What is a Mainsail

The mainsail of a sailing ship is one of the most important sails on board. This sail is used a lot, and therefore it should be of good quality. There is usually only one of these on board. It is therefore important that this sail has a lot of adaptability, to be able to sail in any weather and under any conditions. You want to arrive safely, relaxed and confidently in port: the mainsail plays the main role and should therefore simply be good. 

The design of mainsails ensures good control of your vessel, limited heel and sufficient rudder pressure. There are many possibilities in the type, the cloth, the cut and other variables. With a mainsail from Zeilmakerij De Vries, you get maximum quality and lots of sailing pleasure on board.

Sail from De Vries Maritiem in Lemmer

The supply of mainsails is one of our main activities as a sailmaker. Sails from Zeilmakerij De Vries Maritiem are durable and offer very good sailing performance, and come out well under all circumstances at a very friendly price. 

Sails from De Vries Maritiem are a Dutch top product with a perfect finish. All mainsails from De Vries Maritiem are designed with care, custom made and solidly finished by our experts in Lemmer. We have been doing this for almost 200 years.

Buy a new mainsail

Unfortunately, sails do not have eternal life, wear and tear of cloth and/or stitching, an unfortunate event or a major refit: there are many times when you may decide it is time for a new, fresh sail. Is that moment for your there? A number of important choices need to be made when purchasing. There are many different options for the proper performance of your vessel.

Request a quote directly

We are happy to discuss a number of options on this page. For comprehensive, personal advice, please call us and our staff will be happy to assist you without obligation. Our people sail themselves, so we know what we are talking about.


Purchasing choices

Here we discuss the most important choices for buying a new mainsail.


How is the shape of a mainsail determined? We also call this the cut of the sail. This can be the same as the old sail, but perhaps you have other wishes regarding the sailing behavior of your ship. We are happy to discuss this with you in order to help you choose the most suitable cut.

Roller or conventional

Roughly speaking, we classify the types of mainsails according to 'conventional' and 'roller reef'.

What is a roller reefed mainsail? This is a sail that is stowed (and reefed) by rolling it into the mast. The sail is easy to operate by simply rolling it out or away. In addition, it offers very many reefing possibilities because you can set any size of sail imaginable because rolling out or rolling in the sail provides stepless reefing. 

There are several roller reefing options. Roughly we can classify them into: rolling in the mast, rolling aft of the mast, rolling in the boom, or rolling around the boom. The rolling reef system for in the mast is the most commonly used system. The other options are also available, please contact us if you want to discuss which variant is most suitable for your sailboat.

Read all about it here Roller reef mainsails.

Conventional Sails

A conventional mainsail is a mainsail according to "classic sailing": a sail that is hoisted by means of a halyard in the mast, and which is stowed in a lazybag or hood, or completely removed from the mast and boom. Although the conventional mainsail requires a bit more handling than a roller reefed mainsail, it benefits the sailing characteristics. As with many choices on board, this is an important consideration that varies from person to person and from boat to boat.

Roller furling mainsail vs conventional mainsail: here we list all the pros and cons.

Price mainsail

Second, a choice must be made from the different fabrics. Do you want a Dacron mainsail, or still Hydranet? Some cloths are stiffer, others are more flexible. Some are suitable for a roller mainsail, and some are not. Some are very UV resistant for use in tropical destinations, others are more suitable for our Dutch weather. You can see and feel the materials at our office in Lemmer, so that you know what you are getting on board. Do you live further away? Then we will gladly send you some sample materials.

Sailing battens, tell-tales, trim line and more

Finally, there are many choices to make in the versions and associated options such as tread stripes, tell-tales, descending reinforcements, presence and types of sail battens, leather reinforcement at possible chafing points, tow straps, trim line with clamcleat in the leech ... the list is long. We will make sure to present you with all the most convenient and latest options.

Battened or not

To have or not to have battens in the mainsail: it is a subject of much discussion. We would be happy to discuss with you what your sailing requirements are: how often you sail, where you sail, how you sail. These are all variables that determine whether battening a mainsail is desirable. 

Battens give the sail extra stability and shape, which offers many advantages for performance. A battened mainsail, on the other hand, is somewhat heavier and more difficult to handle, for example when hoisting or stowing sails in winter. In short, one could say that the more demands are placed on a mainsail, the more often battens are used.

Reef System

A sail must be able to be reefed to sail with variable conditions. There is a lot of choice in reefing systems and the extent to which the size of the sail is adjusted. From traditional ways to the latest techniques, our sailmaker can provide everything.

Cover or sleeve

A sail will last the longest if you protect it properly. A hood or cover is perfect for this, which is why we also supply them. You have a wide choice of colors and fabrics. We can also attach it in any way you want. That is the great advantage of our in-house sail making facility. And do you need to adjust something afterwards? That's no problem at all. A number of examples of mainsail hoods: (see photos on existing page).


Are you looking for a lazybag? You have come to the right place for that too. What is a lazybag? A lazybag is a collection system for the mainsail, a kind of bag. It makes the storage of the mainsail very easy. When the sail is lowered, it falls smoothly into the lazybag, which is located on the boom like a collection bag. We make all kinds of variants and offer many possibilities for your lazybag.

Mainsail for falcon, flatboat, spanker, friendship, sailhorse, Etap, dehler, and many others

Sailmaker De Vries Maritiem has made thousands of mainsails, for every type of boat. Many of our customers want to know if we have made a mainsail before for their type of boat, so we are sharing this list here. We made sails for:

  • Falcon
  • Flatbed 
  • Spanker 
  • Efsix
  • Vomar
  • Flying Junior
  • Friendship
  • Sailhorse 
  • Centaur 
  • Etap 22 
  • Dehler
  • Marieholm
  • Polyvalk
  • Yngling 
  • Laser pico

This list is just a selection of frequently requested brands. Curious about the possibilities for your ship?

Mainsail price

We are not satisfied until you are! Would you like zThe price of a mainsail is determined by the size, shape, different options, cloth, ... therefore there is no standard answer to the question "how much does a mainsail cost". However, we can give you that answer very quickly! Request a quote without obligation, or give us a call, so we can make a rough estimate of the cost with your requirements. 

Mainsail making

The best sail is made to measure so that it meets all your requirements, and fits your ship perfectly. Our sailmakers come on board (by appointment) to measure the sails and give you advice on the spot. We prefer to measure on board since no two ships are alike. If it is not possible to measure the sails on board, we can also choose to measure the existing sails in our sail shop and use these measurements for the design of the new sails.

Once we have all the data, we get to work designing and cutting the panels and strips. The strips are then glued and stitched together. Based on agreed specifications, the sail is finished and made ready for use. Optionally, we can install the sails on your ship.

When to replace a mainsail

When to replace your mainsail depends on several factors. First, of course, visible wear is possible, which can greatly affect safety and sail quality. A major damage can also be cause for total mainsail replacement. And in case of reduced performance when sailing or undesirable sailing behavior, it is also highly recommended to take a closer look at the mainsail. 

We are happy to think with you to see if there may be a cheaper solution by some repairs or adjustments to the sail, and will also advise you honestly when a new mainsail is a better investment. As always, we think with you as if it were our own boat!

Request a quote

We are not satisfied until you are! Do you want to experience that yourself? Then get in touch with us. You can blindly trust a mainsail from Zeilmakerij de Vries Maritiem. Fast and comfortable sailing with a conventional mainsail or a roller reefing system. With us you will find a mainsail that meets all your needs. 

Come and visit us (with your ship in our harbor) so we can provide you with specific advice. We will be happy to discuss the many options and possibilities for purchasing new sails.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a mainsail cost?

Would you like to calculate the price for a new mainsail? We are happy to tell you in a personal meeting, where we discuss your wishes and vessel. We can quickly make an initial estimate before preparing a full quote.

Leuvers mainsail?

Leuvers are attached to the sail and are crucial to the proper and smooth hoisting of the mainsail. Our sailmaking shop offers many types and choices of levers. You can also always order these separately from us.

What is a roller mainsail?

A roller mainsail is a sail that is rolled up when not in use, or when reefed. It can be rolled in the mast, in the boom, or on a stay. read more