Art Averell has decided to retire.
Tartan owners new and old or should I say new and Classic, have all come to appreciate Art’s efforts to make their ownership of a Tartan enjoyable. For Art, it didn’t matter if it was a hard to find bolt or a replacement keel; each received the same attention and effort to respond to an owner’s needs.
When Art first joined Tartan, we talked about the customer service job and how he could absolutely save an owner’s season by quickly taking care of a problem. Some of our sailing seasons are short and a 12 week delivery time for a critical part can wipe out a season of sailing. The Tartan 37c is an excellent example, there were over 480 37c’s built and the rudder design with the lower notch for a pintle and gudgeon leaves the original rudders a bit prone to water migration at the notch. As a result, as 37c’s age, a replacement rudder is often a needed item. So the advice to Art was to always have a 37c rudder in the works and available for the next owner and by doing so, he could truly be a hero to that owner. Art has had many “hero” moments for owners of all Tartan models in his career with us.
Many new owners of older Tartans will call and ask if we have the original boat file for their “new” boat, of course they want to know as much as they can about the origin of their new baby. It might be easier to say no, that those files were lost years ago, but they were not. However, they live in a not too easily accessed storage mezzanine out in the factory. It requires a climb up a service ladder and then dealing with the main by product of boat building (dust) to get to the files. Art is up there on a weekly basis, without complaint, and usually comes back down with a file that may have an old letter from our predecessors at Tartan, Charlie Britton, Bill Siefert, Phil Craig, Joe Pocklington, and many, many others. Art will often ask, did you know “so and so”, and having bridged the multiple generations of Tartan, I normally did know “so and so” and invariably, we’ll share a story about that person or that particular boat… boat building is a very personal endeavor.
Few people are blessed with the Art’s keen sense of humor. Unfortunately, I don’t recall jokes well enough to share, and even if I could, I would have no chance in duplicating Art’s delivery. Like all businesses, boat building has had its ups and downs, however regardless of an up day or down day, Art could always be counted on to lift the spirits with a good one liner or a more in depth tale with a great punch line. If he wishes, there is another career available to him.
As much as Tartan owners will miss having Art here on the other end of a call, we at Tartan will miss him even more, because we have had the joy of seeing him on a daily basis. I was talking to a retired Tartan employee a while back, and I asked him if he was doing anything else or if he was taking to retirement. He said that no, just retirement and that he was damn good at it. Art will be the same and we wish him well.
– Tim Jackett