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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I needed a new sail cover recently and checked eBay because I had good luck with an eBay-sourced cover on my last boat.

I selected "diegoscustommarine" because they were local, had good feedback, and appeared to have a good measurement form that would result in a well fitting cover:


I spent about 45 minutes taking very careful measurements to get a well fitting cover. When my cover arrived it fit like this:


The problem is that they made the front of the cover to my "B" measurement in the drawing above, not allowing for the sail to have any girth. I have a laminate sail that is quite stiff and bulky, so the cover needed a lot of room to fit the sail. This also pulled the cover forward which made it not extend to the aft end of the sail:


I immediately contacted them (through email because that was always how they contacted me...this was a mistake as you will see later) and they offered to make me a new one. They were confused as to how the cover could fit so poorly. I tried to explain it and suggested that they build the same cover with a B measurement of 4' (instead of the actual 2'6") to account for the girth and a 1' longer A measurement so that the clew of the sail was also covered. I also included exact measurements from my existing cover (which is a little too small, but does work).

I sent them the cover and a week later left for a two week sailing trip. When I returned a new cover had arrived:


As you can see it still doesn't fit. Amazingly they seemed to have completely ignored my updated measurements or the measurements from my old worn out cover.

At this point I emailed them asking for a refund because I had lost all faith in having the cover corrected. I emailed them through email and eBay to make sure that there was some paper trail covering it.

They immediately declined the refund saying that I'd had the cover for more than 14 days and pretended to eBay that the replacement cover was never made. Since they had made all of our correspondence over email until that point eBay has no history of it and I have no recourse. I now have a reasonably well made Sunbrella cover that doesn't fit my boat. In addition I was blocked from leaving feedback, so this eBay seller continues to have a stellar feedback record.

Lessons for me:
* These guys can't build a sail cover to measurements and don't understand sail shape. I had originally considered using them for other canvas too, and now I wouldn't use them for anything.
* If you buy something custom through eBay make sure that all correspondence is through eBay. This seller contacted me over email for measurements and all updates and as a result there is no paper trail.
 

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Is there a grommet with a line made to it in the aft top end of the cover? Take that line and pull the cover taut, aft to the topping lift, and tie it off. If no grommet, put one in - might help your clew-covering issue

here's a pic of mine - note small black line going from the aft end, top of bag, to the topping lift.


I also have grommets and line at the bottom end of my bag, to keep it taut along the boom. The pictured is a lazy bag/stackpack, though, so usually only the top line is installed in a bag of your type.

sorry you're having trouble, hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is, but the cover is too short and stretching the back out an inch or two won't make a difference. The cover needs to be at least 6" longer. It will be fixable, but I'll be rebuilding the whole front end.

I know how to fix it, but my intention here was mostly to give a warning about this seller and some advice on how to buy custom goods on eBay.
 

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"This seller contacted me over email for measurements"
IIRC that's against eBay policy.

"and all updates and as a result there is no paper trail. "
Not paper, but there are email messages and server logs if it went that far.

I'd suggest contacting eBay support and being stubborn and spelling things out to them. eBay support tends to be obtuse and only semi-literate in Ynglish but sometimes, if you keep hammering it into them with small words stated three ways so they might get it clear? You really can get somewhere.

Or just write it off, have it recut locally, and go sailing. Whichever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
eBay customer support has been completely unhelpful. I appealed (including information that all correspondence was done by email and with tracking numbers showing the return and replaced cover). They appeared to ignore that part of the appeal and responded that I was beyond the 14 day return period and that I couldn't return it.

I've tried contacting them again, but with no response.

I'd half considered taking them to small claims court just to make a stand and because we are both in the same county. However I think it is too much work for too little gain here. The best that I can do is document how they treated me so that future customers may find out what type of operation "diegoscustommarine" really is.
 

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eBay customer support has been completely unhelpful. I appealed (including information that all correspondence was done by email and with tracking numbers showing the return and replaced cover). They appeared to ignore that part of the appeal and responded that I was beyond the 14 day return period and that I couldn't return it.

I've tried contacting them again, but with no response...
When you contact them, are you just following the website links, or calling on the phone? If it's the former, try calling them on the phone. That way you can explain things in ways that may not translate well into a text box. Be sure to tell that the seller contacted you by email, because that IS a violation of the terms, and a red flag that something was up.

It may take some digging to get their phone number, but is is available and worth calling. The phone reps did help me with my counterfeit chain debacle a couple months ago.
 
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damn you cover looks just like the one I had made here...the difference is I could go back to the guys and have some refits done...

all for $75
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's not surprising to me that labor costs are different in El Salvador and Seattle.

What does 46" wide Sunbrella cost per yard down there? There is 4+ yards in a sail cover for my boat, and at $20ish per yard the material costs would be more than what you paid.
 

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I bought a cover from the same outfit, and they made exactly the same mistake. I sent it back, and their solution was to add more material to the existing cover, under the boom by the mast. It now covers the sail, but still looks terrible.
 

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It's not surprising to me that labor costs are different in El Salvador and Seattle.

What does 46" wide Sunbrella cost per yard down there? There is 4+ yards in a sail cover for my boat, and at $20ish per yard the material costs would be more than what you paid.
do you notice the diego part in that name? Im sure the people doing the canvassing are either mexican or hispanic

now apart from that sumbrella isnt the only fabric in the world to make a cover out of

just sayin and trying to help

hell I offered to have covers made for people up north provided the measurements are spot on on the 500 thread

in fact that offer is still on the table:)

sumbrella here there are 2 types

the original at something like $30 a yard...the generic sumbrella at $9 the yard and others like what I had mine made out of called Oxford...I wont even tell you the price as its too cheap to beleive...however its waterproof....

peace
 

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do you notice the diego part in that name? Im sure the people doing the canvassing are either mexican or hispanic

now apart from that sumbrella isnt the only fabric in the world to make a cover out of

just sayin and trying to help

hell I offered to have covers made for people up north provided the measurements are spot on on the 500 thread

in fact that offer is still on the table:)

sumbrella here there are 2 types

the original at something like $30 a yard...the generic sumbrella at $9 the yard and others like what I had mine made out of called Oxford...I wont even tell you the price as its too cheap to beleive...however its waterproof....

peace
I'd say that I would have you be my middleman for having some items made but the shipping would probably kill the savings...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
do you notice the diego part in that name? Im sure the people doing the canvassing are either mexican or hispanic
I know that they are hispanic. However they are hispanic and living in Seattle, where the cost of living is much higher than the cost of living in El Salvador.

I can say that this cover was at least made with real Sunbrella. I know that there is cheaper stuff (even cheaper material made by the same company called Surlast), but real Sunbrella is good stuff that lasts a long time.

MarkSF: Thanks for chiming in, I'm sorry to hear that they screwed up your sail cover too.
 

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Alex--

The unfortunate fact is that rarely, if ever, will a cover, canvas, or sails for that matter, made by a vendor that does not visit one's boat and take accurate measurements him-/her self live up to one's expectations/requirements. While there may be a modest cost savings, that is off-set, commonly in spades, by aggravation/time waste. Below is a snap of our boat where, hopefully, you can see our sail cover. Just behind her is a former neighbor's boat with his cover. Ours, made locally, fits perfectly. You can see his (which cannot be closed under the boom). Our boom lengths are similar tho' ours is longer. He "saved" $125 compared with the cost of ours. Was it worth it?
 

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I know that they are hispanic. However they are hispanic and living in Seattle, where the cost of living is much higher than the cost of living in El Salvador.

I can say that this cover was at least made with real Sunbrella. I know that there is cheaper stuff (even cheaper material made by the same company called Surlast), but real Sunbrella is good stuff that lasts a long time.

MarkSF: Thanks for chiming in, I'm sorry to hear that they screwed up your sail cover too.
yes very true...having said that are they quoting you the same price as say mauri pro sail covers or some other higher end covers? I bet not....

there are other people who have had luck with bimini covers and other canvassed projects from sellers on ebay

wish I had the link for you...

I do beleive however that your situation is fixeable...either send the item back for fixing or have it fixed locally

or go the ebay route and demand a refund

good luck
 

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Alex--

The unfortunate fact is that rarely, if ever, will a cover, canvas, or sails for that matter, made by a vendor that does not visit one's boat and take accurate measurements him-/her self live up to one's expectations/requirements. While there may be a modest cost savings, that is off-set, commonly in spades, by aggravation/time waste. Below is a snap of our boat where, hopefully, you can see our sail cover. Just behind her is a former neighbor's boat with his cover. Ours, made locally, fits perfectly. You can see his (which cannot be closed under the boom). Our boom lengths are similar tho' ours is longer. He "saved" $125 compared with the cost of ours. Was it worth it?
if youre on a budget YES

if not NO

$125 is beer money, gas money, other projects money...

perfection always has its price...for example on a restoration one would pony up:)

NICE BOAT BTW:D
 

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The moral of the story is, if the folks that do your work are not down the road, accountability will be lower. If nothing goes wrong, you can't tell the difference, only that internet merchants are often less expensive. However, when it goes wrong, you're flapping in the wind.

I have a related dilemma at the moment. All my canvas is due for replacement. The PO did the original installation 10 years ago and it was an outstanding job. Well laid out, covers over all zippers, etc. It's almost comically enormous. You have about 6'3" of headroom, probably 12' wide, fully side enclosures, etc. I have a canvas guy next door that I like a lot. I asked him to quote replacement and he said $15k. :eek::eek:

Naturally, he's replaced zippers and straps, from ordinary wear and tear, for me over the years and has also commented that the original manufacturer did a great job. However, he says to make a new one, he would need to start from scratch and can't use the current, well fitting, canvas as a template. Lots of hour, therefore.

So, I called the guys who made it 10 years ago. I even called the PO, who said he still uses them. They said, no problem, send us the old one and we'll make another for $7k!! The fabric is stamoid, which does not shrink much at all, so they were pretty confident in providing a good replacement.

Clearly, I can and probably will save a ton. However, the vendor is 500+ miles away, so if I have a problem, it will be a big problem. Plus, the guy I would pay to tweak it, if necessary, is the guy that I didn't give the job to in the first place.

This is going to be an issue.
 

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If they did such a good job before and it still fits well now, I'd certainly give the guys that did it the first time the business. You could also be upfront with the local guy, give him a chance to match it and let him know you'd pay him to tweak it if necessary, guessing he'd understand.
 

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It seems like the root cause of the price difference is the local guy's refusal to use the current canvas as a template. I'd go back to him and tell him that the fabric is known to be low-shrinkage. Either match the other guy's procedure and/or price, or I'll have no choice but to get it done elsewhere. Tell him you really value his service and would like to continue coming to him, but $8k difference is too much to overlook.

I have a feeling he'll revise his quote significantly. May not match the price, but maybe close enough for you to use him.
 
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