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Old 01-05-2016, 03:01   #46
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Not clear exactly where you prefer the yard to be but McMichael Yacht Yard in Mamaroneck, NY (Westchester County) has a reputation for a high-level of quality service.

On another note...I remove any expectation of service to my personal schedule during the controlled chaos at a yard during spring in the northeast. However, things usually work out in the end.
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Old 01-05-2016, 18:46   #47
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Thank you all for your comments. Boat has been moved to summer mooring... The 8hp 4 stroke that they serviced did not start... so I will have to sort that out.

The crane operator who is a sailor stopped by the yard and was chatting with customers and stopped by to tell me that his chest pains turned out to be not a problem... and that all the staff do not like (mild word) the manager or the owner. The staff, are all great and helpful guys. This was clearly a management problem.

The boat yard / marina doesn't do many sailboats... perhaps 5%. I will winter in a yard closer to home... there are benefits in that; less miles to drive in the winter.. no tolls... and closer for winter projects.

One day left of prep work, set up and I'm ready for summer!
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:19   #48
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Re: Boatyard RANT

The boatyard I use is a bit longer to drive to but is much less expensive than the local yards and much more helpful. Sometimes a little longer drive is worth it. They also have about a 40/60 mix of sailboats to power so their familiar with the needs of both. Good luck, hope the next yard serves your needs better.

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Old 02-05-2016, 10:13   #49
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
Everyone knows that the so called work schedule is very fluid. It is so because of:

parts are not always in stock and mostly are order for a job
jobs underway can escalate when new parts are needed or another issue is discovered that also demands attention (change order)
weather can influence what work can be done
tides can influence what work can be done
staff can be out for various reasons
machinery or equipment can break or need repair
emergencies can arise which get immediate priority

and so on

In light of this... a boat yard work schedule is more myth than reality. What it is is more like a target to perhaps start or complete a work order. Because of the above.... the yard will alter these targets to keep the staff busy and the work getting done. This is a MANAGEMENT ISSUE.

The yard's "behavior" in my case struck me as irrational. The only loss of time... was to raise the hanging mast and place it back on the saw horses. They had 6.5 hrs to pick it up and step it which would take no more than .5hrs.... attach 4 shrouds and the head stay and then tow the boat 30 feet back to the slip where the tunning and wiring would be done by me.

The weather was perfect... and so unless they had emergencies preventing the crane operator and one or two mast handlers there is no reason why it could not have been stepped that afternoon. Or if they had decided NOT to do it, have the courtesy to tell me not to drive all the way out for no reason when I called then at 10:30am.

And let's not forget that the yard manager/crane operator told me at 2:30 or so that... he was bummed out and because the the fuel incident and didn't "feel like" doing anything after that. THAT doesn't sound to me like a scheduling matter. That sounds unprofessional to me with excuses and BS.
Still though...you had a part in this, whether you choose to see it or not.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:25   #50
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Re: Boatyard RANT

"You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar...."
But I share your pain with poorly run yards
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:12   #51
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Re: Boatyard RANT

I managed the worldwide service and support for an OEM equipment organization, a business like that has similar problems, parts support for 50 years worth of complex equipment, a mix of long term planned work and emergencies that arise, etc, etc, oh, and did I mention a lack of experienced, intelligent and motivated personnel?
Boatyards have a similar problem, and the seasonal rush as well, but I've found well managed yards tend to handle things better, they plan on having issues arise at the last minute and schedule their resources accordingly. If you always plan schedules like everything will go perfectly then your living in a fantasy world, kind of the Disney version of reality, boat owners also are guilty of this issue, they often find it takes twice as long as they expected for any project they planned. Me? I always assume something I didn't plan on will come up, and plan ahead accordingly, even then I get gobsmacked from time to time. The biggest issue I've seen in most smaller boat yards is that most of the people running the yard are more from the technical side and have little or no management planning experience, most are guys who worked up from yard hand to a position of authority. Even though they are usually smart, hard working guys, the lack of project management skills can frustrate even the most concienscious person. Most people come from the optimistic school of scheduling, generally it's better to come from a reality based scheduling angle, it keeps everyone from getting frustrated and angry. Telling someone up front and ahead of time that they can't service their boat on a specific day on short notice may not make them happy at the time but when given a realistic schedule that accounts for last minute hiccups it usually works out better in the end.
That's why most large commercial marinas have project managers and schedulers, it makes that totally insane amount of planning go smoother, unfortunately smaller yards cant afford that kind of overhead, in that case it's up to the ability of the single manager to set the tone and pace of the yard, which can go really well, or not. Much rests on the shoulders of that individual. Like in any small business.
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Old 02-05-2016, 17:31   #52
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Re: Boatyard RANT

The owner is not much of a manager nor terribly hands on knowledgeable about boats. The yard manager doesn't seem all that sharp to me either. But they both talk out of both sides of their mouths and lied to me... Owner told me to get out... in 24 hrs and he's not charging me and I can't step foot on his property... Fine... Today they send me an invoice for $1,600... Fat chance... Let them find other suckers... I wrote back and told them I'm done with them per their last comment.

I know there are two sides to every story... I'm stickin' with mine.
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Old 02-05-2016, 19:23   #53
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Re: Boatyard RANT

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Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
The owner is not much of a manager nor terribly hands on knowledgeable about boats. The yard manager doesn't seem all that sharp to me either. But they both talk out of both sides of their mouths and lied to me... Owner told me to get out... in 24 hrs and he's not charging me and I can't step foot on his property... Fine... Today they send me an invoice for $1,600... Fat chance... Let them find other suckers... I wrote back and told them I'm done with them per their last comment.

I know there are two sides to every story... I'm stickin' with mine.


You can stake your claim and tell everyone how right you are, but that will not get you the best treatment in the boatyards nor the happiest outcome. Being "right" is often a costly affair.

I'd rather just be happy.

We are DIY boaters--every project we (my husband and I) do ourselves. We've been in a few different yards where all they do is haul, block, and then launch and/or step/unstep the keel stepped masts. We have formed our own opinions of the experiences and the people.

I used to work in the field of accident and mishap investigation. Interesting thing you learn there -- in the workplace, each and every person believes that they are doing their best. Dig a little deeper and you learn that each person really believes deeply that their actions are good and ethical. Seldom do people set out consciously to mess around with others or to cause problems.

Problems do happen when not enough friendly communication is taking place though.

Knowing that, I give people the benefit of the doubt. I also go WAY beyond what might be expected to make sure that I'm doing everything I can possibly do to uphold MY end of things. If masts are to be stepped, I've gotten a commitment of morning or afternoon and then made sure I was there at least 45 minutes BEFORE the expected time and planned to stay the rest of the day just in case. All smiles and friendly. No pushing people's buttons. Happy, happy, happy thoughts and cheerful talk from me.

I don't care if the other party appears to be falling apart and not doing his part--I just ask "is there anything I can do to help?" and say "Thanks so much for helping us re-step the masts on our schooner" or "Thanks so much for providing us a spot for our haulout work" and I'm inclusive: "Can I take your picture while you're running the crane? I want to remember everyone who helped us this year with our project" and so forth.

If it's a hot day, I've brought cold water bottles in a shoulder bag -- along with a bag of grapes, fruit, or a box of cookies or home made muffins for everyone in the yard to share. It's hard for people to be mean to me and mistreat my boat when they're getting their picture taken and their mouth is full of my home made banana bread. I've got a little edge because there are two of us--my husband and I--so twice the good cheer and helpfulness. Enlist your spouse, child or grandchild to help you if needed.

We now liveaboard the boat, so, yeah, it's not like it's far from home for us (after the first re-launch after 2-1/2 years of a rebuild, that is...) and both my husband and I work hard to THINK of the boatyard owner and employees as IMPORTANT people to us--not just workers but people who play an important role in keeping our boat (and home) in excellent shape.

Once you begin thinking of these folks as part of YOUR TEAM rather than the enemy, you'll care about what happens on their end as well as your end. You will naturally empathize with them and they will more naturally want to make you happy because you'll connect with them--even if just for that little bit of time while the boat is making its way back into the water and the spars are stepped.

I prefer good times to the bad ones and we've only ever had one really bad boatyard experience. We didn't hold it against the yard owner but can only say that he was in way over his head with the whole business. When we left the yard, taking our project elsewhere, I recall telling him that I thought it was unfortunate that the win-win overlap wasn't able to take place in our transaction: We were paying too much for too little and he was not making enough money on the transaction. It wasn't a good situation for either party. It was not a good transaction, no, and there was quite a bit of money wasted in the process but I'm by no means bitter about it--we're still cordial with the yard owner. His business did close down two years later. It was only a matter of time.

Because we are DIY folks and we'll be in the yard a week or 10 days working, we've often shared morning coffee or gone out to lunch with boatyard workers or the owners, we've had dinner with them, we've gotten to know them and cheer them on in their own endeavors.

We've had so many GOOD boatyard experiences that I'm always sorry when I hear about a not-so-good one.

I hope you'll find a way--with another boatyard--to build a good relationship that supports your boating and DIY activities in the future.

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Old 05-05-2016, 18:27   #54
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Re: Boatyard RANT

Schooner,
Thank you for this post. I try and am successful in building good relationships with boat owners and the staff at the various yards I have stored at. One fella actually lived next door to me and I drove him home on occasion.
My problems, few that they are arise from management and their odd inexplicable policy decisions... such as the one cited in this rant... to simply not take the half hr and step my mast on the day agreed on. If I had been given valid reason(s) upon my arrival... I of course, would understand and accept them and return home after agreeing to the time when they would step the mast.
But they disappeared... and when pressed lied and BSed and this is something I don't abide. They lied because they had valid reason or the reason was as simple as the guy who was to operate the crane didn't want to because he was bummed out.
When lied to I bristled... I didn't run out and get them some Dunkin Donuts... and they caught in lies and called on them told me to get out.

The yard manager tried to tell me HE called me... My phone showed otherwise... dumb lie. The yard owner told me that my mast had no lights... a boldface falsehood and he clearly hadn't seen it. How stupid does he think I am?

I don't have to cultivate or suck up to people of that ilk and I am fine to leave their yard. The owner told me to get out in 24 hrs and they weren't going to charge me.... HAHAHAHA they sent a bill! Yet another lie.

I am not the only person who had these experiences with this yard... but it finally happened to me as well. Their reputation is not very good either... over priced and not much for quality service.

Good riddance.
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Old 05-05-2016, 18:45   #55
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Boatyard RANT

Look, you can be "right" and unhappy with the results of your actions OR you can choose to meet/exceed your obligations to the transaction and be friendly, kind, understanding, and above all just be NICE and get the service done. You don't have to go back there for other services. My experience is if the customer is nice--unless there is a racial, gender, or other bias in play--the service provider will play nice too. The opposite isn't always the case.


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Old 05-05-2016, 19:38   #56
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Re: Boatyard RANT

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Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
Schooner,
Thank you for this post. I try and am successful in building good relationships with boat owners and the staff at the various yards I have stored at. One fella actually lived next door to me and I drove him home on occasion.
My problems, few that they are arise from management and their odd inexplicable policy decisions... such as the one cited in this rant... to simply not take the half hr and step my mast on the day agreed on. If I had been given valid reason(s) upon my arrival... I of course, would understand and accept them and return home after agreeing to the time when they would step the mast.
But they disappeared... and when pressed lied and BSed and this is something I don't abide. They lied because they had valid reason or the reason was as simple as the guy who was to operate the crane didn't want to because he was bummed out.
When lied to I bristled... I didn't run out and get them some Dunkin Donuts... and they caught in lies and called on them told me to get out.

The yard manager tried to tell me HE called me... My phone showed otherwise... dumb lie. The yard owner told me that my mast had no lights... a boldface falsehood and he clearly hadn't seen it. How stupid does he think I am?

I don't have to cultivate or suck up to people of that ilk and I am fine to leave their yard. The owner told me to get out in 24 hrs and they weren't going to charge me.... HAHAHAHA they sent a bill! Yet another lie.

I am not the only person who had these experiences with this yard... but it finally happened to me as well. Their reputation is not very good either... over priced and not much for quality service.

Good riddance.
Your most recent post is almost exactly the same as your first. In between, you have been the beneficiary of numerous comments, some supportive, some critical, most of them wise and, according to their writers, many from people who largely get what they want from boatyards, or who are involved in the marine trades. Since your first and your recent posts haven't substantively changed at all (and are repeats of your other posts, in between), clearly none of us have helped. I have several thoughts of my own, from both sides of the coin, but don't think I am any wiser than the rest of the posters, so I won't bother you with them or inflame you further.

But my question to you is, what, exactly, are you asking us for?
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:29   #57
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Re: Boatyard RANT

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Your most recent post is almost exactly the same as your first. In between, you have been the beneficiary of numerous comments, some supportive, some critical, most of them wise and, according to their writers, many from people who largely get what they want from boatyards, or who are involved in the marine trades. Since your first and your recent posts haven't substantively changed at all (and are repeats of your other posts, in between), clearly none of us have helped. I have several thoughts of my own, from both sides of the coin, but don't think I am any wiser than the rest of the posters, so I won't bother you with them or inflame you further.

But my question to you is, what, exactly, are you asking us for?
I wasn't asking for anything. I simply used the forum as a place to rant about a recent and disturbing boat yard experience. Having owned the same boat for 31 years and having had numerous experiences with boat yards from Maine to the Carribean... the vast majority of them successful I wanted to "vent" and perhaps warn others what they might expect at times. The yard this experience comes from is not ALL bad... but this one experience they were... in my opinion based on my experience... unprofessional and acted irrationally and failed to communicate with their customer who was complete accessible and understands FUBAR. They refused to take responsibility and cover their asses with BS. Bringing the workers donuts and coffee would have not made one iota of difference... as the problem is not thw workers but the management... who issues marching orders.

In the case where the slings were placed in the wrong location and destroyed the thru hull weed deflector... it was the management who failed to convey the information on the drawing I provided to THEM. Theoretically I communicate work orders or request to the management and they to their workers. If the work screwed up because the management didn't review the launch/haul and block drawing... it is the management's fault not the staff's. I can't expect them to know my boat's underbody... it's not even a common one in the USA.... so I provide a drawing. It was ignored or dismissed as "interfering" by management who clearly didn't get it... as I was trying to avoid precisely what happened.

Finally, a boat yard could perhaps show more respect and consideration to a knowledgeable boat owner such as my case. I am not a millionaire owner of a floating condo who can't turn a wrench or never saw an oil filter. Those guys are a perfect match for this boat yard. Not knowledgeable DIYers and live aboard type sailors.

And in my 31 years of experience I have dealt with some well managed boat yards who understand sailors and their passion for their boat. This is not one of those yards.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:09   #58
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Boatyard RANT

Normally I'm pretty empathetic to a rant. But you were and still are belaboring every little detail like it was huge. That combined with bypassing the workers who erred to point the finger at management as exclusively the problem indicates that you have an axe to grind with management alone.

Do not belittle the sharing of food and drink. "Let us break bread together"

I did not suggest you bring coffee but rather was pointing to the concept of us drinking coffee in the mornings (when diy in a yard) with the yard workers so that we were familiar with the guys who were doing the launch work and they were familiar with us. Goes a long way for a diy boater to get along with the yard by knowing the folks. I can't imagine that you didn't have opportunities to mildly socialize with the yard employees while you were prepping your boat for relaunch.

Bring some food to share-absolutely-since in most cultures people eat with friends, partners, and allies. There is a subconscious bond of receiving and sharing food. If you cared about the people taking care of your boat this would be a natural gesture. Since it is not, I surmise you're telling us you don't give a __________ about them as people.

People know when they're being treated like day laborers and can act accordingly. Just a fact of life. Not very professional nope. But very easy to see it happen again and again.

Besides that, who is the boatyard employee going to subconsciously take out his bad morning commute on? It's not going to be the happy, considerate boater who's been chatting over coffee with the guy--it's going to be the snob who can't be bothered to show up early even when he wants the privilege of supervising the work being done on his boat.

It really doesn't matter whether or not you're right--your attitude can make sure that you're going to get screwed if the opportunity arises.

I'm not really thinking you got screwed--sometimes mistakes happen and that is likely all that it was on that day for your boatyard. If that's the norm for the particular place it was worthy of warning the community that the yard doesn't have its ducks in a row but not worthy of such a detailed whine about each little blow by blow.

Best of luck with future work in other yards.


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