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post #11 of Old 06-12-2007
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I had read a while ago that Grampian was the first Canadian production fiberglass boatbuilder, and knew that initially they were producing boats under license from others. I wasn't aware that two of their models were designed by C&C.

I think people are using different definitions of "solid" in this discussion. The points Jeff raised about Grampians being inexpensive boats was certainly true -- they defined their market as entry level cruising boats. The former production manager at Grampian once told me that "We built Fords. If you came in and asked for a Lincoln, we'd send you next door to C&C." (A C&C production plant was literally next door to the Grampian plant in Oakville.)

As production expanded in the 1970s, Grampian opened a plant in Edenton, NC. I've heard both that the Edenton plant did fiberglass molding, and that all the fiberglass was done in Oakville and just final assembly was done in Edenton. In any event, the boats put together in Edenton were known to have assembly quality problems. Jeff mentioned working on a lot of them, but didn't mention any fatal problems that led to scrapping boats. In the 30 years since then, I expect the problems on these boats would have been sorted out.

I certainly agree with the point that was made about the boats designed by Grampian having traded price and headroom for sailing ability. Grampian intentionally defined their market as economical cruisers, whereas C&C defined theirs as high performance boats. Different horses for different courses.

But coming back to the idea of whether the boats were "solid", in my mind sailing ability, initial assembly quality, number of standard features, headroom, etc., don't correlate to whether a boat is solidly built or not. (In fact, one could make a case that the boats with the greatest sailing performance are typically the lightest, most highly stressed and therefore the most fragile.)

The other day my wife pointed me to a Barvaria 40 being sold as salvage ( ) It laid down on some sand and got only two holes 4" x 6" she said. Maybe we should buy it, patch it and make some money, she said... Check the Additional Photos link for more close-ups of the boat in the shop. It looks like they've ground back half the starboard hull under the waterline. Looks like a total constructive loss to me.

In contrast, the bottom of the Grampian history page (HISTORY OF GRAMPIAN MARINE) mentions a G30 that was grounded off Cape Hatteras and pounded for hours by a severe storm. When the tide returned the boat floated off with "the only damage sustained was some straining of the keel bolts!".

I can't find it now, but after Hurricane Juan hit Halifax in 2003, someone on the Grampian mailing list reported watching his G26 lose its docklines, beat against and sink two other sailboats on its way to being grounded on shore. After the storm passed, he had the boat pulled back into the water and tied it back up to his dock.

My definition of a "solid" boat is more along these lines than the features or sailing performance. Grampians weren't fancy boats, but they have a relatively high amount of strength in their design and construction.


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