I don't know if this forum would accept a multi post history
critique of one cruiser's experience with 3 AquaPro boats.
Me, being that cruiser purchased the first boat in march 07 from a local NY and now out of business distributor of inflatable
boats. it was an 9' alum bottom. I had seen one or two somewhere and researched them on the www went to see them and bought it. Loved the boat and had no complaints.
Sadly it was stolen in mid summer 09. I was insured for the loss and decided to get another one... being so pleased with the boat. Unfortunately I had to use the only dealer I could find who was in CA... Called Trade
Winds Inflatables. I ordered the next size up a 10' 3 chamber alum bottom.
I used the boat for the balance of the season and hauled it out for winter storage
and put it in a warehouse which was heated under a cover.
Launched the boat and sailed for a year.... no bottom paint
. In Fall 2010 after 1 and half seasons in the water
I noticed signs of corrosion
which looked like it was the alum under the epoxy paint
. YIKES. It was at the seams were the hypoalon was bonded to the hull
. I took photos and sent them to the dealer in CA with a request that they replace the boat because if the condition advanced the hypalon would separate from the boat. YIKES! See photo
The CA dealer got back to me that there was apparently some sort of issue with preparing the aluminum
to receive the paint
and so they agreed to replace it... but wanted me to pay the return cost of shipping
the boat back to CA. THAT WAS EXPENSIVE and pissed me off.
I gave them explicit instructions to ship to... and pick up the day at the yacht club where I was in winter storage
. I wanted to re use the shipping
container so I didn't have the additional expense and time dealing with that. The new boat did not arrive when I was waiting for it. I called and found out that Trade
Winds had given the ORIGINAL ship to address 100 miles to the East in Greenport. The new address would mean additional charges to me... it came to almost $700 in the end. The second delivery
appointment was missed as well because the driver went home because of too much traffic. Another lost
He arrived the next day. The truck had no lift
gate and the driver had no means to offload the boat. I managed to persuade the yacht club... of which I was not a member
... to use their forklift and pick the new boat from the truck and then after I packed the damaged boat in the box... place in the truck. And of course that driver would not take the return as I had arranged... that came a few days later... another truck who couldn't get the boat in his truck... sat around waiting for me to load it... Fork lift
again. Another day wasted.
This all was in early June and the season was well underway... months of use of the boat lost
without the dink as I use a mooring
I inflated the new boat and went home to get the provisions for a 2 week cruise
. When I returned the boat had lost air! YIKES. I checked it for visible damage. NONE... I bubble tested it and found air leaking from the a seam where the tow rings are attached... very close to the seam of the bottom. A bitch to patch to say the least. I did my best because I was going a cruisin'. I would deal with this later.
When I returned I began a battle to get the replacement boat replaced or my money
returned. The dealer was inflexible and intransigent. This was a manufacturing defect, not shipping damage and it was not the vendors fault but the maker's fault.
Getting no joy I contacted AquaPro in NZ and communicated my problems to the owner. I received sympathy, but was told that the design was licensed to.... a Chinese company! They had no control or liability. Go after them. Yea right.
Note that the boat had a manufacturer's origin plaque affixed to the transom indicating it was manufactured in NZ. FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After tens of hours of wrangling with Trade Winds the owner Kenneth Leveritch... said he would come to NY and personally repair it as he had relatives in LI. I would have it done in the Fall.
Fall came and went, winter too an by Spring no news from Mr Levritch. More calls and emails and their plan was that I should find a local repair service
.. to do their work and they would pay the tab. But I would have to pick up and deliver the boat to the shop. They sent me some tel numbers... none answered. Finally I got them to give me one that answered. And what do you know? It was the dealer who had sold me the first boat, who had gone out of business and was in the repair/service biz mostly for emergency
and coast guard boats... so I had low priority for service
. I had to get the boat to LI... and was able to use a friend's Outback and it was quite the trip with it tied to the roof. Two more days lost delivering and picking up the boat. No leaks
. The time invested by me was worth thousands dollars in billable hours lost!
By the way they found a second *pinhole* on the top .. see the round patch over the state registration
In 2011 I painted the bottom and noticed the same corrosion
signs under the paint in a few places. Could this be from aggressive Long Island barnacles
which eat epoxy
In 2012 this past week I finally got to the dink which was stored in a rack on it's bottom under other boats... partly protected. Dirty, but held air. But the paint was seriously coming off. See the photos.
Sent a letter to... the NZ company, the Chinese licensee, Trade Winds demanding my money
I would easily win in court. I am in NY, Trade Winds is in CA, the licensee MFG (who also committed fraud by placing the plaque on the boat) is in China
Collecting the judgment will be impossible. My recourse is to advise others of the disgusting incident. Trade Winds are unethical and should loose whatever license
they have to operate a business in CA. The Chinese don't even respond.
The design is superlative. The manufacture now sucks and the dealer is a disreputable outfit.
Now you know ... the rest of the story.