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Old 03-06-2014, 19:56   #1
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Question St. Thomas or BVI Maintenance Places?

Hey everyone!

I am a part owner of a 1999 42' Catalina stationed currently east end BVI. We have several partners, and the boat is always out except for hurricane season. The partners and I pay around $50,000.00 a year in cleaning, maintenance, and dock fees basically to have the boat cleaned every two weeks, laundry done, and stuff fixed hypothetically so each partner can show up turn key and sail having a nice time aboard with no issues (this is NOT the case).

I have been looking around for the answer to my question, and have not really found a good answer yet, so Ill ask:

What we are looking for is a place or person that knows what they are doing and will handle our maintenance on a schedule, have 2-4 days of dock space available per month and the boat in the slip and cleaned when each partner arrives. We also need someone with a hurricane plan that will manage the boat during hurricane season. Im looking for an honest company or person, our current solution is overcharging us. Also since it's an older boat a good rate on work and someone experienced.

We have been in the BVI for a while now, but I would like to find something on St Thomas as provisioning is way cheaper there, and it's where we all fly into anyways, so a 4-10pm arriving flight is not an issue.

In the past we have used horizon in St Maarten, they were alright but expensive. I don't want to say who we are using now b/c we like them, but it's not working for us.

Also I should mention we were just demasted this year, after I told the maintenance person personally that the mast was making some weird noises anchored in high winds, he blew it off: 6 days later a stay failed from rust and the mast was in the drink. Cost $60,000 + Insurance denied our claim. You can imagine our frustration!
BTW - don't buy Lloyds of London boat insurance!!!
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Old 03-06-2014, 20:21   #2
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

I will direct some people to this thread. Could you elaborate further as to why your carrier refused to cover your dismasting?
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:44   #3
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

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Originally Posted by Rubikoop View Post
I will direct some people to this thread. Could you elaborate further as to why your carrier refused to cover your dismasting?
Thank you for directing some people who can answer my question this way!

From what I gathered Lloyds of London has a clause in their policy that is you want to sue them or dispute a claim you have to go to London to do it. So they use this loophole to deny large claims, knowing people have a harder time suing them in London. I am not sure of the wording they used, but they refused our claim. A stay failed and the mast then buckled under sail and went in the drink. We are also shopping for boat insurance.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:19   #4
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

I believe that all insurance policies will have a similar clause in them. That ensures that only one jurisdiction is used and they will always choose one in their home country.
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Old 04-06-2014, 13:01   #5
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

Not to keep staying off topic, but I think its always good to learn from issues like this.. What was their explanation for denying the claim? I would think they'd have to give a reason why?

What does your policy state? Perhaps failures due to lack of maintenance are not covered and that's how they see this? Was the rust above the deck (i.e. visible?)
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Old 04-06-2014, 14:22   #6
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

I am not the managing partner, so I don't have the exact verbiage they used. Our surveyor said it was rust internal in the wire and not visible, there was no way to know. One of our partners is an attorney, and we are going to go to London and sue them, as our policy does cover unexpected failures like this. We have been paying alot for insurance for many years, and we thought we had good insurance.
I will let you know how that turns out.

What we really need is a place to keep the boat where they will do a good job on maintenance, be honest, and not overcharge us.
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Old 04-06-2014, 16:25   #7
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

That is unfortunate, I hope you get it worked out.

I know a friend who keeps his boat at Nanny Cay on Tortola and I believe they've been happy there. I'm sure there's some good places on St. Thomas as well and that certainly makes a lot of sense with your flying in there.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:33   #8
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

So my back ground, I am the maintenance manager for a bare boat charter company down here. St Thomas based. I have a few observations for you.First off if you want to move the boat to St Thomas, you just need to rent a slip full time at Independent boat yard or Compass point. You already need the slip for two nights each turn around, a place to put the boat when an owner doesnít come or doesnít use his full two week block etc. It also is a hurricane hole and with the right tie up is insured in a named storm in the slip. So there is your dockage and hurricane plan. That will cost you about $700 a month.
Then you need a boat cleaner or cleaners to do the outside of the boat and inside of the boat. This is either going to be one person for a full day or two for half a day, eight man hours either way. Figure $30 an hour for unskilled labor. Now you need a skilled tech, at $55 to $90 an hour, to take notes from the previous guest and repair all the stuff that broke on the last trip. Plus he needs to go through full systems as well on your schedule with very little time. This means every turn around is about $800 and thatís without replacement parts. Insurance is another $2400 a year or more. So that means it is going to cost $4000 a month or $48,000 a year to turn the boat around, dock it and insure it, thatís if it never breaks down. In addition you need a network of service people in your cruising area that can be called upon when the boat breaks. I canít imagine the kind of people that own shares are going to be happy if the boat is broken down during their two weeks.
You have too many owners. No charter company would expect a 15 year old boat to do up to 40 weeks a year. This is a unrealistic expectation and having this many owners and this many weeks of use is actually costing the group more money than itís worth. A busy charter boat, meaning new or nearly new does well to turn 25 weeks of charter a year. And that is usually done in seven to ten day blocks.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:34   #9
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

Captainjay is pretty much spot on. Years ago we did something similiar with a brand new Catalina Morgan Out Islander 41. We had a full time slip at the Moorings location in Roadtown. It was great, and a great frustration. We had good support from the Moorings, and hired staff members from the Moorings as side jobs for them. It is no different than doing the same thing in the US. You are counting on unsupervised people maintaining your boat when absent. Out of sight, out of mind. Once we understood what was going on, we made some adjustments, and also, surrendered to the fact being an absentee owner has it's disadvantages. There where times that an owner would be dissappointed upon arrival, but overall, it was well worth it. It did, however, lead to a Caribbean addiction. You really need to find a location that has reputable services, and by being a full time slip renter, you will have their attention because you are a source of continued revenue.

One question I have, how would rust in the inner portions of rigging wire lead to an odd sound when anchored?
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:18   #10
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI Maintenance Places?

Captainjay, That helps me put it into perspective a little better. I wonder if they have any slips where we could get guaranteed days on? The boat is in almost every two weeks on Tuesday night, cleaned Wed. and usually gone by Thursday morning (if nothings broken). And there are several owners who have the whole month, it's probably only in a slip 20 days a year. However, having a guaranteed slip in a hurricane is another story, maybe they can sublease our slip out on non use days.

So breaking it down per turnaround....
Cleaning 8 hrs. @ $30 =$240 (It actually takes less time where we are, owners do some cleaning).
Skilled tech 8 hrs @ $65 =$520.00
Parts & Supplies $500.00

I think we have 16 turnarounds per year b/c some owners are out for a month: That would be $36,160.00 per year (probably $40,000), then we just need to see if we can find some sort of flex slip space, I will check with Independent boat yard and Compass point and see what they have to offer..

Insurance is separate, we are shopping for a new carrier, any recommendations?

I am not the managing partner, so I don't have all the details of everything, I just know what we pay and that we are not that happy.
When I show up every year, something is broken, it seems like they wait until i get there to get started on it, and I end up fixing it myself. I have had way too many working vacations.

One thing though, going through this helped me understand the costs better and how hard it is to do what we are doing. Thank you for that!
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:24   #11
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI maintenance places?

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Originally Posted by keepondancin View Post

One question I have, how would rust in the inner portions of rigging wire lead to an odd sound when anchored?
You are right, it wouldn't. I was on a ball at trellis in 30+ winds one night and the rigging was humming making an odd noise I had never heard it make before, so I reported it. Days later on the next partners cruise, we were demasted. My point was I asked them to check it out and they didn't. It's not just that, but there is a frustration b/c often times stuff reported isn't fixed, yet we pay alot of money every year. I am just tired of showing up to sail on a broken boat that I have to fix myself.
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Old 05-06-2014, 14:28   #12
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI Maintenance Places?

Folks, We have a nearly 30 year old Beneteau 41, based in the BVI's, that costs us one hell of a lot less than you are all talking because we limit our membership to boat owners (caring boaters), not charterers disguised as boat owners! Our annual dues total just under $19K and we run a surplus with a well maintained and well equipped boat because we do it ourselves with the help of some very skilled people in the BVI's. Our dues run $2100 annually for a month aboard and we are in use 9 month's a year. Inexpensive sailing can be had, but not by paying someone else to "peel your grape". We clean our own boat for turnover, do our own laundry for turnover, fuel and water the boat, change our own oil and enjoy, probably the least expensive sailing in the area. Somebody is getting rich off of these high dollar partnerships! gts1544 - SHARED CORPORATE OWNERSHIP
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Old 05-06-2014, 17:09   #13
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI Maintenance Places?

Have you ever considered a program like the moorings? It would eliminate all the hassle you are experiencing. It would require fewer partners and a larger up front cost most likely but during the 5 year program would save you a lot of the hassles you are facing now.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:28   #14
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Re: St. Thomas or BVI Maintenance Places?

When was your standing rigging replaced? Most insurers have a 10 -12 year limit for masthead rigs, less for fractionals.
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