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  Topic Review (Newest First)
1 Week 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
1 Week 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.
1 Week Ago 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.
1 Week Ago 02:09 AM
jblumhorst
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
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.
To hriehl1's credit, he did indeed state clearly that he was speculating that one might be able to explain Peak's unusually and extremely low prices because they were accepting flexible delivery dates. His statement was carefully constructed to indicate he was guessing. But the evidence clearly suggests that his speculation about Peak Sails' cost structure is wrong. That doesn't explain how Peak can sell "Warp Drive" sails for 30% less than any other sailmaker online or in a brick and mortar store. The best evidence available suggests that they are substituting a different, less expensive cloth for Warp Drive.

But before I discuss get to whether or not Peak gets a special deal for agreeing to flexible scheduling, I'd like to address the idea of "Tesla designs vs Chevy designs" and the idea that 90% of people don't need Tesla designs. I think that's a "straw man" argument. Nobody who sells cruising sails is offering customers "Tesla" designs. We don't spend hours on a design for a cruising sail. For Grand Prix racing sails, however, we do spend hours of extra time refining the design to squeeze the last tenth of a knot of speed out of it -- and we charge hundreds of extra dollars for the hours of extra time. But for cruising sails, our designers have years of experience learned from developing sails for decades. They can know out a customized sail design in under a half hour.

IMO, a good designs is indeed necessary for a good cruising sail, and good sail design requries a skilled sailmaker. That's what 99% of cruising sailors want when they buy new sails. A good design from an experienced designer costs only $75. That's what every decent sail should be basesd on. Why would anybody want to spend hundreds of dollar for a sail and then be too cheap to pay for a decent design?!?

Sail making is not a black art, but it IS an art. A good design requires that the designer have experience with different rigs with different mast bend and different forestay sag. If that isn't right, the sail may look "good", but not sail half as well as it should. In fact, the boat may sail like crap compared to a sister boat with "good" sails.

I disagree that 90% of sailboatowners don't care or know the difference between good and bad design. In my experience 99% of them DO care about how the sail performs. That's exactly why they are buying replacement sails. I don't sell Tesla Sails. I sell Ford/Chevy/Toyota sails. Middle class everyman sails at middle-class everyman prices to people with good old boats. Not racers looking for super high tech sails. The biggest market for replacement sails is for "everyman" sails. "Tesla" sails are a small and highly compeitive segment of the market, dominated by North and Quantum and a few highly respected independent sail makers.

In my opinion, there are plenty of good, private label, online-lofts that sell well designed sails at competitive prices - Chevy prices, not Tesla prices.

For example, here are are few examples of reputable sailmakers who sell online:
*FX Sails (Built by Hyde Sails until 2013 when they switched to some other production loft; construction details and design were done by Sandy Goodall),
*The Sail Warehouse (Designed and built by Roller Tasker), and of course,
*Hyde Sails Direct, my company (Designs supervised by Hyde's top designer, Richard Lovering and built at the 100%-Hyde-owned Hyde loft in Cebu, PH to our specifications.

Now, back to the "facts" and rumors about where Peak gets their sails:

In fact, Peak's website homepage claims they operate their own production loft. And their website promises 3-5 weeks delivery, so we can toss out the idea that Peak agrees to flexible scheduling at a third party loft in return for below-market production costs. Here's what they claim on their home page:

"We currently operate three sales divisions as well as a technologically advanced production loft....<>...
All three divisions are supported by a state of the art design and engineering office in tandem with our 36,000 s.f. production loft."

Here's a wager for anybody: I'll bet $200 that nobody verify that Peak has a significant or controlling interest in ANY production loft over 2,000 square feet.

And I have serious doubts that Peak is using CFS. Kelly Hanson never paid for some sails he ordered from CFS back in 2010-2011. CFS is still trying to sell dozens of unclaimed Kelly Hanson branded sails at highly discounted prices. http://www.china-sail-factory.com/stocksails.aspx and look at the sails with -kh- in the item number. Nobody in the industry will take them off CFS's hands because of the stigma associated with the K-H brand.


And, another thing.... I'll bet another $200 dollars that nobody can find a valid business business license or registration for a business DBA Peak Sails of Virginia. Peak Sails was initially registered in Colorado, under Arthur Keelly III's name. An online check of the Virginia reveals that Peak Sails in not registered as a business entity with the State of Virginia.

https://sccefile.scc.virginia.gov/Fi...UcT81HS14nwoph

And even though the Peak Website homepage says the original Peak Sails of Seattle and Colorado was sold to new management in 2012, Art was still posting online using Peak Sails as his address and phone number. A google search for "AWKIII" and "Peak" turns up some damning info: banshee-media-player.2283330.n4.nabble.com/Equalizer-td4651363.html

Caveat emptor.
1 Week Ago 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.
2 Weeks Ago 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 am closely affiliated with Hyde Sails International, which is 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.
2 Weeks Ago 02:35 PM
jblumhorst
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

Hi all,

There is a thread on Sailboatowners.com about some Tri-Radial sails for a Catalina 22 from Peak. They were supposed to be made of Challenge Warp Drive, which is a very expensive dacron, but they were made of totally different sailcloth.

Here's the thread on the Catalina 22 forum on Sailboatowners.com

A look at Peak Sails for the C-22 (Pics) - SailboatOwners.com

and here's a link to the close up pictures of the the sailcloth. You have to enlarge one of them to read the comments on the pic.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9...UVU&authuser=0

The pictures of real vs fake Warp Drive speak for themselves.

Full Disclosure:
I am a sailmaker. I own Hyde Sails Direct. I sell Challenge Cloth.
Judy Blumhorst
2 Weeks Ago 10:19 PM
TakeFive
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

I have no experience with Peak Sails. But I have a lot of experience with customer satisfaction, having worked in product development for almost 30 years. I can tell you, quite emphatically, that anyone who addresses any customer question with, "Instead of wasting our time with this nonsense..." is making a huge mistake. You might make that comment within your company to a coworker, but never in a direct written response to a customer. I don't know many businesses who have so many customers that they can afford to offend one (plus the thousands of others who may read the pasted quote) with such an arrogant comment.

Assuming that the quote is truly an exact copied/pasted quote, it was a very foolish response to a customer's inquiry.
2 Weeks Ago 09:27 PM
hriehl1 That barely qualifies as an experience with Peak Sails. Yours was kind of a "When did you stop beating your wife" exchange. I too would have chased you away. What could they have said to you that would have earned your confidence?

I am the original poster and continue to begin another year satisfied with the product while a bit disappointed with the customer service aspects. But when one shops knowingly at the lower tier, something has to be compromised. I am still satisfied with my purchase.

Those who expect a Cadillac experience while paying Kia prices are simply being unrealistic.
4 Weeks Ago 01:34 AM
Cottonsail
Re: My Peak Sails Experience

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
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