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Old 18-02-2014, 19:20   #1
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Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

I have seen a couple threads lately that dealt with outrageous boatyards, but I can't seem to find a dedicated thread in the archives to hear from everyone about the good, the bad and the ugly. Many years ago, I bought a 24' power boat, which had a noisy crankshaft. I had little money at the time, and got an estimate from a local boatyard. $800, and 1-2 weeks. I begged, borrowed, and stole to come up with the money, then gave the yard the green light. That was in June. 2 weeks later, I called the yard, and was told they had not even looked at the engine yet, and it would be 2 more weeks. That added a month to the storage bill at the marina. 2 weeks later, they called and said the bill would be at least $1000 more than the previous estimate, and would take at least another 2 weeks, since they were now in peak season. My engine was in pieces, and another month of storage was paid to the marina. A month later, they resumed work on the engine, then added another thousand to the bill. Another month of storage paid to the marina. It was SEPTEMBER by the time they called and said it was ready, and the bill was now $4500. After complaining, they took 10% off the bill. When the engine started, it filled the cabin with exhaust, made a clunking sound, and quit after about a minute. After a mechanically talented friend looked at the engine, he determined they has used the wrong exhaust manifold gasket, they installed the fuel pump on backwards, and failed to tighten a tappet, causing the rocker arm to pop off, which caused the clunking noise. It took my friend 8 hours to diagnose and fix my engine, which by now had cost me nearly $5000, including storage fees, and cost the entire boating season. The company went broke soon after, not surprisingly, and I ended up selling the boat to recoup my losses.
If you have a yard horror story, lets hear it. I'll be surprised if anyone can top this one.
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Old 18-02-2014, 19:27   #2
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Had you considered consulting with your friends earlier?

I have used two yards here in our area, never had a problem. Svendsen's and Grand marina in Alameda.

Great folks to work with.
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Old 18-02-2014, 19:31   #3
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Well, there is that current thread here by someone whose 45' sailboat was dropped by a travel lift and completely totaled.

That kinda tops a $5K engine rebuild in my book.

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Old 18-02-2014, 20:24   #4
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

I've heard much worse. Engines are my favorite.

And yes, lots of dropped boats which would be a nightmare.
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Old 18-02-2014, 21:40   #5
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

There is the now famous story of the Seattle yard that built two crabbers for a family fishing the Bering Sea. As opening day approached, the heat was on to finish and splash both vessels to get them to Dutch Harbor, load the traps and and get on the grounds. The painter came in on a Sunday to finish off the plimsol lines in time to dry and catch the falling tide. Quick time up to Dutch, loaded up the traps and crew and headed out... both boats, brand new, turned turtle in a blow on their way out to the crabbing grounds with the loss of several lives, 3 from the same family. An enormous tragedy in the small, tightly knit community of Dutch Harbor. After nearly a year of indepth, exhaustive investigation into the cause of the sinking by the USCG, it was determined that the trap loading continued until the ships came down to the correct level of the Plimsol lines and headed out not realizing that the lines were painted about 3 feet too high causing an overloading of the traps placing the ships in a top heavy attitude and subject to extreme rolling in seas both vessels were designed to weather.
This sticks in my mind as the worst shipyard disaster in my lifetime... Phil
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Old 18-02-2014, 22:06   #6
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shorebird View Post
I have seen a couple threads lately that dealt with outrageous boatyards, but I can't seem to find a dedicated thread in the archives to hear from everyone about the good, the bad and the ugly. Many years ago, I bought a 24' power boat, which had a noisy crankshaft. I had little money at the time, and got an estimate from a local boatyard. $800, and 1-2 weeks. I begged, borrowed, and stole to come up with the money, then gave the yard the green light. That was in June. 2 weeks later, I called the yard, and was told they had not even looked at the engine yet, and it would be 2 more weeks. That added a month to the storage bill at the marina. 2 weeks later, they called and said the bill would be at least $1000 more than the previous estimate, and would take at least another 2 weeks, since they were now in peak season. My engine was in pieces, and another month of storage was paid to the marina. A month later, they resumed work on the engine, then added another thousand to the bill. Another month of storage paid to the marina. It was SEPTEMBER by the time they called and said it was ready, and the bill was now $4500. After complaining, they took 10% off the bill. When the engine started, it filled the cabin with exhaust, made a clunking sound, and quit after about a minute. After a mechanically talented friend looked at the engine, he determined they has used the wrong exhaust manifold gasket, they installed the fuel pump on backwards, and failed to tighten a tappet, causing the rocker arm to pop off, which caused the clunking noise. It took my friend 8 hours to diagnose and fix my engine, which by now had cost me nearly $5000, including storage fees, and cost the entire boating season. The company went broke soon after, not surprisingly, and I ended up selling the boat to recoup my losses.
If you have a yard horror story, lets hear it. I'll be surprised if anyone can top this one.
This is where it pays to do your own work. If one can't or won't then it's best to buy new and keep the scammers at bay.
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Old 19-02-2014, 05:40   #7
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

I've only had one yard go over the indicated amount but that was enough for me never to darken their door again.

I can see how it can happen. Boats eat time and expensive materials.

As to how to approach a boatyard first ask round for recommendations, then try them out with a small job. If all goes well then another and so on.

Working alongside the yard workers and chit chatting as you go can reveal a remarkable amount of information.

Dropping a challenging task onto an unknown yard and walking away to leave them to it may not be at all wise.
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Old 19-02-2014, 22:50   #8
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

My life long distrust of brokers, surveyors,and boat yards began in 1972 with my first cruising boat. I bought a Contessa 26 simply because it had almost all of the gear that Eric Hiscock recommended. I was at rock bottom of the learning curve. I went and looked at the boat, and arranged a test sail for the next weekend. When I arrived for the test sail I didnt pay any attention to the engine already being warm. We went out and sailed in about 6 knots of wind, and I was satisfied with the boat. I made an offer and put a deposit , and arranged for a survey when the offer was accepted.I used the surveyor that the broker recommended, and the boatyard that the broker recommended. As I said, I was rock bottom of the learning curve. There were only 7 things listed on the survey that needed attention, and I had them done. I received ownership in a week or so, and went to the boat and tried to start the engine, and it would not start. I was familiar with diesels and went and got some either, and got it running. It never would start unless the weather was warm. I.E. the engine was worn out. I sailed weekends and did a trip from San Francisco to the Channel Islands and back and learned a lot. One of the things that the boat yard replaced was the exhaust system. They replaced the system with a rigid system even thou the engine was flex mounted. It lasted about a year. One of the issues that the surveyor noted was the fuel tank vent was vented into the boat. The yard put a vent on the outside of the cockpit coaming, about 1 inch above deck level, and didnt put any raised loop in it. My first trip back up the calif coast was with a dead engine, since as soon as we took water onto the deck, it flowed right into the fuel tank. There were were 4 other issues that I cant remember after 40 years, but of the 7 things I had them do, the only thing they did right was the bottom paint. The things that I learned was never trust an engine to be good if it was already warmed up when you arrived to test it, never use a surveyor that the broker recommends, or a boat yard that the broker recommends, and when the work is finished at the yard, have someone who knows more than you look at it before you accept it. I am sure there are honest brokers, surveyors, yards, but there are enough sleezy ones that you should always be on guard. I later learned that the surveyor worked part time for the yard, and the broker, surveyor and yard owner all drank together. After a couple of years of learning, and sorting things out (tossing the worn out diesel) the boat turned out to be a superb small cruising boat and took us about 9000 miles. I have done my own work ever since that lesson. _____Grant.
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Old 20-02-2014, 00:49   #9
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

It is nice to do business on a handshake but in most of the US, if you get a written estimate, that's a contract and there are usually consumer protection laws that limit the amount you can be charged over the estimate. Typically +10% to 15% and not a penny more.

Yards, mechanics or shops that don't write up any paperwork are usually very much aware of how paperwork can bind them, and they try not to write it up because that's to their great advantage.
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Old 20-02-2014, 07:29   #10
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

@ gjordon
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Old 20-02-2014, 12:28   #11
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Well, there is that current thread here by someone whose 45' sailboat was dropped by a travel lift and completely totaled.

That kinda tops a $5K engine rebuild in my book.

Mark
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Old 20-02-2014, 16:20   #12
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
There is the now famous story of the Seattle yard that built two crabbers for a family fishing the Bering Sea. As opening day approached, the heat was on to finish and splash both vessels to get them to Dutch Harbor, load the traps and and get on the grounds. The painter came in on a Sunday to finish off the plimsol lines in time to dry and catch the falling tide. Quick time up to Dutch, loaded up the traps and crew and headed out... both boats, brand new, turned turtle in a blow on their way out to the crabbing grounds with the loss of several lives, 3 from the same family. An enormous tragedy in the small, tightly knit community of Dutch Harbor. After nearly a year of indepth, exhaustive investigation into the cause of the sinking by the USCG, it was determined that the trap loading continued until the ships came down to the correct level of the Plimsol lines and headed out not realizing that the lines were painted about 3 feet too high causing an overloading of the traps placing the ships in a top heavy attitude and subject to extreme rolling in seas both vessels were designed to weather.
This sticks in my mind as the worst shipyard disaster in my lifetime... Phil
Gosh, that's a horrible story! Poor guys. Jeez.

There was a windstorm at a boatyard in SE Queensland a few years back, it blew over all the sailboats on the hardstand; like dominoes, all write-offs, but no loss of life.
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Old 20-02-2014, 17:08   #13
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Shorebird,
This is a good post because it describes a situation that is common in the marine industry. And, it is also the reason why many people who love sailing ,but are not capable of maintaining their vessels, enter and leave the sport/lifestyle within a short period of time. We have met countless people over the last 30 years who buy the dream and live the nightmare . . . never to return. Unfortunately, it is a "caveat emptor" situation that could only be remedied by creating standards and ethics--something that is surely lacking among many in the field and our culture in general. And, to attempt to correct the situation by government legislation . . . is similar to hanging earrings on a pig . . . neither the earrings nor the pig will benefit. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 20-02-2014, 17:14   #14
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

never let crooks work on your boat
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Old 20-02-2014, 18:03   #15
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Re: Boatyard Horrors. Top this...

Alchemy,!!!!!!Just another plus for metal boats. _____Grant.
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