Legend has it that back in the day, Charlie Britton, founder of Tartan Yachts, once fired a .45 at one of his boats to show that it was "bulletproof." Designed by Sparkman & Stephens, the first Tartans were popular boats early in the fiberglass era. Tim Jackett, fresh out of school, came to work on the factory floor in 1974. Today he's CEO and in-house designer at Tartan (and at companion firm C&C), and Tartan's traditions of quality construction and intelligent design still govern his creation of contemporary cruisers. The new 4300 emphasizes "timeless" styling, modern performance, and versatile accommodations.
Tartan's hulls and decks have been made with epoxy resin since 2002. "The process has evolved," says Jackett, "so that instead of baking hulls in an autoclave, we now cure them at ambient temperature. It's a safer, cleaner process, and the parts reach higher heat resistance." For durability, impact and blister resistance, sheer strength, and cosmetic properties, epoxy has long been the choice of custom builders. Tartan, however, pioneered its use on the production line. The company also equips its boats with carbon-fiber masts and "pocket" booms that are lighter and stiffer than aluminum, and interchangeable (keel/centerboard, shoal-draft, and deep) keel configurations that suit the boat to a variety of cruising areas.
DECK AND COCKPIT
Traditional elements include a straight coachroof, noticeable sheer, proportionally squared-away opening ports, shippy dorade ventilators, teak toerails and coamings, a generous stem angle, and a nicely countered reverse transom. The modified-T cockpit is deep and secure with wide, high coamings and an optional hard dodger is available (see drawing). A walk-through transom engineered for easy boarding is sited well, as are winches and stoppers, of which there are enough to justify the company's description of the rig as "cruise control." Introduced first on the 3400, the carbon-fiber "pocket" boom (with integral lazyjacks) has proven a practical solution for simplifying mainsail stowage. The mainsheet is led quite far from the helm, but Jackett says that "any customer who wants the setup we provided on the 4400 [with the mainsheet closer to the helm] can have it just by asking."