After 42 years in the city, Hasse & Company Port Townsend Sails recently announced its merger with Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op.
Since 1978, Carol Hasse, owner of Port Townsend Sails, has made a name for herself and her business by providing customers with the highest quality blue water ready sails for cruisers near and far.
“Our sails, since I created the company, are blue water cruising sails worthy of Cape Horn,” said Hasse, before specifying that his sails are most certainly “No” sails around the buoy “. “
Over the years, Hasse said the Sail Company and the Co-Op have developed a kind of symbiosis. When a cruiser entered the harbor looking for some TLC from the shipwrights. They sent them to Hasse when they needed new sails.
Like so many craftsmen who devote themselves to mastering their craft, Hasse was unable to learn sailmaking in any class or trade school. Instead, she apprenticed with sailmaker Franz Schattauer in Seattle from 1972.
“Franz was – in addition to running a sailmaker where a person could be hired and learn how to make sails – was a master sailmaker,” she said. “His skills were truly a descendant of the Royal Marines of the day.”
Typical of traditional standards, a large amount of hand-sewn elements found their way into Schattauer’s sails, resulting in both a visually appealing end product and increased durability.
When Hasse brought what she had learned under Schattauer’s tutelage to Port Townsend, it soon became apparent that the townspeople loved the fit of her jib – and her mainsails too, for that matter.
“What we do in our loft is a hand finish which is just very beautiful, but more important than being very beautiful, it better protects the sails from friction, makes them more repairable and makes them more sustainable, ”said Hasse.
“Our reputation has grown by holding onto this quality construction and even though our sails were not competitive with offshore or contracted sails as they were built for someone who might want to sail from Port Townsend to New Zealand and back…… we’ve always had a niche market, ”she said.
David “Griz” Griswold, President of Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op, said Hasse and his crew’s unwavering dedication to their craft goes beyond their attention to detail in building the sails.
“From our clients’ perspective… they really felt like Carol was going to take care of them no matter what,” Griswold said. “It’s really huge, if you’re a cruiser and you’re in a third world country and your sail doesn’t fit, they knew Carol would step in; they would make sure they got what they needed. I think it kind of comes with the quality, the assurance that if they had a problem the loft was there for them. I have heard this several times.
The merger of the two magnanimous maritime merchants is accompanied by a few other milestones. The Shipwrights Co-Op will celebrate 40 years of continuous operation in Port Townsend.
Hasse’s own milestone comes in the form of a well-deserved retirement, which she rightly announced at the 2019 Wooden Boat Festival, no doubt much to the chagrin of cruisers around the world.
After 42 years of sewing sails, Hasse plans to make time for herself. Fortunately, she added, most of her sailmaker staff will remain with the cooperative in the future.
“I am delighted that Shipwright’s Co-Op is taking over the business I started in 1978 and continues to sail as part of our marine trades and working waterfront here at Port Townsend, ”she said. “They will keep all of our employed sailboats – which are highly skilled and talented and who would otherwise be left behind looking for work.”
Hasse said she plans to use her newfound free time to put all of her professional sailing knowledge into a book.
She also added that she would not stray too far from Port Townsend and would remain available to serve as a consultant for the Shipwright’s Co-Op as this requires her contribution in future sailmaking efforts.
“I want to share so much knowledge about this sailmaking profession which fascinates me so much and which has been the interest of my professional and personal life,” said Hasse.
“I always wish I was 27 again and I could register for another 42 years, because I have learned so much now, how much more could I learn? “