SailNet Community - View Single Post - C & C 121 Customer Response to Manufacturers Post
View Single Post
post #1 of Old 09-10-2007 Thread Starter
camaraderie's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: East Coast
Posts: 13,877
Thanks: 0
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 18
C & C 121 Customer Response to Manufacturers Post

Below is a post made to the yahoo Tartan group by the Vito's. John asked me to post it here since he was having difficulty due to the length. To be clear...this is verbatim from John per his request and does not necessarily represent my own views. Thanks...Cam


First off, although we are very disappointed, this is the type of
response Cindy and I expected. After all, even though we didn't
cause any of the over 100, well documented manufacturing defects in
our boat, it does cost warranty dollars to fix them. The company
views us not as a long term valued client, but instead as a cost
center. The mistake they made, and are continuing to make, is to
advertise a best in class, high quality product with a comprehensive
long term warranty that, because of the way their products are
designed, constructed and how its parts and components are selected
and sourced will require the use of many of those warranty dollars
now and into the future.

The mistake we made is to take the companies written and spoken words
at their intended meaning. We thought, as many of you seemed to,
that the investment of roughly a quarter of a million dollars to get
your dream boat, with all the stuff the glossy brochures and their
people say, topped off with the protection of a comprehensive long
term warranty was a good bargain. That is exactly the place this
company's marketing proposition wants to take you. That is why we
mortgaged our home to make this purchase. In our direct experience,
they have not delivered on their end of this bargain.

Now on to Mr. Jackett's words:

We are experienced boat owners and accomplished sailboat racers. We
have been sailing and racing together, beginning in small one designs
and moving up every so often to our previous boat, a Tartan 33, which
we owned for 17 years, for over 30 years. We negotiated for the
purchase of our C & C 121 for several months before the 2002 Strictly
Sail Show. We cooperated with the manufacturer and their dealer,
Tartan CC of Annapolis, for the company to use the vessel in that
boat show for their internal marketing reasons. We are not some go to
the boat show and buy the pretty boat people. In fact, we had been
in the market for used boats for quite some time and had done our
share of research.

All of the problems we continue to have with the boat are not new
ones. Nor were they the type of problems that people with our
background and experience could have anticipated or expected from
this manufacturer. They have been occurring since the boat was new
and are getting worse. The company is well aware of this, as they
have been well documented. Mr. Jackett's attempt to categorize this
as having occurred during Cindy and my sixth season is false and

In this writing, I will not specifically address our history with the
boat except as it relates to the known current problems.

Hull Cracking: The boat has had many, many cracks in the bottom, hull
sides and transom since new. The company has previously hired
several outside contractors and sent their own factory crew to repair
these. Each time the cracks were ground out, the areas on either
side faired away and either a structural repair or epoxy fill was
made, depending on the severity, and then primer and paint applied.
None of these cracks were gel coat crazing as each was deep and
several extended into the laminate. These repairs occurred over each
year of our ownership and seem to never end. The current cracks are
the same as these were. The company, although the warranty claims
and approval process was made very difficult for us, paid for the
repair of all these previous cracks. Why they have elected to stop
doing so at this time is a question you will have to ask them. Our
position on this is simple: when you hold yourself out as being the
best built production boat in the world, the boat hull should not
crack and continue to crack, period.

Many of you have asked why does the boat continue to crack? Mr.
Jackett had previously explained to Cindy and me that, "When we built
the boats in your timeframe, we used a tie binder between the epoxy
laminate and the paint. This tie binder has different elastic
properties than the laminate and is prone to cracking. We no longer
use this system because of all the problems we had with it." We
were interested to read Mr. Jackett's response to others on this list
regarding what appear to be new processes which started after our
boat was built. In fact, none of the cracks on our boat were caused
for the reasons he gives. When we looked at some of the crack
repairs in progress that did not extend into the laminate, the
workers showed us how by lifting the edge of the crack with a
penknife, large sections of this tie binder separated from the
laminate. The reason for this separation was poor preparation of the
surfaces and incompatibility of the tie binder with the epoxy. The
factory did not take the time to prepare the surfaces correctly and
seemingly was experimenting with the materials on our hull. Mr.
Jackett knows the difference between why our boat continues to crack
and surface gel coat crazing. He has seen much more of this than
just on our boat. Our dealer, Mike Titgmeyer of Tartan CC of
Annapolis, corroborated this tie binder failure as he had seen it on
several other boats. There is a reason Mr. Jackett attempts to
categorize these cracks as gel crazes when in fact they are not: gel
crazes are not covered in the comprehensive warranty and to an
uninformed customer, this game may work.

Several of the cracks, when ground away, were found to be structural
as dry laminate was found beneath them. Especially troubling to
Cindy and I was that some of the cracks found on the hull bottom, and
which were repaired by a contractor the company hired over the last
two seasons are in the same location as the well known Tartan 3700
split hull. It is not a comforting thing to know that, as Mr.
Jackett explained, "Our hull was built on the same production line,
out of the same materials, by the same craftsman as the Tartan

This February, when quizzed by Cindy and me at the Chicago Strictly
Sail Boat Show during the company's replacement contract discussions
with us, we asked Mr. Jackett the following question: "How can we be
sure we won't have the same cracking and transom weakness problems
with the new one?" He replied to Cindy and me, "We learned that the
hull panels weren't stiff enough and flexed too much shortly after we
built your boat. We now use a denser and stiffer CoreCell and a
beefier overall epoxy lamination. This makes the hull flex a lot
less so you won't have the bending and flexing which leads to the
cracking, overall a much stronger boat ". When we purchased the
boat, we were not advised that ours was an experimental model. Had we
been, we would never have purchased her. The current cracks will
cost many thousands of dollars to fix. Mr. Jackett and the company
refuse to fix them.

Here below is the company's current glossy brochure marketing
proposition on their hull:

• Hull construction is a vacuum-bagged, wet-preg epoxy,
unidirectional "E" glass, and CoreCell core laminate locally
reinforced with carbon fiber. The hull is postcured to 145 degrees
• The incredible adhesion properties of epoxy eliminates all chopped
strand mat from the structural hull laminate schedule. Chopped strand
mat is the cheapest, heaviest, and weakest component that dominates
conventional polyester hull construction
• Pound-for-pound a post-cured epoxy resin laminate is far stronger
than any polyester resin laminate
• The oven post-curing process maximizes the physical properties of
the laminate and minimizes future post-cure cosmetic blemishes
characteristically seen in conventional polyester laminates
• Hull cosmetics are also enhanced by the extremely low shrinkage of
epoxy resin vs. polyester resin (1% vs 7%) and the reduction in
overall resin content thus eliminating or reducing post-cure hull
distortions found in conventional polyester laminates
• The vacuum-bagging process and strict resin control through use of
resin impregnators produces a hull laminate with 65% glass
reinforcement content. The industry norm for polyester resin hull
laminates is 25% glass content, this produces a stronger yet lighter
• CoreCell closed cell linear polymer foam coring is used for maximum
impact resistance, stiffness, strength, and light weight. The cored
hull also offers superior hull insulating properties, both thermal
and acoustical
• The laminate in the keel area is reinforced with multiple plies of
high-tensile carbon-fiber unidirectional reinforcements
• Premium grade gelcoat provides superior gloss, fade resistance, and
resistance to surface crazing
• Interior is completely painted out for enhanced cosmetics and to
seal interior laminate surfaces
• Hull is backed by industry-leading, non-prorated, transferable 15-
year no blister, hull structure warranty"

Deck Blisters: Mr. Jackett's deck blister explanation is comical.
One would be led to believe that the factory must be remolding our
deck every so often without our knowledge. If the blistering was
caused by an imperfection in the mold, that imperfection would have
been seen when the boat was new, and should appear on other boats for
which the deck mold was used. It should be constant. In the case of
our boat, we first started noticing the blisters six months after
taking delivery. We were told not to worry, "It's cosmetic." They
began spreading to large areas of the deck and continue to. They are
in 15 separate areas on both the coach roof and side decks at this
time. These are not small imperfections as Mr. Jackett wrote. They
look much like osmotic blisters on boat bottoms. Had the boat deck
looked like this when new, we would not have accepted it, nor would
any of you. It may also be of interest to you to know that Mr.
Jackett took three pencil rubbings out of the 15 blistered areas.
When I asked him if he was going to do the rest, he said he had all
he needed. I wonder if he just remembered where the other twelve
areas were when he matched them against the deck mold as he claims.
Of further interest is that other 121 decks, which were made with the
same mold, do not seem to have these issues. Fixing the deck will
cost many thousands of dollars. Mr. Jackett and the company refuse
to fix it. Our position on this is clear, when you hold yourself up
as being the best production boat builder in the world, the boat deck
should not blister.

Here below is the company's current glossy brochure marketing
proposition on their deck:

• Deck is a balanced composite laminate utilizing vinylester resin,
uni-directional "E"-glass reinforcement, and high strength/stiffness
Baltek premium AL 600 balsa coring
• Our custom resin infusion process creates the best resin to glass
reinforcement ratio possible resulting in the stiffest, lightest,
strongest deck in production boatbuilding
• Deck is locally reinforced at high load areas with additional plies
of bi-directional "E"-glass reinforcement
• White, light gray, or white/sandstone and white/gray two-tone decks
with patterned non-skid are available
• Premium grade gelcoat provides superior gloss, resistance to
fading, and resistance to crazing
• Deck coring windows are located at all hardware installations to
maintain the watertight integrity of the deck coring
• Molded in aluminum backing plates on all highly loaded deck hardware
• Hull to deck joint is secured with 1/4-20 stainless machine screws
installed on 4" centers through the full-length 6061 T6 aluminum
backing plate imbedded in the hull flange. This method exceeds the
recommended installation requirements of the ABS scantling for
offshore sailing yachts.
• Hull to deck joint is sealed with 3M 5200 adhesive sealant
• Composite light RTM match-molded deck locker hatches assure strict
thickness controls allowing accurate gasket seal of cockpit openings.
Conventional construction uses single-sided moldings with painted raw
fiberglass underside.
• Double lifeline gate at transom
• Instrument pod integrated onto coach roof with convenient wire
chase for instrument installations or additions

Transom Weakness: The factory hired an outside contractor to perform
structural reinforcement to our transom in 2003. This reinforcement
did not fix the problems and now the transom is worse than ever. In
hindsight, that reinforcement plan, designed by Mr. Jackett and
communicated by fax to the company's contractor was a cheap and dirty
solution, not a permanent fix. Just to be clear, it is not acceptable
for the transom to bend so much when the backstay is on to bind the
rudder. Cindy and I must have missed that feature in the glossy
brochure, as Mr. Jackett seems to infer that this is normal in his
boats. The transom on our boat is equipped with two chain plates for
the split backstay. These chain plates are thru bolted on the
transom. When the adjuster is lightly tightened the transom flexes
so much that cracks have formed between these chain plates. The
upper rudder bearing, which is attached to the transom cap moves so
much the rudder stock binds. The transom cap is so deformed that the
transom no longer sheds water. Fixing the transom will cost many
thousands of dollars. Mr. Jackett and the company refuse to fix it.
Our position on this is clear, when you hold yourself up as the
world's best production boat builder these things should not happen
to a boat transom and steering system.

Early this year, because of the boats problematic history, and
instead of honoring, our ongoing warranty claims, the company wrote,
and we accepted, a replacement offer for a new boat. We agreed on a
cash difference of $3,400 plus the trade in value the company offered
of $262,000 for the old boat. The new boat was to be delivered and
the old one taken back to the factory for re-manufacturing. We felt
great about this as Cindy and I felt that finally, the company was
trying to do the right thing and that our problem boat would be fixed
correctly so the next owner would not suffer as we did. We also
learned that we were being treated by the company as others were.
The company entered into a similar trade in and exchange program for
a C & C 121 named Jalacor which was manufactured right before ours.
This boat had a similar, but not as bad warranty history as ours. We
understand that the dealer advocated for the customer in this case.

The company then refused to honor this written replacement contract,
leaving us with a broken boat and no plan from the company to fix
it. The company refused to further discuss fixing the boat so we
went to Boat US Consumer Protection and wrote the company a final
demand letter. We were advised by Boat US to get an expert to look
at the boat and write a report. We hired a renowned composites
expert. His expertise and technological prowess with the same
materials our boat was built with were impressive to us, as was his
many years of experience working with these materials. I understand
that Mr. Jackett is a designer but I do not know his credentials in
the engineering and construction of CoreCell and epoxy laminated
panels. Our expert asked the company for a materials list and layup
schedules for our hull, once again in writing. He received nothing
from the company. I am happy to read Mr. Jackett's words about all
the standards our boat may be designed and constructed to meet. Our
expert wanted to compare the actual construction of our boat to what
the design intended as well as to the standards Mr. Jackett alludes
to. I will now ask on his behalf again for a materials list and a
lamination schedule and the build book for our boat. I'd also
challenge Mr. Jackett to post that materials list, lamination
schedule and build book on this forum. We would be comforted to
know, if in fact, the engineering intentions made it into the final

As we left the warranty process because of the replacement contract,
we did not have a current repair estimate to fix the problems. We
were told it would be fixed by the factory after our new boat was
delivered. It is very difficult at this time, in the market area we
are in, for a consumer to find a contractor to work with the
manufacturer. Based on the slow payment history and other problems
the two previous outside contractors the company hired to fix our
boat, neither desires to work further with the company unless it is
on a cash basis. We were lucky enough, after several attempts, to
obtain both a second report on the boat's problems and an estimate
for the repairs. The gentlemen who did these is a well known
composites expert to Novis as his company is a custom boat builder
and repair facility who has used Novis carbon spars in some of his
boats. On Lake Michigan, he is "the guy" that fixes the big
composite race boats when they need it, his reputation and references
are excellent and he agreed to work directly with the company to fix
the boat's current known problems. He is so good at what he does that
international race boat owners, like Transpac 52's, have their boats
trucked to his shop for repairs. His quote of $27,000, which in our
opinion was reasonable considering the scope and complexity of the
work to fix the known current issues with the boat has now been
rejected by the company without so much as a phone call to him.

It is not in our best interest to find fault with our boat. We were
disturbed to read what the experts wrote about the issues. We are
troubled that the company tries, even after all this, to continue to
challenge these reports. As the boat's designer, as well as its
manufacturer, and thus where we lay the blame for these problems, I
hope it is clear to you that Mr. Jackett, the Chief Operating Officer
of the company, has a vested position in his explanations. We are
also tired of listening to the advice of our broker, Mike Titgmeyer
of Tartan CC of Annapolis which was, "Let's just hope that it stops
cracking and settles in." Mike was intimately involved in the
company's replacement contract with us and he has told me that he is
personally embarrassed by the company's actions.

Now here we are. Three great boatyards, an accredited marine
surveyor and two composites experts have all agreed that the deck has
problems, the boat flexes too much, and thus cracks and that the
transom build and overall construction of the rear of the boat is too
light for the loads of this size vessel. Contrary to what Mr. Jackett
says, all spent a great deal of time on the vessel and all inspected
the interior of the rear of the vessel and all watched the transom
move around and the rudder bind, and all reached the same
conclusion. Mr. Jackett now disagrees, although he was happy to
previously explain the problems in words that sound very much like
our experts when he was placating Cindy and me about the design and
construction improvements in the current boats over how ours was
made, and now seeks to paint a far different picture for you.

As for Cindy and I, the company has never apologized to us for
building a boat, which they acknowledge, has had more warranty issues
than any other in their history, nor did they apologize for reneging
on the replacement contract, even though we were willing to give them
several chances to make this right. Each of our short seasons has
been compromised dealing with construction, design and quality
issues. This is not what we signed up for. Mr. Jackett's solution
to all this gives us a choice: pay for the continuing quality and
build deficiencies yourself or just sell the boat. That's a great
result for the company, no cost to honor the warranty on our boat, no
cost to honor our contract to build us a new one that doesn't keep
breaking. Walk away from the problems created by building what they
did. In short, OK John and Cindy, we want to transfer all of our
problems onto that you can transfer them to the next poor
folks down the line. Nice people.

We are off to our attorney and will most likely take the now
unavoidable step of suing the company and its representatives for,
among other things, all the broken promises.

It has cost us a great deal in time and money in the simple quest to
get what the company advertises and what we paid for. The company
has one final chance to make this right and avoid putting our
families back against the wall and force us to sue. Perhaps someone
from the company will read this and take the opportunity to ride in
on their white horse and make this end well, perhaps not. Even
after how the company and its people have treated us we hold no ill
will toward it or its people. We are willing to forgive them even
now. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone is entitled to a second

In response to Mr. Jackett's threats about protecting the company's
brands, we have this to offer:


To those of you out there considering one of the company's products
we offer:


Our specific advice is to get a pre purchase survey done by an
accredited marine surveyor equipped with one of the new machines that
can determine the quality of the hull and deck construction without
breaching it. Obtain the build book, materials list and lamination
schedule on your hull. Obtain a parts list of every component the
manufacturer will be adding to the vessel from other suppliers. Have
the surveyor, and you, match all of these documents against the
industry standards and specifications such as from the ABYC and the
ABS as well as the specifications published by the component
manufacturers, and go from there. This will be expensive but in our
view well worth the investment. Part of your process should be to
speak with owners of the vessel you are considering. Have your
attorney read through your purchase contract as well as the warranty
documents and make sure you fully understand what they both say. You
should also speak with independent repair facilities about their
experiences with the boats and manufacturer you are considering.
Although the dealers at the company owned stores may be well
intentioned, they have an inherent bias toward the manufacturer. It
is hard for that style of distribution to permit consumer advocacy,
when there is conflict, if they are beholding to the people that make
the boats. There are a great many of us out there that have and will
continue to speak honestly and frankly about our experiences. After
all, a company that claims to build the best production boats in the
world shouldn't have anything to hide.

And finally, to all reading this, we apologize about the length of
this post and thank you for your kind words and thoughtful
suggestions. We are not going away anytime soon and are working on
additional venues to tell our story.

Best regards,

John and Cindy Vito
camaraderie is offline  
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome