parr came to our boat to provide us a quote package. He orders the fabric not a cookie cutter sail blank from Bangladesh, China or South Africa. The fabric he chooses in making cruising sails is Fibercon Pro 8.46/9.46 by Contender Sailcloth.
David, also know as Waldo, has a fabric plotting table in his loft that marks all the fabric for the multiple panels of the sail. The panels are then hand cut and the edges of the fabric are sealed with a hot knife. The panels are then laid out on the loft floor where the sail begins to take shape. Seam stick is used for all the 32 mm seams. The reef diamonds, batten pockets, Dutchman cookies and stress patches are all measured and laid out in preparation for sewing.
And we got to watch the sail being made…
The coolest part of this whole process is that Waldo allowed us to visit the loft regularly to photograph Dazzler’s sail progress. We were thrilled to be allowed this privilege. There’s nothing like seeing your main engine being built from the ground up.
During the process we had to have a new Union Polaris sail logo created. Waldo provided us with about a meter of sticky back sailcloth that we used for the logo. We cut out the old logo from Dazzler’s old sail and took it along with the sticky back cloth to HotPrintz a local printer. We had the large sail logos made along with some smaller logos. One of the smaller logos was attached to Jilly’s new grab bag/purse I made for her from some of the old sail material.
Once Waldo and His crew started work on our sail it went very fast. After we returned to town from visiting friends in the Auckland area for Thanksgiving American style, I visited the Calibre loft to find Nick putting the finishing touches on our nearly completed new mainsail. I was amazed at how quickly they kicked out all the sewing. It was literally less than a week earlier that our sail laid in panels on the floor and now it was basically finished. Incredible!
The day of reckoning has arrived…
A few days later at 0830 hours local time Waldo and Nick arrived on the dock delivering Dazzler’s new mainsail. For the last two months I had spent several hours refurbishing the boom and mast hardware in preparation for the new sail. Everything is in great working order and ready. The new sail went up, up, up, without any glitches. A few adjustments here and there and as Jilly would say, “Bam! Sausage!” There it was gently pulsated against the light morning breeze filling its port side. A thing of beauty. Almost brought a small tear to my eye. I said almost! LOL The sail slid down the Tides Marine Strong Track and flaked atop the boom. With a little adjustment here and there it was perfect. The only thing left is to untie the dock lines and go out and fill the new sail with a fresh breeze. To be continued.…
Of course the resident photographer was busy snapping photos and videos to create hero moments later. LOL We couldn’t be happier with our choice of sailmaker and sail product. Calibre Sails gets our vote for best sailmaker in Whangerie. To Waldo and Nick, you guys rock!
Note…No polyesters were harmed during the construction of this sail or asked to do things outside of their performance descriptions. LOL
Let the wind fill your souls and sail as you streak toward the sunset and safe harbor. Wind a go go. Cheers!
Check back soon for a video showing the entire process….