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Old 22-05-2012, 18:15   #1
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mrybas's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: East Coast USA or out cruising
Boat: Lock Crowther 150
Posts: 594
AB Hull Failure

I bought a brand new AB 9.5AL (aluminum bottom) in January 2011 and within two months the boat started to leak water. While inspecting the hull, I noticed a several inch crack along the one of the welds, where the floor joins the hull. I notified the AB dealer in Annapolis, who put me in touch with AB corporate. AB told me to get it repaired and they would pay for the repair. However, I was cruising the out-islands of the Bahamas at the time and making a repair wasn’t practical (there were no welders on Rum Key: population 88). We came to an agreement to replace the boat when I returned to the states in the spring. In the mean time, I used 5200 to stop the leaks.
I returned to the states the following spring and notified AB that I would like to trade for the new boat. They said there weren’t any shipments to the area in the immediate future, but in the fall the Annapolis Sailboat show would be a convenient place to trade. Come October, I made the trip down to Annapolis from Philadelphia with my old dingy that had been sitting in the sun all summer. To my disappointment they sent the wrong boat. The AB representative at the show apologized for the mix up, but promised that I could trade the boat the following winter at a Budget Marine location, since I would be cruising the Caribbean.
This past winter came and went, with no trade made. I went from Puerto Rico to the Grenadines with stops at every island with a budget marine location. The response from AB was always that Budget didn’t have available stock to make the trade.
Well, I arrived in Cartagena, Columbia a couple weeks ago (the boats are manufactured in Columbia). AB informed me that they are not replacing the boat, but only the hull and gluing on my old tubes! I was very disappointed. Over the past year, I have been using the boat like I was trading it for a new one. I didn’t abuse it, but it certainly didn’t receive the TLC that I treat the rest of my equipment with. I stopped using UV protectant, I left it on the foredeck uncovered in the Puerto Rico sun for 3 months while I went home to work, and just didn’t give it the care of a boat that I am trying to make last a circumnavigation.
I got my “new old” boat back today. It took a week when they told me it would take 4 days, further delaying my Panama Canal transit. My experience with AB over the past year has been very frustrating and misleading. I wish I had got the hull patched at the first aluminum welder I can across.
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