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Old 14 October 2008, 04:56   #1
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Cheap or "quality"...

..can you achieve both?

Reading the thread on Prosport and various other threads on here… I thought I’d throw some “food for thought” into the pot..

I’ve seen boats laminated up by good laminators, shite laminators and good laminators who don’t give a shite. They all look “shiny” when fresh from the mold but can you tell that the lay up was carried out as specified in the design? Or done wet-on-wet and not over a long time period? How good is the structure of your boat that is hidden by the glass? Quality hard wood or some cheapo soft wood/shuttering ply? Was the correct resin used for the GRP tanks? How a surveyor, who has not been present during the build, can assess these is purely down to the paper work supplied by the builder. Even the builder, in some outfits, may not be aware off all that has gone on, on the shop-floor. Buy off some one who runs a tight ship and PAY for it.. it’s cheaper in the long run than constantly searching for cheap, cheap, cheap…cheap inevitably leads to corner cutting/time pressures with predictable results.. only my opinion.
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Old 14 October 2008, 05:25   #2
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over the years there has been some very good builds and some very bad ones , a number of years ago we scrapped and cut up a number of various boats mainly speed boats and the odd sailing which had been left abandoned in a boat yard ,granted the boats were from the 1970s with a few from the early1980s but the quality of layup and the way things were hidden was at times was shocking , from chip board which resembled wet wheatabix, to thin layered unresined matting all in out of sight , unreacheble corners and voids where no could get to ,poorly fitted skin fittings, fuel tank vents ect, all from the original build ,if i was buying a new boat think i would be looking a bit more deeply into what i was parting my money for .
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Old 14 October 2008, 07:14   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jono View Post
..can you achieve both?

Reading the thread on Prosport and various other threads on here… I thought I’d throw some “food for thought” into the pot..

I’ve seen boats laminated up by good laminators, shite laminators and good laminators who don’t give a shite. They all look “shiny” when fresh from the mold but can you tell that the lay up was carried out as specified in the design? Or done wet-on-wet and not over a long time period? How good is the structure of your boat that is hidden by the glass? Quality hard wood or some cheapo soft wood/shuttering ply? Was the correct resin used for the GRP tanks? How a surveyor, who has not been present during the build, can assess these is purely down to the paper work supplied by the builder. Even the builder, in some outfits, may not be aware off all that has gone on, on the shop-floor. Buy off some one who runs a tight ship and PAY for it.. it’s cheaper in the long run than constantly searching for cheap, cheap, cheap…cheap inevitably leads to corner cutting/time pressures with predictable results.. only my opinion.
Thats why I love Osprey. There is only one man who builds them (Mike) and has been doing so from day one. You can't rush him either (I should know, I tried )
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Old 14 October 2008, 07:38   #4
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Jono, I think this is a good topic for discussion and a change from the recent slide on ribnet of the topics becoming a bit, um...light in nature but I guess one could become a little unpopular with some builders. I personally, mostly , shy away from direct criticism of a build or boat's construction but I could be tempted by a good thread to, err, be constructive in my comments. .

When buying, I suppose it would be good to see the build of your boat in progress but you'd need to be aware of what to look for to identify the signs of poor technique. Once the build is complete, it would be difficult to tell whether the structure was the best if the outer finish was good and sound. There are sometimes tell-tails. However, I'm not sure of a couple of things; 1. that all builders are aware of best practise and 2. that it is necessarily quicker to do something badly than it is to do it correctly. Much of the time during the construction of something is taken up in the finishing and attention to detail and that is something which has improved markedly over the last few years.

Referring to a number of build threads on ribnet and boatmad, where the builder is showing off their work, there is plainly poor laminating and often a lack of appreciation of structural engineering. Given that these threads are to some extent promotional, it would appear the builder is ignorant of what they are displaying to those who can recognise it. Wet on wet, or not, would be difficult to find in a finished boat unless there was structural failure.

There are instances too where failures on the 'respected' makes of boat have arisen from poor technique or lack of attention during the build, so it's not only the lesser makes that are prone to problems.
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Old 14 October 2008, 07:48   #5
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A mate of mine spent all his hard earned cash on a large caravan - an Avondale Argente. Avondale are supposed to be one of the best makes and have been going for years. All CE approved and lots of lovely paperwork!!!

The build quality was a joke. The front and back ends started splittting and delaminating. It was only 1yr old and had been used about 3 times. They refused to replace the caravan and insisted the dealer do the repair. It took 8 weeks and was a total disaster.

So the right paperwork doesn't really prove anything - you could still end up with a rogue product.
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Old 14 October 2008, 08:46   #6
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A mate of mine spent all his hard earned cash on a large caravan - an Avondale Argente. Avondale are supposed to be one of the best makes and have been going for years. .....
If only he'd asked you to "Google" it.. he'd have known that Avondale have/had a reputation for "cracking" problems...took me 30 seconds to find that out..

...somewhat off topic though. I'm not saying that "CE" paperwork is worth anything. As has been well proven, it still relies on the integrity of the builder. Reading, quite carefully, the summing up it’s apparent that even without the correct paper work if the build had been to the “expected” quality there wouldn’t have ever been an issue with the boat. Concealed faults in the transom for example. Interestingly, my point is underlined by this phrase in the judgement…although this refers to “Big Yellow”

"Both authorised surveyors/examiners commented that the outward appearance of the hull was particularly good.”


The (Prosport) builder was acknowledged as “living hand to mouth” and this leads to failings as a few of us have witnessed. Buy “cheap” at your peril….
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Old 14 October 2008, 08:50   #7
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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
A mate of mine spent all his hard earned cash on a large caravan - an Avondale Argente. Avondale are supposed to be one of the best makes and have been going for years. All CE approved and lots of lovely paperwork!!!

The build quality was a joke
Avondale have now gone into administration!
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Old 14 October 2008, 08:58   #8
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Avondale have now gone into administration!
I suspect the credit crunch and the worst 2 summers on record has something to do with it!!!

"A CARAVAN manufacturer in north Warwickshire has suspended manufacturing with the potential loss of nearly 150 jobs - the latest victims of the credit crunch.
Avondale Coachcraft, based in Carlyon Road, Atherstone, went into administration yesterday after trading for more than 40 years.
Mark Hopkins and Matthew Hammond, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, have been appointed joint administrators of the company.
Avondale Coachcraft has been involved in the design and manufacture of touring caravans with an annual turnover of around £16million and employs 149 people from its head offices in Atherstone, selling its range of caravans throughout the UK."
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Old 14 October 2008, 09:36   #9
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There's a blurry line between 'cheap' and value for money, especially when it comes to boats, which nearly always appear expensive when compared to other leisure products.

I've been at the sharp end with an economy boat, and I think I was lucky to overcome my problems before Prosport closed shop. My original hull was clearly inadequately built, a fact which the company admitted, and blamed upon their laminator for not doing his job properly. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys is probably the most apt saying here.

Unlike cars which are built on a mechanised production line with controlled standards and normally come with a warranty for 3 or 5 years, most boats are hand built with the vagaries of quality which all humans can suffer.

I knew I was buying a cheap boat (I wouldn't have been able to afford a new one otherwise) but I had hoped that the builder would have taken safety and fit for purpose seriously, especially considering his employment/involvement with the lifeboat and port radio.

If you are going to a complete unknown manufacturer you would have to be far more cautious than with a big name and good reputation. I don't think any legislation, without being extremely overbearing could protect all of us from all possible problems. Even houses covered by NHBC 'guarantees' suffer problems which really should have been spotted by the inspectors. And that is a fairly well regulated process.

Ultimately the builders need to take more responsilbility to ensure their products are built correctly. How you encourage or demand that responsibility is the difficult bit.
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Old 14 October 2008, 11:16   #10
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Jono - I agree that anything which is much cheaper than its competitors is probably going to be as good quality. However the corollary is not always true either - simply paying more doesn't necessarily mean you get better quality - ie. the most expensive is not necessarily the best.
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