Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lagoon 400 Doyle CradleCover Tour

In discussing the CradleCover with a client today, he remarked it seemed more expensive than a standard boom cover -- aren't they about the same amount of Sunbrella?  The CradleCover is far more than just Sunbrella, and the best way to explain this was just to grab the camera for a quick tour of a new one in the shop.  Here you go!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

James Spithill's Coming to Talk -- Get Your Seats Now!

Want to hear from the engineer of the Greatest Sports Comeback in History?!?!?  Come to the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation on December 7 to hear from the man himself!

The Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation is dedicated to favorably impacting the lives of young people, primarily between the ages of eight and eighteen. It educates them about sailing and boating, weather, marine safety, sea conditions,  maritime ‘rules of the road’, racing, tactics, first aid and improve spatial and mathematical skills. It aims to provide them with tools to build character and support in the areas of education while advocating leadership among young people in South Florida.

For more information, visit

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Super Sailmakers Boat of the Year Series Begins Soon!

Super Sailmakers proudly announces the kickoff of the sixth annual Super Sailmakers Boat of the Year Series, where the winner wins not just a trophy, but five hundred dollartowards a new sail! Combining scores from regattas like Columbus Day, the Key West Race, and the Hospice Regatta, this tradition gives you another great reason to get your friends together on the water. Just sail in the events you already enjoy, and at the end of the year, the winning boat claims the booty:
  • Your name on the Boat of the Year perpetual trophy.
  • A keeper trophy to show off to your friends
  • A $500 credit toward a new Super, Doyle or Hood sail from Super Sailmakers
Here's how it works: Nine South Florida regattas make up the series:
Columbus Day RegattaOctober 11-12, 2014
Nassau CupNovember 13, 2014
Wirth Munroe RaceDecember 5, 2014
Lauderdale-Key West RaceJanuary 14, 2015
Gulfstream RegattaTBA 2015**
Miami-Key Largo RaceTBA 2015**
Hillsboro to Palm Beach RaceTBA 2015**
PHRF SEF Coastal ChallengeTBA 2015**
Hospice RegattaMay 2015**
* Dates may be altered by each event's organizing committee. 

** Date not published, projected based on previous years.

Race in any four - one must be Hospice - and you’re qualified to win the prize!Whatever place you finish in your class (of 3 or more), that's how many points you get. The boat with the fewest points from her best four regattas (including Hospice) wins! Multihulls, monohulls, fast and not-so-fast - everyone has a shot at being Boat of the Year. No entry is required - just start racing and having fun! View the official Notice of Series and check back to our website to view the series scores along the way.


The Columbus Day Regatta Kicks Off the BOTY Series
The first regatta in the Super Sailmakers Boat of the Year Series is the Columbus Day Regatta and it is coming soon. See below for details:
2014 Columbus Day Regatta
October 11 & 12 on beautiful Biscayne Bay
No entries will be accepted after October 5, 2014.
To register go to 


Sail Ripped?  Call Us for a Quick Fix!
Can't sail Columbus Day because your sail's ripped?  Wrong!  Call us right away and we'll book you a service spot.  We want to help everyone enjoy their boat, and promote fun times like the Columbus Day Regatta.  Give us a ring at 954-763-6621 and we'll get you fixed up fast!

Monday, September 29, 2014

New! Take Kids Sailing, Earn Free Stuff

Youth sailors are the future of sailing, and we want to encourage all South Florida boat owners to take kids out as often as possible.  So we’re offering free stuff!  Send us a photo of a youth sailor (high school or younger) racing on your boat in a qualifying 2014-15 Boat of the Year Series Regatta and receive a $50 credit toward the purchase of a new sail or sail repair.  Short of just paying you to take kids sailing, we figure this is the best we can do to let you know how important it is to the future of our sport that you always look for ways to engage the youth of our community in our favorite pastime.  Get them on the water!  Important restrictions apply; see below.

For a photo to qualify you for the credit, you must:

  • Have Permission of the youth sailor’s parents.  We won’t post photos, or encourage you to take photos, if the youth sailor’s parents won’t give their permission.  Photos must be accompanied by this written permission or contact information so we can contact them and obtain it.  Respect the kids & parents, please.
  • Send It to Super Sailmakers via its Facebook page, e-mail to, or hard copy to our Ft. Lauderdale facility.  The youth sailor(s) must be identified by name, and must have raced on the boat in the qualifying regatta.
  • Authorize Super Sailmakers to edit and the photos for presentation on its blog and Facebook page.

An individual youth sailor may qualify the boat for the $50 credit only once per BOTY series.  The credit has no cash value and may be used as store credit toward sail repair or the purchase of a new Super, Doyle, or Hood sail from Super Sailmakers’ Ft. Lauderdale facility, except those items noted on the web site as not subject to discount.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Adventure Sailing

Sailing needs new blood, and new sailors need to cement their growing love of our pastime.  Before Nevin Sayre was a five-time U.S. National Windsurfing Champion, he was a four time college sailing All-American. Sayre not only understands the competitive side of sailing, he understands that competition isn’t what sailing is all about.  So it is no shock to him that the sport in the U.S. is struggling to turn youth sailors into life sailors, because the focus in most junior programs is to turn youth sailors into youth racers. Some people, of any age, enjoy racing, but others just enjoy going sailing.  How to reconcile the two?  He explains in this short video that's well worth the watch:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mainsail Handling Systems

Has the thought of struggling with your mainsail ever kept you from going sailing?  If so, you’re not alone.  Many sailors – or their spouses -- find getting the main up and down the biggest hassle of sailing, one that prevents them from enjoying their boat.  A range of solutions can simplify this for you and let you get a little more return on your floating investment.

A cruising mainsail, built strong and rugged enough to handle high winds and years of use, can pose some difficulty for sailors trying to douse their sail while sailing shorthanded, in adverse conditions, or in tight quarters.  Four general types of mainsail handling systems have been developed to simplify this task, simply lazy jacks, a cradle-type system like the StackPack, the Dutchman system, and roller-furling spars.  Each has benefits that simplify raising and lowering a cruising main.

Lazy Jacks
The simplest system, a straightforward Lazy Jack system, makes it much easier to lower your sail but a little harder to raise it.  Battens, especially full ones, can get caught in the line system as the sail goes up.  Everyone finds their own solution to this: aiming head-to-wind, releasing one side of the jacks, guiding the sail manually etc…  It’s a common hassle many find worth it.

A rigger can best ensure the necessary mast hardware doesn’t interfere with internal halyards or wires, but if you’re looking for the most low-budget way to go, Harken and West Marine sell kits, or you can just buy the line and hardware yourself.  Since you have to wedge it between the lazy jacks and the sail, you’ll have to get your boom cover altered or suffer chafe holes in the cover in a few months.

Pros:   Most affordable.  Controls the lowering sail.
Cons: Lines catch battens on the way up.  Boom cover a hassle.

A batten-top cradle-type system like the Doyle CradleCover combines lazy jacks with an integrated cover that opens to accept the lowering sail, eliminating the need for and hassle of a separate boom cover.  These systems work best with full-battened mainsails, where battens guide the sail into the pack when lowering.  Good luff slides or a mast track like the Tides StrongTrack minimizes any friction and allows the sail to fall into the cradle like a curtain of cloth.  Then, after you close the top with clips or a zipper, the time you used to spend finding and wrestling with your boom cover you can spend enjoying the frosty beverage of your choice.

While sailing, the cover lays suspended against the foot region of the sail.   When dropped, the system protects the sail from harmful UV rays and presents a trim, attractive look, and dramatically extends the life of your main with little effort on your part.  Their relative ease of use and protective qualities have made them almost mandatory on large-roached multihull mainsails, and on charter boats everywhere.

Pros: Easy lowering.  Instant UV protection without separate boom cover.
Cons: Battens can catch in lazy jacks on the way up.

The Dutchman system weaves permanent control lines through a mainsail and guides the sail into a flaked position as it is lowered.  These lines attach to the topping lift above, and the foot of the sail  below.  As the sail falls, alternating accordion-style flakes stack it on the boom until sail ties can be used to lash it to the spar for safe-keeping.  The exposed sail then requires a separate boom cover, modified to wrap around the control lines, to protect it from the sun.

The Dutchman shares some similarities with a cradle system.  It works best with full battens and low-friction slides or track on the mast.  It can be installed on an existing sail, though price considerations make this recommended only for sails in good condition.  The Dutchman does require greater "user intervention" to lash the lowered sail to the boom and add the cover, though this is far simpler than having no system at all.

Pros:   No lazy jacks to bother rising battens
Cons: Sail needs modification.  Separate, modified sailcover still required.

Furling Spars
Retrofitting a furling spar to your boat is something most people consider only when replacing a spar for another reason, usually involving a very loud noise and a big splash.  If you’ve lost your rig, or if you’re buying a new boat, it’s something to think about, but if you haven’t, it’s usually cost-prohibitive.  Unlike the other systems, it requires a new mainsail:  old ones can’t be modified.  But when you finally get all the pieces in place, it can be an elegant solution to your sail handling problems, as long as you know and respect the limitations of the systems you choose.

A boom furler uses full battens to give good sail shape, both when full and when reefed.  Furling masts can keep a small roach in the sail by utilizing long vertical battens placed parallel to the mast that roll into the cavity when the sail furls.  Both systems offer very easy reefing in the worst conditions.

When a mainsail rolls smoothly into a furling boom or mast, it brings a smile to any crewmember’s face.  When it spools off the forward end of the boom or folds on the way into the mast because the boom was at the wrong angle, the reverse happens.  When you take the time to learn the system, it can make sailing your boat a wonderful experience, where sails roll in and out of the spars freely.  It can’t be emphasized enough, though, that furling spars require owners to be educated if they want to be satisfied – just like almost everything else on a boat.

Pros: Sails roll in and out most easily when properly used
Cons: Improper use can damage sails, conversion is expensive

All of these systems offer a different combination of ease, efficiency, and price that every sailor judges for him or herself, but they all share one thing in common:  they reduce the hassle associated with handling your mainsail.  It makes no sense to keep a $60,000 boat tied to the dock when an investment of a few hundred dollars will make it easy enough to sail more often.  Or, when you can include the price of a handling system in the financing of a new boat, you can start living the good life from day one.  The whole point is to make it easy to go sailing, and each of these systems help meet that goal.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ode to the Sharpie

One of the most important tools for setting up your sails properly comes in a variety of colors and shapes, some big enough to grab on to, others keychain-sized for easy convenience.  I’m talking about, of course, the Sharpie magic-marker. Far too often you remember the thrill of everything working right – sails drawing, excellent sail shape, mainsail falling into the Stackpack, etc.  A good magic marker can help repeat these succeses, and we prefer the handy-dandy Sharpie because of its aerodynamic, tapered design.
Sharpie marks provide a visual reference for many of your boat’s settings so you can quickly replicate the combinations that worked in the past. When your controls are set to a position you know to be good, you can enjoy your boat more instead of fussing with the controls, or suffering with something not right.

Reefing is a great example.  When you reef, you drop your main halyard to a point that enables the tack reef ring to get hooked up, and then you hoist the sail tight again.  Don’t search for the right spot every time, put a mark on the halyard for each reef so you know how far to drop the sail.  This allows someone in the cockpit to lower the sail just enough to accommodate someone at the mast, reducing communication needed when it’s blowing the dog off the chain.  If you use a spinnaker, mark the spinnaker halyard where it exits the cleat so the person hoisting it can see it is fully raised when it goes up. Do the same with the genoa halyard for when it’s time to go upwind.

If you don’t regularly sail with the same people, Sharpie marks on sheets, too, prove useful visual references to remind the trimmer where how far in he was pulling the sail on the last beat, or allow a more knowledgeable crew member to tell the new guy “trim it about five inches past the mark.” Same with your genoa sheet leads, if they’re are adjustable and you don’t mind marks or numbers on the deck or track. On the mainsail, often on a multi-part system the tail end where the line exits the cleat is an ideal place for a reference mark, or, if the sheet travels along the boom any distance, a traveling mark on the sheet against a reference point on the boom sit at eye level where more people can see and remember it.

Keep in mind, the marks you make aren’t gospel. You halyards and sheets will stretch under load and over time in the long run. Also, your sailing will improve and you’ll learn the marks aren’t in exactly the right place – remember, they’re just a reference. But for when you don’t sail that often, or you sail with many different people every time, they’re a quick way of repeating what worked last time, improving upon it for next time, and getting better every time.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

(Pre) Summer Sale Begins!

Starting tomorrow we launch an exciting new program to help sailors save real money on specific sails.  Every two weeks, we'll identify a new sail, offer it at a substantial discount, and accompany it with lower prices on other sails for the boat as well.  These are deep discounts, and the following terms and conditions apply:

Limited Time.  Each sale begins and ends on a date and time, and the sale price only applies to sails purchased during those times.

No Additional Discounts or coupons may be applied.  This is the lowest price we'll ever offer this sail!

Limited Customization.  The sails are already built, and only minor customization is possible, such as adding sail numbers, class insignia, or custom graphics.

Limited Supply.  We have limited quantities of the sails offered, and when they're gone, so is the special price!

We hope you'll enjoy the information we'll include with each offer, and share your opinion in our regular polling series that accompanies each mailing as well.  

Jib Halyard Tension, Big and Small

Earlier this month Peter Grimm from Super Sailmakers / Doyle Florida East flew to La Spezia, Italy to supervise the  sail reinstallation and testing on the 38 meter P2, a Perini-built, Briand designed superyacht that’s been making a name for herself in the international superyacht racing circuit.  The boat just underwent a refit, with some down-time to reconfigure some of the Doyle Stratis sails to adjust to a new halyard system.

Just like on any sailboat, halyard tension on P2 affects upwind pointing ability and speed more than any other control except the jib sheet itself.  The P2 team found their 1” diameter low-stretch Vectran halyard was stretching six inches over the 150 feet from the halyard cleat (actually, a 10-ton hydraulic piston) to the top of the mast.  The jib would start out looking great, but as the wind built, and the crew went through a few tacks, the halyard loosened, and sail shape reflected it.  The draft moved aft a little, some horizontal wrinkles developed, and the sailing angles suffered.  While the crew could tighten the halyard to compensate for the stretch and get it back to the desired height, the second and third rounds of tightening increased concern that something would break – and the costs of a “bang” on a 130-foot boat are often counted in millions, and injuries.  Another solution was needed.

Proposed P2 blade lock system
Peter coordinated with Robbie Doyle’s team in Salem, Mass., who provided the engineering and computer modeling to enable the spar modifications, and the sailmakers in Doyle Italy performing the sail changes themselves, to adjust to a new halyard locking system.  Like a Hobie Cat (just a little bigger), the new system terminates the halyard at the top of the mast instead of 150 feet later at the bottom, removing the halyard stretch variable from the system.  When locked at the top, greater luff tension would now be achieved through a removeable cunningham system that pulls from the bottom.  Great care was taken to ensure that the reconstruction of the tack area was engineered to ensure proper function, and when sea trialed last week, everything worked perfectly and the Doyle Stratis sails looked as beautiful as ever.  Now, P2 has consistent, repeatable luff tension.  Before, the crew needed multiple tons of halyard tension pulling up to keep the jib luff tight after stretching.  Now, P2 has a “set it and forget it” system requiring only a few hundred pounds of pressure to make changes – faster, safer, and simpler.

On any boat, proper jib halyard tension can improve performance, and make sails last longer.  Most sailors with furling genoas forget one important step with their halyard – relaxing it at the dock.  The proper halyard tension for sailing upwind in 15 knots, when left at full strength when the sail is furled up at the dock, will keep pulling on the luff of the sail, degrading shape and damaging the fabric, especially with laminated sails (even ones as long lasting as Doyle Stratis!).  We recommend briefly releasing the halyard cleat after the sail is rolled, allowing the sail and halyard to relax.  Then, when you go sailing again, you’ll probably wonder why there are horizontal wrinkles in the luff, and a big one at the pre-feeder.  This is a sign your halyard is too loose and requires tightening, easily done by luffing up with a loose sheet and a crank on the winch.  More fine tuning can be done to make the luff tighter for windy upwind work, and looser for light reaching, but this work can interfere with that rigid book-reading or wine-uncorking schedule, and may be considered optional.

On any size boat, proper jib luff tension can give you another few degrees of upwind ability.  On your boat, you probably don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to install a cutting-edge halyard lock system, but just think a little more about the systems you already have, and know how to get a little more out of them. If you'd like more info on simple things you can do to enjoy your boat more without spending a lot of money, give us a ring and we'll be happy to help.