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Old 27-12-2008, 12:47   #1
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Am I a Duh-me!

Had the boat dry stored this winter with the stick out (first time since I bought her) so I can get a good look at the rigging and add new top end electronics.

Asked the yard to winterize the engine and all water systems. They left a tag on the sink saying that all has been done.

Went on board today to find the bilge FULL with a slab of ice on top. Bilge pump fuse burned out so I had to hand pump as much as I could. Luckily we are expecting 60 degree weather tomorrow so hopefully -- the ice will melt, I will add the pink stuff, bilge pump will work and we will survive the remainder of the winter....

Before I have a serious talk with the yard on Monday, starting with low decibels, who was responsible for "winterizing" the bilge? Me or them? I know how I feel (guess!) but would like others opinions.

Thanks.

PS Lesson learned - do my own work from now on then there is no question!
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Old 27-12-2008, 13:05   #2
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I think you answered your own question in the end. Unfortunately there are times when I leave things for others, because of the lack of time....i2f
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Old 27-12-2008, 13:24   #3
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Quote:
I know how I feel
I'm of the opinion you already know how you feel. They me glad you have some time to think about more before Monday. Winterizing is just one of those jobs that leave little room for error and a lot of room for disaster. A full bilge when hauled out seems pretty bad. If you get it cleaned up and walk away then you'll probably feel a lot better after it's over.

As for who is responsible I guess it's difficult unless we know where the water came from.

I've had good luck hiring work out when I have. You still need to follow up though it appears you have. Yards at the times of the year when boats are going in and out get quite busy and not all work is as well supervised as it would be when not so busy. It's just too easy for things to slip away for an hour and suddenly be forgotten in the rush.

You need a good relationship with any yard and how you work out differences matters down the road. If you can work this out to everyones satisfaction rationally you'll feel better and they will be glad to see you all next year. Often times a mistake made right makes for a long lasting good relationship.

You could fight until you draw blood and leave the yard too. That works until you run out of boat yards.
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Old 27-12-2008, 14:01   #4
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Unfortunately, when dealing with yards, including the reputable ones, you must be your own "project manager."

When Jo Beth is hauled, no matter for what, (including "just" bottom painting), I'm in the yard at least once each day to see the progress and check the work for myself. I find out who in the yard has been assigned to do what task and I talk to them; I let them know what I expect and I ask lots of questions even if I know the answers. Depending on what projects are going on, I also board the boat for a look-see.

I'm always polite, and never a jerk or "know-it-all-yachtie" - and one of the most important things I always do is to take a case of beer or a couple dozen doughnuts to the yard crew before I leave the facility.

Of course I've had minimal problems, (like the time my rolloer-furing drum was put on backwards!), but I've always been able to catch 98% of the problems I did have before I leave the service docks - and the yard has always taken steps to correct them.

Best -

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Old 27-12-2008, 14:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svjobeth
... I let them know what I expect and I ask lots of questions even if I know the answer ...
... and one of the most important things I always do is to take a case of beer or a couple dozen doughnuts to the yard crew before I leave ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by PBlais
... You need a good relationship with any yard and how you work out differences matters down the road. If you can work this out to everyone’s satisfaction rationally you'll feel better and they will be glad to see you all next year. Often times a mistake made right makes for a long lasting good relationship ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by psteele235
... PS Lesson learned - do my own work from now on then there is no question!
Not all work should (necessarily) be do-it-yourself.
I wouldn’t advise a lawyer to perform menial tasks, such as winterizing the boat, for economic reasons.
He’d be much better off billing that same time out at +$100/Hr, than saving $25-$50/Hr on yard labour.
On the other hand, some high-earners find such menial tasks relaxing & personally rewarding, and DIY for therapeutic purposes.

The most elucidative questions you can ask a tradesman, are those to which you have (preferred) answers.

For those who intend to be a repeat customer, a genuine show of your appreciation will be remembered (& rewarded upon your return) by the staff who satisfied you.
For those who didn’t satisfy you (originally), your gentlemanly correction will also be remembered.
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Old 27-12-2008, 14:35   #6
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I'm curious, did they put the furling drum on the back stay?? Only way I can figure out how it could be put on backwards unless your reefing only leads out one side of the drum. Small minds want to know.

The water in the bilge could have come from any number of sources that aren't what would be called winterizing. I could see freshwater getting in from somewhere on deck then freezing in the pump causing it to blow the fuse. Once that happens, more and more water would continue to collect in the bilge. Since you had ice, chances are you've got a freshwater leak that needs to be handled. Since the stick is down, it's not coming from the usual source.

I suppose dumping antifreeze in the bilge as a precaution might be a winterizing thing but I wouldn't have thought about it. Does the antifreeze evaporate?? Something that would be an issue in the case of the bilge.

As far as checking the bilge pump fuse, I would think it would be your responsibility. Depending on how your boat is wired, the only way to check bilge pump function could be to pour water in the bilge. I wouldn't expect the yard to do that. This reminds to ge a two way bilge pump switch.

My expertise in winterizing only goes to adding more sun screen, so what do I know.

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Old 27-12-2008, 14:47   #7
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Originally Posted by svjobeth View Post
Unfortunately, when dealing with yards, including the reputable ones, you must be your own "project manager."

When Jo Beth is hauled, no matter for what, (including "just" bottom painting), I'm in the yard at least once each day to see the progress and check the work for myself. I find out who in the yard has been assigned to do what task and I talk to them; I let them know what I expect and I ask lots of questions even if I know the answers. Depending on what projects are going on, I also board the boat for a look-see.

I'm always polite, and never a jerk or "know-it-all-yachtie" - and one of the most important things I always do is to take a case of beer or a couple dozen doughnuts to the yard crew before I leave the facility.

Of course I've had minimal problems, (like the time my rolloer-furing drum was put on backwards!), but I've always been able to catch 98% of the problems I did have before I leave the service docks - and the yard has always taken steps to correct them.

Best -

Bill
There is a fine line with your second paragraph. It is one thing to stop by and check on the progress, but many yards will not put up with someone getting in the middle of everything, regardless of how polite they behave.
I have worked in yards and there is nothing worse than a boat owner asking all kinds of questions while I am running the travel lift. Doughnuts, or no doughnuts, many will ignore you if they are in the middle of something, and get interrupted. Employees learn early on to add time to a job expense report that involves a talkative owner.
I think what you described is fine, but I worry that it will be misinterpreted.
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Old 27-12-2008, 14:50   #8
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Yelling at myself...

I had to give up having work done on Boracay. The money was going to run out before the boat was ready.

Now I do almost everything myself. Main problem is not having anyone to yell at when I do it wrong.
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Old 27-12-2008, 15:00   #9
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Employees learn early on to add time to a job expense report that involves a talkative owner.
I agree with that. In my painting business. That is referred to as an "aggravation fee".
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Old 27-12-2008, 15:15   #10
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Thanks guys. You are right.. The real questions are: How did the water get there in the first place and why didn't I check on the boat sooner than 6 weeks after she was hauled?

Peter, what do you mean by a "two way bilge pump switch"?

I will have a second bilge pump, and alarm, by spring. That way if one fuse goes the other should still kick in.

A lesson learned a day keeps the bills away!
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Old 27-12-2008, 15:56   #11
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There are switches that will turn on the bilge pump, irregardless of the float switch position, or leave it on auto through the float switch. It allows you to turn on the pump to check it or try and get the last few drops (yeah sure, just drops) out of the bilge by passing the float switch. Kind of pricey from West but I'm thinking really a necessity.

I'm also going to put in a second bilge pump. Depending on one pump to save my bacon on a boat 2500 miles away is asking for trouble.

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Old 27-12-2008, 21:00   #12
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I have worked in yards and there is nothing worse than a boat owner asking all kinds of questions while I am running the travel lift. Doughnuts, or no doughnuts, many will ignore you if they are in the middle of something, and get interrupted. Employees learn early on to add time to a job expense report that involves a talkative owner.
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Old 28-12-2008, 05:55   #13
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There is a fine line with your second paragraph. It is one thing to stop by and check on the progress, but many yards will not put up with someone getting in the middle of everything, regardless of how polite they behave.
I have worked in yards and there is nothing worse than a boat owner asking all kinds of questions while I am running the travel lift. Doughnuts, or no doughnuts, many will ignore you if they are in the middle of something, and get interrupted. Employees learn early on to add time to a job expense report that involves a talkative owner.
I think what you described is fine, but I worry that it will be misinterpreted.
A very good point -

I should be clear that I never interrupt anyone while they are on a boat other than mine, (especially someone running the lift!!!), and I never waltz into a yard asking where so-and-so is working because I want to talk to them about my boat. When I go, I'm in, check things, and then I'm out. I'm often there for less than 10 minutes. I don't hang around. Frequently, yard personnel don't know I've been there.

If I do interrupt anyone to ask questions, it is while they are working a job on my boat. The questions pertain to the job at hand, and are short and to the point. If I need anything more, I go to the yard project manager handling my boat and ask them to communicate my questions/concerns/comments/etc. with the trades.

In no way did I mean to infer that one should be a pest, or take the attitude of "the squeaking wheel gets the grease..."

Bill
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Old 28-12-2008, 22:37   #14
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I've mostly done-it-myself, but recently had some work on the boat at a yard which wouldn't let me do anything. I tried very hard to stay out of everyone's way and let 'em get it done.

At one point the yard owner, yard boss, and the fibre glass guy wanted to talk to me in the office. (They may not have been aware I'd just checked what they'd been doing, which was removing a particularly nasty cutlass bearing. In very small pieces.) They wanted to inform me that, in the process of the work they'd damaged the fibreglass stern tube. Yes, I saw what they'd done and they'd kinda made the job much harder than it should have been by forgetting to remove the schmoo at the aft end of the tube, ending up with some crushed fibreglass which was going to result in more work on their part.

It was very clear everyone was afraid I was going to blow up and start screaming.

I just asked if it was going to delay the time to launch (which it would.) I mean, it's a boat, not some work of fine art. There's no point in making them feel bad about something they're already going to fix, and it wasn't a real big deal either. So I thanked them for keeping me informed, and work went on. The mechanical crew did some really great work, maybe more than I ended up paying for.

I'd like to think that was, in part, due to good manners in dealing with their screw up calmly and simply.
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Old 30-12-2008, 10:10   #15
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I agree with that. In my painting business. That is referred to as an "aggravation fee".
Solid!!!!
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