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Old 02-24-2015, 11:59 PM   #41
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Seems to me if there wasn't a blanket statement that manufacturer reserves the right to substitute as needed I would trot my rear end right down to Perkins-Coie in downtown Seattle and file a consumer fraud action (among other causes of action) and ask for treble damages and a jury trial. Then I would send copies of the complaint to every boat industry rag in the free world and post it on the internet with a well published hyperlink. That would get the manufacturer's attention pretty d@mn quick.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:09 AM   #42
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While it might be a hassle and might cost some money, I'm sure that a buyer could have a lawyer write up a clause that spelled out clearly and exactly which engine the buyer wanted and stated that if the boat did not have this engine the buyer was not obligated to take the boat and whatever amount of his/her money had already been paid to the manufacturer would be immediatley refunded.

If the manufacturer really wanted the sale and was willing to stand behind their promise, they should be willing to include that clause in the contract. If not, the buyer is under no obligation to go forward with the purchase.

And if the manufacturer balked, that would tell me quite a bit about that manufacturer and that maybe I should be buying my boat from somebody else.
And if they don't return it, you're in trouble. Just keep in mind there are two boats the last I knew on Northern Marine's lot that have mostly been paid for, there are several on Christensen's lot that have been paid for. Now one of those with a boat on Northern's lot refused to give in to their added charges even though an employee did provide testimony that she was ordered by the owner to falsify invoices on a regular basis. Still the buyer is out their money and the boat still sits. And the only thing that has changed is lots of legal fees and bankruptcy.

I do believe in good contracts and rest assured my lawyer reviewed mine before I signed, but ultimately the financial condition and the integrity of a company are the key. Check their finances and credit. Ask people in the industry in the same area. And talk to the key people and if you get lied to one time then say no. And if I was going to visit Nordic tomorrow, I'd ask them directly about the stories I've read. I'd say that I'd heard someone ordered Cummins and got Volvo and I'd just what I felt was the honesty of their answer. If they denied all knowledge of that ever happening, then I'd run. If they explained and talked about the mistake and reaching agreement with the customer, then I'd possibly consider.

But when you've got boat builders operating on shoestring budgets, living hand to mouth. having limitations on available credit, losing suppliers and all that while basically requiring the customer to fully finance the build, then it's scary. And if it goes very wrong, all the contracts in the world won't make it right.

Also make sure you have a lien on all equipment and the boat from day one. This can prevent it becoming part of a greater bankruptcy proceeding. Of course that doesn't protect you against engine manufacturers or banks also having liens.

Oh and a builder who would switch on you will include the phrase that says they can't in the contract.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:59 AM   #43
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Agree with everything you said BAndB. Northern Marine - now there is a soap opera of how not to run a boat building operation. As I remember, they managed to drop one of their mega-boats on launch - that had to hurt them a bit.

And by the way, Nordic is pretty circumspect when asked questions directly. My experience is that getting a straight answer out of them is highly unlikely. And, if one mentions attorneys reviewing contracts, they get really twitchy. I was advised by the dealer I was working with to not even mention an attorney because they are very gun shy regarding any potential litigation. I was lied to by "key people" at the Nordic factory and the local dealer so that killed the deal on me building a new Nordic.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:07 AM   #44
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Agree with everything you said BAndB. Northern Marine - now there is a soap opera of how not to run a boat building operation. As I remember, they managed to drop one of their mega-boats on launch - that had to hurt them a bit.
Actually dropping the boat didn't impact them. Just a convenient excuse. It's my belief that they had more remaining work than remaining money to collect on it. The thing about them though is that before that boat was ever ordered all the information needed was available. Actually this is the third time doing this for Northern, all under different but similar management. And actually it was New World as they were only renting the name and equipment from Northern. New World didn't own the land, the building, the equipment. Nothing. And Christensen's troubles weren't some new shock. OA was to be their bailout, in their mind, but really only buying time. If you want to read a great inside story of how builders in financial trouble sometimes do things, then read Grand Ambition. It's about Trinity when the economy collapsed, but the stories are much the same with many others.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:28 AM   #45
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If the contract is written properly it will stand up in court and a judgement will be made against the manufacturer. Whether the manufacturer has the ability to pay, is still in business, there aren't a bunch of other people in line before you, and so forth is another matter.

But anyone who walks into a purchase this large and who doesn't have every "T" crossed and every "I" dotted is asking for trouble.

But to me, the really valuable information is how the manufacturer responds to the buyer's requirement for the contract to ensure that what is being agreed on is what will be delivered.

While I realize there is a sucker born every minute, a truly smart buyer will do his or her research. If in additon to balking at contract terms a company has a reputation like the one Northern Marine apparently has, turn around and leave. Nobody's holding a gun to a buyer's head saying you have to buy Brand ABC.

If I decided to buy a new boat from Nordic Tug I would turn the whole matter of the sales contract over to my attorney and insist on language in the contract that spelled out exactly what I expected to get and exactly what the penalty would be if the manufacturer didn't deliver. I've done this on a project and the result was a contract that protected us (and the manufacturer), and the end result was a very harmonious manufacturing and delivery experience. But.... it was an extremely reputable manufacturer and we were very careful to thoroughly define every requirement from design through delivery.

A buyer who changes their mind, or claims things were promised but weren't delivered, or conveniently "forgets" that they asked for such and such a change and sues because the cost of the boat or whatever is higher as a result, is as far as I'm concerned. as dishonest as a manufacturer who does a bait-and-switch routine on a buyer. A deal of any kind is a two-way street.

In the Nordic Tug engine incident I described earlier I have no idea what the purchase contract looked like and I have no idea what the factory's position was on why a different engine was used in this particular boat. But at face value, it sounds to me like a major misunderstanding. Either the buyer didn't make things clear or the manufacturer didn't or something. There was a disconnect of some sort.

But it's the kind of thing that can't happen if the buyer is on his or her toes.

If we put Rolls Royce engines on a 787 when the customer specified GE engines (the engine types are interchangeable on a 787) there would be absolute hell to pay and we'd pay it. Because the contract(s) that spell out what we're going to build each customer are iron-clad.

Yes, there's a huge difference in scale between the contracts involved in the purchase of a 787 and the contract to buy a recreational cruising boat. But the principles and responsibilities of the buyer and seller are the same. If either party shirks or ignores them, they deserve what they get in my opinion.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:53 AM   #46
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I've also had very detailed and thorough contracts with very reputable builders. At the same time I wasn't paying at the same rate of building, but a protective difference, paying a lesser percentage than the finished percentage.

But against a less stable or trustworthy contractor, then all the contracts in the world won't avoid issues and often times won't even allow you to recover.

Over and over I see very wise businessmen lose all sense when it comes to buying a boat however.

One other thing. If the builder finishes and suddenly you're surprised at the engines, they you weren't managing the process. Either you or a representative of you should be regularly visiting the builder's facility. This is also how you'll find out about problems and financial issues.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:09 AM   #47
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One other thing. If the builder finishes and suddenly you're surprised at the engines, they you weren't managing the process. Either you or a representative of you should be regularly visiting the builder's facility. This is also how you'll find out about problems and financial issues.
Very, very sound advice. Our (Boeing) customers have full-time representatives, usually a bunch of them, on-site in the assembly plants to make sure everything from initial body join to paint goes the way they want it to go.

The boat buying process should be no different, particularly if the boat is being built where you live, which was the case in the Nordic Tug incident I described earlier.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:43 AM   #48
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Very, very sound advice. Our (Boeing) customers have full-time representatives, usually a bunch of them, on-site in the assembly plants to make sure everything from initial body join to paint goes the way they want it to go.

The boat buying process should be no different, particularly if the boat is being built where you live, which was the case in the Nordic Tug incident I described earlier.
We live across the country, sent representatives from here twice and had a local surveyor, but one the builder had never been a client of, go to the plant once a week. Yes, there was cost, but the boat was delivered ontime and in perfect condition and was Classed with no problems. The builder welcomed the presence.
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:11 AM   #49
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... From what I understand they are running a plant in partnership with Aspen who is producing single engine catamarans.

Tom
Now that sounds like a game changer

Sad to hear about NT, as they were on the cover (I think) of the first Passagemaker I ever saw, while waiting for my plane at Las Vegas, back in 2008.

And i never looked back.

Probably had they had a single engine catamaran on the cover, I'd still be in NY, wondering what to do with my life, bored and miserable.
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Old 02-25-2015, 10:35 AM   #50
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I don't think it is a partnership. My understanding is that Aspen uses Nordic to build the fiberglass hull then finishes it out their own Aspen employees. Nordic is more of a subcontractor than a partner.

Aspen builds a pretty nice boat just a bit pricey for what you get in my opinion.
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:45 AM   #51
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As regards the Volvo engine selection, their comments to me last fall were that they have standardized on Volvo. Anything other than Volvo would be non-standard, actively discouraged and result in a significant upcharge. Factory made it very apparent that non-Volvo would be met with heavy resistance by the CEO.
In a Europe Volvo offer free 'bridging finance' to boat manufacturers.

'Well send you the engines you need; pay us when you sell the boat.'

Sounds like a very attractive deal!
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:20 PM   #52
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I'm still very curious. Lots of allegations have been lobbed at NT since the thread was started, but no real substance. This includes that quality has gone downhill, that they can't get credit, that the factory lies, that they build boats for the shows to a different standard (odd since many show boats are already sold before they get shown), and these are just the big ones. If someone wants to make alleagations, it would be nice if they follow them up with facts (as Marin did), rather than saying this isn't the place to discuss it. I'm not here to defend the company, just my humble opinion and desire for facts as we could be in the market for a new boat in a few years and have been very pleased with our current NT, which certainly puts them in the running for the next boat (along with lots of other fine companies) . . .
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:46 PM   #53
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I'm still very curious. Lots of allegations have been lobbed at NT since the thread was started, but no real substance. This includes that quality has gone downhill, that they can't get credit, that the factory lies, that they build boats for the shows to a different standard (odd since many show boats are already sold before they get shown), and these are just the big ones. If someone wants to make alleagations, it would be nice if they follow them up with facts (as Marin did), rather than saying this isn't the place to discuss it. I'm not here to defend the company, just my humble opinion and desire for facts as we could be in the market for a new boat in a few years and have been very pleased with our current NT, which certainly puts them in the running for the next boat (along with lots of other fine companies) . . .

A couple comments on this. I offered to give you the entire story backchannel but, given today's litigious business environment, I am loath to publically state anything except general statements and opinion. Everything I have stated is backed by my personal experience trying to do a new build with Nordic. Your mileage may vary from mine with them.

Also, if you are looking in a few years, the landscape will likely change again so today's information may or may not apply. Personally, I don't think the shakeout in the boating industry is done yet and I believe another economic correction will happen in the next few years further changing the landscape.

What it really comes down to is the specific boat you build and how you build it. If you have enough oversight as the boat is build, the appropriate financial and contractual protections, Nordic will probably work out fine for a new build.

Frankly, I like the older Nordics quality wise and think one is money ahead to take an older hull, and redo the systems that matter based on a specific owner's needs. The depreciation curve is so steep on new builds it is hard to make it pencil.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:10 PM   #54
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The problem with Nordic builds is that their payment schedule ensures that the boat is 100% paid for be the time it hits the water. In other words, the customary payment schedule at Nordic is progress payments equaling 100% of boat price paid by sea trial time. That puts all the risk on the buyer especially if, for some reason, the factory is shut down or changes hands or a fire or ...
Scout, you are awfully harsh.
A showboat is different than other factory boats? The last NT I saw at a boat show was one that had been purchased by a charter company. I didnt seem to find any difference in fit and finish. If anything, I saw improvement of build quality over older Nordic Tugs.

As far as a company getting a line of credit is concerned, what good company wants to rely on a line of credit? More importantly , what customer would want their builder to be using a line of credit? Finance costs will always be passed on to the customer.

Regarding the comments about payments, it is only good business to have everything paid for by the time a boat is finished. If a buyer somehow comes up short of cash on their build, it endangers the health of the company and all the other orders in production.

Sure if you want to go and get an AT go ahead, but you are not going to get far here bashing NT. The last I heard from the local dealer is the factory is operating at full capacity right now and the orders are backed up. Sur3e AT has been pretty busy for the last few years while NT seemed like it was on the brink. But today its a different story. A question you may ask yourself is why is AT now losing so many sales to NT after such a good run?

As far as motors go, I , too, would insist on a cummins, deer or kubota. I did notice the last NT49 that rolled off the production line in September had a Cummins engine in it.

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Old 02-25-2015, 01:22 PM   #55
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I have done considerable work in and around contract law, for projects big and small. Suffice to say Marin and BB have touched ably on the issues.

On a new boat build, the starting point is a spec sheet covering many pages of what the vessel will consist of including small things such as deck hardware to middle size things such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical and big things like engines and FRP resins. A contract is entered into including not only the spec sheet but referencing other deliverables such as drawings, execution plan, inspections, payment terms and schedule.

The innuendo and vague statements that Nordic Tug on a new build has done something wrong to my Cousin Vinny is alluring but hardly indicative of anything substantive. NT as have many other builders of late including top drawer builders I'll leave unnamed, have seen very difficult times. That's boating life 101.

I will take you up on it NTScout, PM me the details and issues you keep mentioning. I'd love to hear about them and judge for myself it they are worthy of a 3 page thread.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:26 PM   #56
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As far as a company getting a line of credit is concerned, what good company wants to rely on a line of credit? More importantly , what customer would want their builder to be using a line of credit? Finance costs will always be passed on to the customer.

I think this is pretty much the standard. When I worked for Fountain Powerboats, No hull was started, based on a good faith order, until the Floor plan lender confirmed the availability of funds. I'm a small business man and I don't start a project until i have been paid. If I didn't follow that discipline, I'd have a garage full of products ordered by those with stars in their eyes who never came through with the cash..
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:01 PM   #57
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I'm not quite understanding why it is OK to make a bunch of general allegations on the open site, but then only use PM to give supporting facts. To be clear, I'm not questioning anyone's personal experience, but I do feel that if one is to make open allegations they should follow them up with the facts, in the open. Just my opninion.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:09 PM   #58
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I'm not quite understanding why it is OK to make a bunch of general allegations on the open site, but then only use PM to give supporting facts. To be clear, I'm not questioning anyone's personal experience, but I do feel that if one is to make open allegations they should follow them up with the facts, in the open. Just my opninion.
I'll let the lawyers in the group opine on this, but it may already be over the line.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:18 PM   #59
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...But the principles and responsibilities of the buyer and seller are the same. If either party shirks or ignores them, they deserve what they get in my opinion.
Actually everything you said is true until the end.

While the principals are certainly the same, you can't get blood out of a turnip.

The best contact can not protect your place in the line of creditors. When the banks ate finished with them, you won't even get the turnips.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:04 PM   #60
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NTSCOUT, please PM me the backstory.
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