The Evolution of Mad Sails

Mad Sails is a well-established sail loft, located just outside Madison, Wisconsin, that is owned and run by Ryan Malmgren and his wife, Stacey Rieu. Using top quality sailcloth from the USA, Ryan designs and makes the sails himself with a careful attention to detail that cannot be matched by overseas mass production. Despite the high quality, Mad sails are typically less expensive than other brands. And you can’t beat the personal attention provided by Ryan and Stacey!

Ryan Malmgren graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In the late 1980s, he moved to Chicago and took a stab at Law School, but it made him miserable. Subsequently, he decided to follow his sailing passion and took a job at Goose Island Sailmakers. Moving to Seattle in the early 1990s, he taught sailing at the Puget Sound Sailing Institute and worked production with Jack Christiansen at Shore Sails. After a few years, Jack acquired North Sails and established a sales and service loft with Ryan as the service manager. In 2003, Malmgren returned to his Midwestern roots in Madison, Wisconsin, and opened his own production loft -- Mad Sails.

Ryan grew up sailing dinghies, and over the years, he became an expert sailor in a variety of boats including Flying Scots, J/24s, MCs, and various other one-designs. He has used his lifetime of competitive sailing experience and over 20 years of sailmaking experience to create unique sail designs that go fast.


"Just wanted to thank Ryan M. for our beautiful new sails. My husband is an experienced sailor, but I'm new, and together with our new sails we came in second in the challenger division of the Flying Scot wife-husband regatta at Sandy Bay Yacht Club in Rockport Mass (July 21-23, 2017). The sails were a pleasure to use...."
Marilyn Archibald, 7/24/2017

"Sailed my beautiful old Scot with its spectacular new sails yesterday for the first time in a season-opening dinghy mini-event on the lake in front of my home. We had a great time. Flew a Spinnaker for the first time ever also. Dang, I love this boat ! And I can't say enough about the sails. Just Great !!"
Jim Moyle, 4/30/2017

"I went out racing with Herb Larrabee yesterday in the Sarasota Bay Cup. He is newer to Scot racing, so it was good to show some sail trim and help his crew through flying the chute. As you know, he had brand new Mad sails. He had good boat speed and the most beautiful spinnaker! ... He couldn't stop admiring and complimenting your work on the spinnaker."
Jennifer Ikeda, 4/23/2017

"Just checked out the main and jib. I really like some of the features you use. Specifically, I like:

  • The craftsmanship looks very nice!
  • Not sewing the bottom of the bolt rope. I have cut the stitches on two North mains – as they get older the bolt rope shrinks and pulls on the sail.
  • The jib telltale window is very nice.
  • Thanks for installing the telltales. I just assumed that I would be doing that
  • I like the hanks on the jib. Look to be an improvement over snaps."

Thomas R. Uehling, 4/14/2017

"We took Jeanette out for Wednesday night races with our new Mad Sails racing jib. ...I'm a pretty new sailor and have just been racing this Summer - In a series earlier this summer I took 7th out of 8 Scots.... Tonight, in 6 races, we took four 1st place finishes, one 2nd and one 3rd. The Vice Commodore of the Sailing Club … said: 'You were flying compared to the other boats on starboard tack coming off the starting line. Looked really good upwind from what I saw. You're gonna be scary out there on Sat (at the Cantina Cup) with that crisp new jib. I bet you could feel the difference out there. Looked like your boat had another couple gears with that thing.'
Ryan, again, thanks for getting it to me so quickly"
Richard Kaiser, 8/12/2015

"Hi Ryan- just wanted to ... let you know I LOVE THE NEW SAILS!!!! The new boat is fast, and the sails are easy to trim and perform really well. Thanks!"
Phillip D. Berger, 6/2/2015

"Love the new sails...three bullets today, so they were worth the wait!"
Dave Petersen, 5/10/2015

"Overall the [Mad Lido 14] jib seemed tighter than what I’m used to looking at. But…. We pointed to the f in moon!... Main [Mad Lido 14]- super big looking in middle of sail. ...the.boat obviously had some more power but I never felt like I have didn’t have flow off leech. Really nice! Main luff window looks amazing and is definitely a head turner!...Upwind angles were killer. Downwind I seemed faster than normal too. Plus plus"
Jess Gerry, Sailing Director, Long Beach Yacht Club, 4/24/2015

“I’ve gotten 40 bullets with your last batch of sails. And I’d love to add to that number. So I’d like to look at a new set of sails for the coming season. This year my average was 1.83 (which only took 2nd place) for the season championship. So thank you!”
John C. Larsen, 10/27/2014

“Last weekend at the Ohio districts we had to sail a very tight reach (olympic modified...) in about 5 mph. We took down the jib and flew the new chute. We were doing great, and others noted that we were the only ones who seemed to be able to fly the chute so close to the wind. We left several boats close behind us in the dust, and we caught on Harry a bit, who decided not to fly his. ...Deb and I were very pleased and feel that the chute actually works quite well on close reaches.... I know what you (Ryan) said about the shape....I no longer fear using the radial on a tight reach. ...we really love the new spin! Thanks for making a great sail for us.”
Ben Williams, 7/9/2013

“Harry Carpenter says that Mad’s new AriX tri radial spinnaker is great. As you know John Larson and I are flying Mad sails, mine have sailed three years, probably 200 races. The cloth still looks great. …These are fast, long lasting sails....It’s time to not be held back by poor boat speed; ask Jim Blackburn and Mike Conrad. They have both won races this year with their Mad Sails.”
John Eilers, 10/10/2013

“The Mad Sails seem well built and to have a good range of tuning.”
Phil Scheetz, 02/16/2011

“...I also want to mention that, in the final standings, every boat that trophied had Mad Sails, so that's a great plug for our very own Ryan Malmgren's sailmaking prowess!”
Anonymous post about the Annual Pig Roast Regatta at Cowan Lake, on FSSA website, June 2011

“I will be buying my third set of Mads in 5 years this spring. You can't beat Ryan Malmgren for customer service and commitment to the Flying Scot class. He makes very high quality sails and he builds them himself.”
Jay Lott, 12/21/2010

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  Congratulations to Mad Sailors

  • At the very competitive 2018 Flying Scot Midwinters, Mad sailors had a fantastic showing! In the Championship Division, David Ames and PJ Buhler and Mark Swanson and Mike Hennessy placed second and fourth respectively and, between them, WON four of the five races. In the Challenger Division, Mad sailors won four of the top seven places. Bill Vogler, Peg Woodworth, and Carey Seven took first while Greg and Diane Kampf placed third. Congratulations to all!
  • Mad sailors, David Neff and Jason Hair, took first place in the 2017 Atlantic Coast Championship championship fleet. Good work!
  • Excellent Flying Scot sailors, Bruce and Lynn Kitchen, took first at the 2016 Glow in the Dark Regatta, the 2017 Buckeye Regatta, and the 2017 Egyptian Cup Regatta. They placed second at the 2016 Ephraim Regatta and the 2017 Indy Regatta.
  • Eric Bussell took home the Allen Douglas Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Flying Scot Midwinters where Greg and Diane Kampf sailed to second place in the Challenger Division. Greg and Diane also took first place at the 2016 Roger Punzi Memorial Regatta.
  • Roger and Kate Sharp placed first at the 2016 Flying Scot New England District Championship and the 2016 Saratoga Lake Invitational Regatta- Championship Division. Roger, along with Laura Favecchio, also took an impressive third in the Championship Division at the 2016 Flying Scot North American Championship.
  • Deb Aronson and Ben Williams won the 2016 Flying Scot Midwest District Championship.
  • Rob and Maggie Fowler won the challenger division at the 2016 Flying Scot North American Championship. Lynn Bruss, Deb Aronson, and Stacey Rieu won the womens' division.
  • Toni Gahn and John Luard won the 2014 Flying Scot Wife Husband Regatta. Sharon and John Wake took second place.

  • Greg and Diane Kampf and Frank and Marianne Gerry took first and second place respectively in the 2014 Flying Scot North American Championship Challenger Division.

  • Greg Simon placed first at the 2014 MC Scow Fall Classic and second at the 2014 George Dorn Regatta

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