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Bertram 630 Sportfish Sinks?

Discussion in 'Bertram Yacht' started by YachtForums, Nov 12, 2009.

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  1. capitano_65

    capitano_65 Member

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    I totally agree with your statement.
  2. ArcanisX

    ArcanisX Senior Member

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    Seafarer, I see, understand and in many points share your point. However, you already started touching the root of their problem at the moment. Now, I am not a lawyer (good censor wouldnt let the abbreviation of this line :)), but a business professional with good experience I am, so I can quite easily see why the silence.

    1.) The trick of both admitting a problem and steering clear of amassed liabilities is the very example of rope walking. The fact that Toyota managed that in your example does not mean it's universally possible (and infact, toyota, as well as other manufacturers, had it's share of hard-through recalls where they seen no way to dodge that).
    Imagine for example a *recall* of Bertram 63 line on the basis of admitting faulty hull (essentially meaning replacing the whole line with new builds). Or the equivalent thing being forced through the court. Again, this is not a fact statement, but I'm almost sure that this event equals bancrupcy here and now for them. Now wonder they will bite their tongues off before risking it in the slightest.

    2.) Unfortunatelly, the whole system of corporate governance is now made the way that company management actually got higher priorities on whom to satisfy above customers. Specifically, owners, shareholders, prospected owners, rating companies, or any combination thereof. And while long-term it seemsto be the same thing, short-term these often are conflicting goals. This is where you need to look at it personal: issuing some statement that admits even the possibility of there being a problem might be good for customer's feelings, but for acting CEO's career it will likely be worse. Up to the point where it won't be him reaping the rewards of a company sailing smoothly on a preserved reputation.

    3.) Most "serious business" (pun intended) industries, especially those where public companies are a minority, have a lasting tradition of "keeping things smooth and under the veil". Not like it really worked well even in pre-Internet era, but at least back then, a customer from outside usually had to work much harder then simple googling to hook onto things as they are. Even now, 10 years into it, only a few really understand how to work with customer base in a better manner then woven words fiber BS-cored press-releases. The vast majority of official forums/blog communities/twitters/whatnot are SNAFU, a disaster of a perpetual sort even when there is no big ongoing scandal.
    I recall some books that described how businesses adapted to work with emerging newspapers - took several decades aswell, so no news here. So it's more then likely that they simply have no idea what to say in such a situation, and find it way more convinient to simply ignore the public, hoping for "another wave of that internet forum flames" to die out. As heated discussions indeed dry out and the "reputation damage" is not obvious in business terms, such a behavior does not appear as stupid to them as it is for us.

    4.) Again, the cost of "being 'found out' for having shoddy workmanship"(c) is not readily evident. With a properly solipsistic point of view, it is exactly zero - unlike, mind you, the cost of any proactive correctional effort. Like it or hate it, such a solipsistic approach is much more common then some of us would like, and businesses are no exception. Look at it Harward-style: we cannot definitely prove that the whole story will cost Bertram a single customer.
    I understand that with so much sarcasm in some of my posts this point will be hard to explain, but I'm not as sarcastic as you may expect here. In *some* sence, the idea above is right: if you have no money right now (and I assume they are no exception to the industry's downfall), there is not that much point in paying for some untanglible and virtual future benefit (e.g. "preservation of a good name among people discussing boats who may or may not ever be customers"). Ontop of it, this kind of ostrich strategy is almost natural, if irrational, reaction to confuses. Panic mode, indeed.

    If a million people did a stupid thing, there are probably reasons and rationales for it beyond a mass hystery.
  3. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    If, in fact, they are of the same mindset that you suggest in your post, then the most merciful end is a quick bankruptcy and liquidation rather than a drawn-out and painful collapse.

    Many other builders have faced that same end and their boats are still in demand in resale markets. Prolonging the suffering serves nobody well..
  4. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    In the interest of full disclosure, I do and have done public relations work for one of the Big 3 automakers who has gone bankrupt without foreign ownership or partnership. I am keenly aware of the difference of talking ones way out of situations vs. behaving ones way out of things. I also do press relations on behalf of automotive journalists who seek relationships with the manufacturers. I have a degree of firsthand experience in crafting/delivering message as well as ensuring the message is effectively conveyed in a manner beneficial to the source.

    This is not idle chatter, and I do not have any specific interest or intent to sell my services to the company in question in this thread (though I would not decline an opportunity to help them).
  5. ArcanisX

    ArcanisX Senior Member

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    Actually, my post present not a single mindset but an assortment thereof. And ironically, the intended point was that it is not exactly the end of the world:D (tho obviously not very good).
    I personally observed many serious companies that live on having some of that mindsets. Probably not as leaders in their field, but still well in business. And from a management consultant for the good part of my career, this means rather huge observation.

    Then, a "drawn-out and painful collapse" lasts just enough for a miraclous salvation to happen in more then just a few cases (abovementioned Motorola is now trying it's second one, Apple almost died out pre-iPod, on and on). So I wouldnt bury the patient just yet.

    Not to mention the fact that as a well-disguised optimist, I'm willing to understand, if not cut, some serious slack in businesses seriously affected by the recent economic downturn. Obviously, if you can come up with some typical mindsets causing such kind of corporate silence that eluded me (*everyone in the chain just royally FUBARed it* breaks down to one of the above upon inspection), and guess with your experience you might - I'm all ears.
  6. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I've been thinking one way for Bertram to help keep it's good name would be to offer all 63 owners the chance to let Bertram pay for a full hull survey by a neutral party that both agree on.

    And then pay for the repair of any defects found. Or perhaps take the boat back at a high trade in value toward a new Bertram.

    Seems to me if they are not willing to do something like that then it points strongly to them having knowledge of more hulls with potential problems.

    But if the boats survey clean, then it would go a long way to assuring not only the 63 owners that their boats are built well/correctly but also assuring owners of the other size Bertram's built around the same time as the 63s.
  7. ArcanisX

    ArcanisX Senior Member

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    Cm'on, get realistic, cap'n!
    I described this scenario in point 1. Try imagining how much would it cost to "repair", or rather build anew, even a portion of 63' fleet? I'm sure they got a numbers of those out. Then owners of their other lines get curious, some hire surveyors and Lord knows what find... It will certainly devastate their finances if not bankrupt them outright.

    I mean, if they would be willing to bet their company's life on the quality of their 63' line, that could have made sence (even then the surveying alone would have costed them). But... errm... well, look at the pics.

    They simply cant risk it.
  8. ArcanisX

    ArcanisX Senior Member

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    They did exactly that in another 63' debauche a year ago. I guess they re-evaluated their options since then. Which is, as I already explained, understandable, even as it stinks abit.
  9. goof2

    goof2 New Member

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    Not that the rest of your post wasn't meaningful, but this is the meat of it right here. From the perspective of an amateur enthusiast isn't this exactly what they are asking anyone who steps aboard a potentially defective boat to do?
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Actually, nothing has changed. That boat clearly delaminated and needed to be investigated. And personally, I do not like the quality or handling of the new Bertrams.
    But in the current case the jury is still out for me. I don't know if the buoy sank the boat or if delamination sank it or if hitting the buoy set off a chain reaction in a substandard boat that caused the sinking. I don't like to see rumor and speculation passing for substantiated facts. I don't believe that unrelated anecdotal incidents have anything to do with this case yet. The news will come out in the near future of the results of the experts hired by the involved parties (you know, the guys who actually have ALL the facts in their hands) and the settlement. Save the lynch mobs until then.
  11. ArcanisX

    ArcanisX Senior Member

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    The funny thing is, "not exactly". IIRC, 63' that delaminated in the sea a year ago made it to the harbour on it's own. In this case here, there was still time for the crew to get picked up. Obviously, they wouldnt be selling boats they know for sure to be guaranteed to sink the moment it hits the water.

    The trick is, there are two QC lines, not one - "all done at least safely and reliably", "yet misplaced artifical reef ", and the big grey area inbetween. This is the sort of a gamble on the part of the manufacturer that sounds quite immoral from a consumer perspective but it is certainly times older then Berthram, and is easily understandable.

    A shame to be going through this again in the same thread, but if you insist... Do you say the pictures are doctored? Because if not, you need to stop calling the process of drawing conclusions from it a "speculation" because it is analysis of facts - said pictures.
    On top of this , what we are talking about right now is lack of consumer relations from Berthram with regards to the incident, aside from the buoy story that worked the intended way (e.g. "a reasonable doubt") on you but is considered an almost offensive BS by some other people. This is, again, pure fact - if it is not show me any other press-release by Berthram or something alike.
    Also please kindly show where exactly anyone here named anything but fact a fact. Or withdraw this statement as false.

    This is the good thing about a nice spin - it takes about one line to do, and a whole essay to debase. Doesnt mean it's the right thing to do.
    Again, either call the year-ago 63' story unreal or withdraw "anecdotal" as unappropriate, and explain the usage of word "unrelated" referring to the two causes of similliar problem on the same model and build of boats.
    Similliarily, do you consider SHAZM!'s images doctored/misrepresented? If not, "anecdotal" again fares poorly.
    X'ept that a good portion of agreements on such cases are settled under NDA, in which case we wont' hear anything. Not that the photos aren't enough to get the general idea - unless you simply refuse to believe your eyes.
    And the third nice word-play in one post. What, exactly, lynch mobs you are referring to? Is this line to be understood as that there are "lynch mobs" here now, and if so, where exactly?

    Do not get me wrong, I am not a native English-speaker and I might not be understanding correctly, but what I see here is a rather blatant use of word-play to taint the meaning of discussion with subtle aquisations without actually standing up for them. This adds nothing and just clogs the ongoing discussion. If you consider the topic exhausted for you, as you keep repeating over and over, would you please let a second for those of us who dont?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  12. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Well, there is the possibility that the photos were altered, but I doubt that. If the photos are true then there exists the proof of delamination in several of them. Not inferred delamination, but actual visible in the materials remaining.
  13. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    Too late...:(
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    No question. What hasn't been established is what caused it. Chicken and egg. I have doubt about the boat blowing apart without contact with something. If it were near the waterline that would be one thing. It would have the force of the water on it. Stuffing the bow is extremely unlikely in those seas. It's too high and completely wrong to have hit flotsam. That's why being pierced is plausible. That said should the boat have held together? Probably, but IF the bow stuffed at 26kts after being opened that could peal the deck and there would be delamination all over the place. That's why I'm waiting for definitive word from those who have all the facts before condemning a business, suggesting that they should be sold or go bankrupt, putting people out of work.
  15. Henning

    Henning Senior Member

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    It didn't peel back the bow deck which is where the weak point is, it peeled back the hull in mid matrix, and that wouldn't cause delamination either. Do some destructive testing on fiberglass and see how it fails, the splintering and breakage stays in the immediate vicinity of the break because when properly layed up, the resin matrix becomes one solid mass. When you see solid sheets separated that shows a preexisting issue. Also, had the layup over the coring been a proper application and bond, the coring would have been destroyed where the "peel back" had occurred. As I said in the beginning, they may very well have hit that bouy, but the pictures of it indicated forces that should not have resulted in that failure. I still think there was a damage line of microfractures from a hard docking in the boats past.
  16. GUNNER

    GUNNER New Member

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    #600 - Well said Seafarer!
  17. 84far

    84far Senior Member

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    Henning, good call with post 595, and this is why i have issues with a lot of production boatbuilders. the customer doesnt know (materials/design/nav architecture etc) and thus doesnt know what his buying, because its been all glossed up... we call them 'tupperware' boats down under ;) . give me a custom build any day of the week.

    would it be good for Bertram owners to get a surveyor to look at the vessel, at the owners expense, if the surveyor finds a delaminating part of the vessel that is in bertrams fault, bertram can fix it…?

    SHAZAM! I haven’t doubted anything u have said… delaminating is not something u can really BS your way through and more so with those pics u have supplied and Y/F for that matter.

    NYCAP, wasn’t meant to upset anyone with my comment about selling the company. And if FEB has only owned the company for a short period of time, and before the boats in question were made, they might be able to turn a bad situation into a good… by fixing or prove that there building better boats.

    By the way, had a Bertram 18’ from 1972ish… had to get a new transom, and there was a few gelcoat stress cracks, bar that she was made like a ‘brick ****house’. :D

    far
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    As for every owner of a waranteed hull having a survey done at their own expense, that would sure give me piece of mind. If something does turn up Bertram is on the hook for it. Henning, You may be absolutely correct that the hull was weakened by a bad docking. Shazam you are absolutely correct that it may have been caused by Bertram buying inferior coring material and Bertram may be turning out pure c---, below industry standards. The key word here is "may". I'm still awaiting those pics of massive delamination on all these bad Bertrams that justify calling for the company to be sold at a firesale price, bankrupted or Bertram to pay to survey every boat in its fleet. I'm waiting for word from the parties who actually have all of the evidence including every frame shot and the entire video, the exact statements from the captain, mate and 1st responders, any samples that may have been brought up and tested, etc. before I call for working people to lose their livelihoods and investors to lose their savings.
  19. CaptainSilva

    CaptainSilva Senior Member

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    That about sums it up.
  20. sleeper

    sleeper New Member

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    What more do you need? Look at the pictures. It is clear in several of the shots that there was substandard construction. Poor (or no) adhesion between the core and glass in the hull sides, and between the bulkhead tabbing and the hull sides.

    Look with your own two eyes. You don't have to be an expert to recognize it. And there are enough experts on here that have pointed out the defects in this hull. It's plain as day.

    Like I said in a previous post - maybe the boat hit the bouy. But that boat should be able to hit a wall of those bouys without that much damage.

    If I sell you a new car, and you drive it over a curb and lose half the suspension, the engine falls out, the steering column lands in your lap, and the roof peels back - do you need a mechanic to tell you it was a piece of crap? Are you going to believe me when I say "oh, but it hit the curb, it's perfectly normal for the roof to fall off when you hit a curb".

    Give me a break.
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