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hriehl1 09-23-2013 06:58 PM

My Peak Sails Experience
5 Attachment(s)
I've read several posts here and elsewhere about Peak Sails (Peak Sails North America - Peak Sails North America). I thought it may be instructive to describe my first-hand experiences in factual, objective terms while leaving conclusions and opinion to the reader.

I wanted a mainsail and 110% hank-on jib for my Hinterhoeller HR28. No off-the-shelf sails (Catalina, Hunter, etc.) were close enough for me. I am a very casual cruiser, using the boat maybe 15-20 days per year so price was my primary purchase criteria. I had no reservation taking my own sail measurements (all the firms use the same basic form) and ordering over the internet with a credit card. I did not want/need the service (and price) a full service loft would provide.

I obtained quotes from several discount-overseas operations, trying to compare apples to apples by choosing each loft's Dacron cross-cut mid-grade ("Offshore", "Bluewater") or optioned-up sails rather than their base, OEM-grade sails. The following where my delivered quotes for the mainsail and 110% hank-on jib: $1,950
Rolly Tasker (direct) $870, mainsail only
Rolly Tasker (through National Sail Supply) $2,185
Precision Sails $2,017
Peak Sails $1,444 (promo: 15% off "Bluewater sail" pricing when buying 2 sails).

I chose Peak Sails' Bluewater sails from the quotes shown, less 15% promotional discount for buying 2 sails, plus $40 shipping to my home for $1,444 total billed in 4 monthly installments. After a few email and phone exchanges with Peak’s rep (Chris Stevens), we had details settled and the first credit card installment secured the order on July 15. I was told to expect the sails in mid-August, around 30 days later.

By August 22, I still had received no sails, nor any communication. I emailed asking for a status update and received no reply. Over the next few days I tried their Tysons Corner VA phone perhaps 6 times and always received a recording asking me to leave a message, which I declined to do… by then I wanted our dealings in writing in case I had to lodge a credit card dispute.

On August 28 I wrote another email indicating my intention to lodge a credit card dispute if I did not hear from them in timely fashion. The monthly installments were posted on the 16th of each month, so I knew I had 2+ weeks until installment #3 was to be charged and I would not let it go that long.

That same day, August 28, I did hear back from Peak rep Deanna Freng who indicated the sails were scheduled to be shipped from the Far East in the next day or two for receipt in Colorado the first week of September, then re-sent to customers. I would receive a Fedex Tracking number for that shipment.

On September 12 I received the Fedex tracking number for the shipment from Dongguan China (China Sail Factory??) to Colorado. On September 17 I received the Fedex tracking number for my sails from Colorado to my east coast home. On September 23, I received both sails.

Below are some photos of the sail to illustrate (as best as can be shown in photos) the material and workmanship. Time will tell whether these sails hold up or not, but they are (finally) here.

hriehl1 09-23-2013 07:28 PM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
3 Attachment(s)
3 more photos

zz4gta 09-24-2013 03:59 PM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
Maybe I'm not clear, but did Peak Sails inspect the sails before forwarding them to you? Seems like they went to Colorado (not a lot of sailing there) to your door.

I know you don't want to voice your opinion (you can PM me if you'd like) but would you buy from PS again?

jimgo 09-24-2013 04:24 PM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
Actually, I'd like to hear that answer, too. To my highly untrained eye, the pictures/sails look decent. What's your perception? I can appreciate that it took them what seems like a fairly long time to get to you, and that you may not be happy with that aspect of the transaction. My guess is that they batched the sails to help save shipping costs, which is what lead to the delay. Other than the time and cruddy communications skills, what is your impression?

hriehl1 09-24-2013 09:18 PM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
I suspect, but do not know for sure that the shipment to Colorado was a larger container containing my sails and those for many other customers, from the Chinese loft. In Colorado they were re-packed and shipped to the various customers.

I emailed them today voicing my (so far) satisfaction with the product but disappointment with their customer service practices, and I requested (per their website pledge) that my final installment be lowered by 5% of the total charge since delivery took more than 30 days. They immediately replied that they would reduce my final installment by $70. So I got custom cut up-optioned sails for a 28 footer for under $1400, delivered.

Would I buy from them again? Yes... they provide for 4 equal credit card payment installments which to me gives me leverage to lodge a dispute procedure if things go south. Granted, that's a hassle if it has to happen, but then again, these sails were hundreds less than their internet-order competitors. Some are not comfortable with risk, but I am.

I believe the sails came from China Sail Factory, who also contract manufacture for some big-time lofts. My guess is Peak gets cut-rate prices from the factory in exchange for not getting firm production schedules... Peak's orders get fit-in when the factory has a production gap. This is common for job-lot manufacturers (but the end-customer should know the delivery timetable is uncertain.)

So in all, I am reasonably satisfied, but fall short of an unqualified endorsement. They'll work for me as I am a casual cruiser who would not appreciate a fully custom-cut sail anyway ... hell, I just try to miss the buoys.

jimgo 09-24-2013 09:53 PM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Unkle Toad 09-25-2013 03:48 AM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
thank you for sharing your experience, these are the kinds of things I think the internet should have more of.. enjoy your sails and keep the wet side down.

Ajax_MD 09-25-2013 07:41 AM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
The fact that you actually have sails in your posession puts you ahead of many Peak Sails customers who have posted here.

Yep, your photos show sail cloth and sail bags, so congratulations are in order. There's no telling if the cut and fit are correct though. Fingers crossed for you.

I'll not be ordering from Peak. You're the exception, not the rule, I'm afraid.
I expect to be visiting my local Quantum rep this winter for a new, 155%.

hriehl1 09-25-2013 10:45 AM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
While there have been many posts citing all sorts of rumors and allegations, I don't recall reading any first-hand accounts of people who ordered from Peak and did not receive product.

While I do not know for certain that Peak subs their sails out to China Sail Factory, the Dongguan China origin suggests it is CSF. Google them for some interesting info... one may not approve of outsourcing to the Far East, but it is a fact of economic life.

Alex W 09-25-2013 12:02 PM

Re: My Peak Sails Experience
Have you flown them yet? It seems hard to evaluate them without seeing the sail shape.

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