Unlike the demise of the British outboard engine manufacturing industry the sailmakers of Britain are still going strong. Sails made by such firms as, Ratsey & Lapthorn Ltd., have been around for well over 200 years and are regarded by many as the Rolls Royce of Sailmakers. Jeckells are a similar company with 200 years of sailmaking experience. Kemp and Crusader sails are also well known. There are a dozen more British sailmakers that produce superb sails.
Specialist sailmaking is technology driven nowadays, not only for racing boats but also for every sailing boat produced. It is truely an art form and always has been. Weight of sail cloth varies depending on the type of sail and conditions it will be used in ragearding weather. Light sail cloth for Spinnakers and heavy for Storm jibs. Furling gear also determines the shape and type of luff and/or foot, produced.
Prices of brand new sails are steep, but secondhand sails can often be of very good quality. Remember nowadays many sail boats are still only used for less than six weeks in the entire year. So a five year old sail will still be in very good condition if it has been stored correctly after use.