I had to replace my trusty old number 3 (North, paneled) last winter and so I figured since Quantum had built most of the other inventory on the boat they'd be my loft of choice. What's not to like about Q sails? Superior quality, perfect cuts, longevity, altogether an attractive product. Little pricey, but weighed against the potential of getting an additional winning season out of a sail, not really. Really nice folks, too.

Then I got in touch with HL in Mystic, Conn.

Our rather: they got in touch with me.

Turns out HL/Mystic's lead sail designer, John Fries, sails a sistership of our boat. He contacted me and sent me some info about their product. His boat gets used, you might say, as one of the loft's test platforms...when his quote came in a boat-unit or two below anyone else in Annapolis, I figured why not?

Got the sail in Spring right on sked and right when HL had promised...then wouldn't you know it, we had one of the lightest summers in years. The 3 came out of the bag once ...Leukemia Cup. I can't even begin to comment on its performance as we had so many other problems that day. It is one helluva nice LOOKING sail, though.

From some of the on-line discussions recently, sounds like there are folks out there ready to bail from Big Blue and I don't blame them. I've never gotten any response from the E. Empire folks other than a tacit, " don't sail a Farr 40?...then, explain, why do I need to talk to you, again?" (Quantum folks have always been a delight, as a point in contrast)

But...well, maybe it's just me.

Look, I buy a lot of stuff in life based on attitude. I like the people in a certain neighborhood liquor store and, even though it's more expensive, I shop there almost exclusively. I try to spend as little time as possible with people who have crappy dispositions. Same applies to sailmakers.

So, if you're going to plunk down the bux for some new sails, I'd really suggest you look beyond the heavily marketed lofts and take the time to see if some of the Less Well Advertised can may luck out like we did and find a loft that's developing new products specifically for your boat (don't even get me started on an A sail digression).

Hey, it's your money.