Covid Casualty or Deliberate Fraud? Not such a Great Circle

gn4478

Member
Anyone else have a problem with getting their sails from Brian Hancock’s company, GreatCircle sails?

I ordered sails October of 2019. He gave me an unbeatable price for a carbon fiber/aramid string sail. A 140% Genoa form my Baltic 51.  Literally less than half price of the quotes from major lofts. I called a few of his provided references and they were all happy with the sails he provided. Brian is a famous sailor and writes articles for major sailing publications. I gave him a substantial deposit for half the value of a sail. I measured my boat using his instructions. I later added to the order an additional sail, a freestanding staysail. Covid hit and delayed things. That was understandable. He delivered to me a Selden furler for the staysail in the interim. 

However, he subsequently disappeared. Didn’t respond to emails, texts, FB messenger or phone calls.  He then months later reappears and blames the contract loft he uses. He tried to reassure me that he will get the sails made. Meanwhile, I had referred a friend to him who needed a mainsail. My friend got a cruising laminate roller furling main which although delayed, arrived last summer, 2020. It’s well made with excellent workmanship.

Brian then disappeared again in terms of communication. We had become friends on Facebook.  I was able to figure out which loft Brian was using, and contacted them early fall of 2020 to see if they were producing sails. They did not respond initially, but late November the loft reached out to me stating that Brian never gave them the deposit money. They stated that they had started the sails for multiple customers for Brian on credit. They asked me if I had heard from Brian because he was no longer communicating with them.  I have no way of verifying this, but someone else reached out to me with the same experience that I have had. They paid for half the  cost and never got the sails, and Brian stopped communicating with them. 
 

The contract loft agreed to construct the sails for only the balance due which is more than reasonable. I’m out the shipping which was supposed to be included.  I tried one more time to reach out to Brian. I let him know the loft had contacted me and was willing to complete the sails. I asked him to send me the anti torsion line he had told me was in his possession for my staysail. I asked him to refund the deposit less the cost of the furler and anti torsion line. I would forward that to the loft. I never heard back from Brian. 
 

  I received pictures of the sails in construction and forwarded the balance to the contract loft and am awaiting the sails to arrive. My fingers are crossed but I should have them shortly. 

I post this to see if anyone else has had the same experience. Someone else has started legal action against him in Massachusetts.

 

eliboat

Super Anarchist
2,164
572
Well that sounds like an awful situation you’ve been dealing with.  I’m glad you seem to have sorted things out, albeit with some agita attached.  I will say that I always got a weird vibe from the articles that he has written here.  In his telling, the world of sailing, in which he is a self described rock star, has aggrieved him to some extent.  All of the big names of his generation that he was pals with have somehow maintained their bona fides and careers in the industry, while he has essentially written a bunch of articles seeking to promote his contributions to the sport while also setting up a sailmaking import operation while dishonestly designating himself an actual sailmaker.  By the sounds of it, if he intends on keeping the import operation going, he’ll need another supplier.  

 

gn4478

Member
Well that sounds like an awful situation you’ve been dealing with.  I’m glad you seem to have sorted things out, albeit with some agita attached.  I will say that I always got a weird vibe from the articles that he has written here.  In his telling, the world of sailing, in which he is a self described rock star, has aggrieved him to some extent.  All of the big names of his generation that he was pals with have somehow maintained their bona fides and careers in the industry, while he has essentially written a bunch of articles seeking to promote his contributions to the sport while also setting up a sailmaking import operation while dishonestly designating himself an actual sailmaker.  By the sounds of it, if he intends on keeping the import operation going, he’ll need another supplier.  
Apparently, he pissed on a 30 yr friendship with the loft owner. Very sad. I personally feel badly because I referred other people to him after the initial contact and great price. People who have gotten sails from him, were the references I checked. They were all happy with the quality of the sails that came from the loft. 

 

Sail4beer

Super Anarchist
9,512
3,078
Toms River,NJ
There’s another poster here who basically did the same thing a decade or so ago. One failure sets up a chain reaction when your a small loft/middleman for a real loft. 
 

I ordered a set of 3 sails for my Fareast28R in May from a local sailmaker who’s been soliciting me for a while( I have several boats) and said “No rush.” I didn’t hear back from the loft until October. The sails were ready in July and they forgot to call me. Simple mistake with no bad intent. The boat’s for sale in the classifieds now and the next owner can unbox the new sails with the new rig, rudder, etc I bought this past spring.

 

Starboard!!

Member
328
105
He gave me an unbeatable price for a carbon fiber/aramid string sail. A 140% Genoa form my Baltic 51.
Everyone likes to bitch about North & Quantum's prices, but they deliver and when something isn't right, they fix it. 

I once worked for a small business / contractor, who funded funding his ongoing operations (aka alimony and a coke habit)  with new customer deposits. It all works fine until something like COVID interrupts the new business, and then good luck finding him... the money's gone.

 

gn4478

Member
Everyone likes to bitch about North & Quantum's prices, but they deliver and when something isn't right, they fix it. 

I once worked for a small business / contractor, who funded funding his ongoing operations (aka alimony and a coke habit)  with new customer deposits. It all works fine until something like COVID interrupts the new business, and then good luck finding him... the money's gone.
I have had good and bad service from the majors as well. It is totally unethical for someone to not deliver downpayment dollars. Maybe fraudulent. I don't know what really happened but whatever it was, it was unethical. He advertises here. I don't think he has the courage to defend himself here about my situation. I have every correspondence documented. During the entire year and a half debacle, I was nothing but polite, patient and understanding of his personal and financial situation. His final disappearance was pure cowardice.

.

 
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ChrisJD

Member
244
165
Boston, MA
To answer the direct question: I worked with Brian to get a membrane mainsail a couple of years back, which came in on time (though, when you order in the late fall in New England, "on time" has about a four-month margin for error) and was beautifully made.  I also ordered a stack pack along with the sail, which came in a different shade of the color than I ordered.  I asked for a future discount as recompense, which Brian said he'd give me, but I haven't used it yet.  He's also done my sail maintenance each offseason, gratis, and has avoided upselling me when I've given him the chance.  All of this came in at substantially less than what North quoted me for a conventional Dacron mainsail alone, and came with none of the attitude I got calling the North loft.

I obviously can't speak to anyone else's experience with him, and he's certainly a bit quirky, but I've been happy working with him overall.  Sorry to hear that others haven't had the same experience.

 

gn4478

Member
To answer the direct question: I worked with Brian to get a membrane mainsail a couple of years back, which came in on time (though, when you order in the late fall in New England, "on time" has about a four-month margin for error) and was beautifully made.  I also ordered a stack pack along with the sail, which came in a different shade of the color than I ordered.  I asked for a future discount as recompense, which Brian said he'd give me, but I haven't used it yet.  He's also done my sail maintenance each offseason, gratis, and has avoided upselling me when I've given him the chance.  All of this came in at substantially less than what North quoted me for a conventional Dacron mainsail alone, and came with none of the attitude I got calling the North loft.

I obviously can't speak to anyone else's experience with him, and he's certainly a bit quirky, but I've been happy working with him overall.  Sorry to hear that others haven't had the same experience.
Your experience was the typical response I got from the references I checked. I checked 4 or 5, both cruisers and racers. He is an extremely pleasant guy, easy to like and trust with conversation. I'm sad he chose the low road with me when under stress.

 

ChrisJD

Member
244
165
Boston, MA
Your experience was the typical response I got from the references I checked. I checked 4 or 5, both cruisers and racers. He is an extremely pleasant guy, easy to like and trust with conversation. I'm sad he chose the low road with me when under stress.
I'm sad to hear that too.  I've seen family dig themselves into a hole during bad times, and can only hope there's an explanation that doesn't line up with what it looks like.

 
I had an awful experience with Brian. The sail was very late, was supposed to be delivered in March didn’t come until late July. My sail was built by Durtek in Sri Lanka. Brian first told me the delay was because of martial law. I managed to contact the loft manager and he told me that was an absolute untruth, my sail had been completed weeks ago and was waiting for Brian to pay for it. Brian denied this, and became increasingly difficult to contact. During the ordering process I repeatedly told Brian my boat cannot carry a sail bigger than 105% LP. When I got the sail it was 110% and unusable. He refused to refund the money I had paid him and would not take the sail back. he said his designer decided a 110 LP would be better. No matter how inexpensive he is don’t be tempted to buy anything from him. He lied throughout the process, was not knowledgeable, and overall acted like a complete scumbag. I have dozens of emails that document everything.  He is a piece of shit
 

 

Reference

Member
294
119
He is an extremely pleasant guy, easy to like and trust with conversation.
Maybe only due business with rude people, b/c if they are rude and still in business, they must be doing something right.  

But has anyone ever met an unlikeable con artist? 

 
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gn4478

Member
I had an awful experience with Brian. The sail was very late, was supposed to be delivered in March didn’t come until late July. My sail was built by Durtek in Sri Lanka. Brian first told me the delay was because of martial law. I managed to contact the loft manager and he told me that was an absolute untruth, my sail had been completed weeks ago and was waiting for Brian to pay for it. Brian denied this, and became increasingly difficult to contact. During the ordering process I repeatedly told Brian my boat cannot carry a sail bigger than 105% LP. When I got the sail it was 110% and unusable. He refused to refund the money I had paid him and would not take the sail back. he said his designer decided a 110 LP would be better. No matter how inexpensive he is don’t be tempted to buy anything from him. He lied throughout the process, was not knowledgeable, and overall acted like a complete scumbag. I have dozens of emails that document everything.  He is a piece of shit
 
Someone told me they were able to file in small claims court in MA online. That person already has.

 

eliboat

Super Anarchist
2,164
572
Maybe only due business with rude people, b/c if they are rude and still in business, they must be doing something right.  

But has anyone ever met an unlikeable con artist? 
Weeelll I mean I can think of one very well known one that easily fits that description...

 

gn4478

Member
Well, the sails just arrived to the US from the South African loft. I'll have them later this week. When I am able to take a look at them, I'll post my impressions. I thank Craig for being a stand up guy for finishing and delivering them directly to me after Brian Hancock disappeared with my deposit.

 
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