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Old 10-10-2010, 20:23   #1
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Refit in Asia ?

Hi all


Im in the early stages of planning to buy a cruising yacht (approx 40 foot) and I've noticed a few interesting boats for sale in SE Asia. What do people think about the idea of buying an older boat in need of a refit, and having the work done in Asia, perhaps Thailand?



My questions are:
  1. Are boat yards in Asia really that much cheaper than in the US/Europe/Australia and how do the work standards compare?
  2. Can anyone recommend a boat yard?
  3. What about nations other than Thailand?
Thanks, Mike.
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Old 10-10-2010, 21:31   #2
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They can be cheaper. Some do better work than yards in US/Europe/Australia. Some are as bad as the bad yards in US/Europe/Australia.

Which yard would depend on what sort of work. Bottoms? Painting? Woodwork? FRP construction.

I suppose Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore & Philippines are where you would find the yards in SE Asia.
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Old 10-10-2010, 21:55   #3
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I have had my boat in Asia for many months on the Island of Phuket. Boat Lagoon is for the high end boats and big budget people. For the lower budget people you can use the shipyard on Koh Saree Island (there are 3 spellings of this island). Painters run about 600 baht per day, carpenters about 700 per day. Your haul out will run you about 15000 baht and expect a daily charge and fees of about 600 baht.

Now a painter works out to about $20 per day. You can pay $95 per hour in California. Sure the CA worker is more efficient..however, you can stay in a nice hotel and enjoy Thailand.

Phil
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Old 10-10-2010, 22:05   #4
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Philippines?

The only yards I have seen that looked like they would meet my budget were in Port Bonbonon, Negros and Carmen, Cebu.

Thailand sounds like it's getting pricey.
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Old 10-10-2010, 22:42   #5
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$17 aud/day for General labour
$31 aud/day for Heavy sanding
$27 aud/day for carpenter
$20 aud/day for painter

Phithak Shipyard and Services
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Old 10-10-2010, 23:11   #6
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Thanks for this advice. Those low labour costs certainly focus the mind...

Is it becoming a common practice for sailors passing through SE Asia to stop to have some serious refit work done?

Mike.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:37   #7
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For general timber work I have been told the phillipines is the best bet
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:17   #8
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My opinion FWIW -

- Labor is cheap and can be exceptionally undirected
- You need to direct the work or build a good relationship with the yard manager
- You still need to supervise the yard manager
- While labor is cheap the supply chain can be dismal and you need to plan how you will get parts and hardware
- Buying parts locally will result in the parts being purchased overseas at large markups and often steep duties
- You will probably end up being the purchasing and logistics manager
- Time has a different meaning in most of Asia - If you are in a hurry you will likely be disappointed

having said that the quality of the work can be quite high. There are very skilled craftsman all over Asia. However the work supervision and sticking to timetables can drive you nuts unless you slow down to Asia time.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:19   #9
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We were going to get work done there but couldn't becuse of several difficulties:

Quote for Davits for the dinghy was US$7,500!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boat Lagoon 'requires' you to stay off your boat and in one of their apartments. At extra cost and eating out. Some got around this for a few days. The apartment cost was US$1,000 per month (No work seemed to take less than 1 month)

Some of the other places we heard about were really quite industrial ship yards and trying to get in on the cash-cow that the yachting business seems to be.

The good stuff: At Danga Bay Marina in Malaysia it was free berthing (it still is, I think) and we had the galley benchtops redone in Formica for $200 including the Formica; a car seat restorer redid the saloon and all the beds with a microfiber for $400 and some other great stuff.
Teak work was not possable in Malaysia. For the cockpit floor (only) they quoted me $18,000USD. You are meant to be able to have the whole boat done for less than that in Thailand - but where?

But it took us months to locate and deal with each company.



So if a job can be done in Sydney on a slip in 3 days then in Asia count on a few weeks and alter the money factor accordingly.

For a big refit in Thailand perhaps factor a year there with a few trips home to stuff the suitcases with parts etc. Many months to be able to get to know the system and people.

These project managers I have heard about I think are now priced above 'our' level.





** If you could find someone who has done it to be able to be your guide there till you know the system, then that may be well worth a few beers. (a few hundred beers!)
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Old 11-10-2010, 17:01   #10
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Thanks again. Two recommendations for the Philippines - that's interesting, I hadn't thought of that..

Any other advice specific to the Philippines?

Cheers, Mike
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:22   #11
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If it's a serious refit you are contemplating. And it includes a refit of deck hardware and exterior painting your should consider the yards with sheds for at least that phase. It rains here...about half the days. Really rains.
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:05   #12
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Not just Asia, but easy to overlook simple language difficulties (even before getting to cultural differences or expectation levels). "Hit nail on head" is pretty universal but explaining a vision to the man actually wielding a chisel (not just his boss - otherwise the phrase "Chinese Whispers" seems apt here ) can be a challenge.

Hell, I find it hard enough sometimes explaining what I want to the local boatyard

Oh, and in Asia they have about 27,000 different meanings for the word "Yes". Not all (most ?!) mean the same as over here But if it was exactly like Kansas or Milton Keynes (or Guernsey? ) would kinda take the fun away
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:31   #13
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... the phrase "Chinese Whispers" seems apt here ...
Otherwise known as "cumulative error". This is how most "accidents" occur.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:11   #14
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I've been to Cebu. YUUUUUCCCKKKKKKY

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
The only yards I have seen that looked like they would meet my budget were in Port Bonbonon, Negros and Carmen, Cebu.

Thailand sounds like it's getting pricey.
Tonight I had a fantastic Thai meal for $1 USD. My charge for being at the dock was $14.

Now if you paid me to go to Cebu...well bud you better pay a heck of a lot. There is everything to be said about quality of living during your refit. Further..if you are going to do one. Bring a boat large enough worth doing.
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Old 14-10-2010, 03:01   #15
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You can get the wood...

The major reservation I have about a refit/build in the Philippines is that the wood may have to be brought in advance so it can be seasoned. The local plywood may not be a good as we would really like.

Building a shed from local materials is not a problem in the Phils. and definitely worth it for a big job.

But really, when it comes to the level of a major refit unless you have a timeless classic it could be better to buy plans from a reputable designer and start from scratch, something like a ply Easycat (careful 'bout the ply) would go real well round there.
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