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...As a merchant mariner and lifelong sailor, I greatly appreciate the honesty, integrity, and value that I have consistently received...Jeremy Fox, customer since 2005
Have you recognized the shift?
Whether we race or cruise, we have to recognize shifts (and veers), correct?
The same applies for choosing a sailmaker. When I was a small child, buying a new sail entailed
a pleasant visit to the local sail loft, where a grizzled old sailmaker stood pipe in mouth
eyeballing a luff curve with lofting batten on an ancient wooden floor. Those days disappeared as
sails and boats became more complex and sailmaking transitioned from an artisanal craft to
The first big shift consisted of advances in sailcloth and using computers to design sails. The pipe clenching sailmaker went from shifting a lofting batten on the loft floor to tapping those changes on a keyboard. The early design software and computers were well out of financial reach of our neighborhood sailmaker. This forced sailmakers who wanted access to that cutting edge technology to band together in franchise groups. Soon franchises dominated sailmaking. All the names we recognize: Banks Sails, Doyle, Elvstom, Hood Sails, North Sails, Quantum Sail Design, Ullman Sails, Sobstad, UK Sailmakers sprang from the need to combine resources for technology and of course marketing efforts. Now computers are affordable and the most sophisticated sail design software, such as Smar-Azure and Sail Pack can be purchased for around $10,000.
The next big shift was globalization. In a Yachting Monthly article, Nigel Calder toured the 200,000 square foot production loft in China where our and many brand name sails are made, and summed up his visit saying he had “witnessed the globalized future of sailmaking” and described sailmaking as having “entered the era of established brand names tied to mass production facilities...no different than Nike or Sony.” Calder astutely noted the playing field between large and small sailmakers had been leveled.
The leveled playing field recognized by Nigel Calder allowed Island Planet Sails to be the next big shift in how people buy sails. But what really makes Island Planet Sails a decidedly different sailmaker? President and founder Dave Benjamin refined the process of purchasing sails from afar. Customers are able to learn how to properly measure their rig for new sails with videos and unlimited support from the caring staff at Island Planet. Customer involvement with sail design doesn’t stop with measuring. Detailed drawings are supplied and the knowledgeable staff takes time to explain how the and why the design decisions were made. And if customers wants and needs were not properly interpreted, the design is re-done until everyone is happy. Due to the sheer volume of sails produced, with nearly 100 in production at time of this writing, prices are surprisingly reasonable. The sails are designed and manufactured without compromise. Growth has been organic, relying on repeat and referral clients, eliminating the need for expensive advertising.
The team at Island Planet Sails has an amazing amount of experience both in the loft and offshore. Product Vision Director Brian Hancock has logged over 250,000 offshore miles including 3 round the world races. Jordan Smith has captained everything from modern racers to tall ships and is an accomplished rigger. Michael Judd is a surveyor and delivery captain when not assisting Island Planet clients. If you would like a quote on a new sail from one of these gentlemen, just provide your name and email address along with any other details you care to share in the form on the upper right of this page.
We guarantee this is one shift that will put you closer to the mark or that idyllic anchorage.