Dr Jeckell and Mr Hyde Sails - A Mainsail Horror Story



This is an update of an article I wrote three years ago. I'm still waiting for Chris Jeckell to call

Dr Jeckell and Mr Hyde before they became sailmakers - the man on the right sold me
 the sail ... and the man on the left made the sail and then dealt with customer service

So, the story of Dr Jeckell and Mr Hyde ..

When you've convinced the budget holder that a new sail is essential for health and safety reasons because its the engine of the boat .. and you have responded to the obvious challenge that isn't the engine the engine of the boat .. and you have explained that this is true, but the sail is also like an engine on a boat .. in fact more important than the engine .. and no that doesn't mean you don't have to spend money on the engine as well and look after it .. but, it does mean the only reason you want a new sail is to protect the family from harm by giving them two good engines .. and it's not for you its for them. Once you have presented and won this compelling argument you are ready to buy a sail. But working out the best sail maker is difficult because of the dynamics of material, useage, fabric, affordability and so on. So, I waited for the Excel Boatshow when I could talk to them all in one go.

In the end we were impressed by Jeckells who said that for the quoted price they would also visit the boat and measure up to make sure it was just perfect - this was a real sell for us because we have bought sails in the past which didn't fit and we didn't want a repeat. Their price was about the same as Kemps for a similar sail cloth. So, Jeckells it was.

Brimble was inside at the time with mast and boom on the deck. The Jeckells Rep, Mr Hyde (not really) visited the boat, measured up and the sail was made. How excited we were.

Eyelets not aligned with reefing
 eyes on leech
Jeckells will not dispatch the order until they have received full payment which we made. What could go wrong when they had personally measured up? The sail was delivered and we waited for the mast to go up and launch day.

On our first weekend of the season, a Friday night, on a swinging mooring in Chichester Harbour we excitedly went to fit the sail. We were soon puzzled because there were no holes on the foot of the sail for the reefing pennants. Of course you wonder whether you're being a bit stupid and missing some obvious new sailing technique - we couldn't think of anything so we put the old sail back on and waited to Monday so I could find out what I was missing.

Monday came and I phoned Jeckells who said they had forgotten to put them in .. it happens. Unfortunately there was not much they could do for a week or so because they were all in Norfolk; they helpfully suggested that I could loose fit the foot for the moment until they had someone in the area! I suggested a courier but they said they couldn't. I asked to speak to Chris Jeckells but he was busy in back to back meetings but his team assured me he would call.

In the end it was couriered and the sail was modified and the reefing holes inserted, but look how they did it. The canvas around one of the eyelets was glued! But there's more; they put them in the wrong place. I phoned Jeckells the following week and emailed a photograph. No comments were made on the quality but they might have been slightly out with the location of the eyelets. They said .. send the sail back and we will have another go. I asked to speak to Chris Jeckells but he was busy in back to back meetings but his team assured me he would call.


Jeckells Mainsail showing new wrongly placed reefing eyelets - note the
stick on strengthening
That week the sail was modified and was fitted and was right and was well made. But its a little bit hard to recommend anything other than stay away from Jeckells at all cost.

The problem I have with articles like this apart from the obvious negativity is that I always assume that they're written by some demented, moaning idiot who probably deserved what he got through unclear instructions or trying to get a cheap deal. I cant be sure I'm not one of those but have a look at the photos and judge for yourself.

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