We needed a bigger symmetrical chute and a bigger asymmetrical chute for our 63-ft catamaran Profligate. As we’re making some expensive upgrades to the boat, we wanted to be thrifty. That, along with the fact that used Santa Cruz 70 chutes fit Profligate perfectly, encouraged us to go chute hunting at Minney’s Marine Surplus in Costa Mesa.
Minney’s had so many good chutes for our boat that we couldn’t believe it. Fortunately, Charlie, one of Ernie Minney’s employees, was there to take us to a second warehouse and help sort through some of them. Mind you, SC70 chutes are big, so it was a workout for Charlie, who did most of the work.
We drove away with two chutes for about 10 to 15% of what they would have cost new. A couple of days later we flew them off to San Diego. It turned out that what we thought was going to be an asymmetrical, probably due to a brain fade on our part, was actually a symmetrical. As for the 1.5-oz symmetrical that once graced the Andrews 70 turbo sled Magnitude, she’s going to see a lot of duty on Profligate during the Baja Ha-Ha. She looked perfect and still crinkled.
You get five days to try out used sails from Minney’s. If you don’t like them, you can return them — undamaged, of course — for a full refund. So we’re going to return the one that we thought was an asymmetrical. But before we had a chance to, Charlie emailed us some good news: “The symmetrical spinnaker that you purchased is on special this month for 33% off. Please call us and we will write you a check for the difference. Sorry for the error.”
Wow, a refund from somebody who already had our money in their bank.
So if you’re entered in the Ha-Ha and need a symmetrical chute — the discount doesn’t apply to asymmetricals — you might want to check out Minney’s. There is a complete list of sails on their website. And when you call them, ask for Charlie.
Of course, most sailmakers also have used sails. They may not have as big a selection as Minney’s, but it’s worth asking if they have what you need.