owner visited the factory three times while
repairs were underway. After the boat was
returned to him in late 2008, he said he
found a leak where he believed a screw had
pierced the hull during the repair process.
The boat was hauled out, at which point a
two-foot crack was found on the port side
and, again, the moisture level of the hull
core was high, according to the owner.
The boat owner said C&C acknowledged that the repairs were unsuccessful,
was at first willing to make further repairs,
but then disagreed with the findings of the
surveyor hired by the owner, who concluded, “The failure of the repair conducted at
C&C Yachts is essentially catastrophic for
this cored hull.” Attempting to repair the
boat again, the surveyor said, “will probably cause the vessel owner to lose use of his
vessel for another year or so wherein he has
already lost it for a full year.” The surveyor
recommended that C&C give the boat
owner a new boat. C&C disagreed, pointing out that it had already attempted to
repair the boat once at its expense despite
the fact that it was out of warranty.
When negotiations between boat
owner and builder broke down, the mat-
ter was reviewed by the “BetterBOAT”
dispute-resolution panel, which consists of
marine-industry peers. The panel reviewing
this case included a representative of the
National Marine Manufacturers Association,
a Florida boat dealer, and a marine surveyor
in Illinois. But members of the panel said
that after waiting for two months in 2010,
C&C as represented by Bill Ross did
not provide promised documentation and
therefore the panel was unable to help
both sides reach a resolution. However,
the panel did conclude that “the builder
is still responsible for properly completing
the initial repairs to the boat, i.e, repair-
ing the core material of the hull. We also
concluded that the builder is responsible
for repairing the cracks in the hull that
resulted after stepping of the mast after the
initial repairs had been attempted.”
In response to the BetterBOAT panel’s
statement, in October 2010, Jackett wrote
to BoatU.S.: “We would be interested in
taking up a new dialog with [the boat
owner].” Subsequently, the owner went
to Ohio to discuss, according to Jackett,
“some ideas for a satisfactory solution.”
Just before press time, the boat owner told
BoatU.S. that he’d had several phone calls
and a long meeting with Steve Malbasa,
and that he and the new owners may be
on their way to an “amicable agreement.”
Every builder is bound to have manufacturing and quality-control complaints
from time to time, and some, such as the
allegations described, can be serious. Given
the large number of boats built by Tartan
and C&C, there also appear to be many
satisfied owners with well-built boats produced by this builder.
Both Steve Malbasa and Tim Jackett
say they plan to continue to ramp up
their customer-service and quality-control
procedures now that they own the boatbuilding company, but stress that previous
claims and judgments against the predecessor companies are “strictly between” those
companies and the boat owners.
Going for ward, however, Malbasa, who
bought a Tartan 4300 shortly before buying
the company with Jackett, assured that any
complaints will be handled properly. In
fact, he said, he hoped such problems may
never arise again.
“What we want to do is build a quality
boat and have a high level of quality control,” Malbasa said. “There will always be
issues. But, if there’s a legitimate warranty
claim, we’re going to honor it. It’s our goal
to operate our business with a ‘customer
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