Hong Kong Sailmakers



Thinking of buying a stock genoa sail ( made for another customer who had measured incorrectly!) ) from these manufacturers butI am unsure whether there will be any import or other tax chargeable to me on importing to the UK. Also I would like to hear of any experiences, good or bad with this company before sending my hard earned pennies off abroad. Have to say their communications are excellent and they come across as being very straightforward to deal with.

Silent Lady

Active member
28 Jan 2010
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Importing Sails

You will have to pay an Import Duty which could be 2 - 3 % and then VAT on the whole amount this includes the carriage + a handling charge.

Thinking of buying a stock genoa sail ( made for another customer who had measured incorrectly!)

Cannot believe that. You have to pay up front before they dispatch / make.

As Morgana Says you can send it back but at what cost.


Will it be any good .. If its not right what are you going to do with it ? .. Suppose you might find a local loft to sort it but if I were the local loft I would tell you to send it back from where it came.

What sort of cloth is it. Some of the cloth used has a high content of filler between the fibres . Have a look Here

In short you get what you pay for .

Does FACTORY you are buying the sails from have anyone who goes sailing.
Do they understand your type of boat.
Will it set correctly with your set up.
What sort of cloth is it made from.
How long will it last.
Very convenient they have just the right one ;)

If your not really bothered about any of the above issues then perhaps it will be Ok.

Last edited:

Phoenix of Hamble

Active member
28 Aug 2003
East Coast
Actually, they do take them back and sort them....

They use mainstream fabrics, the same as all UK sailmakers... you can chose which material you want used..... in communications with them, they clearly DO understand boats and sailmaking...

I've seen a couple now on UK boats, and they are just as good as any of the basic sails available from UK sailmakers.

Saying that, I replaced my sails in the autumn, and chose to go to Crusader, simply because they design, and construct in the UK... yes, I perhaps paid a premium compared to HK sails... but i'm happy to have done that.... many of the UK sailmakers have their sails made up in the far east as it is.


Active member
6 Feb 2006
West Coast
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I bought one via a Uk agent (so can't answer the VAT question) a few years ago. Seams were all triple stitched; two reef points as standard, and other than a cringle which wasn't properly compressed, I was very pleased with it; it had a good shape, and all materials and workmanship seemed to be good quality.

The agent were good, and the Uk loft I spoke to didn't seem interested in me or my little sail, and wanted twice as much money, for a longer lead time. I gather most 'UK' lofts actually manufacture in China somewhere too.


Well-known member
7 Jun 2001
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Bought a cruising chute from HK while in the Canaries. They were very straightforward and prompt to deal with. The sail is well-made but does not set as well as its predecessor and so I don't use it very often. I'd be wary of a "mail-order" sail in future, where the sailmaker doesn't measure and fit the sail.

We had a lot of trouble with the carriers, TNT, who brought the sail to the Canaries. They managed to lose track of the sail. After days of telling us it would be "on the van that afternoon", the courier finally showed up with the wrong parcel clearly addressed to someone else at a quite different address. Then they claimed that they had delivered the sail but we had refused to accept it, so it had been returned to sender. We finally tracked down their warehouse near the airport in Tenerife, and discovered our parcel lying there right in the middle of the floor.

As a yacht in transit technically we were not liable for Import Duty or VAT but it seemed too much bother for TNT to deal with Spanish customs over this, they were going to make a huge handling charge if we insisted.


Well-known member
17 Jan 2007
Well I haven't used 'em yet (roll on that day!) but the sails on Brigantia are HK sails and look to be excellently well made. They're not new by any means yet without a doubt the best condition set of sails I've seen on any budget s/h boat we looked at.

Of course, now I've said that they'll probably set like a pair of dirty sheets :)