By Charlie and Jim Fowler
At left: Roulette III under Spinnaker

OEM Sails

Sails for Racing

Father & Son Partnership

25 Years of Sailmaking Experience
Fowler Sails was incorporated in 1974 by Charlie Fowler. The decision to start Fowler Sails came after years of making sails for other companies. In the 1960's Charlie was a competitive Snipe sailor and soon realized that whoever had the newest sails usually won. This created a dilemma for Charlie - he needed to become independently wealthy, learn how to make sails, or go play golf. He chose sailmaking and started out making Snipe and IODA sails in his front porch in the late 60's.
OEM Sails
In 1971 Charlie went to work for Levinson Sails in Clearwater, moving on a few months later to work for Johnson Sails in St. Petersburg. In 1973, Charlie moved back to Miami and worked as a partner at Criterion Sails, finally deciding to strike out on his own and launch Fowler Sails. In 1976, Jim Fowler came on board working after school and summers. He finally became a full time employee in 1986 after college and various ventures into the world of business management for others. Soon after incorporating, Fowler Sails landed the first OEM account, building sails from 1974-78 for the Lindsay Globe Master, a 33 footer built in South Florida.

Fowler also built OEM sails for the Victoria 18 from 1976 through the mid 80's. From 1978 to '86, we built OEM sails for the Herreschoff Cat Ketch series. However, when the boat building business hit a brick wall in the late 80's, so did our OEM accounts, and we have since concentrated on custom racing and cruising sails, one design sails, canvas work, and repairs.

Sails for Racing
From 1983 through 1985, Fowler Sails Chesapeake operated at White Rocks Marina in Pasadena, Maryland, and we learned it is no easy feat to control a service loft over 1,000 miles away from the home loft. In 1991 Fowler Sails joined the Neil Pryde group, our first attempt at becoming part of a larger sailmaking organization with many resources. This has proven to be a nice fit in the cruising sailboat market for boats of 35 feet and more. The quality and price for larger boats and cruising sails are hard to beat!

But there was still a portion of the market we were not able to cater to, the racing market of sailboats 35' and under. In 1996 we joined the Haarstick Sailmaking Group, based in Rochester, New York. With this partnership, we are able to be involved in design and have panels plotted and cut to our specifications and sent to Miami for assembly. This is the best of both world for us, as we can be involved in production, which keeps our costs down. We can also utilize the plotter and cutter of Steve Haarstick's sail loft equipment, which is cost prohibitive to purchase and operate in Miami.

Custom Spinnaker Work
Father and Son Partnership
The current partnership of Jim and Charlie Fowler is a good mix of old and new styles of sailmaking. Charlie remembers cotton sails and all hand-sewn rings, while Jim likes the hydraulic ring press and computer design aspects for shape and sail plans. This is why in 25 years of sailmaking we can still build old style classic looking sails, as well as sails of the most modern materials suited to even the most radical boat designs.

Charlie races his Olson 30 Roulette III on Biscayne Bay (pictured above), and serves on the local PHRF Committee. He is also very involved in the Flying Scot class, and is currently the Florida District Governor of Flying Scots. Jim normally crews on one of the local PHRF boats we have built sails for, mostly J-30's. He is also the Windmill Class President and races his Windmill Trick or Treat.

More Info.
on Windmills
More Info.
on Flying Scots
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