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Sabre 386 or Tartan 3700???
In January 2004, I spent two days at the Tartan/C&C plant observing/studying their production methods. With a background in manufacturing and being certified in
Production Management by APICS (and having visited other quality yacht manufacturers like Island Packet and Caliber), I was greatly impressed with the design, equipment selection, attention to detail, and workmanship of the Tartans, from the wetting-out of the fiberglass and vacuum-bagging of the hull to the care with which plumbing, electrical, and woodworking was done, to the final cleanup. The biggest problem I saw was that batteries for one boat weren''t delivered on time and the workers had to skip-over their installation until they arrived (and there was one boat where a small section of teak belowdecks needed touching-up). I saw several instances where last-minute changes by buyers were accommodated, even to the effect of causing production schedule changes, and had a chance to talk to many workers who clearly take pride in their work and took great pains to show me and explain how they performed their jobs. Several of the workers have over 25 years'' experience in cabinetmaking, and it shows.
This isn''t meant as a personal attack but before I''d accept what Bluesmood and Sludgemaster had to say, I''d like to see some specifics from them, rather than blanket statements. Of course, Sludgemaster is entitled to his/her opinion, but the "pathetic" statement borders on hysterics and certainly isn''t objective or substantiated, from what what I saw. What constitutes "pathetic" -- the use of epoxy resin with a 15-year warrantee, vacuum-bagged hulls, the use of carbon fiber masts, lack of chopped mat fiberglass that adds weight with little strength (Sabre 386 uses it to prevent print-through, since they don''t use epoxy resin)? I didn''t see any evidence of construction that I personally wouldn''t be satisfied with, so I''d like to know how Bluesmoods can substantiate that Sabre is better-built. The same goes for the claim that Tartans aren''t holding their resale value. Give examples with facts about the boats (equipment, condition, etc.)
And what about the claimed lawsuits? How many are there, and what are they about? How are they being addressed (another aspect of a quality manufacturer is after-the-sale service)? Is such strong negativism based on personal experience or hearsay? I''d really like to know. Merely flinging accusations about isn''t informative or constructive.
I''ve had my 1997 Catalina 34 Mk II for eight years, and hope to buy a Tartan 3700 or 4100 in the not-too-distant future. I have a friend who owned a Sabre 34 that I admired for its quality and sailing characteristics. Yet, having seen the Tartan operation for myself (and having another friend who loves his 2000 Tartan 3500), I have no doubts about their quality or intrinsic value, and wouldn''t hesitate to take one anywhere.
I saw the 386 at last year''s Chicago Boat Show; it was very impressive, but didn''t match the Tartan (and certainly didn''t excite me the way that the 3700 did). For some reason, I could envision myself sailing the Tartan with a pride of ownership that was somehow lacking with the 386.
My local dealer told me that I''d have to wait several months for a new 3700 or 4100; there must be a reason.
If you''d like to chat, call me at 925-683-3997.
P.S. Fairport Yachts IS Tartan Yachts; they changed their name when they acquired C&C.