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Tartan 3700


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#1 curm

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:55 PM

A fiend of mine is buying his first boat, and I'm trying to help. He's a fairly experienced sailor who charters every year in the Carribean and the Med and crews for others. He sails with me 4-5 times a year.

We went to see an early 2000's Tartan 3700 that we both liked. Before going further, I asked a contractor who does some work on my boat and who is a professional delivery skipper to take a look at the boat.

He found some issues. 1. The chainplates were bolted directly to the cored hull. The bolts went through 1/4 inch of fiberglass and then into the foam. Tartan did not glass in or otherwise reinforce the area of the hull to which the chainplates were attached. 2. The deck was attached to the hull with bolts. There were nuts and washers on the bolts at the stern, but none on the sides. So most of the deck was being held to the hull with 3M 5200. 3. The mast step was supported underneath by...nothing. 4. The stem head and anchor roller were reinforced by... nothing. There were other minor issues (a small repairable wet spot on the deck), but those were the big ones. Our "consultant" said he would not be comfortable going offshore in this boat. The broker was not happy.

So, for those familiar with this marque, was this just a "Monday morning" screw up by individuals at the factory or will we find the same issues in other 3700's? My friend was also planning to look a a couple of 2000-2003 vintage 4100's. Will we likely encounter the same issues?

I'm familiar with the older Tartans and almost bought a Tartan 40 (the last boat S&S designed for Tartan) and even though the hull was cored, I would have no qualms about taking that boat offshore. I was suprised by what our consultant found.

#2 DrewR

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:38 PM

Search the archives and Google, Tartan has had QC issues with some year boats and have changed ownership to allegedly dodge long term issues with some of the hulls. There's a famous web site out there about a Tartan owner who had numerous problems with his boat from day 1 and all the troubles he had trying to get the issues fixed.. I think the hull was about to or even split apart where the 2 halves were joined, but I am drawing from my feeble brain so that may not have been the major issue. Shouldn't be too hard to find, even tho Tartan did there best to quell the on-line posting of the issues.


I'm looking at boats right now, and there are plenty of real nice boats out there, so if your buddy is nervous, walk. I'm lucky that way, I don't fall in love with the boat 'til the title is in my name...

#3 WHL

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:56 PM

The Tartan troubles that Drew refers to were also covered at length in the Sailing Anarchy main forum about 3 or 4 yeasr ago
Tartan bullying

Is Tartan Going Down

I don't know if the Tartan that your friend's interesting in falls into this time period but it may be worth reading these topics.

#4 curm

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:14 AM

Thanks for the feedback. The Tartan in question was a 2004. I'll advise my friend to pass on 5-10 year old Tartans. It's too bad, really.

#5 Cruisin Loser

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:37 AM

A fiend of mine is buying his first boat, and I'm trying to help. He's a fairly experienced sailor who charters every year in the Carribean and the Med and crews for others. He sails with me 4-5 times a year.

We went to see an early 2000's Tartan 3700 that we both liked. Before going further, I asked a contractor who does some work on my boat and who is a professional delivery skipper to take a look at the boat.

2. The deck was attached to the hull with bolts. There were nuts and washers on the bolts at the stern, but none on the sides. So most of the deck was being held to the hull with 3M 5200.


I know where you're coming from, as I have many fiends for friends, I count WHL among them.

The hull to deck joint that Tartan uses is a little unusual. Instead of through bolting, they glass an aluminum bar under the inward hull flange. They bed the joint in 5200, then drill and tap this bar from above and send stainless bolts thru the deck into the bar.This is why you don't see any nuts and washers under the deck along the flange. I've always felt a little sketchy about this method, as I'm a little queasy about stainless bolts into aluminum and it's impossible to inspect, but Tartan seems happy as they've used it for a long time. Unless the alum bar has succumbed to corrosion, the deck is held on by more than 5200, I guess.

#6 curm

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:59 AM

Then why did they put nuts and washers in the stern? It would have taken a few dozen 45-cent nuts and washers and maybe an hour of labor to do the job right.
And that doesn't excuse the other issues. Our expert concluded that if you over-tensioned the rig or if you encountered 50-60 knot winds either the stemhead or the mast head could fail. How much would a little extra fiberglass have cost?

#7 Cruisin Loser

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:36 AM

Curm, I ain't defendin' it, just 'splainin what they do. The nuts and washers in the stern might be for the stern pulpit (pushpit, if you don't mind offending the Gods of Jargon).

#8 Joli

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:10 PM

Tartan molds in aluminum wherever a bit of gear is to be bolted down. Works fine on the great lakes, not sure how good it is for salt water applications. Maybe salt water owners would opt to through drill it and consider the molded aluminum to be nothing more then a backing plate? I've never heard of Tartan having issues with the hull/deck flange coming apart, I would not worry about that.


A fiend of mine is buying his first boat, and I'm trying to help. He's a fairly experienced sailor who charters every year in the Carribean and the Med and crews for others. He sails with me 4-5 times a year.

We went to see an early 2000's Tartan 3700 that we both liked. Before going further, I asked a contractor who does some work on my boat and who is a professional delivery skipper to take a look at the boat.

2. The deck was attached to the hull with bolts. There were nuts and washers on the bolts at the stern, but none on the sides. So most of the deck was being held to the hull with 3M 5200.


I know where you're coming from, as I have many fiends for friends, I count WHL among them.

The hull to deck joint that Tartan uses is a little unusual. Instead of through bolting, they glass an aluminum bar under the inward hull flange. They bed the joint in 5200, then drill and tap this bar from above and send stainless bolts thru the deck into the bar.This is why you don't see any nuts and washers under the deck along the flange. I've always felt a little sketchy about this method, as I'm a little queasy about stainless bolts into aluminum and it's impossible to inspect, but Tartan seems happy as they've used it for a long time. Unless the alum bar has succumbed to corrosion, the deck is held on by more than 5200, I guess.



#9 Gatekeeper

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:51 AM

If it's 5200 I think the glass would fail before the adhesive....no?

#10 sunol

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:26 AM

I have a 2001 4100. Love the boat. Had it for 4 years on the SF Bay. Only manufacturing issue I've had is with the mast collar. It was aluminum on stainless and corroded. Not a good design choice. It had to be replaced when I put in new standing rigging this year.
Boat has been to Hawaii, Baja before I had her. She has taken care of me in the Bay and offshore. I'm sure there are 'bad Tartans' out there, but I would buy the mark again.

#11 Ishmael

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:03 AM

jhiller likes his new Tartan 4700, interesting thread if you missed it.

http://forums.sailin...howtopic=138258

#12 curm

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:11 PM

Well, that was my initial question: were the problems unique to this partuicular Tartan or not? Maybe some were, and others were not. In any event, my friend is now looking at a couple of Saga 43's and a Sabre.

#13 monsoon

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

A fiend of mine is buying his first boat, and I'm trying to help. He's a fairly experienced sailor who charters every year in the Carribean and the Med and crews for others. He sails with me 4-5 times a year.

We went to see an early 2000's Tartan 3700 that we both liked. Before going further, I asked a contractor who does some work on my boat and who is a professional delivery skipper to take a look at the boat.

He found some issues. 1. The chainplates were bolted directly to the cored hull. The bolts went through 1/4 inch of fiberglass and then into the foam. Tartan did not glass in or otherwise reinforce the area of the hull to which the chainplates were attached. 2. The deck was attached to the hull with bolts. There were nuts and washers on the bolts at the stern, but none on the sides. So most of the deck was being held to the hull with 3M 5200. 3. The mast step was supported underneath by...nothing. 4. The stem head and anchor roller were reinforced by... nothing. There were other minor issues (a small repairable wet spot on the deck), but those were the big ones. Our "consultant" said he would not be comfortable going offshore in this boat. The broker was not happy.

So, for those familiar with this marque, was this just a "Monday morning" screw up by individuals at the factory or will we find the same issues in other 3700's? My friend was also planning to look a a couple of 2000-2003 vintage 4100's. Will we likely encounter the same issues?

I'm familiar with the older Tartans and almost bought a Tartan 40 (the last boat S&S designed for Tartan) and even though the hull was cored, I would have no qualms about taking that boat offshore. I was suprised by what our consultant found.


This might be the stupidest post I've ever read. Your 'consultant' is f'n retarded. Think about it for just one little second. If Tartans were built the way your FRC (f'n retarded consultant) says, how long do you think that boat would stay together? About 10 minutes I'd say. What exactly does "mast step supported underneath by nothing" mean? Was it floating in the air? Or maybe your FRC has x-ray vision and can see underneath the mast base? And, as already explained, his assessment of the deck/hull join is wildly inaccurate. Tartan has used the same method (SS screws into an aluminum plate) for at least 30 years. One can quibble that SS/Al are dissimilar metals, but has anyone ever, ever heard of a Tartan yacht failing at the deck/hull join? I didn't think so. I've looked quite thoroughly at several Tartans as the possible next boat and whatever failings they may have, it isn't b/c they'er poorly engineered or built.

#14 usa7606

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:28 PM

From my experience sailing on a Saga 43 on a delivery, it is fast but is initially tender and works a lot in seaway(noisy), to the extent that you can't close doors, etc. A whale hit the boat on the aft quarter when we were sailing about 8 knots(turned the boat 90 degrees) and apparently didn't do any damage though.

#15 kdh

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:12 PM

Monsoon, we don't call others' posts stupid. Be nice.

#16 curm

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:51 PM


A fiend of mine is buying his first boat, and I'm trying to help. He's a fairly experienced sailor who charters every year in the Carribean and the Med and crews for others. He sails with me 4-5 times a year.

We went to see an early 2000's Tartan 3700 that we both liked. Before going further, I asked a contractor who does some work on my boat and who is a professional delivery skipper to take a look at the boat.

He found some issues. 1. The chainplates were bolted directly to the cored hull. The bolts went through 1/4 inch of fiberglass and then into the foam. Tartan did not glass in or otherwise reinforce the area of the hull to which the chainplates were attached. 2. The deck was attached to the hull with bolts. There were nuts and washers on the bolts at the stern, but none on the sides. So most of the deck was being held to the hull with 3M 5200. 3. The mast step was supported underneath by...nothing. 4. The stem head and anchor roller were reinforced by... nothing. There were other minor issues (a small repairable wet spot on the deck), but those were the big ones. Our "consultant" said he would not be comfortable going offshore in this boat. The broker was not happy.

So, for those familiar with this marque, was this just a "Monday morning" screw up by individuals at the factory or will we find the same issues in other 3700's? My friend was also planning to look a a couple of 2000-2003 vintage 4100's. Will we likely encounter the same issues?

I'm familiar with the older Tartans and almost bought a Tartan 40 (the last boat S&S designed for Tartan) and even though the hull was cored, I would have no qualms about taking that boat offshore. I was suprised by what our consultant found.


This might be the stupidest post I've ever read. Your 'consultant' is f'n retarded. Think about it for just one little second. If Tartans were built the way your FRC (f'n retarded consultant) says, how long do you think that boat would stay together? About 10 minutes I'd say. What exactly does "mast step supported underneath by nothing" mean? Was it floating in the air? Or maybe your FRC has x-ray vision and can see underneath the mast base? And, as already explained, his assessment of the deck/hull join is wildly inaccurate. Tartan has used the same method (SS screws into an aluminum plate) for at least 30 years. One can quibble that SS/Al are dissimilar metals, but has anyone ever, ever heard of a Tartan yacht failing at the deck/hull join? I didn't think so. I've looked quite thoroughly at several Tartans as the possible next boat and whatever failings they may have, it isn't b/c they'er poorly engineered or built.


Go back and read the threads posted by WHL.

As for my "consultant," he has an engineering degree from a school whose name you would recognize, has worked for 15 years for a yacht manager whose name you would recognize, is a licensed CG captain and has over 75,000 offshore miles under his belt. What are your credentials?

#17 curm

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

From my experience sailing on a Saga 43 on a delivery, it is fast but is initially tender and works a lot in seaway(noisy), to the extent that you can't close doors, etc. A whale hit the boat on the aft quarter when we were sailing about 8 knots(turned the boat 90 degrees) and apparently didn't do any damage though.


The Saga 43 we looked at yesterday was built like a brick shithouse. Interestingly, the Saga 35 weighs 12,800 lbs and has 4,200 lbs of ballast. That's a ballast to weight ration of 32.8% But the 43 weighs 19,842 lbs with 7,800 lbs of ballast. That's a ballast to weight ratio of over 39%, plus the weight is carried lower in a bulb.

#18 usa7606

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:01 PM


From my experience sailing on a Saga 43 on a delivery, it is fast but is initially tender and works a lot in seaway(noisy), to the extent that you can't close doors, etc. A whale hit the boat on the aft quarter when we were sailing about 8 knots(turned the boat 90 degrees) and apparently didn't do any damage though.


The Saga 43 we looked at yesterday was built like a brick shithouse. Interestingly, the Saga 35 weighs 12,800 lbs and has 4,200 lbs of ballast. That's a ballast to weight ration of 32.8% But the 43 weighs 19,842 lbs with 7,800 lbs of ballast. That's a ballast to weight ratio of over 39%, plus the weight is carried lower in a bulb.


Ballast ratio doesn't necessarily mean much when comparing boats and can be misleading. If you are looking at comparing stability see if you can get some STIX numbers for boats you are looking at. Also I said initially tender, meaning not much form stability.

Sure, the saga might seem fine at the dock but I'm telling you when we were closehauled in 25-30 in the ocean it did not seem like a well built boat. A lot of flex and noises. How can you tell how it will perform at the dock with no loads on it? Around the same time I was on a Passport 44 in the same kind of conditions and I can tell you the passport seemed much better built, though I'm pretty sure much more expensive. Other people seem to have the same thoughts about the boat too, link below.

http://forum.ssca.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3861&start=15

#19 curm

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:46 PM

Well the Outbound 44 weighs 6 tons more than the Saga. Of course it's going to bounce around less.

But my friend wants a faster, lighter boat: a racer cruiser, not just a cruiser. He's used to chartering Beneteaus, Jeanneaus and the like. He also has around $200K to spend, and not much more. As for taking a pounding closehauled in 30 knots of breeze, he'll just have to reef and bear off a little. If he thinks it's too tender, he'll have to add a shoe. The boat isn't that narrow: it has a 12 ft beam, same as my Bristol 38.8. It just doesn't have a fat arse.

Every boat is a compromise.

#20 monsoon

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:55 PM

Monsoon, we don't call others' posts stupid. Be nice.


I, intentionally, called the post, not the poster stupid. I'll stand by that. To say that a Tartan's hull/deck is held together by 5200 is to be so willfully ignorant of the facts that it would seem to classify as 'stupid'.

Nevertheless, your advice is well taken.

#21 monsoon

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:58 PM



A fiend of mine is buying his first boat, and I'm trying to help. He's a fairly experienced sailor who charters every year in the Carribean and the Med and crews for others. He sails with me 4-5 times a year.

We went to see an early 2000's Tartan 3700 that we both liked. Before going further, I asked a contractor who does some work on my boat and who is a professional delivery skipper to take a look at the boat.

He found some issues. 1. The chainplates were bolted directly to the cored hull. The bolts went through 1/4 inch of fiberglass and then into the foam. Tartan did not glass in or otherwise reinforce the area of the hull to which the chainplates were attached. 2. The deck was attached to the hull with bolts. There were nuts and washers on the bolts at the stern, but none on the sides. So most of the deck was being held to the hull with 3M 5200. 3. The mast step was supported underneath by...nothing. 4. The stem head and anchor roller were reinforced by... nothing. There were other minor issues (a small repairable wet spot on the deck), but those were the big ones. Our "consultant" said he would not be comfortable going offshore in this boat. The broker was not happy.

So, for those familiar with this marque, was this just a "Monday morning" screw up by individuals at the factory or will we find the same issues in other 3700's? My friend was also planning to look a a couple of 2000-2003 vintage 4100's. Will we likely encounter the same issues?

I'm familiar with the older Tartans and almost bought a Tartan 40 (the last boat S&S designed for Tartan) and even though the hull was cored, I would have no qualms about taking that boat offshore. I was suprised by what our consultant found.


This might be the stupidest post I've ever read. Your 'consultant' is f'n retarded. Think about it for just one little second. If Tartans were built the way your FRC (f'n retarded consultant) says, how long do you think that boat would stay together? About 10 minutes I'd say. What exactly does "mast step supported underneath by nothing" mean? Was it floating in the air? Or maybe your FRC has x-ray vision and can see underneath the mast base? And, as already explained, his assessment of the deck/hull join is wildly inaccurate. Tartan has used the same method (SS screws into an aluminum plate) for at least 30 years. One can quibble that SS/Al are dissimilar metals, but has anyone ever, ever heard of a Tartan yacht failing at the deck/hull join? I didn't think so. I've looked quite thoroughly at several Tartans as the possible next boat and whatever failings they may have, it isn't b/c they'er poorly engineered or built.


Go back and read the threads posted by WHL.

As for my "consultant," he has an engineering degree from a school whose name you would recognize, has worked for 15 years for a yacht manager whose name you would recognize, is a licensed CG captain and has over 75,000 offshore miles under his belt. What are your credentials?


Credentials, as your consultant has so perfectly illustrated for us, only get you so far.

#22 curm

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:04 AM

Credentials, as your consultant has so perfectly illustrated for us, only get you so far.


And calling someone f*n retarded will only get you so far.
I'll send you a link to the yachtworld listing for the boat in question if you are interested.

#23 monsoon

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:26 PM


Credentials, as your consultant has so perfectly illustrated for us, only get you so far.


And calling someone f*n retarded will only get you so far.
I'll send you a link to the yachtworld listing for the boat in question if you are interested.


True. And, thanks, but the 3700 is not quite at my price point. BTW I think the Sabre 38 MkII is more boat for less money.

#24 kdh

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

A whale hit the boat on the aft quarter when we were sailing about 8 knots(turned the boat 90 degrees) and apparently didn't do any damage.


Cool. An experience I'd like to have.

#25 Ishmael

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:26 PM


A whale hit the boat on the aft quarter when we were sailing about 8 knots(turned the boat 90 degrees) and apparently didn't do any damage.


Cool. An experience I'd like to have on someone else's boat.


Fixed that for you.

Whale strikes are *interesting*. A pod of orcas dove under my Shark 24, you could hear their dorsal fins hit the keel and bottom. That was more than a little freaky, considering most of the whales were much bigger than my boat.

#26 jhiller

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

Well, that was my initial question: were the problems unique to this partuicular Tartan or not? Maybe some were, and others were not. In any event, my friend is now looking at a couple of Saga 43's and a Sabre.


The guy who designed that boat is Tim Jackett. You won't find a better or more honest man anywhere. He's not with Tartan any more and is designing independantly . He knows more about the boats than anyone. I used him as a project manager on my new Tartan . It's true that they went through some bad times and there were problems. Same held true for many other builders. I'd contact Tim to discuss the stuff and see how you feel afterward. Tartans method of joining the hull and deck has worked for 50 years. I wouldn't worry about it at all. If it's true that chainplates aren't backed and merely use cored laminate for strength. I'd worry a lot. My 4700 has steel running from the keel and bolted through very large chainplates.




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