Made in Virginia 2014: Latell Sails, Deltaville

Latell Sails

When Jerry Latell navigated 635 miles of open ocean in the Newport Bermuda Race last summer, he was confident in his sails—they were made by his own company, after all. Since 2005, Latell Sails (a local licensee of the international corporation, Ullman Sails) has served boaters up and down the Chesapeake (and the occasional worldly cruiser).

Latell, an avid sailor since childhood, was working as a school guidance counselor in 1997 when he walked into the sail loft he would eventually own. “I got to talking with the owner [Don Landau], and he asked if I wanted a job. I didn’t know anything about sailmaking … he had me sit at a sewing machine the first day.” Latell bought the business from Landau in 2005, and now the Northern Virginia native and four full-time employees make 150 to 200 sails per year.

Each sail is custom-made with advanced synthetic fibers and is composed of anywhere from 10 to more than 50 panels, all carefully shaped and stitched together to form a whole that will move and change as the sail catches the wind. The simplest sails can be completed in 15 hours, but more complex projects (like the historical reproductions of the Susan Constant and Godspeed’s sails Latell was tasked with creating for Historic Jamestowne’s quadricentennial in 2007) can take more than 500 hours. The work pays off. That Newport Bermuda Race? Latell and his team won their class. $2,000-$7,000 per sail.

See all the Made in Virginia 2014 Winners!


Nordt Family Farm, Charles City

Moonrise Jewelry, Cape Charles

Awl Snap Leather Goods, Richmond


Moore & Giles, Forest

Cricket Cove Soap, Glen Allen

Buckingham Slate Company, Arvonia

New Ravenna, Exmore

Fielding Archer Designs, Midlothian

Kala Studios, Arlington


Rappahannock River Oysters, Topping

Red Truck Bakery, Warrenton

Pickled Silly, Richmond

Glass House Winery, Free Union

Willie Byrd Sauce, Richmond

La Vache Microcreamery Caramels, Charlottesville

FERIDIES 5 O’Clock Crunch, Courtland


Three Ships Coffee, Virginia Beach

Commonwealth Gin, James River Distillery, Richmond

1762 Port, Philip Carter Winery, Hume

Gingerbread Stout, Hardywood Brewery, Richmond


Latell Sails, Deltaville

Tad Coffin Saddles, Ruckersville

Goodpasture Knives, Ashland

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