After reading this forum, I was sufficiently moved to contact Charter
Cats to tell them of my concern for their product and backup. Here is the reply I received...food for thought.
Thank you for your mail, which was forwarded to me internally. The ‘Bumfuzzle Saga’ raises its ugly head
from time to time, where rather than automatically launch a smear campaign to discredit all those with an opinion, it is still Charter Cats SA’s position to engage in meaningful dialogue on an individual basis, thus this reply.
You took the time to actually write to us and as such deserve a response. To feel we may have lost
a customer based on the individual isolated experience of a single member
of the public, who was not even a customer is sad.
Charter Cats SA has delivered almost 160 hulls to customers all over the world. We have in excess of 30 years building experience, with NOT A SINGLE
incident of this kind in the past. Our policy is to take each problem head
on. No manufacturer can avoid problems, whether it be cars, boats or hairdryers. Each boat is fully customized in our factory and as such the capacity for gremlins remains. We have continued to upgrade our manufacturing quality and invite you AT ANY TIME to arrive at our factory and investigate for yourself, along with the Dutch CE bureau who visits once a month. CE is a considerably higher spec than is required by US Coast Guard. We are satisfied that we are doing more than is necessary to address issues of quality.
In terms of customer relations, we have employed new staff to handle the information chain. 80% of what transpired with ‘Bumfuzzle’ could have been avoided with better communication. Despite an unpleasant mail from yourself, you are still going to enjoy a reply.
Bear in mind, unlike the Schultes, we did not enter dialogue with them believing it would be posted internationally in a blow-by-blow format.
1. The boat was built in 2002 and sold to the owner for $118 270.00usd. Our records indicate that NO Charter Cats Cat has EVER sold for less than it was purchased for. Interesting fact. Even one damaged in last years hurricanes fetched more than its original price
. The sentiment of the market dictates this, neither our own wishes nor isolated opinion.
2. It crossed the Atlantic, a matter of 8,000 miles, and was then sold on to the present owners, the Schultes.
3. Prior to purchase
the Schultes had the boat surveyed by one of Americas top and most knowledgeable surveyors and it received a clean bill of health
. Nothing untoward as alleged by the Schultes was found. The disbonding, (not delamination), would have been detected during the survey
had it been there at that time. The method of tapping with a surveyor’s hammer could not possibly have missed detection. Visible ‘bumps’ would have appeared on the hull
due to air expansion.
4. As to the absurd observation that ‘a skin fitting was so loose that it could be spun around in the hull
and all the other skin fittings were leaking’, - It is yachting 101 that with these fittings leaking, the cat would have been sinking! In 32 years, not one cat has sunk. A surveyor
not picking something as important as this up is so improbable as to be impossible. These are the most important aspects for inspection
and no surveyor
could have omitted seeing this. Statements such as these are characteristic of a distinct lack of nautical and marine
knowledge as admitted frequently throughout the Schulte’s own writings.
5. After hauling the boat and inspecting it, this very surveyor could not recognize the keels as being an integral part of the hull and makes the statement that ‘the keels have been glassed onto the hull’! He makes this observation even though he had planed straight through 3900 grams of stitched quad glass, half an inch thick. Our keels are structurally included in the mould. This observation casts a dubious light on the integrity of the inspector, particularly in light that they are also the repairer. He then proceeds to remedy the situation by repairing the area with 900 grams of chopstrand – the weakest and heaviest of all materials in the boating
industry. Any qualified GRP boat builder
will confirm that the keel
repair, using this method, together with the quantity and type of glass used, is not only incomprehensible, but dangerously unacceptable. Unfortunately, the experience of the Schultes was not adequate to protect their interests at the time. There will be critics and supporters in every camp, Charter Cats SA believe that the methods employed in the assessment and repair of the damages was questionable.
6. Their surveyor also notes that the keels have had a bad repair job done on them and that even the anti-fouling
was glassed over. It is food
for thought as to exactly why the Schulte’s suddenly decided to ‘prepare the boat for the Pacific crossing’? Had something happened to the boat between Ft.Lauderdale, where they prepared for their around the world trip, and the Panama Canal
? It is highly irregular that one would start to make preparations and only anti-foul their hulls then in what they admit to be a suspect and backward part of the world.
7. It is the opinion of the company that damage was done to the keels. This damage would have been apparent to the surveyor at the time of purchase
, which leaves only one answer. The new owners, the Schultes, must have had the boat at the time that this damage was done. Either this, or a highly regarded surveyor even in our opinion, was grossly negligent in his assessment. Not only is it unsuitable that Charter Cats did not enjoy any access to the boat during the course of the debacle, but we can only base our own opinion on the information as delivered by a biased source, who’s opinion must weigh in their (and the person paying the bills’) favor. This would never stand in a court of law. Add to this the insult of their efforts to claim compensation taking a position of ignorance, then further hold us to ransom publicly for repairs
we did not sanction. Repairs
we maintain are ineffective, based again on the one-sided positions taken. The final bill of over $33,000 is unheard of for virtually an entire hull replacement. Their NZ surveyor/boat repairer (sic) certainly saw this pair coming.
8. The Schultes were told exactly how to effect sound, efficient repairs at low cost; a cost which we, without obligation, offered to pay. They elected rather to go with the first boatyard they came across, not even an attempt was made to get other opinions and/or quotations from any other yards. Then, against our advice, they went ahead and did what they had been advised in isolation and still felt that it might be acceptable to us?!!
9. The hull below the waterline is coated with two layers of International Gel Shield epoxy
specifically formulated for osmosis
protection - and no osmosis
was found on survey
. For the NZ surveyor/boat repairer to then plane off the complete hull up to the split line in the mould, when he knew that there was a join at this point where the bubbles were in the gelcoat
and front as well, makes little sense. The only sense that this would make would be for the finances of the boatyard. It would have been easy to effect a gelcoat
repair in the immediate area of the bubbling – not planing off the entire hull resulting in the whole boat having to be repainted.
10. Finally, again based on the information we had the logical and cost effective manner of repair would have been the method of vacuum bagging and epoxy
infusion as recommended. The whole operation would have been finished in a tenth of the time, at a fraction of the cost.
We feel that the Schulte’s expectations are unrealistic, and take umbrage with the way in which they portray us in their account of what transpired. In our many years of boating
and sailing around the world, we have never encountered such ignorance and unadulterated cheek as displayed by this couple. We have a policy of carrying out our warranty repair work
, but as quoted by one of the largest marine motor
manufacturer dealers, “we do not warranty customers stupidity”! We couldn’t agree more.
All our boats now have CE approved ratings, necessitating inspection
throughout the build process from beginning to end. Potential oversights in the manufacturing process are considerably less likely. In the unlikely event that there is a product failure, we have a comprehensive manufacturers warranty to offer significant peace of mind.
The Schultes were handled poorly, fact. We hope to not repeat this in the future.
At the end of the day you as a consumer have the right to purchase whatever you feel you like, from whomever. If you are to be influenced as you have been by the writings of an isolated member
of the sailing community, then that is your right and you have made a decision. If anything, our order book continues to grow as a result of the Bumfuzzle saga, as it has created an opportunity for us as a group to be critical of where we make mistakes
and do what’s necessary to remedy them, that’s good corporate governance.
Charter Cats continues to build and deliver world-class boats across the globe, satisfying customers as we go."
Always a second side to the story!