One thing you learn really quick about buying a new boat is pretty much nothing comes with it or attached to it. The sticker shock of the hull is bad enough, but once you start filling out the rest of the purchase order you realize the hull is the cheap part.
(OK, that’s an exaggeration. But not by much.)
When you plunk down money on a boat, like I did, when hull #1 doesn’t even exist, choosing a sailmaker isn’t exactly straightforward. There are no other owners to share stories with you. You can’t look to see what sails the winning programs are flying. And the boatmakers themselves aren’t any help as they don’t want to come off as playing favorites with any of the major sailmakers.
When I decided I wanted a new main for Dragonfly, I visited all the sailmakers at the 2018 Seattle Boat Show. I had the best conversation and best warranty/price balance from Joshua Butler at Doyle Sails Seattle. So Josh was certainly on my short list.
Then I talked to some of the other skippers about what kind of service they got from other major lofts like Quantum and North. I started looking closely at the sails I was trimming on the race boats I was crewing, asking how old they were. I learned the quality and satisfaction was highly variable.
Why not go with a local shop? To be honest, I didn’t want to be a guinea pig. I knew J/Boats was going to make sure the first few hulls to hit the water were dressed by each of the major lofts to get experience wth design and tuning. So, I wanted to be able to take advantage of what those lofts learned from the earlier hulls.
I called Josh and we met over burritos at a restaurant on Hwy 99 to go over budget and what I was hoping to accomplish. Given my newbie status, I wanted to be able to have a sailmaker I could lean on before and after the sail sale (see what I did there?).
Plus, I was impressed by everything I’d read concerning Doyle’s advancement in cableless Code 0 technology. Since I knew one certain part of the sail inventory would be a Code 0, this pushed me towards Doyle as well.
Josh was fabulously patient with all my dumb questions. Over several meetings in the weeks and months after our initial burrito fest, it was really clear who I’d choose.
I’m really pleased to announce the first J/99 in the Northwest will proudly fly Doyle sails.