Covid Casualty or Deliberate Fraud? Not such a Great Circle

MASSailor

New member
We also had a crazy bad experience with Brian Hancock and Great Circle Sails of Marblehead. We paid and he didn't deliver. After months of requesting delivery, or at least communication from Brian, but receiving nothing but stalling and deception, we cut a deal with Craig in South Africa, the maker of the sails. Craig completely came through and his efforts to complete our sails and get them to us were so much appreciated. In the end, both we and Craig lost the money that Brian stole from us. I'd advise not doing business with Brian Hancock at Great Circle Sails because he will probably rip you off.

 

Wess

Super Anarchist
Wow. For all the crap that floats around SA there are some good and useful threads as well. This thread is a great public service and hopefully saves somebody else getting ripped off by someone who appears to be quite the con man.

 

Decay

New member
23
14
I'm still out my deposit with no sail. I was able to get some communication from Brian after many emails. So he does get them. He said the sail was already manufactured by the contract loft in South Africa waiting for shipment but he was not able to communicate with the loft despite making every attempt. Assuming his loft was Craig I reached out. But Craig (who seems awesome) didn't know anything about my sail order. Brian then said the sail was actually made by Jan Reuvers / Dynasails, also of South Africa. I emailed Jan and got one reply confirming I reached the right person, but then no response to follow-up emails about the sail. Now I'm not sure if the problem is with Jan, Brian, or both. It is possible that Brian's explanation is true and there's some problem with Dynasails, although if so Brian could be handling it much better. Ultimately GCS is responsible for fixing the problem and it's not my job to chase his contract manufacturer. Still, I'd be interested to know if anyone knows any scuttlebutt about Jan Reuvers / Dynasails.

I've made several generous offers to Brian including "return my deposit now, and I'll buy the sail for full price if it ever materializes in America". But he hasn't responded to anything about remedying the situation. He is once again ignoring all communication.

I even pointed Brian toward this thread and recommended he give the community some answers or try to salvage his online reputation, but he has not posted. I'm sure he's reading this, he uses this website.

I really wanted to work this out amicably, Brian seemed to be a decent local guy perhaps in a bad situation (that he wasn't fully explaining??) but I'm running out of options and I can't just walk away from that much cash.

 
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Somebody Else

a person of little consequence
7,560
740
PNW
Most small independent sail makers are running at least a low-level ponzi scheme. Using someones down payment to buy materiel for someone else's sail who's down payment has already been spent (like for rent or paying oneself.)

It's a slippery slope and once you do that a single time, it tends to cascade into an unsustainable situation where delivery times are pushed out indefinitely and nobody is happy.

 

Reference

Member
309
127
In high school I worked for a construction contractor who did the same thing, always juggling angry customers, working on which ever job complained the most, running of materials etc... took him 6 week to pay me at one point. 

Then one of his (few) subcontractors told me that he actually spent all the money on his cocaine habit and it all made more sense. 

 
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TwoLegged

Super Anarchist
5,665
2,090
This is all a very sad story, from every angle.

Sad for the customers who lost time and money.  Sad for the sail lofts who have gone unpaid.

But also sad for Brian Hancock, whose antics over the last 18 months seem to have destroyed a reputation and a trust network built up over decades.  Sure, his customers and suppliers need to protect themselves and warn others, and there may be criminal investigations ... but something has gone badly awry for Hancock.  Whatever led him to make so many bad calls and treat so many people so badly, the result is that decades of business are coming to a crashing end and his name is mud.  That's a tragic finale to a working life.  

 

Great Red Shark

Super Anarchist
8,367
572
Honolulu
Most small independent sail makers are running at least a low-level ponzi scheme. Using someones down payment to buy materiel for someone else's sail who's down payment has already been spent (like for rent or paying oneself.)

It's a slippery slope and once you do that a single time, it tends to cascade into an unsustainable situation where delivery times are pushed out indefinitely and nobody is happy.
Lose a little money on every one but make it up in volume?

 

OCS

Member
Most  A few small independent sail makers are running at least a low-level ponzi scheme. Using someones down payment to buy materiel for someone else's sail who's down payment has already been spent (like for rent or paying oneself.)

It's a slippery slope and once you do that a single time, it tends to cascade into an unsustainable situation where delivery times are pushed out indefinitely and nobody is happy.
Fixed it, most small independent sailmakers have fine business acumen and contribute a lot to local sailing community.

 

Sail4beer

Super Anarchist
9,675
3,186
Toms River,NJ
After being shafted by a boat dealer I tried to buy overseas sails from, I decided to only go with reputable local lofts that I could drive to in a day if I had to. Lucky for me, I had paid for the overseas sails with a credit card and the bank returned my money. I might suggest that anyone looking to buy over $10,000 in sails use some type of credit card which can guarantee your money refunded due to fraud. The percentages the card may charge for a couple of months is worth the security of mind. 

 

Parma

Super Anarchist
2,940
378
here
What is the whole premise of these people? Give us your money so we can "pursue our mission to cultivate curiousity through adventure & exploration"????

My opinion is that they made a whole series of questionable choices (starting with his haircut), and that they walked away from their donors money because they can always use a sympathy ploy to ask for more.

 

Ncik

Super Anarchist
2,175
395
I understand the frustration but a reality check is in order...we're in the middle of a pandemic. Not all countries are holding it together economically. Shipping charges have sky-rocketed. Material costs have sky-rocketed. Staff are getting sick. Small businesses going bust from these stresses is to be expected, particularly if they're dependent on international suppliers.

The OP asked if it was covid or fraud, and everyone's jumped on fraud when a more logical answer is covid. Businesses are failing everywhere and you think a sail importer is going to cruise through covid? Hell, the guy could actually have been dealt a serving of covid himself or in his family, do any of you muppets know otherwise?

Let's just wait for a better explanation for a long-running and arguably well-regarded business going bust than "he's a fraudster".

The OPs order in October 2019 was very bad luck though.

 
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gn4478

Member
396
190
Perth Amboy, NJ
I understand the frustration but a reality check is in order...we're in the middle of a pandemic. Not all countries are holding it together economically. Shipping charges have sky-rocketed. Material costs have sky-rocketed. Staff are getting sick. Small businesses going bust from these stresses is to be expected, particularly if they're dependent on international suppliers.

The OPs order in October 2019 was very bad luck though.
No doubt Covid put tremendous stress on lots of manufacturing and shipping. However, thats no excuse for lack of communication, the lies and the fraud of not sending a deposit to the loft. In the end I got the sails from Craig Millar and they are top notch. Used them in the Annapolis to Newport race and Spirit of Bermuda Rally. I am very happy with them and have no reservations what so ever from ordering from Craig again.

 

zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,541
538
Lopez Island
Always deal with someone you know or someone who someone you know can vouch for.  Ordering sails from overseas and paying in full is just being a little too gullible.  Having spent years in the sailmaking business I never stiffed a customer or an employee through good and bad times.  Right and Wrong are not difficult concepts!  If someone pulled that shit on me I would mortgage my wife to buy a ticket, get on an airplane, go to the perps home/business and choke the living shit out of the crooked bastard.  Just sayin.

 
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Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,499
2,157
I understand the frustration but a reality check is in order...we're in the middle of a pandemic. Not all countries are holding it together economically. Shipping charges have sky-rocketed. Material costs have sky-rocketed. Staff are getting sick. Small businesses going bust from these stresses is to be expected, particularly if they're dependent on international suppliers.

The OP asked if it was covid or fraud, and everyone's jumped on fraud when a more logical answer is covid. Businesses are failing everywhere and you think a sail importer is going to cruise through covid? Hell, the guy could actually have been dealt a serving of covid himself or in his family, do any of you muppets know otherwise?

Let's just wait for a better explanation for a long-running and arguably well-regarded business going bust than "he's a fraudster".

The OPs order in October 2019 was very bad luck though.
I think a more accurate statement would be that Covid finally killed his Ponzi scheme. 

 
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