“She sails beautifully, and the row away factor is second to none!  The cockpit is spacious, and we love the teak trim and stainless steel ports.  Down below, the teak interior and comfortable sleeping accommodations make us feel right at home.”

Tenacity – Tartan 37′

Interview with the Captain – Graham Mellen

Why did you choose to buy a Tartan?
Both Robin and I love Tartans and knew that we wanted to stay in the “Tartan Family.”  I spent the previous 12 years sailing on my Tartan 27-2, and Robin grew up sailing on her parents’ Tartan 34.  We both loved the lines of the classic Tartan sailboats as well as their quality and finish. 

What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this model (and how did they compare)?
We looked at several Bristol 33.3s, as well as a Morgan 384.  We wanted classic lines, and plenty of brightwork.  The boats all looked good on paper but had various issues that led us to walk away. 

How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history)?
My father and Robin both came across the boat listing on YachtWorld the same day and sent it to our family chat.  We knew immediately that this was our boat, as she had everything we wanted. 

“Tenacity” was in Grasonville, MD.  I called the broker before Christmas 2019 to see if we could have a look, and he informed me that she was already under contract.  Several weeks later, the listing was still up, and Robin, being in sales, decided to give the broker another call.  As luck would have it, the other buyer had backed out!  Robin immediately told him that we’d be down there that coming weekend and requested that if there was no one else in line, that we be the first to see her.  Fortunately, he agreed.  We later found out that the other buyer had planned to move onto the boat with his girlfriend and had gone through the sea trial and inspection but forgot one big detail – he never had his girlfriend look at the boat!

Prior to our ownership, the boat spent its life on various parts of the Chesapeake Bay under the names “Windborn” and “Courage.”  We were fortunate that the seller truly loved the boat, and handed her over with checklists, manuals, and a host of other helpful information. 

Who introduced you to boating/sailing?
I’ve been fortunate to have two sets of parents, my actual parents, and my god parents.  My god father Charlie and my father knew each other since they were 8 years old.  Charlie and his wife Judy hooked me on the sport of sailing at a young age on their boat, “Callipygian,” a Morgan 384 on the Chesapeake Bay. 

Charlie and Judy gave me my first boat, “Sales Up,” when I graduated from high school and my passion for sailing grew exponentially from there.  They helped me pick out my second boat, “Persistence” when I moved to NYC after college and assisted us in the delivery of “Tenacity” to her new home in Westport, CT this past summer.

Robin grew up sailing as well and developed her passion for sailing from her parents who met each other on a dinghy dock.  Her parents purchased “Frolic,” their Tartan 34, when she was 3 and the rest is history.

Being in and around the water is our favorite thing to do!

What boats have you previously owned?
Previously, I owned a Rhodes 19, “Sales Up,” and a 1979 Tartan 27-2, “Persistence.”

What are the features you like most about your boat?
The biggest selling point for me (other than the fact that a Tartan 37 is a fantastic boat) was that “Tenacity” had been repowered several years ago with a brand new Yanmar.  Having gone through a repower on my Tartan 27 the previous year, I knew it was something that I did not want to tackle again anytime soon.

Beyond that, she sails beautifully, and the row away factor is second to none!  The cockpit is spacious, and we love the teak trim and stainless steel ports.  Down below, the teak interior and comfortable sleeping accommodations make us feel right at home.  I also like the Navy cushions with red piping as it reminds me of the University of Pennsylvania’s colors (my alma mater).  Robin loves the galley with the new large sink, and updated countertops. 

What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
To-date, we haven’t had the chance to add much to the boat.  Due to Covid, we couldn’t launch the boat and sail her North to CT until July.  We then bought a new house, and moved in August, so we had a bit of a busy fall.

Our goal is to sail her for another season before we decide on our list of improvements.  On the short list is to repair the AC/Heat unit on the boat, replace the primary winches, upgrade the mainsail track, and clean up the varnish. 

One important feature that I’d like to add next spring is a bronze plaque in the cockpit dedicating the boat to the memory of my father, Richard C. Mellen.  Without my father, I know that I wouldn’t own “Tenacity.”  Unfortunately, he passed away before he was ever able to set foot on her.  I want to ensure that he’s always a part of the sailing adventures that he helped to create. 

How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
On typical weekends, we will sail over to Port Jefferson, Lloyd Harbor, or Oyster Bay for the evening, and raft up with other boats from the yacht club.  We will generally have cocktails on one boat, dinner on another, and see where things go from there.  We’ve also had several great bonfires on the beach.

In the future, we’d like to sail east to Block Island, Newport, Cuttyhunk, the Vineyard, Nantucket, and Maine.

Do you belong to a yacht club or other boating organizations?
Yes, I am a member of Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club in Westport, CT. 

What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
The biggest challenge I have is tracking down the right person to do a task and trying to collect feedback ahead of engaging them.  I’m always concerned about negative feedback, but it’s hard to weigh the negatives versus the positives when it’s all word of mouth.  I’m fortunate that most of the older members of the yacht club seem to have gone through it all before.  In addition, I’ve had challenges where I’ve put in work orders only to find that the yard forgot to do part of the task. 

Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Tartan like yours?
My best advice is to look for a seller that truly loves the boat.  It will show in how she has been cared for, and the seller can also be a wealth of knowledge as you become acquainted with your new purchase.  Furthermore, they may become a lifelong friend.  The gentleman who sold me “Persistence” has become a great friend of mine.  I’ve raced on his new boat in at least six Around Long Island Races as well as several other local regattas. 

What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
The name is both a play on my previous sailboat, “Persistence,” and a tribute to Robin’s tenacity.    

As we discussed earlier in how we found the boat, Robin’s background in sales led her to follow-up with the broker after I had already written the boat off.  After we saw the boat that coming weekend, we went up to the broker’s office and found out that there was another gentleman waiting there to make an offer.  We needed to move quickly. 

As we sat in the broker’s office, I joked with my girlfriend and the broker that I was going to name the boat “Robin’s Ring” as I haven’t yet proposed.  The broker said, “Son, I won’t sell you this boat if you do that to this pretty lady!”  Robin then said, we are going to call her “Tenacity” like her first mate!  We had an accepted offer shortly thereafter.

To learn more about Tenacity, click the gallery below.