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  #1  
Old 09-24-2007
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New Tartan and C&C Shoppers Boat Show Show Checklist

Hello,

First of all, thank you all for your continued support. The words of encouragement and advice are very much appreciated by Cindy and me. I am beginning to post what I wish someone had before we made the mistake of buying our C&C 121. I hope t will serve as a useful checklist for buyers as the potential purchase of these boats.


HULL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION:

Tartan and C&C boats are all designed by Tim Jackett. I do not know Mr. Jacketts credentials in this area. A knowledgeable buyer should ask to see them in writing. A knowledgeable buyer should compare these credentials with those of other designers. Just because something looks good, doesn't mean it will sail well or is built well.

Tartan and C&C boats are all made using hull and deck molds. The Tartan 3700, 4100 and C&C 110 and 121 molds were originally designed and manufactured for use in making boats from more traditional polyester resin construction. The structures, when made with polyester, are much thicker than those from the new epoxy resin lamination.

Why is this important? If the manufacturer switches an existing polyester construction set of molds to be used with epoxy construction with resulting thinner walls, there will be a lot of air space between these components when they are dry fit. A knowlegeable buyer should ask if the boat they are considering was designed to be manufactured in epoxy in the first place, with thinner panels, and that the molds were designed for these tolerances so that when components are dry fit, there are no air gaps.

Much has been said about how much "stronger and lighter" the new epoxy hulls are than the polyester builds. I can tell you that our epoxy boat keeps cracking and bends so much that the rudder binds. If these are traits of increased strength, I'd rather have a weaker one.

As to weight savings, in comparing epoxy to polyester, we were told that our hull would be 25% lighter than the same hull in polyester. The design weight of our boat is 14,100 lbs. We chose the optional shoal draft keel which added 600 lbs to the standard keel weight of 5,500 lbs. So the design weight of our boat is 14,700 lbs. When you take the keels out of the design weights, useful as the keel weights are well known as each one is stamped with the actual weight from Mars Metal, for comparing the weight of the rest of the boat, you learn some interesting stuff.

Desin weight without keel- Standard boat- 8,600 lbs
Design weight without keel- Our boat- 8,600 lbs.

US Sailing requires boats that want to do offshore racing to have scientific weight measurement as one measure of determining speed potential. Several C & C 121's have been weighed using this system. Below find two of these certificate weights compared:

2001 POLYESTER CONSTRUCTION STANDARD BOAT 17,224 lbs
standard keel.............................................. .......-5,500 lbs
net weight without keel 11,724 lbs

2002 EPOXY CONSTRUCTION SHOAL KEEL BOAT 18,912 lbs
shoal keel.............................................. ........... -6,100 lbs
net weight without keel 12,812 lbs


What does this tell you?

First, the designers weight goals are not able to be met in the actual manufacturing process... in the case of the standard boat it is 3,124 lbs heavier than designed or 36.3% heavier than the design weight without keel.

In the case of our boat, it is 4,212 lbs heavier than designed or 48.9% heavier than the design weight without keel.

This is an enormous miss for a supposed quality builder with refined manufacturing techniques. Or is it? When I informed them in early 2004 of this and politely told them they should probably change their advertised weights, they didn't, and to this day have not. It is advantageous to advertise stronger and lighter to an uneducated buyer. More advantageous would be to actually deliver it.

Second, our epoxy boat actually weighs 1,088 lbs MORE than the polyester sistership. WHERE IS THE 25% WEIGHT SAVINGS?

You would think that with all this extra structural weight, it might not crack and keep cracking!

They sure are "cooking up" something at NOVIS MARINE and Tartan and C&C Yachts of Annapolis, but in our case, it sure isn't stronger and lighter.

My plan is to attempt to publish one checklist item each day based on our direct and personal experience.

Hope you all find this useful.

Best regards,

John M. Vito
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Old 09-24-2007
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Thanks for the info John. I find it very strange that the epoxy boat would be heavier than the polyester sistership, given all other things being equal.
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Old 09-24-2007
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It is hard to get an apples to apples weight comparison, and as you say you were suprised the epoxy one wasn't lighter as we were.

The US Sailing Certified Measurers are very good at what they do. The certificates from US Sailing are available on all vessels measured for a nominal fee. I know many old and new Tartan and C&C boats have been measured.

All boats are measured dry, no fuel or water in tanks, all personal gear off boat....it is a very structured, computerized process and the output is a certificate that states weight as one of many measurements.

In todays computer driven world, we find it unbelievable that how something is designed for and what it actually weighs are so radically different.

We would understand a miss of up to 5%......stuff happens......but 46%?
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Old 09-27-2007
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John...

I had been dreaming of a C&C 121 for a while, and always said it was my dream boat... but your experience has made me reconsider that. Infact, it has taken the newer C&C's and Tartans off the lists without an extremely thorough checking out.

As for the weight differences... surely a few of these have been trucked around the country, and those have to be weighed. Anyway to get ahold of that information as a verification of the US Sailing information?

I wonder if there's a way to befriend someone in the manufacturing plant... and maybe getting some inside scoop. It sounds like you have done an excellent job of getting the info you can, but an insider would be useful.

Cars have a lemon law... don't boats have the same, or similar? Seems to me yours is the exact case for the reason the lemon law was made.

Good luck, and I hope things begin to turn around.
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Old 09-27-2007
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This is an interesting post and your sleuthing has uncovered that perhaps we as boat purchasers take far too much at face value from boat builders.

There is NO excuse 50 years after the introduction and widespread adaption of fibreglass as a recreational boat construction material to have discrepancies of this magnitude, nor boats that work unnecessarily in a seaway due to a lack of understanding (or an unwillingness to design and build properly) of the materials involved.

I have a 35 year old C&C design that you can criticize for the use of balsa core in the deck, but at no point has made me uneasy about the quality or strength of the hull itself. That something with the C&C name on it would prove to be of dubious, falsely stated or otherwise compromised construction would likely be a huge embarrassment to George Cuthbertson, still kicking in his late 80s.
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Old 09-27-2007
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As a gentle reminder to new readers: The problems with Tartan/C&C is with their newer boats and not anything built prior to their use of epoxy for the hull laminates. Older Tartans and older C&C's are quality boats (especially the ones designed by S&S) and should be considered apart from these newer boats.
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Old 10-03-2007
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I had been considering the C&C 99 , no longer.
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Old 10-03-2007
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A couple minor things here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 121Guy View Post
Tartan and C&C boats are all designed by Tim Jackett. I do not know Mr. Jacketts credentials in this area. A knowledgeable buyer should ask to see them in writing. A knowledgeable buyer should compare these credentials with those of other designers.
A lot of sailboat design is science, but a lot is still art. I don't know of any designer who has produced only 'winners'. As for credentials, what specifically would you look for? An academic degree? Membership in a naval architecture society? Perhaps these things can speak to the designer's knowledge of the science involved, but I don't know what they can say about the skill on the art side.

As for design and construction quality, a CE certification on the boat means it has passed European standards. While I grant you these are a pretty low hurdle, they're about the only objective standards out there for pleasure craft. If a boat is certified, the designer must be technically competent.

Beyond this, what other measures can you apply to the designer's credentials?

Quote:
If the manufacturer switches an existing polyester construction set of molds to be used with epoxy construction with resulting thinner walls, there will be a lot of air space between these components when they are dry fit. A knowlegeable buyer should ask if the boat they are considering was designed to be manufactured in epoxy in the first place, with thinner panels, and that the molds were designed for these tolerances so that when components are dry fit, there are no air gaps.
I don't know what gaps you're talking about. I assume that since you're referring to the thinner hull skin, you mean gaps between the edges of the bulkheads (and other reinforcements such as stringers) and the hull skin.

If you're seeing gaps at these edges, it's actually a good thing. Bulkheads butted up against the hull create hard spots. The hull skin flexes as wave pressures change. If a bulkhead is hard against the skin, the skin can't flex there. It has to bend along this line. This puts extra stress on the skin and can lead to cracking.

Better practice is to leave a gap at the edge of the bulkheads and have the tabbing bridge this gap.

Technically, there is absolutely no difference between molds used for polyester and epoxy composites. Whether a mold was originally used with polyester or epoxy resins will tell you nothing about the boat that comes out of it.

What you point out about the weights of the different boats is very interesting. Tartan/C&C pay for most of the hull materials by the pound, and epoxy ain't cheap, so they should have a very good idea of what their boat weighs. They really should have some explanation for the discrepancy you've found.

If you want to pursue this, have you thought about asking the FTC and Ohio Attorney General to investigate possible deceptive advertising? Tartan/C&C emphasizes performance in their marketing. Performance is a function of weight, so if they are understating their weights they are misleading customers.

Good luck,

Tim
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Old 10-03-2007
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I have no specific comments about the Tartan/CC issue. However, Gramp34 said :

"If you're seeing gaps at these edges, it's actually a good thing. Bulkheads butted up against the hull create hard spots. The hull skin flexes as wave pressures change. If a bulkhead is hard against the skin, the skin can't flex there. It has to bend along this line. This puts extra stress on the skin and can lead to cracking.

"Better practice is to leave a gap at the edge of the bulkheads and have the tabbing bridge this gap. "

Gosh, that doesn't sound right to me. I have heard of placing high density foam between the outer edges of the bulkhead and the inner hull sides to reduce hard point loading, but I have never heard of intentionally leaving gaps between the bulkhead and hull in order to let the skin of the hull flex. My understanding of the purpose of the bulkheads is to make the hull more structurally rigid and prevent precisely that from happenning.
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Old 10-03-2007
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He is right but some of the detail is missing. The bulkheads donít float but are held in a way that avoids hard spots that still lets you make the connection. There are many ways to do it and itís up to the designer and builder to agree on how the boats should be built.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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