"Blending proven handwork and traditional sailmaking

methods with modern techniques of sail design and

construction to ensure good performance and lasting





About Us

Our founder and father, Franz Schattauer, was born in Bremerhaven, Germany in 1909. Bremerhaven is a busy, seaport town, so boats and sailing were natural interests for Franz right from the beginning. His sailmaking career began with a 4-year sailmakers apprenticeship followed by a 10-year journeyman ship. He then attended a year of formal schooling in order to learn how to run the business end of a company. In 1940, after passing rigorous exams in the trade school, he was granted the title of Master Sailmaker. He was then qualified to run a business and teach apprentices. You needed this shingle regardless of your trade in order to run your own business, thus giving the consumer a guarantee that you knew what you were doing. If three complaints were lodged against you, your title could be revoked and you were out of business.

 In 1953, Franz and his family emigrated to Costa Mesa, California looking for better opportunities. After working in Costa Mesa for several years, Franz and family moved to Seattle where he once again opened up his own loft in 1959. Starting out at Lockhaven Marina and then moving out to Shilshole Bay in 1966, Schattauer Sails has been producing sails for cruising sailors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond ever since. Having garnered a reputation for building "bullet proof" sails, our "bread and butter" has always been cruising sails for near and far. As it turns out, cruising sails do not have to be slow. Over the years, Schattauer Sails have graced many race-oriented boats and they have done well in local races.

Franz Schattauer
Franz A. Schattauer, Master Sailmaker

We (Axel & Frank) took the loft over in 1985 when our father retired at the age of 76. Having grown up in the business, we learned sailmaking from the ground up and have been involved in the business since the 7th grade. We lost our summer vacations at that time and had to come to the loft to learn the trade. It was not easy at the time because friends and goofing off during summer vacations called out, but we have come to appreciate having learned sailmaking under our father's tutelage and are proud to be able to work together to continue his heritage and legacy.

Axel has been full time since 1970. His craftsmanship is second to none. Not only is his work beautiful but he is fast and very competent as well. His long experience affords us to be one of the hand full of lofts anywhere that can still hand-rope a sail. Axel has worked along side many people at the loft that included journeyman sailmakers from Germany as well as some local northwest sailmakers who received their training at the Bremerton Naval Shipyards during and after World War II. Carol Hasse of Port Townsend Sails got her start in sailmaking working for Franz in the mid-70's.

Frank has been full time since 1983. His career path led him to an Interdisciplinary Engineering Degree at the University


of Washington, wanting to pursue Naval Architecture. He decided to continue on at the loft after having worked in Germany at a commercial shipbuilding yard for a year after graduation. His engineering skills are still being used daily when measuring boats for sails, designing sails and constructing them.

Our father's motto was always, "the best is only good enough when taking your boat out to sea, the whole boat being only as good as its weakest link." So we take great care in producing sails that will bring you home in case everything else fails. As a young man, he was a crew member on the German passenger liner, Bremen. He made fifty-two round trips across the North Atlantic between Southampton and New York. He saw every kind of weather imaginable and he did not want his customers struggling with inferior sails when doing ocean crossings of their own.

We are a very small sail loft; a specialty, niche loft that operates on a custom basis. Our goal to is provide exceptional service to our customers whether you have a small day sailor or a larger offshore yacht. Many of our clients are referrals or repeat customers who may have started out in a small boat and in buying a larger boat, have come back to us again. Many of our customers are getting their boats ready for offshore cruising, realizing their dreams to see the Pacific or to circumnavigate the globe. They come to us for sails they can depend on.  

In years past we have been voted the top sailmaker by the Seven Seas Cruising Association. We were very honored to receive this distinction, especially considering how small we are.  

Our customers include Hal and Margaret Roth. They are very well known cruisers and authors who cruised many, many miles aboard their Spencer 35, Whisper. They even used our sails as tents when they were shipwrecked in Chile and continued to use them after their boat was rebuilt. Jack Slazor chose our loft to make sails for his Triton 45' cutter, Triton. He was one of the founders of the Seven Seas Cruising Association.

We run the loft with hands-on involvement. We have made the decision to remain small and prefer to be active producing sails ourselves in order to maintain the highest level of quality possible. We produce everything at our one and only Seattle location. We are not going overseas to get our work done. We do not let inexperienced people work on our (your) sails. After all, given the choice of work being done on your own sail, would you not prefer someone with years of experience rather than someone with one or two months experience? Our total work force is just two people, Axel and Frank. 

We blend proven handwork and traditional sailmaking methods with modern techniques of sail design and construction to ensure good performance and lasting durability. 

Please read on to get an understanding of the effort we put into our sails and other products.