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Old 22-06-2016, 15:45   #1
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Sail buying experiences

Hi All, I'm new to the site as a member, although I have reviewed threads frequently. I'm looking for some new sails, and ended up with a pretty appealing quote from Peak Sails NA. They have clearly had a spotty past, so I'm looking for referrals from anyone who has dealt with them in the past year or so.
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Old 22-06-2016, 15:56   #2
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Re: Sail buying experiences

If you are here on the island, Leitch & McBride is the only way to go.
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:39   #3
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Re: Sail buying experiences

Ranger,

Peak had a bad rep for awhile but have been working pretty hard to overcome it. At least the part of it related to communication as well as production and delivery timetables.. The sail was reasonably constructed but NOT triple stiched as stated in the specs.

I took a chance and ordered from them in the first place because they offered an installment plan and, as you say, a very attractive price BUT you get what you pay for. These are "economy sails" and as long as you understand that the materials and workmanship will be just satisfactory them you will be okay for a new daysailing/weekender sail.

I don't reccommend using Peak for cruising sails unless you are willing to spend time with Chris on the phone, chat him up but let him know in clear terms that the sail will be returned and a full refund will be expected if the sails are not delivered AS PER SPEC and ask him to send a fabric sample.

The good news is that they were produced on the timetable promised and shipped promptly with regular communication throughout the proccess. At one point I had a problem with the payment schedule (through pay-pal) contacted the manufacturers rep immediately and the problem went away. I recieved the completed sail before my last payment was due.

This is my beercan racing/light air SoCal sail so I am not worried.

Would I use them again? Probably not
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Old 29-06-2016, 07:34   #4
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Re: Sail buying experiences

Hi Butler,

Many thanks for your informative response - happy sailing.
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Old 16-07-2016, 07:07   #5
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Re: Sail buying experiences

NO NO AND NO . I was suckered in by the price and payment plan. I got the sai in a timely manner but it was not tripled stitched as mentioned nor was it even built to the standards they said it would be. Ok stuff happens. Their initial response form a women from Colorado was we will fix it, then the head guy got involved and there was going to be none of it. They never fixed the sail nor cared. Don't do it
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Old 16-07-2016, 16:41   #6
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Re: Sail buying experiences

Ranger, here's something to think about; The cost of a sail is divided between materials and labour. All sailmakers have the same sources available for cloth (at least in the woven Dacron end of the budget), and they all pay about the same for it. Huge lofts may get a better price break, but the guys I know don't seem to. If one is buying from the USA, skilled labour is expensive, and while there may be some regional differences, they are not likely to be very large. So, in order to offer a sail at a very low price, the loft must either use cheaper material or less skilled labour or skimp on the amount of labour involved. Any of those shortcuts will result in an inferior sail. In the marine world, you get what you pay for... if you are lucky and do your homework!

As others have posted, if you purchase a sail from a distant loft, and you are not happy when it arrives, the very best result will be the addition of shipping costs and a retro-fix. All too often, you are simply screwed, and end up with a poorly fitting sail, or one made from crap cloth, or one where the stitching fails quickly.

My personal belief is to use a local loft, one where you can talk face to face with the designer and the floor guys. You may spend a few more bucks initially,but in the long run you will be a happier camper! And if there is a fault iin the new sail, you can go shout at them directly, with the sail under your arm.

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Old 16-07-2016, 18:47   #7
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Re: Sail buying experiences

Thanks to you both - good advice. I'm near Precision Sails so I guess I'll give them a go.
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Old 16-07-2016, 18:53   #8
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Re: Sail buying experiences

There just aren't any "Local" lofts, I bet over 95% of he sails sold in the USA are made overseas. Every big name loft is and every local one here in the mid Atlantic is. You're buying customer service and hand holding. I gotten racing sails from the top lofts in Annapolis, sails from the guy a mile away from my boat and have ordered cruising sails from overseas. All worked out and all were made very well overseas with top material.

Two of the "Local" lofts near me have closed, sad but a reality of the economy.
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Old 20-08-2016, 12:07   #9
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Re: Sail buying experiences

The difference in price is astronomical. I ordered an asymmetrical spinnaker from Voyager in Portland, Oregon. It is a sail I won't use much. It was 40 percent of the price of my local big name lofts. I figured if I got ripped off I'd either live with it or try again. At over 2000 square feet it is quite a sail. It came when promised and looks great. I took a risk and it paid off. As I understand it, Voyager is the online store of a respected sailmaker. Years ago I got another nice chute from an online store that said North made their sails in Annapolis. Another very nice sail. A huge advantage of buying locally, as previously stated, is support. However, any loft will service your sail for a price. In a previous post it is pointed out that cost is a function of labor and material. I totally agree. However price is also a function of overhead and workload. Prices are often cheaper off season. There are enough online sailmakers that I would stay clear of those with mixed reviews.


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Old 20-08-2016, 12:59   #10
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Re: Sail buying experiences

Had a very good experience with Mack Sails in Florida when I was in SF so it was long distance. Believe the sails are all made in house in Fla. Discussed with them a variety of sail cloth and weights and went with their recommendations. They provided instructions on measuring for the sails which was straight forward. Ordered a full batten main, 135% genoa with foam luff for the pro furl furler, Asym. spinnaker, and a new internal reefing boom to replace the old roller reefing boom. Price was considerably less than local sailmakers in the Bay Area, essentially got the boom and asym. for free.

All arrived in a couple of weeks without any problems in shipping. They forgot to install the Cunningham on the main and had me take the sail to a local loft and have it added at their expense. More seriously, the new boom was a few inches too short to properly tension the foot of the main. They immediately sent me a new 1' longer boom and told me to keep the too short one which I sold. Sails set very well, quality was great and worked well for the sail to Hawaii. Lost a clevis pin in one of the full batten cars on the main when the retaining ring somehow got ripped out by an errant line. Found the mangled ring on the deck but the pin had gone over the side. Called them when I landed and they immediately sent me a replacement pin and retaining ring. No other issues with the sails or boom all problems were handled quickly and easily.
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Old 20-08-2016, 20:08   #11
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Re: Sail buying experiences

another vote for Mack sails. They are the best. Will never go anywhere else. They will do it right or they will fix it for free.
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Old 20-08-2016, 21:01   #12
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Re: Sail buying experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
another vote for Mack sails. They are the best. Will never go anywhere else. They will do it right or they will fix it for free.
My experience as well.

I would add Mack had made sails for other Seawinds before and knew the dimensions of the sail. I would suggest looking for a sail maker that has experience making sails for what ever boat you have.
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Old 20-08-2016, 21:36   #13
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Re: Sail buying experiences

I know of a couple of world class, lofts within 2 hours of you. Both being truly local, but doing business globally. Yes, their products cost a bit more, but last far longer than the extra coin spent would suggest. Quality sails are worth it.
Quite honestly, finding local lofts is still possible. But it's as much, or more by word of mouth & reputation, than via an internet search. AKA the norm in sailing, as always.

Keep in mind too, that it's the detail work on sails where the (skilled) labor really comes into play. The extra patches at various stress & chafe points, hand work, extra rings & tackles, etc. The straight line sewing's pretty easy, with less of a learning curve. Unlike knowing what tension setting is needed on the machine for X, or Y layers of fabric type A, or B. Especially if say the sail is middle aged, & the added fabric is new. Etc.
That's the kind of expertise & experience that you're paying for in smaller, quality. local lofts. But usually it's worth it.
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