The Cruising Sailmaker: Technically Speaking

Jamie draws on years of experience as a professional sailor, sailmaker, and full time cruiser to benefit other sailors, whether you are across the anchorage or across an ocean. For the last few years, he’s worked with a New Zealand sailmaker based in Malaysia, Phil Auger. Together they assist customers to specify and design high quality sails built in offshore lofts–lofts which ONLY serve sailmakers, not end buyers– which are then shipped anywhere in the world.

Do you have questions about your existing sails (or sail-handling, rigging, etc.)? Jamie’s happy to answer questions about sails, without fees or expectations. And even though sailmakers come with big egos, please don’t refer to him as “Excellency”, “Your Grace”, or “Cloth King.” That just complicates things for us on board when it’s his turn to do the dishes.

Jamie has a gift for providing clear, plain-English explanations for complex  concepts in sailmaking. He’s contributed his knowledge to a number of magazine articles; posts here on Sailing Totem are all tagged /sailmaker. These are a few of the most popular:


Do you need new sails? If you need a no-nonsense sailmaker to deliver a good value on the right sail, Jamie would appreciate the opportunity to quote! He’s helped many cruisers get great sails at a good value.

Jamie in his element

How Jamie works with you

If you’re considering a new sail, Jamie will first want to know about the kind of sailing you expect to do and boat type. Once he’s clear on your priorities, then he can prepare recommended features and specifications- whether you’re working with him, or another loft. Getting a quote is simple, with this information and a few rough rig dimensions.

Sail specification and design

Banyan in the SOC- Mason 43- Vawters
“Great product, great service, great price and fast delivery.” Anne Vawter, SV Banyan

Jamie works with a Kiwi sailmaker, also an experienced cruiser (and racer!) to produce the design. He typically quotes a few cloth options, and shares an explanation of each. And it’s easy to tweak features and options in the process. If you decide to purchase, then he’ll work with you on measurements with clear instructions and logical forms. With a 50% deposit, the sail is sent to production, and the finished sail can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Where they’re built

Sails are produced at offshore lofts which only build sails for sailmakers, and they build them exactly how the order is specified. Because they match spec tighly, you get exactly what you and Jamie determine is best of your boat / your budget to get a great sail at a reasonable cost. If having sails made offshore still makes you nervous, well, know that initially it did for Jamie also (as a brick and mortar sailmaker from way back!); he now has full trust in their capabilities, based on years of demonstrated results.

Unbeatable value

Jamie’s prices tend to be slightly more than Asian-made retail sailmakers (Lee, Rolly Tasker, etc.) and less than the big name retail sailmakers (North, Doyle), while producing quality that is equal to any sail loft. Of course he cannot provide hands-on service of a local loft, unless you’re anchored near Totem. The flip side is that he doesn’t have any marketing brochures, so you won’t have to wade through a lot of holding-tank filler. Instead he communicates simple and complex information in a way that you can actually understand.

Interested? Whether you have a new sail need, or just some questions, fill out our contact form. That reaches us everywhere, even at sea, and he’ll get back to you.

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