Originally Posted by Don C L
Well that is quite a professional production. One thinks they may make up for the loss through the youtube views.
Another good reason to shop locally. I have purchased all my (new) sails from people I called by their first names.
This would be good advice
except that even your local sailmaker
is probably actually having the sails made in one of the major facilities overseas. If so, he can get screwed by the overseas outfit. If you paid him for three sails, for example, say $15,000 for high tech sails and he paid the overseas outfit and they don't deliver then he might be hard pressed to come up with that money
to pay you back. So this is a risky transaction and it is hard to avoid it.
If the local guy is making the sails on the floor of his own loft your exposure is much less, but the costs are usually higher since his labor rate is probably much higher than the rate paid to the workers in the overseas facility.
For the cruiser who is travelling it is difficult. My advice
for the safest way is to work with a major, established loft, (with financial resources) when you are in the city where they are located, not doing business by email
and wire transfer. However, I have done business that way (by email
and wire transfer) for many years. Iíve bought at least 12 sails (for myself and for customers) that way from a variety of overseas sail manufacturing facilities. I take the financial risk (and other risks related to design and sizing) because of massive savings which can be achieved when the deal goes as planned.
Can you count on not paying until the sail is delivered? Usually only sailmakers with a long record
of paying their bills get credit approved by the overseas company. The overseas outfit is reluctant to build sails and send them to your local guy without payment. They are worried about getting screwed, same as you are. For that reason most of the sails ordered from overseas facilities donít get started in the manufacturing phase until a deposit (50%) has been paid. That money is gone if the sail is never built. And they usually wonít ship until the final payment is made. If you can get a local sailmaker who will accept payment only on delivery
then you obviously have less risk, but somebody, somewhere, is going to accept a risk of not getting the payment. You have the same difficult time using credit cards. The overseas company usually will insist on direct wire transfer.
I read carefully the whole court case between the people Wynns did business with (JSR) vs Quantum, One Sails and, actually, Ulman. Apparently, according to the court findings and judgment, the South African company had been doing business for a long time and delivered many sails, but got caught up in a legal
proceeding which they lost
with a massive judgment against them, and probably closed their doors immediately. Covid shipping
restrictions exacerbated the problem. Bad luck for the Wynns.
I did have a similar situation to the Wynns where the overseas facility closed it doors before my ďpaid forĒ sail was shipped. In my case I persuaded them to finish and ship the $5000 sail. I was lucky. I think it was the last sail which ever came out of that facility. I nearly lost
a customer's paid-for sail and I thought I was going to have to reimburse him out of my pocket (for another $5000 sail), but luckily we did get the sail (Whew!). Mainly the guys I was dealing with were honorable people who just got in a business fix. And I am still doing business with a new organization which has reopened the facility with many of the same workers, and also with the some of the principals after they moved to a new company (I know, crazy, but I feel lucky).
So, be very very careful, and if you decide to take a chance because of the lure of BIG savings, as I do, make sure you can afford the loss if it goes sideways.