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Old 12-05-2021, 06:04   #16
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

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Originally Posted by gnackman View Post
I don't think that was the issue at all. There is huge mark up on the price of sails. Great Circle Sails overhead is essentially a cell phone and a website. I did plenty of due diligence prior. Had not Covid happened, this might not have happened at all. But no excuse for the lack of communication and not sending the deposit to the loft.
There is not that much mark up to be honest, and the major brands like Ullman and Doyle make their own membranes so can undercut the smaller lofts buying in the panels and completing them ( like Craig Millar ). If his membranes were half the price of the major brand names there was definitely something fishy going on. Maybe he priced them wrong then realized he would be losing money if he completed the deal. Or his cheap membrane panel supplier failed him.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:27   #17
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
There is not that much mark up to be honest, and the major brands like Ullman and Doyle make their own membranes so can undercut the smaller lofts buying in the panels and completing them ( like Craig Millar ). If his membranes were half the price of the major brand names there was definitely something fishy going on.
I haven't noticed any undercutting by Doyle et. al. When I had my sails made (carbon/technora laminate), the big lofts were all 50% higher than the respected Solent sailmaker I eventually went with.


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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
Maybe he priced them wrong then realized he would be losing money if he completed the deal. Or his cheap membrane panel supplier failed him.

Then at least he could have sent the deposit back.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:43   #18
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
There is not that much mark up to be honest, and the major brands like Ullman and Doyle make their own membranes so can undercut the smaller lofts buying in the panels and completing them ( like Craig Millar ). If his membranes were half the price of the major brand names there was definitely something fishy going on. Maybe he priced them wrong then realized he would be losing money if he completed the deal. Or his cheap membrane panel supplier failed him.
I don't think this is accurate ("If his membranes were half the price of the major brand names there was definitely something fishy going on")

The difference in cost is mostly the service which you get from a major (or local) loft. You are paying for the consultation, measurement, fitting, and problem resolution, and probably his time on the boat sailing with the new sail, that the sailmaker provides. Of course the corporate entity also needs to pay for their research and development and make a profit so that is also part of the difference. These are real costs. Nothing fishy there.

I have purchased 3 membrane sails (carbon) for over 40' boats from overseas lofts. These were among about 9 sails I have ordered for myself and others in the last several years. All of these sails have been built by the lofts from which i ordered them, not from major brands. There are several membrane facilities around the world.

I have found the quality an materials to be excellent and the membranes I am speaking of have been fast and durable. They were less than half the price of the quotes I got from the majors. There is nothing fishy about this.

If you can take the responsibly for all those required activities and take the risk personally for any errors in the measurement or specification then you can save the money they charge you for those services.

And, one of the risks you take on is that the guy you order from, who does not have the backing of an established major loft, may abscond with your money.
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Old 12-05-2021, 09:43   #19
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

My experience with GCS was almost identical to the OP's. Brian just ghosted me. I found him on FB, found out that Ullman SA dropped him, and learned that Craig took over making his sails. I emailed him a pic of his personal residence and told him I was going to fly to Marblehead and get my money back one way or another. That got his attention. Long story short, I finally got my two sails from Brian last year, but he padded the invoice far beyond his original quote. The sails are fine, though the Code 0 I bought was made longer in the luff than the original spec in the quote. I made it work. There's no way I was going to deal with Brian again.

Whatever his redeeming qualities as a human being are, Brian's a really, really bad business person. I have about $8,000 into him, and I have my sails, which are good quality, but the experience was terrible. I've learned hard lessons about false economy. Luckily, where I live we have a few real sailmakers with local lofts. I need a new main next year and I'm going to support local folk, even though they are more expensive.

GCS should be shunned. Brian's a GD flake. To the people who had good experiences with him: making hay when the sun is shining is not difficult; it's how you treat people when your back is against a wall that matters. Brian is a failure as a business owner.
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Old 12-05-2021, 21:02   #20
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I haven't noticed any undercutting by Doyle et. al. When I had my sails made (carbon/technora laminate), the big lofts were all 50% higher than the respected Solent sailmaker I eventually went with.
Then at least he could have sent the deposit back.
But your sails are radial cut, not membranes.
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Old 12-05-2021, 21:11   #21
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
I don't think this is accurate ("If his membranes were half the price of the major brand names there was definitely something fishy going on")

The difference in cost is mostly the service which you get from a major (or local) loft. You are paying for the consultation, measurement, fitting, and problem resolution, and probably his time on the boat sailing with the new sail, that the sailmaker provides. Of course the corporate entity also needs to pay for their research and development and make a profit so that is also part of the difference. These are real costs. Nothing fishy there.

I have purchased 3 membrane sails (carbon) for over 40' boats from overseas lofts. These were among about 9 sails I have ordered for myself and others in the last several years. All of these sails have been built by the lofts from which i ordered them, not from major brands. There are several membrane facilities around the world.

I have found the quality an materials to be excellent and the membranes I am speaking of have been fast and durable. They were less than half the price of the quotes I got from the majors. There is nothing fishy about this.

If you can take the responsibly for all those required activities and take the risk personally for any errors in the measurement or specification then you can save the money they charge you for those services.

And, one of the risks you take on is that the guy you order from, who does not have the backing of an established major loft, may abscond with your money.
Think of it like this. Brian would have to buy the membrane panels, probably from Italy (he was advertising filmless membranes). Then he has to courier them to Craig Millar and pay Craig Millar to finish them into sails, and then courier the sails from South Africa to the final destination. South Africa is not a cheap place to courier goods in and out of. On top of that he has to add his own profit.
A company like Ullman is making the membranes panels and sails at their own production company and then bulk air freighting to places like the US.

Before individual sailmakers could buy membranes from Ullman - not anymore. And China Sail Factory who made lots of cheap membranes for independent sail lofts is also gone.
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Old 13-05-2021, 05:49   #22
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

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Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
But your sails are radial cut, not membranes.

Indeed. Radial cut from laminate panels, with dyneema taffeta on both sides.
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Old 13-05-2021, 06:34   #23
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

50% less !

If it sounds too good to be true - then it is.
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Old 13-05-2021, 06:39   #24
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestrahl View Post
...Before individual sailmakers could buy membranes from Ullman - not anymore. And China Sail Factory who made lots of cheap membranes for independent sail lofts is also gone.
Yes, I am sorry to see China Sail Factory go, but the membrane facility was purchased and as far as I know is still in operation, my contacts say that they will still make membrane sails for independents. The operation now, as it did before, probably completes the sails as well. (More information on this would be appreciated)

There are other membrane plants, such as Durtek, making sails for independents, and I suspect we will see more of these plants.

But there are "cut and sew" sources for sailmakers for dacron and laminate paneled sails, and the cost advantages remain as do the risks.
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Old 27-05-2021, 20:47   #25
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

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50% less !

If it sounds too good to be true - then it is.
Nope. Not at all. I got the sails from Craig. He honored the deal. They are top quality and half the price. The membranes came from Italy. Brian has nothing to do with the materials.
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Old 27-05-2021, 22:41   #26
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Re: Great circle sails- Stolen Deposit

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
Yes, I am sorry to see China Sail Factory go, but the membrane facility was purchased and as far as I know is still in operation, my contacts say that they will still make membrane sails for independents. The operation now, as it did before, probably completes the sails as well. (More information on this would be appreciated)

There are other membrane plants, such as Durtek, making sails for independents, and I suspect we will see more of these plants.

But there are "cut and sew" sources for sailmakers for dacron and laminate paneled sails, and the cost advantages remain as do the risks.
The plant at China Sail Factory was seized by the government and sold at auction to pay the staff their wages owed. It sold really cheap as unless you were a Chinese national or a mainland Chinese company, it wasn't possible to sign up for the auction. It was brought by William Peng ( wilfer, loong sails ) who was a former employee and had already setup a copy cat local company a few years previous at which time CSF sued him for IP theft.

Durtek (quantum) make the membranes in Malaysia and ship them to Sri-Lanka for finishing. They probably took over the majority of the former China Sail Factory clients.
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