|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|21 Hours Ago 11:27 AM|
Re: My Peak Sails Experience
Thank you for the thoughtful response. I agree with most of what you wrote, and learned something. For example, I did not realize that online sail makers had their boat owners provide images of the their sails and rigs. That would go a long way to closing the gap between the better stick and brick lofts and the online sources.
I would also say that I completely agree that most cruisers, especially those ordering panel cut dacron sails, would never notice the difference between the kind of custom design that I am thinking of, vs. the type of online ordering that I was thinking of.
I guess some of my concerns result from my perceptions of the differences between online lofts and the better brick and stick lofts. I would love to hear your comments since these perceptions are largely based on comments made by representatives of those brick and stick lofts.
For example, the loft that I deal with most claims that they order the fabric for each project by the project, and that every piece of cloth is optically scanned for uniformity of weave and thread size, and that samples are routinely tested for stretch and stain characteristics. They claim that they reject a fairly large percentage of the fabric that they test, and that those rejected fabrics are used by (theirs and other) online lofts to help reduce cost.
I agree with you about flow analyis and aero-elastic strain analysis being overkill for traditional crosscut or tri-radial panelled cruising sails. On the other hand, I certainly saw the benefits in my case with an Aramid non-membrane sail. The sail maker had put pieces of tape on my old sails in a number of locations with precise dimension marks that allowed them to calibrate the digital images and had taken pictures at several locations, and had measured the static and the loaded shroud tensions at the time that the pictures where taken.
The calibrated pictures in light air vs. the those taken in heavier air showed that the luff curve was closer to a simple catenary in light air, but showed a tighter radius in the lower third of the luff in heavier air. The aero-elastic images showed that the optimized cut of the luff curve would be different between if cut to optimize light air shape and if cut to optimize heavy air shape.
Since as a single-handed racer and performance oriented cruiser with a comparatively rare, fractionally rigged 38 footer, who was looking for as broad a wind speed range as possible for each sail size, I was looking at a customized design. In each case, I elected to optimize the sail design for the heavier end of the wind range since the performance difference was smaller in light air than in heavier air. Once that decision was made, given the heavy air optimization, the panels were checked a several orientations and were rotated a few degrees, which the analysis showed would minimize stretch and increase the useful life of the sail. It was impressive to see the data and be able to make what I considered to be an optimized decision.
Now then, I understand your point about cost. There was sailmaker's time in the making the measurements, and time in producing the customized analysis. This now comes to my own disclosure. In the past, I often rode shotgun when someone was working on a new sail inventory, helping them pick a loft and the specifics for a sail or entire suit if sails, that they were ordering. As a result I have been in and out of the lofts more frequently than most folks, and certainly was involved in more sail buying decisions than my own boat would require. I somewhat suspect that I may have gotten more serious treatment and perhaps better pricing than the average sail purchaser. I don't know that to be true, but it certainly has been suggested by some of the people who I have brought in to the lofts.
When I buy a sail, I also always ask the loft whether there is a time of year to order the sail, and/or have it produced that would earn a discount, and take advantage of that as well. (My sense is that the discounts are not as big as they used to be in the days before globalized production.)
With that disclosed, I just have not seen the kind of cost savings that I would have expected from the online lofts. When I was ordering my mainsail, and also when I ordered most recent jib a year earlier, I also filled out online price quote forms. I can't recall whether Pryde Sails was one those.
I supplied four online sources the sail dimensions, and the fabric manufacturer and specific fabric that I wanted, as well as the specific details of the sail that I wanted incorporated.
I was surprised that the online prices generally came in around the price I was quoted from the brick and stick loft, two were cheaper with the largest savings being somewhere around three hundred dollars (less than 10% of the sail cost) and the highest online price exceeding the brick and stick price by a few hundred dollars. At least one online loft declined to provide a price saying they don't work in that type of cloth. The thing that was striking is that the brick and stick price included the sailing time on my boat, data collection, and the analysis process.
I readily acknowledge that I cannot really argue whether the extra effort was necessary or even beneficial. And I know that some of these exercises have more intellectual value than real value. I also know that had the sailmaker simply used their judgement (rather than look at alternatives with me, or gone through the detailed analysis) I might have ended up with the same or a better sail. Of course any hint of a position on that would be entirely conjecture on my part.
Lastly, perhaps to put this in perspective, like you, I race a J-70 (OPB) and last spring I attended a J-70 class forum with reps from the local major lofts.
What was amazing was that amoungst the top sailors in the class, there was a wildly broad range of opinions on how to set up the rigs, trim the jibs, how high to point or foot, target speeds etc. This divergence in turn was reflected in the major lofts producing several generations of J-70 jibs, and now offering multiple jib cut options each optimized for the sailing and trimming style, of each crew type, as well crew skill level since some of these sail cuts require constant halyard and sheet trim beyond the skill of us duffers in the class, who arguably do better with a more forgiving sail cut. If one cut can't satisfy the needs of a one design class like the J-70, then I am not sure that any one size fits all can satisfy most performance sailors. By the same token, the J-70 class is populated by some of the top sailors in the world, and that analogy may have little bearing on us normal folk.
|4 Days Ago 10:02 PM|
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.
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 25,000+ 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
|5 Days Ago 08:08 PM|
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.
|5 Days Ago 04:04 PM|
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.
|5 Days Ago 02:36 PM|
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?
|5 Days Ago 01:40 PM|
Re: My Peak Sails Experience
Originally Posted by Cottonsail View Post
Originally Posted by windnrock View Post
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?
Account: R115245 Ownership Information
KELLY ARTHUR W
39540 CO RD 013
|06-28-2015 06:29 PM|
Buying Cruising Sails Online -- Direct from the Loft.
Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
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.
|06-26-2015 02:17 PM|
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|
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|
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.
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