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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. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    That boat could probably have been a serious sea boat with adequate ballast. But that number of mistakes following each other during the build process ist alarming. Maybee the owner kept the yard too tight to do things just the neccessary little bit better? Could be possible as well... Hmm... How do things like this happen? The accident report certainly raises just as many questions as it answers. It most probably indicates sloppy management by both the yard and the owner´s supervisor.
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    It happens when you have a basically insolvent company that is, according to the person handling their billing, playing lots of billing games to stay afloat then biting off a bigger job than they can handle at a price they could never make money. Then it's a bit like Ponzi schemes in that as long as you have the next order advancing some money you can use it to cover the last order, but when orders stop coming in you're dead. Then they claim to have an engineer but he's gone, claim a designer but not really one. This boat was not their only problem. The other one that was sitting on their property with no work being done was also a disastrous situation.

    Integrity and financial stability are both important in selecting a builder. Also, not to trust someone else to make that decision or blindly follow a recommendation from a broker or a captain.

    The owner had already decided he didn't want the boat and it was for sale. It was over a year beyond the original completion date when this happened.

    Oh and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    I don't think this boat could have been made a "serious sea boat" without major renovation by another yard. It had long ago gotten too far from it's design specifications and was being built without a naval architect or an engineer on the job.

    There's a lot of "he said, she said" between the original owner representative and the builder, but ultimately it was known that there were questions and issues about the stability.

    And the quote of the day from March, 2012 regarding this build.

    While extremely large craft such as cruise ships often utilize modular construction, it’s unusual for custom yacht builders. “This allows us to completely tailor to an owner’s desires more efficiently. But it’s a complex process, a big challenge that can be considered a risk,” said Northern Marine president Andy McDonald. “You really have to be smart and meticulous about your engineering and planning. Luckily, I have an excellent team here,
  3. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    Hmm, most probably the team wasn´t that excellent or no longer there. If you´re, as as builder, in the situation that a project is going to meet your limits you have to be straight forward about it and reject the project or develope a plan with your customer how you can manage the tasks that come up along the project and then have capable experts involved for the critical aspects, all with adequate transparency and good and honest communication with project partners, external experts, project manager, owner´s supervisor and owner.
    Typically you´ll find very few builders capable of successfully doing custom projects acting different. Telling your customer you have all the knowhow for his project in-house is only adequate for mass production boat builders. If a builder is supposed to cover the risk of all changes and owner´s requests, additional engineer´s work and all that out of its own pocket he´ll have to request top prices for the product. If the builder is somewhat tight on budget the customer should chose another builder or encourage them to be open about issues that have to be solved and not be tight when it comes to covering the expenses.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Ok, here's a situation once you've been suckered in. Now tell me how you'd handle it.

    Your contract is for $8 million. Your boat is about 1/3 through the process and you've paid $4 million as per the contract. It's also running at least 9 months late at this time. The owner of the company comes to you and says he needs a payment of an additional $200,000 to materials for the boat delivered and/or to meet payroll. He'll credit that toward your total.

    What do you do?

    1. Refuse to pay and production stops. Boat will just sit.

    2. Pay, knowing you're in trouble and the only way you'll ever get it finished is to keep paying more than the contract.

    3. Tell him you're moving the boat somewhere else to be finished, which he will try to prevent you from doing?

    4. Require equity in the company to pay, understanding that you're likely to just have to take things over and buy the company to get the boat finished.

    The problem is that once in one of these situations, all your choices are bad. You know by this point that you're not going to get the boat for what was agreed and there's a strong possibility the boat will never be finished.

    No good businessman would ever advance millions ($5, $10 or more) to a vendor/contractor without a performance bond, or thorough review of the company, it's credit report, and it's financials. Yet those same businessmen do that on boats all the time. This is where it leads.
  5. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    It´s a difficult situation. I completely agree with you on that. But then, when it comes to custom boat building and a certain size and complexity of the project a fixed price is allways a trap for both sides.
    Best way for custom projects north of a certain size and complexity is like Arie van Vulpen from Lowland yachts in the netherlands used to handle these things back in the old days: "Open books. It costs what it costs +15% profit for the yard." And he never delivered less than the best he could.
    That´s honest business for both sides, the builder is able to do his best within an agreed price range and the customer won´t try to be cheap on the yard.
    They can agree to add or cancel certain details, equipment and options if final price becomes an issue, but it costs what it costs.
    No looking for the cheapest yard guy who is willing to cheat himself for getting the order and then finds out that the yard not only makes no profit but also cannot deliver the boat for the agreed price.

    What I want to say: Don´t try to get a price that obviously makes the yard loose money on your boat.

    If I got you right: If you try that choose a yard that can afford to pay you for allowing them to build your yacht.

    But as you mentioned: It´s all a matter of integrity. I´d like to ad that this should apply to both sides.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  6. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Back to the stability, or lack of.
    Looks like this boat had a single engine of 600 hp.
    A bit on the light side for a mega yacht and perhaps that was why additional ballast was needed to keep her upright.
    Normally a boat of that size would have 2 engines of twice the size of this little single.
    Why so light on power and so tall on super structure?
    A lake boat in the making, or a house boat made as cheap as possible?
    (Honey, let us add another deck so we have more room and cut down on the engines instead, we can just make it look like an expedition yacht)
    Oops, need ballast to make up for machinery, and oops, forgot to secure it, oops it rolled.
    Darn.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Displacement hulls don't need a lot of power to move them. The 76' Northern Marine I ran had a single 600hp Cummins and it had plenty of power.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    As Capt J indicated, the standard engine on a Nordhavn 86 is a single 600 hp MTU.
  9. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Yeah, some long-distance expedition yachts use single screw "smaller" engines, like freighters and fishing boats. They seem to stay upright however.
    Thx for posting the NTSB report, human error over and over again.
    Personally I think this boat is ugly: Too tall and built more like a three-story condo than a ocean going vessel. Am I the only one?
  10. bernd1972

    bernd1972 Senior Member

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    Well, you´re probably not the only one who hast seen boats that were more balanced (not only) aesthetically... :D
  11. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Umderstatement I'd say.
    But there is always people who wants that kind of boat, that is why thy keep building them.
  12. Delfin

    Delfin Member

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    Probably not. The vessel could have been properly ballasted and if so would have operated within the design envelope. Personally, that envelope wouldn't be my cup of tea for a world cruiser, but I doubt it would have rolled over in first blow.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Well, it appeared that the vessel was already outside the design envelope every time it was weighed. Without professional engineering or naval architecture who is to say what it would have been like. The last projection said outside the design numbers on weight and draft.
  14. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Maybe not, but why risk it?
    I have been through a hurricane mid-Atlantic, would not go near one in this boat. (Or in any boat for that matter)
  15. Delfin

    Delfin Member

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    Don't you think that if Roddan had been given accurate weights they could have specified ballasting to achieve the design stability, which from memory was supposed to be around 65%? I wouldn't find that level of stability acceptable since I would rather have a self righting vessel, but I understand lots of vessels operate within that range of ultimate stability.

    From reading the report the issues here weren't whether the boat could have been made to float, but total incompetence before and during the launch. Since the insurer has eaten the cost of this turkey, someone is going to buy it for a few cents on the dollar and finish what should have been an $8mm boat for $5mm, so I'd be willing to bet we'll see this vessel on the water at some point. Most likely upright.
  16. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Roddan, however, was not engaged to do any design work, but just to review the product a couple of times. They also had not been brought back in prior to launching as their report indicated was necessary. But they were not an engineering firm engaged on the project or involved in the design, just one brought in to review.

    As to seeing it on the water, perhaps one day but I think it would cost more at this point than the value of the boat would be. You can't compare to the new price. What is the value of a 4 year old Northern? Probably no more than $4 million given the circumstances. And your $5 million for the rebuild is probably quite in line. I wouldn't expect anything inside the boat to be salvageable as I don't believe any servicing or cleaning was done after salvage. So, now the labor or removing and then replacing plus the cost of all new. So, now the equipment and finish work inside, including engines, etc., would actually be more than on a new build. Now, obviously you get a hull, which needs moderate but not major repair. But you also need to engage a naval architect to design and an engineer. You're far off the original design. Now it's a matter of trying to redesign into something that is ok and insurable.

    I'd add that just the hassle of recovering and moving the boat somewhere to finish it would be significant and it may well have additional liens on it by now. Start with just the owner of the property.
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Reef material. That is all she is now.
    Scrap/salvage what you can and send her off shore in 90 feet of water.
    Who in their rite mind would purchase this tub? AND Go cruising on her?

    Oh wait, Flip this house was on the other night..... Call them. They can make junk into re-sell able profit.
    Stomach turning paint job and redefining what a bedroom (state room) is....
    Ah yes, she can cruise the marina with an interesting view angle...

    As my stomach turns..
    I hope all involved with this build had a flat tire. Spllllll-sh
    rc
  18. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    rcrapps: Do you remember the thread I had going here in 2008 about the ugly ferro boat that actually ended up as reef material? It was intentionally sunk in deep water after fuel and oil was removed as it was unsafe to sail and unsafe to haul..
    Not to distract from the subject of this thread, but I will dig up and thread and link. Horrible story and horrible boat.
    (I sold it unseen to a poor chap that refused a survey despite me recommending one.)

    Found it:

    http://www.yachtforums.com/threads/need-delivery-crew-fl-to-nassau-july.9437/
  19. German Yachting

    German Yachting Senior Member

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    Any news?
  20. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    JWY would have the most insight. She had a fight in this dog. Best to PM.