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part 2: Northern Marine 90' Yacht Capsizes Upon Launch...!

Discussion in 'Northern Marine Yacht' started by jaycee, May 29, 2014.

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  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I think it was quite appropriate considering the purchaser was an owner of a US business. I'm sure he wanted US workers to be employed just as he employees them in his business. His point wasn't about enriching the business owner but about maintaining jobs in the US.

    I don't know why you felt the need to post in bold typeface. Nor why this subject and decision bothers you so much. Now I personally think it's anyone's choice to purchase from whomever they wish. We personally own US built boats and Italian built boats and British built tenders. Everything else being equal I would select a US builder but everything is never equal. In this case the US builder selected wasn't trustworthy. There were serious issues on this build long before it turned on it's side upon attempted launch.

    I see nothing wrong with his preference for a US builder. I see a serious lack of due diligence by an otherwise very good businessman in the builder he chose.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I think the plans the owners went with and what they wanted in a boat is part of the problem. It looks to be very top heavy.
  3. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    The Owner might have been determined to give as much benefit to Americans doing jobs in America as possible. There is nothing wrong with supporting your local community if you can afford it and it suits.

    The others you mention might well be American owned but they build outside the US for a reason - cost being a leading one.
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You do realize that after a Nordhavn is shipped to the US, it takes them about a year of warrantying lots of stuff to get them right for the owner. Most of them have to have a lot of factory equipment added, a lot of things repaired (warranty issues). They're not the gem everyone makes them out to be, it's just they have very good support here in the US to fix the screwups from the Asian builder.
  5. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    You suggest he should have bought a Nordhavn instead? Or do you think it would have been better if he decided for a Nordhavn?
  6. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    I do not believe, a Nordhavn is in such a bad shape shape, when it comes to the US or Europe, that repairing all that faults takes a year or more.

    We would call the Nordhavn building setup a remote workbench in Europe. I have seen two Nordhavn comming to Europe (Southampton, UK) and several boats during my visit in Dana Point. Those boats were pretty empty upon arrival. Basic machinery in an almost complete GRP and wooden "surrounding". No electronics, no instruments or household appliances. The panels in the wheelhouse and on the flybridge and the lockers in the galley were pretty empty. During the commissioning phase, all missing equipment was supplied and installed by local contractors and thoroughly tested according to CE standards and rules. The same is done for US boats at Dana Point CA. Most of the customizing is done at their final commissioning locations. And that may take several month, especially on bigger boats,

    That is the reason, why I would still call a Nordhavn a high quality US built (made in USA) boat with a remote workbench in China. I am absolutely sure, when commissioned and delivered to the customer, a Nordhavn is one of the best Trawler type boats one could buy on this planet!!!! I have never seen any Nordhavn bigger than 88 ft personally but their range from 47 ft to 88 ft are great boats. Design and layout lies in the eye of the beholder and will most likely suit personal needs but quality, technical setup and seaworthyness is IMO outside any question.

    Below a typical example how a Nordhavn wheelhouse looks upon arrival in the US or Europe, pretty empty panels. This is a NH 56 Motorsailer.

    8000.JPG

    Just my 2 (Euro) Cents
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I'm not saying Nordhavns are not a great boat, they are. But between the installation of all equipment, and all of the warranty issues and everything else. A Nordhavn owner is dealing with Nordhavn people on his boat for about a year after it lands in the U.S.. That's after waiting for the boat he has ordered has been built in this first place and then waiting for it to be shipped here. I'd say it takes a good 3 months just for the equipment to be installed.
  8. unsinker

    unsinker Member

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    Hello, that is exactly my point in asking about Baden owner decision in choosing that specific builder, there is no bias, it was and is a question I have asked myself and I asked/wrote in this forum, I respect his decision but simply put there are many builders with excellent proven record to chose from, my boat is a USA made Century 32 WA with made in Japan outboards and prior to that a USA made Watkins 25 WA with made in Japan Yamaha outboards, both great hulls with great foreign power plants, some accessories, gauges, pumps, etc. are foreign made, others USA made and both make a great job doing what they were designed to do, I think there are good and bad products made everywhere and I would not base my buying decision on where it is made, I would and do base my decision on perceived quality and manufacturing record, and yes, I would have chosen a Nordhavn for that specific cruising plan, their record is unmatched, having said that my personal preference is Marlow yachts, this is a discussion forum, we all should be respectful of each other ideas, everybody has a saying and, I think, questions are welcomed, thank you in advance.
  9. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    3 month for the installment of all customer specified equipment and owner supplied items, that is what I would confirm for a NH 47 or 52 after arrival in Southampton, UK. Bigger ones would take longer. Some more days for tests and trails and commissioning. 6 to 8 more weeks for the delivery from Taiwan via deck load to the UK, depending what the owner wants to spend for the freight. Plus the time for aquisition and planning prior inking the contract and then the building time in Taiwan. Sums up to about 2 years from saying your intial hello to the salesman till stepping on your very own and special semi custom trawler. Sounds quite reasonable to me for the circumnavigator of your lifetime.

    Sorry Capt J, I am not a neutral observer as far as Nordhavns are concerned. I just like their boats and those enthusiasts designing, planning and completing them and their clever setup. But personally I have never owned one and probably never will (We have one in the family, where I could influence the spec., lets say a little bit :). I have crawled all over their show boats and bumped my head so often, that I wonder myself not hating Nordhavns for the rest of my life :p.

    sad-toddler-boy-600.jpg

    A production boat which is made around the corner should not take longer than a year of course.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Northern Marine did and has built some excellent boats. I would say their build quality was on par with Nordhavn most of the time (depending on ownership). Part of an owner wanting to build a mostly custom boat like Baden in the US could simply be from an easier to supervise the build situation. A lot of mistakes were made with Baden, and unfortunately all this came to light. Perhaps if they used the proper sized railway or travel lift to launch her, and could have added ballast in the slings, she'd be cruising around right now.
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Nordhavn would not have agreed to build Baden. Way too far off their designs, too highly modified. You had an owner, captain, broker and builder all out of control.

    There were once some quality Northern's built. But most of that was one or two owners ago. The issue with Baden isn't their ability to build a boat.

    I don't drink the Nordhavn kool-aid. Unmatched, I won't agree. I would never go through the first year of owning one, from commissioning on. But they are very good boats. However, KK builds excellent boats for similar purposes. Fleming tops them in quality. And then there are smaller builders who have built good boats, such as Bering.

    As to time on a Nordhavn to the US, it's typically two to 2 1/2 years from order to delivery and then another six to nine months getting everything to satisfaction. There are normally many trips back after initial commissioning. Now, I will say, almost all Nordhavn owners are extremely satisfied. I just am not a fan of the extended process.

    Now when you toss Marlow in as your personal preference, I respect that and recognize they have many happy users. However, they also have buyers who have experience absolute catastrophes not all that much different than some of the Northern experiences. Read Kakawi vs. Marlow.

    But don't try to push the philosophy somehow that buying Nordhavn is buying America. Only in the name of the company and the commissioning. But the vast percentage of the labor dollars and the employees paid occurs in China. For a boat delivered to the US, more than 90% of all costs are incurred before it arrives to the US.

    If you're criticizing the owner involved buying Baden because he chose US, I think you're way off target and don't try to imply Nordhavn is US. If you're criticizing him because he chose the wrong builder, obviously history now supports that view. Today, if I wanted a Nordhavn type boat, It would not be built in the US because there isn't anyone here to do it. Had I wanted one when Northern was alive (and don't bet against a new Northern with new owners) I wouldn't have built it in the US because I would have done my due diligence.

    But with me personally it's this philosophy. If I can get a boat I feel is equal or superior built in the US by a stable US builder, I will do so. If not, I'll buy offshore. We own a couple of Riva's. Everyone can feel free to attack Italian builders. But we love them and in our mind there was no US equivalent. We own a couple of US built boats and felt they were a superior value. We do plan on one more boat soon and it is narrowed down to two US builders.

    Today there are only two US Yacht Builders I'd classify as "active", Hatteras and Westport. There are tug builders, and downeaster's and sportsfishing. Then for smaller boats there are dozens if not hundreds of good US builders. To my knowledge there are no US boats today to fit the trawler or passagemaker customer's needs. There are also a couple of good Canadian builders.
  12. Atlanta

    Atlanta New Member

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    I've learned a lot from this discussion, and hope to use what I learn here and everywhere else in planning my next boat in a few years - a retirement live aboard cruiser for New England, Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. And that boat might be an expedition yacht of the Northern Marine / Nordhaven / Flemming / Bering type. Or maybe a Burger. Or a Hatteras. I too, as a US businessman, favor US based companies with US payrolls - but only when US yards can deliver on quality. Didn't there used to be a rule that a US flagged vessel must have its keel laid in the US? What kinds of questions should M/V Baden's owner have asked when evaluating builders for his new boat? What kind of due diligence should he have researched?
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Mainly the owner and people who the owner hired to supervise the build were the issue. The boat is very top heavy, they kept adding weight up top Jaccuzzi, options etc, to a design that wasn't exactly designed for it. The boat called for a lot of added ballast to match the instability of what was up top, it was launched without enough ballast because the launching dolly's they had and ramp were maxed out with just the boat and minimal ballast.

    You can also fault Northern Marine for building it that way and the way they launched it.
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Find out the history of the company. In this case you would have found a prior bankruptcy, company repurchased out of bankruptcy by former owner and then the name and equipment leased apparently to New World. Any history of legal transactions. Financial stability. Insurance and bonding. Ideally get the word on the streets. Ask about the boat sitting in the building with no work being done. A lot can be observed just visiting the facility. Talk to some people in the industry in their area. Word spreads very fast where they are located as a lot of people involved in the industry.

    Ask what they've done since 2007 as that's the last build shown on their website. Ask for references of their most recent and in progress builds. When they say they can't share that information, ask them to provide your information to the people so they can contact you.

    Timing of your progress payments can be important.

    But in this case you were dealing with a very thin company in New World. They were leasing the property and facilities, leasing the name and equipment, and anything else was financed. And they had built very few boats and had very little business. Oh, and there were people claiming to have options to buy and attempting to sell the business.

    In their standard contract the buyer is really the one undertaking the risk of the build, paying in advance and ahead of the work actually done.

    Also, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. This boat could not possibly have been built and delivered at the contract price profitably. Why are they willing to build for so little? Because they have no business. Common sense says they can't build an equivalent boat to Nordhavn in Washington and deliver it for a substantial percent less.

    People purchasing boats in this price range generally are experienced businessmen and would never in their businesses enter into a $5-6 million agreement without due diligence on the other party. Yet, when buying a boat they seem to lose their business judgment. When we got ready to build, we eliminated builders who we had doubts of surviving long enough to get our boat built.

    One last comment. The buyer of this boat had already given up on it/lost interest and it was to be listed for sale the moment it was finished. It was well behind schedule. New World often had to get advance payments on boats they were building to meet payroll or to order materials, beyond what the contracts called for.

    In manufacturing we use to laugh and say if you really wanted to know what was going on to ask the truck drivers because they were in and out constantly. Well, one could have learned a lot at the docks and other yards in Anacortes alone.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You don't make those kinds of modifications and that type build without the involvement of a true naval architect. New World claimed one of their employees was one. Obviously, not a very good one to sign off on that design.
  16. Atlanta

    Atlanta New Member

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    Thanks. That's helpful in a practical sense, and insightful in a broader sense.
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The problem is you can hire people to watch and the best surveyor, get a great architect, but if you can't trust the yard to execute you're in trouble. Right now the only people building any volume of yachts in the US are Hatteras and Westport.
  18. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    If you guys could place your "buy American" politics for one moment into neutral gear, I would like to ask a question.

    What do you believe, a Nordhavn trawler yacht would cost and what quality would it have, if completely built in the US only by US workers and if exclusively equipped with US machinery, electrics, appliances and electronics ????? And how long would the building time be, in comparison to Nordhavn remote workbench setup.

    This is not ment as a provocative statement, it is a real question, as I do not know.
  19. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I believe in today's situation it could be built in the US for the same price as it's currently delivered to the US. Now equipped exclusively with US all, some of those items aren't available from US manufacturers and others that wouldn't be the preference, just as virtually none of the equipment now is Chinese. You'd really be sourcing those just like Nordhavn's commissioned in the US do today. The only difference is I'd hope you'd set up some stable consistent relationships and build some consistency into your operation.

    I've actually done quite a bit of research into comparing what it costs to build here. In comparing to Nordhavn, you'd save a good bit by doing it all in one flow rather than separating the build and commissioning into two distinct parts in separate parts of the world. Now, I'd make some other changes in the methodology of the build and all my numbers assume a very efficiently well designed manufacturing operation, not a Northern marine type.

    As to building time, well, I'll just compare to the only two thriving US yacht builders. If built as Hatteras operates you'd probably be cutting about 6 months off the total time, averaging 18 months or so on say a 60' model. If built as Westport operates you'd probably be reducing that to no more than 12 months. In either of those type scenarios you'd have far less follow up and adjust and addressing of problems after initial delivery.

    The problem in duplicating Nordhavn in the US is simply having someone honest and passionate and with very very deep pockets. You will never be efficient without adequate capital and that plagued Northern/New World and Christensen. Nordhavn was hit very hard by the economic situation 2009-2011 or so. However, they had both the commitment and the wherewithal to survive it and keep going. They reached deep.

    At some point you also have a question of whether there is the demand for a second "Nordhavn". Recognize Northern Marine never in their best days was building more than one or two boats a year. If you're not building at least four or five a year of this type boat, then you won't compete and likely won't survive. The efficiencies I talk about above will not be reached on one boat a year, some years of zero, some occasional years of two.

    Really the proof of my theory on being able to compete building in the US is in Hatteras and Westport.

    As to your buy American politics comment, HTM, at no point did I make a political statement regarding it. I answered the question regarding the purchaser in question and his reasoning and I stated my personal preferences. But I clearly own as many non US boats as I do US and I don't own any US built auto because there aren't comparable US cars to what we own. My boldest statement was I'd buy US if all else was equal. But then I'd buy Florida if all else was equal and I'd buy Fort Lauderdale and when I lived in NC I would have bought local there. The reality is it's seldom a real choice to do so. The vast majority of the products carried in the stores we own are sourced outside the US.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  20. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    That was not ment as an accusation or an offend and not adreesed to you. More as a joke for the start :p. My posts were taken several times as Euro minded, Euro trash, etc. but I do not take that personally. I buy my products without any national or regional prereference. The country and company that gives my the best, gets the order, period.

    Planes and Helicopters only from the US, sailboats up to now, mostly from the Netherlands, other private boats depends on how makes that type we like in the quality we want. My inland waterway displacement boat was made also in the Netherlands, not because they made the best, nobody else makes them anymore. Commercial ships mostly in Asia, not because they are the best, because they are so much cheaper. I even own one American Car, a 1965 AC Cobra 427 (I know most people believe it is a british car, for us Europeans this is THE American Car :)) !!!!!! I bought it in Texas during my Pilot training and shipped it to Germany.

    I am really surprised, you are assuming, that a completely US built Nordhavn would be of equal costs like a boat of their present setup. I thought, there would be a uge difference due to far lower labour cost, almost no enviromental restriction and allowable working hours (no overtime payment). I am absolutely sure, Amercian workers are able to deliver equal to better quality than Nordhavns Chinese partners. A country that is able to produce something in the quality of a Bell 429, a Citation Sovereign or a Boeing BBJ, should capable of building high quality GRP boats. Why than is Nordhavn building in China?