Latest News: Forums General Used sails – what are they worth???

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  • #3807

    Am I being unrealistic?

    I have a nearly new set of Wayfarer sails sat here, which I bought brand new in May and have used just 4 times.

    I’ve had them on ebay for the last ten days with a starting bid of £400 and not a single bid – just a steady stream of folk emailing me saying they want them but only if they were cheaper – for instance would I take £250 for them.

    Now to my mind a set of one season old sails is worth half the value of a new set, but these aren’t a season old or anything like it.

    What should I do?

    1. Cut my losses and sell them for what seems like a giveaway price,
    2. Hang on for now in the hopes that they’ll sell better at the start of next season, despite them then being “last year’s” sails
    3. Donate them to a sailing school and at least have a warm feeling about giving them away!


    By my reckoning over the last 25 years or so, I would saythat a set of sails depreciates by 40% on buying them. Then, every 15 -18 months after that another 50% of the remaining value needs to be knocked off.

    Colin Parkstone

    John, I think it can depend on the maker for any sails being sold on the second hand market.
    If they are a set of racing sails,made with proper cloth they will appeal to a wider market than say,a set made from cheaper cloth from the budget end of the market.
    Also you have the shape they were cut too,was it from a maker that has put some time into developing a shape and has prooved to be good on the race course.

    Spinnakers are also subject to the above and also they are a sail that is surported less and handled much more so are open to more or less abuse!

    Not sure what you paid or who made them but I would hang on to them at the moment,not a good time as you said as the end of the season. Also,what do you call a set,how many sails?

    Try selling them via the class site, E Bay is for bargain hunters and not specific to Wayfarers alone.

    C P 😀


    The sails are a main and genoa which cost me approximately £600 new, from a company called Insails. Yes they are budget end of the market but they really are nice quality. Allegedly they were designed by an ex North Sails designer, how true this is I don’t know, but in any case they set beautifully – the boat goes upwind virtually hands free with them on.

    I realise that having a proper “name” on the sails would clearly make a huge difference to the value of them but nevertheless I still think these are an absolute bargain for anyone looking for a good value set of sails for club racing.

    I did enquire about advertising on the class website but thought I’d try ebay first as it is pretty cheap to list and clearly reaches a very large audience. Indeed this seemed to work for the boat – I was inundated with enquiries and the first person to see it gave me the asking price, but alas I was equally amazed by the number of people making cheeky offers for the sails, which made me wonder whether I was being way too optimistic in my assessment of their value.

    Anyway, using the formula as kindly defined by JordanChris they should sell for £50 less than my asking price, so maybe that’s not so far out.

    Colin Parkstone

    Sounds a fair price so I would hang on to them till ???

    Shame your leaving the class at such an exciting time,new boat an all!

    If your thinking you may return to the class,the Fifteen may not be to your liking,how about keeping them so as to not have to buy new again.

    Just a thought!!

    Good luck.

    CP 😀

    Chris 5580

    I have recently completed the renovation of W5580 and I had to buy a set of sails. I spent some time looking on Ebay before realising most of the sails that came up had seen better days and, in any event, came up rarely in the first place. I got a decent Hyde genoa for £50 but after some months then bought a new Edge main. Fine for the pottering I do at Oxford.
    I did see your Insails set up for sale, and only know Insails from Ebay.
    On a wider point, I have noticed that many sellers on Ebay – not just Wayfarers and not just boats, have decided what the lowest price is that they will accept, and put in a Starting Bid at that figure. Ebayers are after a bargain and won’t bid on a high starting bid. It is best to start the bidding low, but put in a reserve, so you can see what the market will bear but you don’t have to sell if your acceptable price is not reached.

    ps – anyone got a wooden tiller? 🙄


    Colin, you’ve obviously read my other thread! At risk of being flamed I would say that the Flying Fifteen is actually much more suitable for where I sail. The class is really well supported at our club and gets good turnouts so we can fleet race; and works well in the local conditions where it is able to cope with the the infamous South Windermere wind, which can be vicious and unpredictable.

    Whilst we do have a sizeable fleet of Wayfarers they don’t tend to get raced much, it’s very rare three turn out for a race which is the minimum we need for class racing. Most of them seem to be sailed by people who just want to potter on the lake, or by beginners learning to race. This is great, but just not what I’m really looking for. If we had a strong fleet I’d maybe stick with it, but we don’t and nor are there any other fleets nearby so no open meetings within striking distance, unfortunately.

    Chris, I had the same experience looking for sails, in fact I’d been after a set ever since I bought the boat 3 years ago but they are either clearly either as worn out as mine, or they were £500 and at the other end of the country, so new ones for just under £600 seemed a better gamble. And indeed were.

    I usually go with the low opening bid to attract initial interest, but you can’t really do that in conjunction with a “Buy it now”, as for some bizarre reason ebay cancels the buy it now as soon as the first conventional bid is placed. Hence I put a starting bid of my minimum figure instead. Also, a reserve doesn’t really allow you to see the true market value as a lot of people don’t want to bid and reveal how much they are willing to pay until they can see the reserve has already been met.

    As it happened the end result was actually the same, as instead of bidding everyone seemed to just email offers instead; and indeed I have now given in and sold them to someone for £340, subject to them collecting them next week. Hey ho!

    As regards the tiller, why not make one yourself? I got a local joiner to make me a mahogany blank which he planed all round to the size of the big end, then I planed the taper on myself and profiled the end to fit the stock. A laminated one would theoretically have been better but it has survived two years without either warping or snapping so I guess it was good enough, and only took me a couple of hours to make. Joiner didn’t even charge me for the blank either, though I think I chucked him a fiver to get himself a drink with!

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