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Old 16-12-2011, 11:36   #1
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Hauling out in Thailand

Hauling out in Thailand---- donít be fooled by the price!
I have just finished a four and a half month stay in PSS shipyard in Satun southern Thailand
Owner Mr. Phitak
Manager Jia
General yacht manager Un
I read the website, talked to people and had good reports so arranged a 3 month haul out to paint topsides deck, cockpit and coach roof on my S&S 48 Ballyhoo. Ample time as I had arranged a tent to fully cover the boat to get work done regardless of the weather. I found on arrival the management had changed since my reporters had been in the yard.
The first couple of weeks went ok and the management were appearing to be helpful in translating my requirements to the workmen. However it became extremely obvious very soon, that the management and staff had little idea of what they were doing and the translations were not exactly what I was saying. This started to get serious. It became impossible to communicate my wishes to either managers or workers and things started to go wrong. The small amount of filling required to fill flaking paint spots that had been sanded back to solid base became an excuse for the worker to fill huge areas and do lots of sanding and refilling. In the process the hull shape was lost and the waterline marks. It was then impossible to get the staff to re-sand to fix this.
After many requests the tent still did not materialise.
I was having the inside varnished and employed two guys whom I was told were good. One I agreed was however he had to leave thee yard soon after and I was left with the other who was woeful. I had a problem getting them to use my good varnishing brushes to replace the one inch hard bristle brush they preferred to use. I spoke to the manager Jia and was told thatís what they always use. I told him that doesnít make it right and got them to use the correct brush. After the 3rd attempt at the final coat I gave up on them and decided that if they canít see that they have missed bits on every panel I wasnít going to keep supplying materials and resigned to do it myself.
My anchor chain and two anchors were sent away for galvanising having been promised they would not come back as a solid chain like the previous lot. Four months later they returned and the Bangkok flood was the excuse. The Bangkok floods started to affect the city only two months ago. Having badgered Jia every few days about the return and then saying I would not pay a cent more if I was waiting for my chain some action was taken but the floods came. In the end the chain was ok but one CQR anchor was jammed at the knuckle.
The painters were arranged from Phuket. The tent was still not up but after being very persistent a tent roof was erected over the boat. No sides. They sewed cheap plastic tarps together to cover the sides but there were leaks all around and the last 1200mm at the bottom was never filled in although Jia had promised this to keep the shipyard grinding and sanding dust out and away from the painting. The topsides were sprayed eventually although dust and moisture were a constant problem. Days went by that produced no work and even days when they didnít turn up. The boot-top was painted after having found the waterline again .The filling and fairing showed waves along the hull. The management were shown the result of their workers skills but they couldnít care less and offered me a 1200baht discount on hardstand and tent rental which I took as an insult since I had paid for the labour in the first place that produced such a surface and Jia was present when the price to rectify the problem was agreed. We entered negotiations to fix the problem with the painters and ended up paying another 15000baht to have the waterline long-boarded. Not that I was left with much choice at this stage in the game. It was obvious they did not know how to long board as they produced a length of 12mm ply 900mm long to make the long board. I found and supplied them with two boards made from thin cedar.
Whilst preparing to move a boat a worker dropped a steel trestle on my mast. Luckily I noticed and confronted them. I spoke to Jia and he had been told a little paint not the squashed bolt rope track. This took three weeks to fix and then was done by another sailor as the yard could not fix it. No talk of compensation was agreed to by the yard management.
Another painter was organised for the coach-roof and the job completed in ten days by a very diligent guy called Tid who camped out under the boat in a tent with his girlfriend and her brother. They all worked very hard and did a good job.
After I had replaced all the deck fittings it was time for glassing the rudder skeg and antifouling. The skeg could not be worked on whilst any painting was getting done so the time taken to do the topsides delayed everything. Well after a few days of rain the hull was finally finished and a launch date was set.
The launch date was put back by 24hours by me and agreed by the yard although the next day came and went with no launch or explanation. I was promised tomorrow at 12 midday. At 12 midday they decided to pull in a 50ft catamaran and in the process lost the cradle off the end of the rails. The slip was closed. Monday came and they got me in and pushed me off. I found I had no propulsion as the refitted Autostream prop was obviously wrong. They would not pull me out again. Jia said I could go alongside the slipway and dry out so I sounded the bottom at low tide and found no bottom through the mud at a depth of 1800mm and a concrete shelf 2+ metres from the edge. I approached Jia and said it was not an option and when he proceeded to point out a flat bottomed timber Thai fishing boat that dried out there all the time, well I just gave up then realising he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. After a phone call to the owner Mr.Phitak, Jiaís father it was agreed to pull me out the following day. This turned out to be an utter joke and a sham to save face with his father. Having delayed for as long as they could they brought down the cradle. It didnít fit down as far as the fore-hatch. They pulled it out and widened it only to push it down as far as the mast. The diver went down and said we needed another 500mm water. Well of course if the cradle is not right down and youíve delayed for so long.
I got a tow out of Satun river and sailed to Langkawi shouting the quote from Martin Luther King ď free at last, free at last, thank god almighty free at lastĒ.
I fixed the prop in one hour in pea soup water.
The decision to go to PSS had been a bad one. The delays, incompetence of management and staff cost time delays which turned out to be very costly when you are paying for hard stand a tent and a container for storage. The feelings that I have regarding the yard are not just mine alone but of many poor souls who decided to go to PSS.
As a fishing boat yard it is excellent but as a yacht yard it has a long way to go to understand the costs involved in the boats and the finish that is totally different to a timber Thai fishing boat.
They have two good assets. One a stainless steel welder who is excellent and a machine shop with a very good turner. Although having said that, one has to be very careful to convey exactly what you want. Copying something you give them is not enough and be careful they do not lose your parts.
If you still think that you should try this place then good luck to you. If you do everything yourself and donít get upset that things do not happen when promised or even close to when promised then you may find this yard to be for you but you have been warned.
Robert OíHagan
S/V Ballyhoo
P.S. A new marina and hard stand has opened in Krabi with a 50ton travel lift and an arrangement has been made between the operator and Phuket Cruising Yacht Club for a 50% reduction in rates for club members. Joining the club is very little (as yacht clubs go) and would end up a big saving.
See Brent at PCYC Chalong
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Old 17-12-2011, 01:49   #2
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

Nowhere seems to be easy in this part of the world, however, somewhere like B&V Marine Langkawi could have been a better coice. It is run by people who understand yachts. Also there seems to be a core of reliable contractors evolving. At this time of the year Langkawi is a lot dryer than Satun. The carpentry work I am having done is slow but it is eventually done properly. There is a Singapore yacht currently been painted and upgraded and the owner seems happy. In this case, most of the work is supervised by the yard owner. I also had good work done in Port Dickson by people from Klang. Once again slow.
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Old 17-12-2011, 04:16   #3
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

Hi redearth. I blieve anywhere would be a better place than pss. However a different approach is needed. Don't believe what yhey tell you and try to do most of th work yourself or at least work alongside an employee so that all the work is supervised. The problem with PSS was that I put too much faith in past visitors stories and also too much faith in their website claims. However you live and learn and hope not to make the mistake again. Rob
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Old 17-12-2011, 06:44   #4
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

"Caveat Emptor" - Latin for "Welcome to Thailand".

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Old 17-12-2011, 07:09   #5
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

I've heard similar stories about Mexican yards too.
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Old 17-12-2011, 07:23   #6
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

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Originally Posted by Seahunter View Post
I've heard similar stories about Mexican yards too.
IME staying on top of a boatyard anywhere is more of an art than a science

Throw in some lingo problems (genuine and as an excuse to hide behind) then the fun starts ........many years ago I started to learn Thai (and me being Tone deaf - gave up ) - I was surprised that they seemed to have only one word for "Yes", when in reality that term covers a 1000 meanings - few of which translate into an english style affirmative confirmation that matches reality .........but that's all part of fun of being Furrin
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Old 17-12-2011, 08:01   #7
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

First, I'd like to say the exchange rate is 31 baht to the US dollar. So although these rates sound huge, they're not. If you're in a foreign country (or in your own for that fact) it's best to do as much of the work yourself if you can. I know where my boat is, the yards here will bottom paint right over small amounts of marine growth.
I was at a yard in Phucket a few years back and saw that they did excellent work there. I also met an American in that yard that was squeezing the yard help for anything he could get out of them...disgusting really. He was probably paying around .10 cents on the dollar for labor compared to the US. So when I hear people moan about foreign yards with nothing at all to say to the positive, I take it with a grain of salt.
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Old 17-12-2011, 08:03   #8
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
IME staying on top of a boatyard anywhere is more of an art than a science

Throw in some lingo problems (genuine and as an excuse to hide behind) then the fun starts ........many years ago I started to learn Thai (and me being Tone deaf - gave up ) - I was surprised that they seemed to have only one word for "Yes", when in reality that term covers a 1000 meanings - few of which translate into an english style affirmative confirmation that matches reality .........but that's all part of fun of being Furrin
Pood pa sa Thai nid noi...Mai ko jai...
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Old 17-12-2011, 08:45   #9
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

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Pood pa sa Thai nid noi...Mai ko jai...
I can see where you learnt your Thai .

Been a few years now since I was over there....sometimes I miss being handsome . and having a good heart ($$$ ).
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Old 17-12-2011, 09:10   #10
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

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I can see where you learnt your Thai .

Been a few years now since I was over there....sometimes I miss being handsome . and having a good heart ($$$ ).
good heart=Jai de mak mak
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Old 17-12-2011, 09:31   #11
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Re: Hauling out in Thailand

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good heart=Jai de mak mak
I only used to hear "Mao mak mak" (very very drunk)........amongst other phrases / abuse
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