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Old 12-04-2018, 11:13 PM   #321
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I see from your signature photo that you have or had a C-Dory. Do you recall the controversy at the C-Brats when C-Dory was sold to Fluid Motion? I was often over there and IIRC, the same PR flack was involved in that too. It was several years ago and I can’t recall any detail, but I think there was something about the way they handled the transition that was unsavory in one way or another. I do know that at first the C-Dory fanatics were all excited about the possibilities of having a well capitalized owner make some positive changes, but were very surprised when Fluid shutdown the whole brand!
I bought my boat second hand and have no direct experience with any of the brand owners. I can say that I have had zero problems with my boat as a result of design or manufacturing defects. But my C-Dory is much simpler than a large Cutwater and there is much, much less that can go wrong. I think the KISS design and associated durability is the reason that C-Dorys retain their value and have a strong following.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:20 PM   #322
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As to the domain and web site cutwater302.com, I doubt seriously that it's a sign of any talk of agreement, but rather a threat based on a registered trademark or otherwise over the domain name. The domain is currently owned by Perfect Privacy LLC, hosted by Wix.com and no longer resolving to a site. I suspect an attorney's letter led to the disappearance.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:29 PM   #323
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An average survey for me is about 30 recommendations. Three or four times a year I am commissioned to survey a new vessel pre - delivery. These new vessels average about 20 recommendations, some quite significant .... 11 throughulls but access to only 7, an oil filter you could see but no way to reach it, neverbonds, improper or nonexistent grounds, improper gasoline compartment ventilation and one where they actually forgot to put glass fiber in a large section of the hull ..... not at all impressed by the industry.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:26 AM   #324
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Okay guys, you better read this thread from Tug Nuts quickly before it gets removed. Jeff Mesmer from Ranger Tugs actually chimes in.....

The TugNuts • View topic - Total nightmare!!
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:18 AM   #325
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An average survey for me is about 30 recommendations. Three or four times a year I am commissioned to survey a new vessel pre - delivery. These new vessels average about 20 recommendations, some quite significant .... 11 throughulls but access to only 7, an oil filter you could see but no way to reach it, neverbonds, improper or nonexistent grounds, improper gasoline compartment ventilation and one where they actually forgot to put glass fiber in a large section of the hull ..... not at all impressed by the industry.
I always assumed it was the RV industry that had very little QC, as a new person getting into boating this is disturbing. I had thought that the QC with boating would be so much higher due to safety ...I should have known, $ always trumps safety...
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:25 AM   #326
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. While I see the "belt and braces" pragmatism in having a new boat surveyed, surely a 400K buyer is entitled to expect a new boat from a builder who tests,delivered through an experienced dealer,to be free of defects
He can be Entitled all he wants, reality is that many builders lack attention to detail, to quality control and lack proper pre-delivery inspections regardless what they say in brochures and on websites: Have seen it personally, it is all BS. Let’s make a sloppy product, if the buyer notices, let the dealer sort it out, if he doesn’t, great. The almighty $$ is more important than safety and integrety.


New build surveys highly recommended.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:28 AM   #327
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So is this whole affair indicative of how American manufacturers behave when not highly regulated? First we heard about the boat business, now we learn the entire RV business has the same low standards. Other posters have indicated that in industries with high levels of government regulation like aviation or autos these issues are nonexistent. Is this something inherent in capitalism everywhere or is it confined to the US sector? Maybe buyers would be better served by spending their money in countries with more ethical business practices.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:34 AM   #328
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. Maybe buyers would be better served by spending their money in countries with more ethical business policies.
Why should quality be regulated?
It should be a given in any high end or expensive product..
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:38 AM   #329
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Why should quality be regulated?
It should be a given in any high end or expensive product..
Because if it is not mandatory, it often does not happen voluntarily. As we have read in this thread.....
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:50 AM   #330
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Let’s make a sloppy product, if the buyer notices, let the dealer sort it out, if he doesn’t, great.
This reminds me of how the US auto industry operated in the 60s and 70s.

A part of the was the manufacturer mindset--their "customer" wasn't the purchaser but rather the dealer. The manufacturer had no real desire to talk to, or interest in the opinions of, the final purchaser of the vehicle. Once they got the dealer to accept the vehicle their part of the transaction was considered complete.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:52 AM   #331
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Because if it is not mandatory, it often does not happen voluntarily. As we have read in this thread.....
Then the bad apples will go out of business, (or should) natural selection..
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:00 AM   #332
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The relatively small companies and small volumes do not give the manufacturers a lot of cushion when it comes to the resources to rework defects or purchaser customizations. This can lead to short cuts and oversights due to the need to get the boat out the door so the manufacturer can get the check.

Although the boat didn't sink, one of the sales of the new Great Harbor TT35 also descended into a lawyers' fight over quality and design issues.
I know you're not offering that as an excuse, but it also fails as an explanation. Virtually everything wrong with this vessel was either the product of sloppy manufacturing or bad design. Good design costs no more than bad design, and I can think of at least one configuration that would cost CW less to construct for the purpose intended than the current pod. You have to pay people the same hourly wage to install windows that leak as you do windows that don't leak. The labor budget for this boat no doubt included hooking up the shower, etc.

In other words, quality can be more expensive if the materials used cost more, but when you're talking design and adequate supervision, it costs less to do it right. The lesson here is not to assume any new boat meets that standard, sad and unnecessary though that may be.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:56 AM   #333
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Jeff has provided a further update on TugNuts that they are going to work together to resolve this situation.

"I had a good conversation with André, the owner of the 302. I apologized in the name of Fluid Motion and Port Boat House for not having picked up the phone sooner. We both agreed, that nothing would be gained by pointing fingers and a long legal battle. The boat will be coming back to the factory. Meanwhile, Andre has offered to take down his website.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:40 AM   #334
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While I see the "belt and braces" pragmatism in having a new boat surveyed, surely a 400K buyer is entitled to expect a new boat from a builder who tests,delivered through an experienced dealer,to be free of defects.
This is a naive expectation. If you aren't willing and able to do the survey yourself, hire someone who is. Most of the items on the original list as well as what likely sunk the boat should have been caught by even a cursory survey. As Reagan said: "Trust, but verify."

The production boating industry isn't as bad as the RV industry - yet - but they seem to be headed that direction. In many modern products, the customer serves as the QA department. Most computer software packages are a case in point. You really can't compare a production boat to a production car. The Cutwater 30 is built in small prototype quantities, even considering its entire production life. Prototype cars would have these problems too. When you build 100,000 or 1M of something, by the time you've built the first thousand or so, you have the kinks worked out.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:44 AM   #335
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Jeff has provided a further update on TugNuts that they are going to work together to resolve this situation.

"I had a good conversation with André, the owner of the 302. I apologized in the name of Fluid Motion and Port Boat House for not having picked up the phone sooner. We both agreed, that nothing would be gained by pointing fingers and a long legal battle. The boat will be coming back to the factory. Meanwhile, Andre has offered to take down his website.
Jeff Messmer
V.P Sales and Marketing
Ranger Tugs
25802 Pacific Hwy So.
Kent, Wa 98032
Phone 253 839 5213
Cell 206 940 0571
e-mail jeffmessmer@rangertugs.com"

The TugNuts • View topic - Total nightmare!!
In the Internet Age, it is so much harder to avoid bad publicity when you deserve it, and frequently when you do not. Sounds like Andre' will be getting a new boat, or the existing one gutted and rebuilt. Now, if he had issues with the new build, one can only imagine what this one might look like.

When I contracted with a yard in Canada to install systems and cabinetry I designed or built for Delfin, I was there weekly but I also hired a surveyor to visit the yard once a month to inspect the work progress from his perspective. Might be an idea for Andre to consider the same approach.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:24 PM   #336
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An average survey for me is about 30 recommendations. Three or four times a year I am commissioned to survey a new vessel pre - delivery. These new vessels average about 20 recommendations, some quite significant .... 11 throughulls but access to only 7, an oil filter you could see but no way to reach it, neverbonds, improper or nonexistent grounds, improper gasoline compartment ventilation and one where they actually forgot to put glass fiber in a large section of the hull ..... not at all impressed by the industry.
One thing I think that does need to be made clear is that like any industry there is a wide variation in quality. There are also comments implying this is just a problem with US builders and that's far from the case as Europe and Asia have both high quality builders and those who have many issues.

We have purchased quite a few new boats. When we were lake boaters we weren't even aware of surveyors. However, we purchased Sea Ray and Cobalt up to 30' and had no issues. They were proven production boats. I would say on those two brands we averaged punch lists upon our trip back to the dealer of 2 items on the Cobalt's and 5 on the Sea Ray's and never had a major issue. Now, oddly, we looked at and considered a Sea Ray L Series boat a couple of years ago and talking to owners who liked their boats we were shocked with the number of issues on their punch lists and problems encountered still months after delivery. Many were returned to the factory for final warranty work due to the dealer failing to address the issues. Those boats were new designs and being built in a factory that had been opened and closed, parts of it failed in the hands of other builders and the employee base was no more loyal and dedicated to the company than the company had been to them. This on top of rushing the boats to market.

Now, as to builders of larger production, semi-production or semi-custom or custom boats for coastal and ocean use. We've purchased several and all were surveyed prior to acceptance. Two were Italian production boats already in the US location's inventory. They had two items on one and one item on the other which needed addressing. One took less than an hour of work and was just cabinetry or doors and nothing significant. The other, only had one issue, but it was dissatisfaction with how some of the electrical wiring was run. It required several hours work, done within 24 hours, but was something we considered quite critical and well worth the cost of the survey.

One boat was from a UK builder. 6 recommendations came from the surveyor. They were the type things that would have been very annoying had they just been found in normal usage. They were also the type things that dealers say, "just bring it back anytime and we'll fix them". We said, "You'll fix them now or we won't take delivery." All were rectified within 24 hours although it meant several workers on the boat to do so.

One boat was a US built center console, which while somewhat a production model had a lot of interior uniqueness. We were dealing with the factory, not a dealer. 7 items were found, all of which were just lack of attention to detail. I think they were probably typical of the builder and they weren't use to the scrutiny. While a seat that didn't stay properly in position or a cabinet door misaligned didn't especially surprise us, live wells not properly filling or draining were and a plugged cockpit drain was. Those were both things they dealt with on every boat they had ever built.

Now, we've also purchased two larger boats from a US builder. The surveyor was actually involved as our representative through the entire process so at the point the builder said the boat was ready for delivery and at the time of the buyer's sea trial vs. sea trials the builder had already done, there was only one item noted between the two boats. Furthermore, an employee from the builder was present on the shakedown cruise of one week on one and two weeks on the other. These cruises were in very rough water and yet all items found were extremely minor and fixed on the spot. When the shakedown cruises were complete and the boat taken back to the builder for any adjustments, there was only one punch list item between the two boats and it was lighting in one head that had to be replaced.

There are at least two major US builders with a reputation for delivering quality boats. There are small production builders who do the same and there are a few small custom SF builders who do incredible work. There is one long term US builder of steel and aluminum yachts and commercial vessels also that has a tremendous reputation except they had problems on one boat which was far outside their normal build. They failed to timely complete it because there were several things they'd never done and didn't know how to do. They did compensate the buyer generously at tremendous expense to themselves. Both they and the buyer realized they were the wrong people for that boat. It was finally completed in excellent condition but meanwhile the buyer had started a new build at Feadship, far better equipped to handle his unique requirements such as all bullet proof glass and a safe room and security to handle an attack on the boat.

There have been other US builders who their quality has varied consistently with their financial situation. They went from excellent to disasters as desperation crept in. They had ownership changes. This happens with major production builders as well. Look at someone like Genmar and boats like Carver and Marquis and all the people left with no warranty when bankruptcy hit.

Now, for excellence I say look at three large US builders today-Westport, Hatteras and Viking. These are builders whose quality compares to and generally exceeds anyone else in the world. Westport delivers nearly problem free with their extensive pre-delivery program. Hatteras and Viking deliver excellent boats and quickly fix any problems and address any issues. The SF segment in general is excellent with builders all along the east coast.

That brings me to the problems. Many of them are under capitalized builders. Others are unscrupulous builders. And then some are an acceptance by buyers of standards I don't understand. I'll start with one of the finest, most reputable builders, Nordhavn. They have the most accepting buyers in the world. When I hear of spending months and up to a year getting everything right, I'm appalled but their buyers accept that as the norm and love them and go back time after time. To me it's their commissioning program that doesn't involve all aspects of the build being done at the factory or prior to delivery. However, they are a bit the outlier here so not representative of anything other than themselves.

Now to the unscrupulous and financially troubled. These are builders who have a repeated pattern over decades and some over multiple ownerships. They have a litany of litigation. Yet, when they are criticized on a forum like this one, all hell breaks loose. There are those who have gotten excellent boats from them and I do understand their defense to a point but what other customers have been put through is not in any way defensible. Missing deadlines by more than a year isn't defensible. Delivering a boat that fails survey and has dozens of major issues and refusing to do anything about it, is not excusable. There's a Florida company that imports one of their brands and if one were just to see the dishonesty and lack of ethics of the principals by reading all the documents of one major lawsuit, I don't know how one could then choose to deal with them. Yes, they have happy owners, because the quality varies so from boat to boat.

There's a PNW builder that has been through many lives and again, just read the history in legal filings or talk to knowledgeable yards and industry people in the PNW and everything that happened was predictable and predicted.

There have been and are several Florida builders with a stream of unhappy customers. In some cases, they are fearful to speak for retaliation by the builder or lowering the resale value of their boat. They continue to lie and make promises they don't deliver on and refuse to address survey issues, yet they have a large contingency of people defending them.

Ultimately, I'll judge the Fluid issue of today based on how they handle problems, not on the basis of the fact customers who bought a Ranger years ago may be very happy.

Since Azimut was mentioned, they're an interesting study and I don't think a brand anyone here owns so stepping on no toes. Azimut is the entry, low cost boat of Benetti. They are sold based on styling and price, not quality of workmanship. However, their reputation in Europe is still very good. Meanwhile, no brand imported into the US has more haters than they do. Why is this? Because of two things. In the build, the electric and plumbing and other such work may be done by many different teams of employees or contractors and it seems is never quite the same. However, the big issue is that in the US, sales are by one organization and that organization is also 100% responsible for the warranty program. In fact, this organization is prepaid in essence for warranty work in what they pay for the boats so there is an incentive to spend as little as possible and no builder to then go to if dissatisfied. So, all the little annoying things of electrical and plumbing and electronics and cabinets and floor covering, simply do not get fixed in a timely manner. They are typically things that a good shipyard paid adequately could and would fix in one try.

Now, what can we do as buyers. Due diligence. Follow good solid business practices in our boat buying, don't fall in love and let our hopes and dreams overrule our judgement. I see intelligent, successful businessmen who run companies they own or are CEO of show absolutely horrible judgement in boat buying. They fall into a "got to have" mindset on one boat and ignore all signs. I've heard a thousand times here not to fall in love with a boat before you've checked it out completely. That's on used boats. Well, "don't fall in love with a new boat before you know everything possible about a builder and the model of boat in question." That one philosophy has saved us tremendous heartache and frustration. Before we owned any coastal boat, we quickly fell in love with one brand. We loved their larger boats and combination of speed and seagoing ability. We loved their boat for the loop and read of loopers in one. We were so disappointed then when researching the builder and seeing some of the problems. They are the type I would never deal with in business and would never purchase a boat from. Saved. Saved from the boat which on the internet and on paper and by design we loved. Then three of four years later, loved the Sea Ray L 650 flybridge. Even went on an extended demo of one with an owner of a large dealership we knew (who no longer is in the business having sold). Loved it even more. Everything we could want. Ready to purchase but a little more work to do first. One person we'd chatted briefly with was strongly encouraging us to buy one. He had one and other than a few issues he loved the boat. This is one of the strongest proponents of the boat and yet, I quote him when asked about his entire punch list, "Our punch list has had a total of about 160 items on it at some point." I ran as fast as I could. I do not have the tolerance for anything like that. I would have either made them take it back or quickly sold it. I couldn't deal with it. I know myself that well. I also find it horribly sad that any buyer would ever accept that.

See, ultimately, the builders are not the ones who set the standards in the industry unless you surrender and allow it. You and I set the standards of who we'll deal with and how, what we'll buy. There was a quite highly publicized disaster on one build. The behind the scenes of who pushed the boat, designed it, took over supervision was horrifying. The one person looking out for the buyer was fired along the way because he objected to some things. Now, the buyer. Owns a large family business and runs it very well. Sales over $100 million a year. Yet, he entered into the contract for a $5 million, changed to $6 million boat without having an attorney even read the contract. He fell in love. He never would have done that in business and would have terminated an employee who would have.

Each of us sets our own standards whether new boats or used, whether choosing a builder or broker. There are good ones. We choose. It's like Poker though we have to know when to walk away. I'm willing to walk away in business or pleasure. There's always another boat and another builder. We see on this site, excellence repeatedly from some rather small Chinese builders. Excellence is there but you must insist upon it.

Message to Fluid. It's not too late to fix this situation. Stop making it about the buyer. He may be horrible and litigious and may be unreasonable or anything else, I don't know and the boat buying public doesn't care. Make it about you. About your customer service. About your ethics and integrity. About your company. About your future as a builder. Tylenol didn't put poison in their pills but see, they didn't make it about the person who did. They chose to do what was right. The worst vendor problem I ever encountered was some bad yarn that we turned into bad fabric and bad finished product. The yarn vendor took care of everything completely and we temporarily stopped buying from them, but two years later they were by far our largest vendor. They had proven themselves in the worst of times. So far you've not handled any part of this well. Pointing fingers at the buyer will never get you anywhere. You don't control them. You only control what you do. Now you need to take action so magnanimous that everyone will be impressed. You need to see and examine the boat immediately. I know it's an expensive move and I know your insurance may not cover it. However, you want to rid the negative from this, you'd go buy the boat back tomorrow at full price and then you'd figure out the problem and publish honest findings. You also wouldn't lose $300k because once repaired you'd resell the boat so maybe half of that. $150k is a lot of money but isn't your reputation worth more? Now, I'm not a potential customer, but I could say right now I would not buy a boat from you or recommend one. However, you can change that. You can turn my opinion today to one where I'd say, "They had a major issue on a sinking but they bought the boat back and examined it. Ultimately, they found x y and z and they made changes to protect against future issues. They stand behind their product. I respect them." So far you've not written a very good story, but it's not to late for you to fix that. However, time is running out and time is of the essence.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:26 PM   #337
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I was writing while Fluid was doing the right thing. So simple and I praise them for finally taking control of their future. They followed my advice before I gave it. Now, follow through and be transparent, honest, and ethical.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:27 PM   #338
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Jeff has provided a further update on TugNuts that they are going to work together to resolve this situation.

"I had a good conversation with André, the owner of the 302. I apologized in the name of Fluid Motion and Port Boat House for not having picked up the phone sooner. We both agreed, that nothing would be gained by pointing fingers and a long legal battle. The boat will be coming back to the factory. Meanwhile, Andre has offered to take down his website.
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V.P Sales and Marketing
Ranger Tugs
25802 Pacific Hwy So.
Kent, Wa 98032
Phone 253 839 5213
Cell 206 940 0571
e-mail jeffmessmer@rangertugs.com"

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So simple. Isn't it amazing what a phone call and apology can do. On behalf of the boating world, I thank you. Maybe a lesson learned too.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:29 PM   #339
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In the Internet Age, it is so much harder to avoid bad publicity when you deserve it, and frequently when you do not. Sounds like Andre' will be getting a new boat, or the existing one gutted and rebuilt. Now, if he had issues with the new build, one can only imagine what this one might look like.

When I contracted with a yard in Canada to install systems and cabinetry I designed or built for Delfin, I was there weekly but I also hired a surveyor to visit the yard once a month to inspect the work progress from his perspective. Might be an idea for Andre to consider the same approach.
Absolutely bad publicity spreads but look how quickly a better response did too. Now, everyone will follow along.

We did the same as you did on Delfin on two different builds, except surveyor was on site weekly.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:11 PM   #340
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Do the boatbuilders that use their dealers as the final assembly line and as their quality control offer significantly lower prices in exchange for the expense of hiring a surveyor, taking multiple trips to oversee construction and the months of not being able to use a new boat due to it being completed after delivery? In other words is it financially worth it, are the savings enough to offset the hassle?
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