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Old 12-05-2018, 02:37 PM   #341
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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?
When I said we had a surveyor on site weekly, that was at the builder. The builder did everything. We've never built a boat that was then shipped and commissioned by someone else or that equipment was added after it arrived. We did add some on the Sunseeker but we were modifying it. Mainly we were adding a hard top and enclosure and hinged tower and didn't like their hard top. Still that was all on us and at the boatyard we chose. We also completed it all in well under a month and had the boat available to use all but one week.

South Florida is unique in that many Asian and European builders have facilities here and their own sales forces but all construction done at the factory.

The Nordhavn approach seems quite unique in the amount of work done after it hits the US. Perhaps Twisted Tree or others can enlighten as to the process and reasons as they understand them.

I wouldn't think a dealer would do anything to a Cutwater other than add an accessory or something you decided you'd like to have. However, I don't know for certain.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:40 PM   #342
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No, boats on the lot are generally complete, it's ordered ones, and usually ones trying to meet some buyers deadline for delivery that cause issues.

No need to hire a surveyor till acceptance day (week).
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:22 PM   #343
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No, boats on the lot are generally complete, it's ordered ones, and usually ones trying to meet some buyers deadline for delivery that cause issues.

No need to hire a surveyor till acceptance day (week).
An interesting aside on the issue of commissioning as part of the build or after the build. The original purchaser of the first Nordhavn 120 was also considering a Westport. He actually toured Westport's at FLIBS accompanied by Nordhavn employees. Strangely his Purchase agreement with Nordhavn had many references to Westport Standards in it and the "Westport Experience." He sued PAE (and lost) over the fact they didn't provide this experience among other things. Now, much of the commissioning of the 120 was done before delivery since the boat was brought to North America by water. I find these references quite unusual and surprising as Nordhavn doesn't work like Westport and putting clauses in a contract won't change that.

Westport provides a package at the outset that includes every single item to go on the boat from Electronics to Dinghy to dishes and pots and pans to AV system to televisions. Every item to be done by the builder prior to delivery. It even includes linens and his and her bath robes. Everything is complete and on the boat when delivered. You show up and walk on your completed boat.

Another thing discussed was on time delivery. Westport delivers when promised at the outset. Not months late, not a week late. Their production planning and shop floor control is very similar to what you'd see in Boeing. Also, on budget. Because everything is specified up front, Westport is on budget. Westport may be the only builder their size always on time and budget.

Electronics package was specified as were many other things such as quality of carpentry and joinery to meet or exceed that which comes on a Westport 130. He referred to it as an "all in" approach.

Now understand the buyer had purchase 4 Nordhavn's in the past so loved their boats. However, on this boat he even provided Nordhavn with emails he'd received from Westport talking about their approach. He referred to it as "A painless way of delivering a vessel."

One of our esteemed colleagues here inspected the boat and found 179 deficiencies. There were also other inspections.

Now, I would say the expectations were unreasonable and agreeing to them was a huge mistake for Nordhavn. Westport is a "Yacht Builder" that operates a certain way. Nordhavn is a trawler or ship builder that operates a very different way. If you went to Westport and said I want to do it like Nordhavn and deliver the boat then add all the other things, they would tell you to get lost, or that you wanted to change the brand of generators, engines, watermaker, washer and dryer, and everything else. Anything problematic with a Westport post delivery, you just call them. Nordhavn commissioning though includes equipment and brands you chose and that was added after the boat arrived. Nordhavn allows you to choose infinitely. Westport has standard packages. Westport is going to have Furuno radars. Nordhavn will have whatever you select.

With it's size, i understand the buyer looking at it as he might look at a Westport 112 or 130 and I think many buyers would. I felt even building a 120 was a mistake by Nordhavn. They build boats up to 100' that some consider the best available for their mission, but plenty of builders build fine ocean capable boats at 120' and the buyer paying $16 and $20 million is going to compare to those boats and likely expect the finish and amenities.

Nordhavn builds many quality boats. Westport builds many quality boats. However, they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to schedule and delivery and commissioning and post delivery service. Everyone else is generally somewhere in the middle between the two of them.

Two very different approaches and both very successful companies.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:39 PM   #344
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I think the solution to the general decline in product quality lies in the mirror. We have become so accustom to accepting garbage, throwing out products when they break and just buying another, and rebooting or power cycling all our electronics devices to work around all the bugs in them.


As long as we accept it, it will keep happening. That's a big part of why I started the Wall of Shame section in my blog. If something sucks, post a review. If something works well, post a review. We have better tools than ever available to us to push back on poor quality. Darwin will take care of the rest.



When I was doing my electronics refit and still bumping into problems with various products, one day in frustration I decided on a two strike policy with marine electronics products. If I bought something and it didn't just work as it was supposed to, I would go through one round of calling tech support, downloading updates, or whatever to solve the problem. That's strike one. But if there are further problems, that's strike two and the product is gone, removed, packed up and returned for a refund. I just make sure I buy from resellers with good return policies. Returned junk on a manufacturer's doorstep will get their attention. And here's a hint. When you see a company selling a lot of factory refurbished product, that means a lot of people sent their products back, so watch out...


I've now extended the two strike policy to tradesmen, and other businesses. I'll chase someone down only once if they haven't shown up as agreed, done what they said they would do, etc. If it happens twice, they are done.


Now getting back to boats, I think the amount of attention and supervision that's required over a new boat really depends on what sort of a boat you are talking about. A true production boat I would expect something similar to buying a car. I would expect it to work out of the gate, and keep working with little to no trouble. We bought a 28' Grady a few years ago and that has been our experience with that boat. We bought a Back Cove 30' maybe 10 years ago, and had the same experience with that. I would expect the same of Cutwater.


The other extreme that I'm familiar with is building what is essentially a semi-custom boat, and a pretty complex one at that. It is best done, in my opinion with a lot of very close review and scrutiny. Now some people are less particular that I am, so are happier leaving decisions to the yard or designer, but I prefer to be intimately involved, and that's one of the things I like about working with Nordhavn. But I really don't think it's much different from building a truly custom home. I wouldn't dream of building a house without inspecting it on a regular basis, and doing a very thorough checkout before closing on it. And hiring help where my own skills need augmenting. I know lots of people, including myself, who hire Steve D'Antonio to help with their boat build. On bigger boats, it's often the captain or some other agent who is overseeing the build.


So I think there is a wide spectrum, and the import thing is understanding where your project fits on that spectrum so you can act accordingly. In the Cutwater case, I actually think the buyer's expectations were very reasonable, he had punch lists of things to fix, did a number of weeks of break-down runs, then headed off. Once he left the dealer's local area, I don't think he had any issues until the boat sank. But if I had the kinds of issues on our Grady that he had, I would have been very upset.


The big difference is that I have had zero issues with the Grady. And over the first three or so years of ownership, I got calls from Grady corporate at least once a year just checking in to see how everything was going and to see if I had any problems, questions, or if they could help in any way. A+ experience.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:58 PM   #345
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An interesting aside on the issue of commissioning as part of the build or after the build. The original purchaser of the first Nordhavn 120 was also considering a Westport. He actually toured Westport's at FLIBS accompanied by Nordhavn employees. Strangely his Purchase agreement with Nordhavn had many references to Westport Standards in it and the "Westport Experience." He sued PAE (and lost) over the fact they didn't provide this experience among other things. Now, much of the commissioning of the 120 was done before delivery since the boat was brought to North America by water. I find these references quite unusual and surprising as Nordhavn doesn't work like Westport and putting clauses in a contract won't change that.

Westport provides a package at the outset that includes every single item to go on the boat from Electronics to Dinghy to dishes and pots and pans to AV system to televisions. Every item to be done by the builder prior to delivery. It even includes linens and his and her bath robes. Everything is complete and on the boat when delivered. You show up and walk on your completed boat.

Another thing discussed was on time delivery. Westport delivers when promised at the outset. Not months late, not a week late. Their production planning and shop floor control is very similar to what you'd see in Boeing. Also, on budget. Because everything is specified up front, Westport is on budget. Westport may be the only builder their size always on time and budget.

Electronics package was specified as were many other things such as quality of carpentry and joinery to meet or exceed that which comes on a Westport 130. He referred to it as an "all in" approach.

Now understand the buyer had purchase 4 Nordhavn's in the past so loved their boats. However, on this boat he even provided Nordhavn with emails he'd received from Westport talking about their approach. He referred to it as "A painless way of delivering a vessel."

One of our esteemed colleagues here inspected the boat and found 179 deficiencies. There were also other inspections.

Now, I would say the expectations were unreasonable and agreeing to them was a huge mistake for Nordhavn. Westport is a "Yacht Builder" that operates a certain way. Nordhavn is a trawler or ship builder that operates a very different way. If you went to Westport and said I want to do it like Nordhavn and deliver the boat then add all the other things, they would tell you to get lost, or that you wanted to change the brand of generators, engines, watermaker, washer and dryer, and everything else. Anything problematic with a Westport post delivery, you just call them. Nordhavn commissioning though includes equipment and brands you chose and that was added after the boat arrived. Nordhavn allows you to choose infinitely. Westport has standard packages. Westport is going to have Furuno radars. Nordhavn will have whatever you select.

With it's size, i understand the buyer looking at it as he might look at a Westport 112 or 130 and I think many buyers would. I felt even building a 120 was a mistake by Nordhavn. They build boats up to 100' that some consider the best available for their mission, but plenty of builders build fine ocean capable boats at 120' and the buyer paying $16 and $20 million is going to compare to those boats and likely expect the finish and amenities.

Nordhavn builds many quality boats. Westport builds many quality boats. However, they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to schedule and delivery and commissioning and post delivery service. Everyone else is generally somewhere in the middle between the two of them.

Two very different approaches and both very successful companies.

Excellent points, and very much illustrates the spectrum, even within a similar size range.


I spent a bunch of time with Westport at FLIBS including touring I think 3 boats. They are very nicely done, but as you said, it's a "this is what you get" deal. And then you get it on time and on budget. I actually think that for a lot of the market for such a boat, perhaps the overwhelming majority of the market, that fits the customer's priorities. You are selling to people who expect execution to plan, and don't want complications. Plus, they are buying the living space and experience as a passenger, and likely don't care at all about crew accommodations, helm, boat operation, serviceability, equipment access, etc. The crew deals with that. I don't mean to be dissing it, just noting that Westport has addressed the market well.


But for a buyer who will be passenger, captain, crew, cook, mechanic, and deck hand, they will care deeply about the other aspects of a boat. I don't think I would ever end up with a Westport only because there is too much I'd want to change to suit my taste. But I'm a minority in that respect, I think.


Oh, and as an aside, I was on the Nordhavn 120 about a year ago to check out something in the pilot house as part of sorting out or 68 build. We were hosted by the second mate (captain was off for the day). He and the rest of the crew absolutely loved the boat, and couldn't stop saying so. It was really pleasant to hear after all the drama over it's initial ownership. You could write a great business school case study over that boat, or perhaps a dramatic novel :-) I've talked to Dan Streech about it quite a bit and it is indeed quite a story, and fortunately one with a happy ending.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:13 PM   #346
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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?

I don't know of anyone who does this, at least not as you describe.


I think it's quite common for boats to be built without things like electronics, entertainment system, carpet, shades and curtains, tenders, canvass, liferafts, dive compressors, etc. All that gets done as part of commissioning.


Now all those things can be part of the purchase agreement, so all need to be complete before you take final delivery, but I think it's common for them to get done at the point of delivery, not at the factory. When we built our 60, it was done very much like this. After the boat arrived at the delivery port, various sub contractors set about doing all the above, and we didn't close the deal until it was all done, working, and accepted. Now a significant part of the electronics was pre-installed at the factory, but it was per the design that we had contracted, not some pre-determined package. And of course the boat was checked out functionally as well, through it was also tested, including tank testing at the factory.


Electronics, including entertainment systems, can be a 1-2 month project alone. Even with all major components pre-installed by the yard, it still took two guys the better part of a month to finish our electronics package. And many buyers don't install any electronics at the yard for fear of it becoming obsolete before they take delivery. That just extends the job further.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:25 PM   #347
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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.
So, assume the new boat costing 300-400K is a POS until proven otherwise by survey? And then, like on this thread, argue about the competence of the surveyor. Maybe get him "surveyed" too?
A disappointing judgment of your builders. Not my idea of how a product should be taken to market. A sad commentary, but reality for USA/Canada it seems.A solution may be never buying new,but waiting for the"prototype" to go through it`s shakedown period with the unfortunate unwitting first owner. Perhaps not doing that that was the purchasers error.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:50 PM   #348
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I think it's quite common for boats to be built without things like electronics, entertainment system, carpet, shades and curtains, tenders, canvass, liferafts, dive compressors, etc. All that gets done as part of commissioning.
We've never purchased a boat that needed commissioning to be ready to go. Electronics, entertainment, carpet, shades, curtains, all done at the factory. We had things to do on the Sunseeker because we wanted a custom top and an additional generator plus a different watermaker than what they offered.

Just a difference in builders and type boats. Commissioning was a foreign concept to me until talking to other buyers.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:43 PM   #349
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Sounds fishy....all marinas require insurance.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:45 PM   #350
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Sounds fishy....all marinas require insurance.
Perhaps you might want to rewrite with a word other than "all" because "all" do not. Many do, most in some areas. Plus he is on a lake and I don't recall ever getting asked about it on a lake.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:46 PM   #351
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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.
This is because the dealers got together and got the laws written so that if you want to buy a car in the US you HAVE to buy through a dealer. The factory is not allowed to sell to the general public directly. Still can't, the dealers would have a fit.

Tesla found this out when they wanted to sell direct to the user (like happens in most other high tech industries).

Granted the factory would rather deal with limited entities that are ordering many vehicles at once on a regular basis vs. individuals buying one unit at a time.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:50 PM   #352
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Sounds fishy....all marinas require insurance.
I thought it was privately berthed.
What sounds "fishy"? Can`t be "an insurance job". A plot to attack the builder? Any other conspiracy theory?
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:18 AM   #353
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This is because the dealers got together and got the laws written so that if you want to buy a car in the US you HAVE to buy through a dealer. The factory is not allowed to sell to the general public directly. Still can't, the dealers would have a fit.

Tesla found this out when they wanted to sell direct to the user (like happens in most other high tech industries).

Granted the factory would rather deal with limited entities that are ordering many vehicles at once on a regular basis vs. individuals buying one unit at a time.

That's by law? I never knew that, and always took the whole dealer distribution model as a business decision, not something mandated.


Would you have any guidance on where such a law might be found? I'd be interested to read it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:34 AM   #354
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That's by law? I never knew that, and always took the whole dealer distribution model as a business decision, not something mandated.


Would you have any guidance on where such a law might be found? I'd be interested to read it.
I believe it is a state by state decision. If a manufacturer is willing to limit its dealerships in the state to a minimum number then it can sell directly to the public. Search for the Tesla case as that has more specific info on the exacts.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:01 AM   #355
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I believe it is a state by state decision. If a manufacturer is willing to limit its dealerships in the state to a minimum number then it can sell directly to the public. Search for the Tesla case as that has more specific info on the exacts.

My understanding also. It certainly helps the dealers sell autos, but it comes at the cost of maintaining expensive showrooms, inventories and a service department.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:58 AM   #356
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My understanding also. It certainly helps the dealers sell autos, but it comes at the cost of maintaining expensive showrooms, inventories and a service department.
Personally the lower price brought about by losing the dealer profit (simplistic approach but you get the point) is not worth losing the dealer service departments. I guess a manufacturer would use a fleet management concept where you take the vehicle to any number of "approved" service agents and show them your customer card or whatever. Would rather take it back to where I bought it who are more interested in my satisfaction and what I am going to do 3 years down there road. Sorry for the pun and thread drift. Back to the subject at hand!
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:22 AM   #357
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Granted the factory would rather deal with limited entities that are ordering many vehicles at once on a regular basis vs. individuals buying one unit at a time.
That really was the point I was trying to make. Management of the US auto firms spoke freely (internally) that they simply wanted to keep the dealers happy. What the end-user/purchaser thought wasn't their concern or problem. Ultimately that didn't work out so well.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:23 AM   #358
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All the big yacht and auto discussion aside, best we not lose sight of the arena the thread involves. An unusual by industry standards outboard setup on a brand new vessel that indeed took on water and floundered. Fortunately at the dock with no one aboard.

IMHO, Cutwater and Ranger Tug have to do a fairly substantial out board re-design. If they sell their vessels to accomplish serious off shore work they should design their aft section accordingly.

For those so interested, possibly the best NA in this area is Michael Peters. Read about his history. His recent outboard creations for Beneteau are very interesting.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:01 AM   #359
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For the record, here's what ABYC has to say about bilge pump installations...

22.8.6 The discharge location shall be above the maximum heeled waterline, or
22.8.7 the discharge may be located below the maximum heeled waterline if the discharge line is provided with both of the following:
22.8.7.1 a seacock installed in accordance with the requirements of ABYC H-27, Seacocks, Thru-Hull Connections, and Drain Plugs, and
22.8.7.2 a vented loop or other means to prevent siphoning into the boat. A check valve shall not be used for this purpose.

On the subject of surveys, I inspect both new and used vessels on a regular basis (by choice, and for several reasons, I'm not a surveyor). A few observations, there are great quality boats and terrible quality boats coming out of almost every US state, Canadian province and country that builds recreational vessels, painting with a broad brush is simply inaccurate.

Even the best boat builders make mistakes, so surveying a new vessel makes good sense, I have yet to inspect a new (or used) vessel that was defect-free.

Since one of my reports was mentioned earlier by a member, I'll comment on this as well. This link https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/s...ction-reports/ includes sample inspection reports of mine (from actual inspections), one on a new vessel, the other used. These are larger, more complex vessels, the volume of issues is typically directly connected to vessel size and complexity, however, both the severity and volume of defects most definitely varies from builder to builder.

Another note on ABYC compliance, many builders participate in a voluntary ABYC compliance program administered by the National Marine Manufacturers Association or NMMA. This article describes the program https://issuu.com/spinsheetpublishin...nov_pt_2016/50 The inspections associated with participation in this program are 'type inspections' meaning an example model is inspected by an NMMA inspector, and once it passes, the builder then agrees to build every one of that model just like the one that was inspected. That can be a tall order for some builders, as some changes almost always creep in. I don't believe I've ever inspected an NMMA certified vessel that didn't have at least some ABYC violations. The good news is once found, it's difficult for the participating builder to argue over whether or not these need to be corrected. Did I mention surveying a new vessel is a good idea?
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:58 AM   #360
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Interesting comments about buying new boats and surveys.

For "me", I've never bought a new anything, except houses that I have built. With toys like boats, cars and planes, I like to let someone else take the depreciation hit and get a proven product that has been pretty much broken in.

Also, if one really gets a used lemon as opposed to a new lemon, the hit is MUCH less.

As for surveys, I could argue that anyone purchasing this kind of stuff get to know enough about boats to do a pretty good "due diligence" prior to even signing a purchase agreement or having a survey. The survey should be to just verify what you already know and perhaps find a few unknowns that need attention. I've never turned down a boat because of a survey, except one. But turned down many because of my inspections.

Now, BandB, you have some interesting posts about quality, would be nice to know what boats are quality, in your mind. And most of the boats you mention in the 5 million and up are not boats this group will typically buy, especially me. Just getting too big to fit behind my home and I don't want a boat that I can't see every day.

Speaking of quality, the only boat I've owned that had outstanding quality was a Formula. However, the Volvo engines were a disaster and the reason i got rid of it.
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