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Sixty Years & Beyond

Posted on: June 9th, 2020 by legacy-admin No Comments

In the fall of 1960, Charlie Britton commissioned the renowned yacht design firm, Sparkman and Stephens to design the very first Tartan, the 27. The master Tartan 27 patterns and molds were produced during the fall and winter of 1960/61 and hull number one was completed and launched in the spring of 1961. 2020 marks the 60th Anniversary of the inception of the Tartan brand, indeed an exciting milestone. The 60th year began with another important milestone with the acquisition of Tartan and Legacy by Marine Manufacturing Group LLC., a subsidiary of Seattle Northwest Yachts. Subsequent to the transaction and although hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, much has happened. Perhaps most importantly, the brands have the right team in place for success in Tartan’s 60th year and beyond.

The Tartan and Legacy operation has been relocated to a newer, larger and more efficient production facility located in Painesville, Ohio.  First on the agenda is to deliver the boats that were in process in late 2019 and earlier this year, with the mandate to make these some of the best Tartans ever built.  Beyond that and into the future, the emphasis is clearly to make quality the centerpiece of the brands.  Seattle Northwest Yachts bring a wealth of boat building experience and talent.  Peter Whiting, the Managing Member of Seattle Northwest Yachts is excited to be continuing the tradition of boat building in northeast Ohio and he has assigned a couple of his staff to assure the success of the operation.  Phil Friedman and Bill Macnab have been intimately involved with the layout of the new facility and establishing build protocols and processes that they have used in their lengthy careers in the marine industry.  Add in Tim Jackett’s 43 years of Tartan design experience and the Marine Manufacturing Group’s senior management team boasts well over 120 years combined marine industry experience. You could say that means they’re just a bunch of old guys!  But be assured, if they are, they’re old guys with a passion for quality boat building, excellence in design, efficient manufacturing and above all else a passion for the Tartan and Legacy brands.

Seattle Yachts International Acquires Tartan Yachts And Legacy Yachts

Posted on: April 9th, 2020 by legacy-admin No Comments

Posted April 02, 2020 | by Phil Friedman

tartan yachts

Breaking News: Seattle Yachts International Acquires 60-Year-Old Ohio Boat Manufacturer! Fairport Harbor, Ohio – Peter Whiting, Managing Partner, announced that Seattle Yachts International, is continuing its expansion and vertical integration with the recent acquisition of famed 60-year-old boat manufacturing operation, Tartan-Legacy. Seattle Yachts has formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Marine Manufacturing Group LLC (MMG) to purchase the assets of Tartan Legacy Yachts, a manufacturing operation that produces Tartan Sailing Yachts, Legacy Downeast Yachts, and AMP® brand carbon fiber masts and spars. Speaking with candor and obvious pleasure, Whiting explained that Seattle Yachts has been a dealer for both Tartan and Legacy yachts for several years and had a number of boats in the Tartan Legacy production pipeline when it became evident the Ohio-based manufacturer was experiencing financial difficulties. Said Whiting,”Look, it’s no secret that Tartan-Legacy had fallen onto some hard times of late and was struggling despite having a healthy order book and some nineteen boats in process on the production floor. We could see that, with some needed recapitalization and the infusion of some heavy-duty boat building management talent, we could restore the brands to their historically strong positions in the market. We also felt that would ultimately be to the benefit of everyone, including current and future customers, other Tartan-Legacy dealers, and, of course, ourselves, who had significant investments at stake, not to mention the 45 some people who work in the operation.” Whiting explained further that when the urgency of the situation became clear, he retained well-known marine industry consultant and former president and CEO of Palmer Johnson Yachts, Phil Friedman, to help evaluate what might be done and, later, to consult in the acquisition. Friedman, a long-time friend and marine business associate of Whiting’s, described the whirlwind of evaluation and due diligence activities that followed. Said Friedman,“To an outsider with little experience in the recreational marine industry, the speed at which this process moved might seem astounding. But in situations like this, accelerated decisions are the norm, not the exception. The fact is, buying and owning a boat manufacturing operation is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it something for gentlemen hobbyists or bean-counters in pinstriped suits. It takes talent, hands-on experience in the industry, guts, and a fair measure of tolerance for risk. These are all qualities that contribute to being able to make sound decisions on the fly and are generally displayed only by seriously experienced boatbuilding business pros like Peter Whiting.” In turn, Whiting said that he was pleased to have Friedman available to help with the reorganization and relaunch of the Tartan Legacy operation because in addition to marine business management experience Friedman also has in-depth background in the construction of both sailing and luxury motor yachts 10- to 50-meter range. (Seen below: The Legacy 36 is a classic luxury downeast cruiser. Seattle Yachts has a Legacy 36 available in Florida.)

Legacy Yachts 36

Whiting also pointed out that he and Friedman are being joined on the MMG management team by long-time yacht production pro, Bill Macnab, who spent a couple of decades building boats and yachts in Asia, at firms like McConaghy, Prout, Tri-Con, and Allegro — and who, before that, worked for many years at Westbay Sonship in British Columbia, Canada. Said Macnab, “Our main goal at Tartan-Legacy is, in the short term, to improve processes and through-put of the operation, while maintaining the high quality of construction, fit, and finish for which these brands have been known. We will also, by the way, deliver these rugged, seaworthy, comfortable, and good-looking cruising yachts at compelling prices.” Tim Jackett, Tartan-Legacy’s perennial in-house designer and product development manager will round out the team going forward. Said Whiting of Jackett, who has been with the boatbuilding operation for nearly 40 years, “Tim represents the best of what makes the Tartan and Legacy yachts what they are today. He brings to the mix a genuine wealth of historical knowledge, solid design sense, and the appetite for constant improvement and innovation.” Whiting went on to explain that the Tartan-Legacy manufacturing operation is being moved to a new 76,000 sf facility in Painesville, OH, about five miles from its current location. Although only slightly larger than the current facility, the new plant is, according to Macnab, much better laid out for boat building than what Tartan-Legacy has had for the last ten or so years. And the long-term lease at the new facility assures Tartan and Legacy brands will continue to be built in the heartland of America for a long time to come. About Marine Manufacturing Group LLC MMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seattle Northwest Yachts, LLC. MMG recently acquired the assets of the Tartan/Legacy/AMP operation in Fairport Harbor, Ohio which has a 60-year history of designing and building Tartan sailboats and sailing yachts, as well as, more recently, Legacy motor yachts and AMP carbon fiber masts and other parts. MMG recently moved the Tartan/Legacy operation to a new 76,000 square foot facility in Painesville, Ohio, where the company expects soon to be producing several dozen units per year. (Seen below: The new Tartan 395 sailboat is in stock with Seattle Yachts San Diego.)

tartan 395 sailboat

About Seattle Yachts International Seattle Yachts covers the waterfront with multiple local offices and a full-service boatyard situated from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California, Florida, the Bahamas, and the Philippines. Moreover, Seattle Yachts’ highly experienced, globe-trotting team can meet all of a customer’s yachting-related needs not only in the Americas, but in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia, as well. The firm is active and experienced not only in selling yachts, but in their design, construction, repair and maintenance. Many of the SY team also have decades of hands-on experience in sailing and motor yacht operation and in cruising and extended liveaboard. In addition to offering a complete range of yacht brokerage services, Seattle Yachts is also an authorized stocking dealer for a wide array of new-yacht brands, both power and sail, including Alaskan, American Tugs, Endurance, Hampton, Legacy, Nimbus, Northern Marine, Northwest, Paragon, Regency, Whitehaven, Dehler, Hanse, Moody, and Tartan. According to managing partner, Peter Whiting, this enables Seattle Yachts to guide its customers and clients to the right buying decisions in accord with what is right for them, rather than being restricted by a narrow selection of available alternatives.  

George Gulden Joins TLC Yachts, LLC Management Team

Posted on: August 26th, 2019 by legacy-admin No Comments

Gulden returns to what he loves to do best, build excellent yachts, after a 12-year hiatus

George Gulden has been named vice president of operations for TLC Yachts LLC, makers of Tartan and Legacy
Yachts, and AMP composites. Gulden has spent his life in and around boats and sailing. His passion for the
sport and the lifestyle along with his extensive experience in production management and deep Ohio roots
put him at the top of the list of candidates for this newly created position. “We look forward to fantastic
results from George,” said Rob Fuller, managing partner of TLC. “He knows boat building, and also brings
ideas and strategies from his other work experience. He’ll be a great fit and welcome resource as TLC
continues to grow.” TLC Yachts designer and partner, Tim Jackett, worked with Gulden during his first stint at
the company. “George has always been a passionate supporter of Tartan. I am pleased we’ve been able to
bring him back aboard with the focus of streamlining production among the three brands, Tartan, Legacy,
and AMP. He will fast become an integral part of our growth and success.”

Here’s George in his own words:
I caught the sailing bug in 1975 when my dad bought a Ranger 29 which we successfully campaigned for over
two decades on Lake Erie. While still a little kid, my favorite hobby was filling out the cards in the back of SAIL
magazine to order various sailboat brochures. I didn’t know it at first but that triggered every dealer in the
area to call the house looking to sell us a boat! I would sift through the buyer’s guides and brochures
memorizing the critical dimensions of every model. By the age of twelve I was able to identify nearly every
sailboat I saw on the water and recite its dimensions. It was around this time that I went on a tour of the
Tartan factory in Grand River, Ohio, to watch the first of the Tartan Ten’s roll off the assembly line. This one
visit initiated the drive and passion I have today.

Beyond family sailing and racing I worked on various race boats maintaining and delivering them to races
near and far. In my late teens I took a job at Shore Sails to learn the art of sail making and eventually started
my own sail making shop a few years later. Ultimately that shop expanded to encompass boat repair and
brokerage. During this time I put myself through college and earned a BBA in Operations Management at
Cleveland State University.

In 1997 I was hired by Tartan to sell boats and anchor the customer service department. After a few years I
was tasked with transitioning the lamination department from hand lay-up to resin infusion a process that
allowed us to truly control the resin to glass reinforcement ratio that is key to building the best hulls and
decks. I found this to be very rewarding and it’s essentially the same process we use today.

It seems that all good things do come to an end or at least a pause. In the years since I left Tartan I pursued a
career in the steel fabrication industry where my first project was managing the armor production for MRAP
vehicles for the second Iraq war. This proved to be very satisfying as it was saving lives on the battlefield. I
was also involved with some projects delivering directly into the theater of war. After these ended I produced
crane booms for major crane companies as well as parts for the commercial passenger rail industry.

Turns out that the project management skills I developed during my 12 years away from boat building and
the unending allure of building the best quality yachts in the market have brought me back to what in my
heart of hearts is where I belong. I look forward to many years building Tartan Yachts, Legacy Yachts, and
AMP composite masts, booms, and more. I’m excited for what the future holds and happy to be home.

Tartan Says Goodbye to Ray McLeod Jr.

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by legacy-admin No Comments

One of the founding fathers of Tartan has passed away.  When Charlie Britton returned to the Cleveland area after his service in the Navy and his discharge in Japan and subsequent voyage aboard the Rhodes designed “Tenba” from Japan to New York, he set his sights on producing a new breed of sailboat.  At the time, Douglass and McLeod were long established builders in northeast Ohio.  Beginning in the late 30s and early 40s D&M had been building the International 14, International 21, and the Sandy Douglass-designed, Thistle, Highlander, and Flying Scot.  While the earliest D&M boats were traditionally built wood construction, the later boats were built from laminated plywood shells.  With the development of the Flying Scot in 1958, D&M was on the leading edge of boatbuilding, shifting to molded fiberglass.  In 1959, Charlie joined D&M and the leading designers of the day, Sparkman & Stephens, to launch the Tartan 27 project.  At the time, Douglass & McLeod was headed by Ray McLeod Sr. and Ray Jr., who brought the boatbuilding expertise to the 27 project and of course the budding knowledge of how to use this new-fangled building material, fiberglass.  Ray Jr. went on to run Douglass & McLeod and the production of the Tartan 27, Blackwatch 37, and the Tartan 34.  D&M/Tartan experienced a devastating fire in 1971 and in the rebuild; Charlie formed Tartan Marine Company as the builder and took over all operations.  Ray McLeod Jr. went on to produce the D&M 22 and up until a few years ago, continued D&M as a local marina and service yard.  Ray Jr. passed away February 11. He remained a friend and supporter of Tartan in his own curmudgeonly way and his contributions to the formative years of Tartan were great.   

 –Tim Jackett 


This is a Tartan ad, circa 1968, that ran while Ray McLeod Jr. and Charlie Britton worked together to build what would become Tartans. At the time, Tartan was the model designation for the 27 and Blackwatch was the model designation for the new 37.

Michael Tamulaites joins Tartan and Legacy team

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by legacy-admin No Comments

TLC Yachts LLC is happy to announce that Michael Tamulaites has joined the management team at TLC. As marketing manager he will be working with Tim Jackett and the Tartan and Legacy dealer networks to promote both the Tartan and Legacy brands through public relations, social media, advertising, boat shows and special promotions. As brand manager for the custom division of TLC, Michael will don his sales cap and work to bring in custom projects both new and re-fit to the growing company. Michael’s vast marine industry experience and creative intuition will be a boost to both existing brands and help launch the custom division.   

“Michael impressed us with his creativity and marine knowledge years ago when he was our ad rep for Cruising World and Sailing World publications,” according to Jackett, “so much so that we hired him away in 2003. Although our paths diverged for a time we stayed in touch and feel this is the right time to bring him back into the Tartan and Legacy families.” 

“Tim and Rob Fuller are growing a great boatbuilding company for the future based on an incredible history,” Tamulaites observed. “They are stars in the industry and know that smart growth is the best growth. Putting such wonderful brands as Tartan and Legacy under the TLC umbrella is genius. And being able to look at ideas from current owners of both brands and even other designers through a non-production lens is exciting.” 

Michael’s first taste of leaving the Naples, Florida beach he grew up on, under sail, was in a “Kool” styrofoam, lateen-rigged, death-trap of a 12-footer. But it was his mother, who re-injured her back skydiving after 90+ safe landings, and was looking for an adventurous way to meet people that wouldn’t be so death-related, who took the three-member family (Mom, Michael and younger sister, Karen) down the sailing rabbit hole. Starting with a battered rental-fleet Sunfish and a Coast Guard sailing course, mom and Michael took off and became completely hooked. Sis, not so much. Michael crewed locally for two amazing men who were very strong influences in sailing and life. From PHRF to IOR, Sunfish and Lasers to Olympic Finn, Michael sailed anywhere and everywhere through high school, college and the 1988 Olympic Trials.

“When my mom got me into sailing as a kid, our first “ride” was a Tartan 27 name “Finesse,” Tamulaites reminisced. “She raced aboard, doing bow, and then one summer we, my mom, sister and me, were invited to race aboard her at Abaco Race Week in the Bahamas. What an incredible experience, and ever since, I’ve been hooked on Tartans. When I met Tim during a SAIL Magazine Rally in the Bahamas he impressed me with his cool confidence in carrying the brand into the future. Now this was in the 1990s so that impression was really spot on!”

Boston Whalers equated to the land-based freedom flights of go-carts and minibikes for water-saturated Neapolitan kids. The mangrove channels between Naples and Marco Island were hide-and-seek wonders with the odd rusty barge to investigate for inquisitive ignorant youth. They were incredible skiing and fishing venues as teenagers and beautiful cruising areas with parents on all manner of production and custom power cruisers. Although sailing put Michael on the water, anything that floated taught him valuable life lessons and opened his eyes to the wonder of water-based life.

“As much as I love sailing, it sure is nice sometimes to hit a few buttons and start cruising at speed to a favorite beach or harbor. Day long and long term cruising under power will continue to grow and I know that Legacy is going to grow along with it. I’ve followed the brand though its life and appreciate Mark Ellis’ fine designer’s eye. As he has done with Tartan, Tim will massage the Legacy brand with his intelligent influences and the rewards of his involvement will be obvious. The Legacy brand is in very good hands now and going forward.”

Through his marine industry career, Michael followed leads like playing wind shifts. Starting as a young editor at SAIL Magazine, he has alternated between boatbuilding and national magazine work for over 25 years. Every tack has been filled with rewarding experiences and excellent people who have shared their incredible knowledge freely. Currently living in Bristol, Rhode Island, with his wife, two teenaged sons, a crazy dog and “way too many boats,” Michael has landed right where he belongs.

Michael will remain based in Bristol, Rhode Island, and can be reached at or 401.835.4437.

Tartan and Legacy Welcome Keith Ransom

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by legacy-admin No Comments

A new face joins the Tartan and Legacy Yachts Design team. Keith Ransom, a Michigan native, is no stranger to the Great Lakes and boating. He’s excited to join the team and help bring fresh ideas and designs to life.

A quick Q&A with Keith:

What is your new position with Tartan?
I am a Design Engineer at Tartan and a Naval Architect. I graduated in 2016 from the University of Michigan, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department and I am also a graduate from the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, MI.

Where are you from?
I am from South West Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

Did you grow up sailing or boating?
I grew up playing on and in between the Big Lakes and a bunch of smaller ones; water skiing, swimming, fishing, paddling and eventually, sailing.

Do you own a boat?
I own a Laser sailboat and an Old Town canoe.

What interested you most in joining the Tartan team?
The Tartan team interested me most because of its legacy, tradition and style, and that it is here in the Great Lakes region.

What are you most excited about now that you are part of the Tartan team?
Now that I am part of Tartan, I am most excited about advancing our design and engineering department with the latest software, and just being a part of the team that brings these boats to life.

Outside of work, what’s life like? What do you do for fun?
I am married and my wife and I have two great pets, a dog, Bella and a cat, Jinx. We
enjoy foraging and regularly find excuses to get outdoors just to have a look around. I am a Marine Corps veteran, and I enjoy spending time cooking, woodworking and wineries.


Enduring Legacy | Power + Motor Yacht Review

Posted on: March 3rd, 2017 by legacy-admin No Comments

Tartan Legacy 36, Grande Duck off Newport RI.

Jamestown Harbor looked like a watercolor painting. Hundreds of sail- and powerboats bobbed lazily on their moorings, a lone jogger prodding along Conanicus Avenue was the first sign of life I saw.

Residents were walking up Narragansett Avenue past the still shuttered Jamestown Hardware to get on line for coffee and breakfast at Taste of Heaven, a local favorite with a menu that lives up to the name. The late-summer air was warm, yet crisp. Nursing a cup of coffee, I strolled past the boutiques, the ice cream shop, and a photo gallery. There are no big-box stores or chains in Jamestown and that’s how people like it. Simple. Quiet. Satisfying. Those were the adjectives that came to mind as I took a final swig from my coffee and set forth for Conanicut Marina and the Legacy 36 I was scheduled to test.

She was an easy boat to find. Tugging at dew-soaked lines she was a handsome Down East yacht with a teak-capped, sweeping sheerline. Stepping easily through a gunwale door I shook the hands of Legacy COO and Chief Designer Tim Jackett and proud new owner Vah Erdekian; small talk ensued until Erdekian eagerly jumped at the chance to show off his new pride and joy. Through a sliding glass door I followed him into a saloon that immediately makes you feel as if you’d just stepped aboard an exceptionally bright sailboat (not a coincidence as Legacy’s parent company, Tartan, is a world-class sailboat builder). Everywhere you look in the saloon you’ll find smart, salty design elements like a sturdy teak searail running fore and aft throughout the entire space, decorative teak battens crossing the headliner athwartship, and “Wait, you have mounted fans?” I ask motioning to the two fans in the aft corners.

“Those are Tim’s fans,” laughs Erdekian. “He had to have them.”

“You have to circulate a little air, you know?” counters Jackett with a retort that proves his relationship with Erdekian is more than just professional; the pair have become friends. “That of course comes from our sailboat side; on the powerboat side you usually just close the windows and crank up the A/C.” The idea of running a couple of quiet fans each time you got a little warm on the hook—instead of the generator—was a virtue he quickly sold me on.  (Continued here)



Daniel Harding of Power + Motor Yacht met up with Legacy COO and Chief Designer Tim Jackett and proud new owner Vah Erdekian for a test drive off the shores of Jamestown Harbor. He quickly fell in love with this beautiful, well-thought out yacht, designed with meticulous attention to all the details. 

Read the complete LEGACY 36 Review here.


What the Hull…There’s More! | Part 2

Posted on: February 10th, 2017 by legacy-admin No Comments


So we’ve built a great hull using the best materials and practices, but even the best hull shell requires a robust framing plan to support the loads that power and sailboats experience.  In a sailboat, the loads from a heavy keel, the bending, twisting and compression loads caused by the rig and sea conditions and on a powerboat, the slamming loads when running at speed and the torque loading caused by large engines all must be considered and accounted for.  Proper framing, structural bulkheads, engine beds, keel floors and attachment points are the key elements that complete the structural plan that assures that a boat maintains its strength, performance and safety over its long life span.



Both Tartan and Legacy yachts use a grid of athwartship structural floors and longitudinal members strongly adhered to the inside of the hull skin to reinforce the hull.  In a sailboat, supporting the keel requires an extensive grid of frames that spread the load of the keel over a large section of the bottom of the boat.  Tartan’s keel floors are deep and fiberglass taped directly to the hull using 45/45 degree double bias knit fabrics and modified epoxy resin.  The double bias material takes maximum advantage of the fibers, with a fiber orientation of 45 degrees, all of the structural fibers span and cross the joint (conversely taping using a fabric with a 0/90 degree fiber orientation only produces 50% of the fibers spanning the joint).  Legacy power boats use a heavy, molded fiberglass grid that is bonded into the hull using very high strength adhesives.  This forms the engine foundation and the grid reinforces the slamming areas when running at high speeds.   Structural bulkheads and fore and aft risers for bunks and cabinetry are also fiberglass taped or attached with high strength methyl methacrylate structural adhesive directly to the hull and the deck completing the framing and hull reinforcements.



Sailboats and powerboats live and perform in a very harsh environment and both are subjected to very high loads.  How the internal framing and structure is built and structurally attached to the hull and deck is critical in how well they withstand punishment when offshore, your safety on board is dependent on this important phase of building your boat.  At Tartan and Legacy, we give it our top priority.

Building a Yacht | A Series by Tartan and Legacy Yachts

Posted on: December 20th, 2016 by legacy-admin No Comments

She’s not JUST a boat.

She’s an investment.
She’s an adventure.
She’s sunny days spent making life long memories with friends and family.
She’s a second home (or maybe home!).
She’s freedom.

Whatever your boat is to you, the fact is, she’s never been ‘just a boat,’ and Tartan and Legacy Yachts knows and understands just how important every boat is to each unique owner.

That’s why we build your boat using only the best materials and the best building practices and processes available. We know the importance of what we are creating for you, and want her to be everything you’ve ever imagined.

Follow us on a journey as we show you just how much love, care and, of course, expertise goes into the production of your Tartan or Legacy yacht. This series will take you step-by-step through the process that allows legendary craftsmanship to meet performance in every Tartan and Legacy yacht that leaves our Northeast Ohio facility.

What the Hull

Posted on: December 20th, 2016 by legacy-admin No Comments

Building a Tartan or Legacy yacht hull

There are many ways to build a sail or motor yacht.  And at the end of the day, they all float and perform to a certain level.  However, just as both the Kia Rio and the Audi A8 Quattro have 4 tires and a steering wheel, their DNA is distinctly different and they deliver differing levels of performance and luxury.  The same can be said of the differences in how boats are built and ultimately, how they perform.  Tartan and Legacy owners demand a rare combination of performance and luxury, achieving this lofty goal starts with the very first building blocks, the materials and process used for laminating the hull.

In the late 50’s and early 60’s, reinforced fiberglass lamination revolutionized the pleasure boat industry.  The primary materials used were chopped strand mat and heavy, coarsely woven fabrics.  Chopped strand mat is the least expensive reinforcement material, it soaks up a lot of resin and the short fibers provide little strength.  Woven fabrics are stronger, but still require a lot resin.  The end result for these early hulls is that the bulk of the laminate was chopped strand mat (low strength/high weight) with a few layers of heavy woven reinforcements (higher strength but also heavy).  Compounding the problem with these materials is that to achieve stiffness the laminate had to be made too thick.  The simplest factor to determine strength to weight in a fiberglass hull is how much glass fiber there is in a laminate versus how much resin.  The higher the glass fiber content the better.  A hand laminated hull based on chopped strand mat and woven reinforcements typically contains 25% glass fiber and 75% polyester resin.  Although there have been some small improvements in these materials, incredibly, many builders still build their hulls this way, why? Low cost with little concern for the impact on performance.    

Chopped strand mat and coarsely woven fabrics were the norm in the early years of fiberglass boat building, these materials produce a heavy and flexible hull, incredibly many builders still use these antiquated materials and processes in their hulls, why? They are low cost and performance is not a guiding principle for these builders.

There has been a lot of advancement in fiberglass composite technology since 1960.  Largely driven by the aerospace industry, fiberglass structures can be built that are stronger, lighter and more durable than their predecessors. Doesn’t it just make sense to apply these advances to yacht construction?  It does if your customers demand great performance AND luxurious accommodations.  Tartan and Legacy hulls are built using a matrix of uni-directional reinforcements carefully aligned for maximum benefit based on how a hull is loaded.  These very high strength reinforcements comprise the inside and outside laminations over a light weight synthetic coring producing a composite that has the same high strength characteristics of an I-beam.  Equally important, the laminate is infused under vacuum in one shot with the best marine resin available, modified epoxy/vinylester.  Modified epoxy/vinylester resin has far superior adhesive qualities, elasticity (important for better laminate fatigue resistance caused by the cyclic loading of the hull) and chemical/water resistant properties than the more commonly used polyester resin used by most builders, it is also three time more expensive.  But if your goal is to deliver on the promise of great performance coupled with luxury, it is the only resin that makes sense. 

Uni-directional fibers make up the inside and outside skins over a synthetic coring to produce a very strong light and stiff I-beam structure

In engineering a great hull, materials are only half the story, the laminating process is of equal importance.  Traditional hand laminating produces a laminate that is 75% polyester resin and only 25% glass fiber, polyester resin is heavy and by itself has little strength and is quite brittle.   A Tartan or Legacy hull is laminated through vacuum infusion.  The entire structural hull layers are carefully fit into the hull dry, with additional plies placed in areas of high stress; this includes the precise CNC cut synthetic coring.  After the glass reinforcements are in place a series of resin feed lines and vacuum lines are set into the hull and a plastic vacuum bag film is fit over the entire hull.  Once a full vacuum is achieved, the required amount of modified epoxy resin is catalyzed and the resin is pushed into the dry reinforcing materials by one atmosphere of pressure (14 lbs per square inch).  Under vacuum the resin fills all of the spaces around fibers and the coring tightly gluing all of the composite materials together in one shot.  Other laminating processes involve multiple laminations allowing the resin to cure between each layer; the secondary bond to cured resin is never as strong as the primary bond achieved when a laminate is cured in one shot.  Under vacuum the composite is under great pressure, this results in reversing the resin to glass fiber ratio of hand lamination.  Instead of 75% resin and 25% glass fiber, the infusion process produces a composite of 30% resin and 70% glass fiber.  Tartan and Legacy hulls are simply stronger, lighter and more durable.

The table below is a comparison of a typical bottom laminate for a 45 foot boat.  The solid hand laminate is more than twice the weight of the equivalent high tech infused composite found in a Tartan or Legacy and it is not as stiff as the infused composite.  Impact testing has also proved that an infused composite with greater fiber content is also more resilient than a single skin hand lamination.  Lighter, stiffer and more impact resistant, also means better performance and greater safety.   


Click to enlarge the process below. Use arrows to navigate/zoom.

We go to great lengths to deliver hulls, both power and sail that are lighter, stronger, stiffer and more durable, and they retain these characteristics longer than their predecessors.  And because the modified epoxy resin used in a Tartan or Legacy shrinks less in the curing process, they also retain their good cosmetic exterior finish better.  Boats built with polyester resin are prone to post molding distortion and print problems, when a hull is out in the sun, the surface temperature can be as high as 190 degrees.  At this temperature, polyester resin goes through a secondary cure and the resin shrinks again.  Modified epoxy resins have a much higher resistance to heat and thus avoid this post cure print problem.  Walk around a boat yard, and check out older hulls that are painted or gel coated a dark color, chances are you’ll see an assortment of distorted hull surfaces that just aren’t befitting any yacht, shrinking polyester resin is the reason why these hulls have degraded.  Your Tartan or Legacy will look good for years.

Power or sail, it just makes sense to use better materials and processes in building a hull.  Lighter weight with greater strength is the only way to deliver the performance and comfort that you should demand in your yacht.  Sailing yachts that handle better and sail faster or motor yachts that handle better and burn less fuel should be expected, but not all builders make the commitment to deliver on this promise.  Expect more and get more from a Tartan or Legacy yacht.   

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