Covid Casualty or Deliberate Fraud? Not such a Great Circle

gn4478

Member
406
195
Perth Amboy, NJ
So after hiring a customs broker, I was able to get the sails from JFK airport to my home. I brought the sails to a major loft for inspection and modification of a staysail to add an antitorsion line that Brian Hancock from Great Circle Sails said he had and would install. He refused to respond by email, iMessage, text or phone to confirm he was still willing to do so.  So, in the end, I am out the cost of shipping, the customs broker and the anti torsion line.  On the plus, the sails look like they are well made with good construction technique and materials. Thus ends an 18 month experience with an unscrupulous con man. On the plus, Craig Millar in South Africa is a stand up guy who helped out the customers that Brian Hancock screwed.

 

Al Paca

Super Anarchist
2,021
575
El Lay
So after hiring a customs broker, I was able to get the sails from JFK airport to my home. I brought the sails to a major loft for inspection and modification of a staysail to add an antitorsion line that Brian Hancock from Great Circle Sails said he had and would install. He refused to respond by email, iMessage, text or phone to confirm he was still willing to do so.  So, in the end, I am out the cost of shipping, the customs broker and the anti torsion line.  On the plus, the sails look like they are well made with good construction technique and materials. Thus ends an 18 month experience with an unscrupulous con man. On the plus, Craig Millar in South Africa is a stand up guy who helped out the customers that Brian Hancock screwed.
So after everything is said and done, how much money did you save over going to a local loft?  And was it worth it?

 

gn4478

Member
406
195
Perth Amboy, NJ
So after everything is said and done, how much money did you save over going to a local loft?  And was it worth it?
I saved on the 140% Genoa 8k. After a year and a half aggravation. Didn’t have the sail for the season last year but didn’t race last year. 

 

trisail

Anarchist
501
540
 On the plus, Craig Millar in South Africa is a stand up guy.
www.cmsails.co.za

Craig Millar Sails, Durban South Africa.

I've never met him ,but he's been around the South African sailing scene for many years. He does a lot to get kids from disadvantaged communities into sailing.

 

Svanen

Super Anarchist
1,036
292
Whitby
It’s good to hear that things eventually worked out (no thanks to Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails).

Overall though, what a dismal customer experience! There is no excuse for retaining a 50% deposit without delivering promised goods, or for refusing to respond to reasonable follow-up enquiries. Thanks for publishing your warning about the way you were treated by Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails.

P.S. Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails boasts on his website - still up and running, BTW - that he is a member of Certified Independent Sailmakers. When you were communicating with Craig, what did he have to say about Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails remaining a “member”?

 

SailingTips.Ca

Feigns Knowledge
790
342
Victoria, BC
When you were communicating with Craig, what did he have to say about Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails remaining a “member”?


I’m going to guess he said very little to nothing as a businessman. 


From Craig's website:

"We commit to never speaking ill of our fellow Members to our Customers. If we have an opinion on the work of our fellow Members, we will raise it with them directly or with the Conduct and Ethics Committee of Certified Independent Sail Makers."

 

gn4478

Member
406
195
Perth Amboy, NJ
It’s good to hear that things eventually worked out (no thanks to Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails).

Overall though, what a dismal customer experience! There is no excuse for retaining a 50% deposit without delivering promised goods, or for refusing to respond to reasonable follow-up enquiries. Thanks for publishing your warning about the way you were treated by Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails.

P.S. Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails boasts on his website - still up and running, BTW - that he is a member of Certified Independent Sailmakers. When you were communicating with Craig, what did he have to say about Brian Hancock of Great Circle Sails remaining a “member”?
Craig shared that he new Brian for a very long time. He was dismayed that Brian would not communicate about the situation.  

 

Huntemupbob

New member
3
1
Wisconsin
I almost bought a set of membrane sails from Brian, decided at the end to buy North. Glad I did. I was burned once before by Kelly Hanson sails. Unpleasant experience.

 
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.
so was it a 2 or 4 stroke ???

 

Decay

New member
23
14
I am having a very similar experience to others and just now finding this thread. Price seemed unbeatable and Brian seemed like a good guy in all of our initial conversations. I paid for half the cost of a sail up front. Sail is MIA several months after estimated delivery date. No response from Brian after multiple communication attempts. Not sure what to do at this point.  Dammit. I was depending on having that sail for upcoming trips and races.

 
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zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,553
550
Lopez Island
You get what you pay for!  Always deal with a sailmaker with a local representative and at least a repair facility.  If it is 1/2 price there is a reason, maybe they only deliver 1/2 the sails ordered and WTF is up w/ Brian, he seemed like a stand up guy.

 

Decay

New member
23
14
Very interested to hear if anyone else has had recent interactions (good or bad) or any other information on what might be going on with Great Circle Sails. Even by PM if you don't want to post it publicly. Willing to give Brian the benefit of the doubt, to a point, if he's dealing with problems in his life or business. It's been an exceptionally hard year for many. I can't imagine this thread is good for his business reputation. He should really be more communicative with clients.

 
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Sadly, my experience with Brian has been in line with Decay's gn4478's. Ordered the sail in December, paid the usual 50% down, invoice promised end-of-April delivery as we had negotiated. Had a couple of good, friendly email back and forths with him about Vendee and America's Cup, but as end of April came and went he just vanished. I was able to get one more message out of him by contacting a fellow Marblehead-based notable sailor I know and Brian claimed as a friend - I had used them as a reference. I got from Brian an email with a sob story of death and mayhem having to do with some project he is managing - I won't bore anyone with details. So, as of June 10, he says a sail has been made and is sitting in South Africa waiting for shipping... Luckily I made my down payment using PayPal, and was able to get may money back very quickly, making me think he is not responding to PayPal's attempts to reach him either.

I have resigned myself to eking out one more season out of the ol' ratty 135%, but in the darkest moments of disappointment have been composing a post to SA titled "Brian Hancrook and the Great Swindle Sails". I still text/email him on a weekly basis because, well, I'm pissed off. Oh, and his phone voicemail box is full and accepts no new messages.

Lesson learned - North/Quantum, here I come.

 
Oh, that changes everything, how could I possibly have doubted Great Circle?
The is some tragedy in this, seeing Brian burn people that he has been friends/friendly with for a long time. I've now spoken to two such (serious) people who are aghast and totally bewildered by his behavior - seems like there is some serious flame-out going on. Tony, Zenmaster, "testimonials"=advertising, we all know that. Due diligence and independent verification was done. Schadenfreude is such a cheap feeling...

That said, lessons learned to be sure. One man shop is, well, all about that one man. The allure is the price and only having to pay for that one man, the risks are now glaringly obvious. I got my money back, so I consider this a cheap lesson.

 

Sail4beer

Usual suspect
10,033
3,419
Toms River,NJ
I used a local sailmaker who delivered exactly what I wanted at a very good price. Tri radial one design sails. PM me if you’d like his info, I don’t want to put his name or info here and have it accidentally co-mingled with this unfortunate rubbish.  
 

Either way, good luck moving forward. I was in the same position 5 years ago and got my money back as well. 

 

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