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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11 Hours Ago 10:02 PM
jblumhorst
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Full Disclosure: I own and operate an "online-loft" for one of the biggest manufacturers of sails in the world, Hyde Sails, so I am biased. Our business is called HydeSailsDirect.com.

One of the biggest saving via an online loft is not paying a trained agent for coming out to your boat to measure it, and maybe go sailing with you. Having somebody come out to your boat costs more. How much extra are most folks willing to pay to have the sail maker to spend a day on your boat?

It's $80-$100/hour to have a master sail maker spend 8-12 hours measuring, test sailing before design, delivering and test sailing after delivery, not counting travelling time. While there is certainly value to having your sail maker come out to measure and test-drive your boat, that's not the only alternative.

The Measure-it-Yourself approach is a great alternative -- when you are working with a reputable, experienced online sail maker. If you can follow instructions, read a measuring tape, and take digital pictures per the instructions, you can measure your own boat.

At Hyde Sails Direct, we teach our customers to take all the same measurements that a trained sailmaker's assistance would get for us. We train our customers how to take specific digital pictures for visual analysis. It's a complete set of measurements.

Mast bend is easy to measure at the dock. Owners can do it by following easy to understand instructions. You don't need to be a sail designer to do it. We check it anyway, via analysis of the digital pictures.

Hyde's designers can estimate the forestay sag based on rig paramenters (dimensions of mast extrusion, number of spreaders, fractional vs masthead rig, etc) and a historical data base. It's accurate for all but the most extreme/bizarre rigs. We don't need to measure each and every boat's forestay sag to know how it's going to work for an "average" and properly tuned rig. Big companies have the data based on decades of experience and you can buy it from the sailmaking software vendors.

(The key to success lies in knowing which data to use for a given style of rig. That takes an extensive knowledge of rigs. An experienced sail designer knows how to do that with an high degree of accuracy.)

After Hyde Sails Direct has all the measurements from the customer, we draw them up using SailPack software and confirm that the rig dimensions are reasonable. Then we send the file to the Hyde design team in the UK and to the production loft in Cebu, Philippines. From that moment until the sail is ready to ship, there is no difference between a sail purchased from HydeSailsDirect.com online or one of our 60 brick and mortar lofts world wide. For our online customers, we ship the sail from the production loft directly to the customer. For customers of a local loft, the sail is delivered to the local sailmaker, who arranges to have it delivered to the customer's boat.

HydeSailsDirect.com specifically designs our sails to match the customers sailing conditions such as prevailing wind strength and their boat characteristics. When we deliver our sails to the customer, we also send comprehensive instruction on how to tune the rig to a baseline tune for that style rig and the local conditions.

PS.
Aero-elastic strain analysis is overkill, IMO, for traditional crosscut or tri-radial panelled cruising sails, as is Flow analysis. It's not necessary to perform an aero-elastic analysis to build a durable panelled cross cut or tri-radial cruising sail. Decades of design experience and production standards are perfectly adequate. Hyde has builts thousands of cruising sails that have 40,000+ nautical miles on them and none of them required a aero-elastic analysis to be durable enough to last that long.

None of our online cruising customers would be willing to pay an extra $1000 or more for doing an aero-elastic analysis and Flow analysis.

Hyde's designers have decades of experience designing durable cruising sails, as well as Gran Prix race sails and membrane sails. They have advanced software for aero-elastic analysis and flow analysis. Hyde builds 40,000-50,000 sails per year, but only a tiny peprcentage of them need aero-elastic analysis.

PPS. Hyde Sails doesn't sell Gran Prix or membrane race sails via our online loft. We feel that it's too hard to do a good job via long distance and too expensive to make alterations when needed. One out of every five or ten racers is unreasonably picky about the sails. If they win with the sail, they're happy. But some owners who don't win blame the sails - not themselves - no matter how good the sails are. There's no way to make them happy, except by time consuming and expensive recuts or modifications for no good reason. That's one of the many reasons why the very best race sails are so bloody expensive -- all the reasonable racing customers have to pay for the cost of making the pain-in-the-ass customer happy. Cruising customers are much more reasonable and a lot easier to please, most of the time.
1 Day Ago 08:08 PM
JimsCAL
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

It is certainly possible to get a good sail from on online loft. I have bought sails this way three times in the last ten or so years from three different vendors and been happy each time. Lofts were North Sails Direct, JSI (Doyle Southeast), and National Sail Supply (Rolly Tasker). Big thing is being able to do your own measurements. A good friend has bought two sails from FX Sails and they also seem like good sails.
1 Day Ago 04:04 PM
Jeff_H
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Almost by definition an online sail loft will not be as good as high quality loft with a local branch except when making one-design sails for a popular class. When I have had sails made, the sailmaker has sailed on my boat and taken images while sailing showing headstay and mast bend so that digitized measurements can be made, and taken way more physical measurements than the typical online sail order form. That is what is required to get a proper flying shape for a new sail and to a lesser extent to get proper stress mapping to produce a durable sail.

Jeff
1 Day Ago 02:36 PM
RMACjazz
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

There must be good online sail lofts out there. Has anyone had a good experience with some of the discount lofts?
1 Day Ago 01:40 PM
jblumhorst
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cottonsail View Post
My experience with Peak sails was not positive. I sent an email about all the complaint on the net. I was asking for an explaination. This is what I received back.

"Dear Mr. Cotton,
Actually, there are no complaints about our company anywhere on the internet including the Better Business Bureau.
Instead of wasting our time with this nonsense, perhaps you should waste yours and you will find that the Peak Sails that you refer to went out of business in late 2012. We purchased their assets after they closed.

Chris Stevens"

There are many complaints after late 2012. I will not "waste time" with this company. The order will be place with another company tomorrow.

Michael Cotton
Quote:
Originally Posted by windnrock View Post
My experience with Peak Sails was nothing short of horrifying. I certainly am to blame for going to them in the first place.

No answer on the first call but I left a message and was called back by Chris Stevens in VA. He took my order and my money. I had to get back to him with colors, which was more difficult and took several days. Two weeks later I had still not received an invoice for $2334 worth of goods.

After much effort I was put on the phone with Art Kelly who immediately dove into me about how unreasonable I was and who proceeded to tell me that I was, and I quote, "a s--t head", "an a--hole", a "f--king looser" and other niceties. I was shocked. I ran a construction business for 20 years and NEVER heard anyone go into a customer like this EVER, ANYWHERE! He claimed to have 400 employees, (that is totally false, they may have 4 or 5) he claimed huge amounts of business and this is why I couldn't get a receipt for so long. He thought it was unreasonable of me to want information or a receipt and rather than listen to the customer, went off on his tirade. He needs real help; this was truly antisocial behavior. I couldn't even get very angry at him, only pity, it was so bizarre. I now understand why this is at least his second failing business venture.

Read the BBB listings for both Kelly-Hanson and Peak. Read the blogs in this, and other sites. You will see a history of customer complaints. Remember, these are only a percentage of all that they might have received. It is truly surprising because what they do is intrinsically easy.

They take orders, have a loft in Hong Kong produce the sails(Wilfer Sails) send them to a garage in Colorado where they are repacked and send them on. I personally don't have a problem with that. What they add, unfortunately, is shoddy business practices, no coordination or tracking, no infrastructure, a huge lack of communication and is virtually no customer service. Couple that with an owner who has no desire to be professional or accept advice from anyone and you have a disaster. Art Kelly could have a great business, given his attitude and personality, that won’t happen.

They are likely in the position of robbing Peter to pay Paul and this is why so many people can not get their product. Wilfer Sails won't ship without up front payment, they are NOT affiliated with Peak Sails. You are risking being the last customer Peak Sails has and losing your money or not having a service oriented company to sort out your defective sail.

Will a sail from almost any other loft cost more? It certainly will. Will it be worth it? It certainly will. You will receive prompt service, valuable assistance and help, a better product with guarantees that are backed up and professional behavior from their staff or owner.
If you see the name “Peak Sails” change course.
On at least one documented occasion, Peak sent sails made of a much cheaper cloth than was advertised. They have been getting away with it because most sailors can't tell the difference between counterfeit high-stretch dacron vs name-brand low-stretch dacron.

Peak's prices for name brand sailcloth are significantly lower than every reputable loft's. If the price is too good to be true, it almost ALWAYS IS! It’s too easy to get scammed if price is your only criteria. Ask yourself, how can the seller offer such a low price? The answer inevitably leads to more questions than answers. Name brand products sold at far lower prices than the market are mostly fakes or scams.

As for the story on the website that Peak is under new management, that's hogwash. Peak's "new" management is the same as the "old" management -- same owner, same location, with no business permits registered in Washington, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada or any other state.

Peak Sails is presently shipping their sails from 39540 COUNTY ROAD 13, Elizabeth, CO. When I bought a sail from Peak, FedEx picked up the sail at the address listed below, which is the same location that Windnrock reported. (I own and operate HydeSailsDirect.com, which is the online "loft" for Hyde Sails, one of the worlds largest sailmakers. I have been buying sails from my online competitors for years through intermediaries, so I can see exactly what they are selling. In my 50 years of sailing, I have bought sails from at least 10 different brick and mortar lofts too))

The pickup location given by FedEx was
> Company: Peak Sails North America
> Address: 39540 COUNTY ROAD 13
> City: ELIZABETH
> State: Colorado
> ZIP code: 801078903
> Country/Location: United States
> Phone no.: 7205487197
> Pickup Type FedEx Ground


Here's the assessor's data and the link to the real estate assessor's record on this property. Guess who lives there?

Login

Account: R115245 Ownership Information

Owner Name
KELLY ARTHUR W
Address2
39540 CO RD 013
City
ELIZABETH State
CO Zip
80107-8903
4 Weeks Ago 06:29 PM
jblumhorst
Buying Cruising Sails Online -- Direct from the Loft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
This is an interesting and informative exchange, thank you.

You indicate that your talented designers can knock out a cruising sail design in 30 minutes. I assume using a CAD system with sail design software., probably that starts with a "base design" based on rig dimensions and the designer tweaks from there.

What sorts of design tweaks are they specifying in those 30 minutes and what sorts of things must they know about the cruising customer to make the right tweaks to that cruising sail? What distinguishes the sail you build for John from the one you build for Mary when both sail Catalina 30 standard rigs?

What performance benefits does the casual cruising customer receive with those design tweaks?

My point is not to challenge whether refined design can result in better performance, it is to observe that there are a goodly number of us who don't know or care about the last two-tenths of a knot. We don't rake our masts, we don't adjust leech lines or Cunningham's. We set our sails, tug on the sheets now and then, and enjoy the ride.

I defer to your far greater knowledge, but I still contend that off the shelf computer designed sails built in modern production facilities can yield a satisfactory product for many of us at lowest available cost.

I know this opinion challenges your livelihood, but software and the internet have brought producer and consumer together and eliminated many middlemen whose value didn't justify the added cost, like realtors, travel agents, stock brokers and others. While the local sailmaker representative can continue to serve the high end clientele, the writing is on the wall that your cruising customer base will erode as we migrate to direct internet sellers who can provide decent, but not excellent product at very good prices.
I AM a direct internet seller who provides excellent product at VERY good and very competitive prices. :-)

I run Hyde Sails Direct, the official online website for US distribution for Hyde Sails, one of the largest sail lofts in the world. Hyde builds more than 40,000 sails per year and have been in business for over 50 years. Hyde's state-of the-art loft has more than 240 full time, long term employees (with a full benefit package) in the Philippines, and a very low cost structure due to the economies of scale. They Hyde name has been synonymous with quality for 50 years.

You can't get any more " Direct" than HydeSailsDirect.com ... and every design is custom fitted to the measurementss and requirements of the boat owner.

PS. We are one of the production loft for several other well known US brands. We build sails to their specification and designs. They chose us to build their sails because we turn out consistently, reliably high quality sails.

Judy Blumhorst
www.hydesailsdirect.com
4 Weeks Ago 02:17 PM
albrazzi
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

FWIW I just had a positive experience with Quantum and it was on a foreign made Sail but with a solid local design company. Very good price also. Kind of the best of everything. Guys like North are crazy expensive no matter the spec but the kind of Quality and performance the Racer needs serious or not so serious. With the reviews available for Peak I didn't even try them but don't take that as a bad review just neutral. The only thing I might do different is the white UV strip on my roller tried it for a few reasons but it gets dirty quickly, at least I will have the incentive to clean it regularly so no biggie.
06-24-2015 10:09 PM
hriehl1 This is an interesting and informative exchange, thank you.

You indicate that your talented designers can knock out a cruising sail design in 30 minutes. I assume using a CAD system with sail design software., probably that starts with a "base design" based on rig dimensions and the designer tweaks from there.

What sorts of design tweaks are they specifying in those 30 minutes and what sorts of things must they know about the cruising customer to make the right tweaks to that cruising sail? What distinguishes the sail you build for John from the one you build for Mary when both sail Catalina 30 standard rigs?

What performance benefits does the casual cruising customer receive with those design tweaks?

My point is not to challenge whether refined design can result in better performance, it is to observe that there are a goodly number of us who don't know or care about the last two-tenths of a knot. We don't rake our masts, we don't adjust leech lines or Cunningham's. We set our sails, tug on the sheets now and then, and enjoy the ride.

I defer to your far greater knowledge, but I still contend that off the shelf computer designed sails built in modern production facilities can yield a satisfactory product for many of us at lowest available cost.

I know this opinion challenges your livelihood, but software and the internet have brought producer and consumer together and eliminated many middlemen whose value didn't justify the added cost, like realtors, travel agents, stock brokers and others. While the local sailmaker representative can continue to serve the high end clientele, the writing is on the wall that your cruising customer base will erode as we migrate to direct internet sellers who can provide decent, but not excellent product at very good prices.
06-23-2015 10:24 PM
hriehl1 I cannot challenge what you offer as facts. But I can question whether 90% of those buying sails have a clue about what you're portraying as critical design elements or care. Can it be that you espouse refinement that only 10% of buyers can afford and appreciate?

It reminds me of the high tech industry I have been in since the early 70s... What we could pitch as smoke and mirrors in 1975 for big bucks became routine commodity in 1985. I find it hard to believe sail design is the black art you imply... Actually I think it is simple science easily boiled down into computer-aided design that results in products more than good enough for 90% of us.

I understand you serve a demanding clientele with state of the art product. But most of us just need a Chevy, not a Tesla.

I also was clear that I was speculating on the job-lot arrangement with the producer. I have no first hand knowledge of the sailmaking industry. But I have significant experience with high tech component manufacturers and if a customer is flexible with scheduling and delivery, the producer can be flexible with price.
06-23-2015 04:08 PM
jblumhorst
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
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.)
.
[Full disclosure: I am an online sailmaker. I operate an independent business, Hyde Sails Direct We have a strategic alliance with Hyde Sails International. Hyde Sail LLC owns and operates one of the largest production lofts in the world. Hyde builds more than 50,000 sails per year, for their own name-brand, for small "private label" brands and for some large, well-known name-brands]

That's a guess, with no basis in actual fact.

China Sail Factory doesn't offer anybody "cut-rate prices from the factory in exchange for not getting firm production schedules" They publish their prices via their online ordering system. They don't give anybody special treatment. Production slots are booked via their online ordering system. All the communication is highly automated online, and everybody has to use the same online interface to place orders. No special breaks for anybody, with the possible exception of some high-volume-based resellers who are subject to annual production contracts.

As an insider in the global sailmaking industry, I have first hand knowledge of how China Sail Factory operates.
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