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Old 05-02-2010, 15:40   #16
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Originally Posted by DennisM View Post
The owner/manager does a bunch of boat work, He and his crew are willing to do a bunch of the work that the sailboat guy does, but at twice the hourly rate.
So is this original guy really that bad? Perhaps he is just a grumpy old guy with very poor people skills. Some folks like him really are the best option; they do good work and are tired of getting screwed for it so they have taken on a bad attitude. I'm NOT defending the guy, only trying to point out that under the facade, things might be pretty good.

which would you rather have...

an inexpensive, talented @ssh0le?

or an expensive hack that is a really nice guy?
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Old 05-02-2010, 15:49   #17
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I think you've framed the question fairly well regarding the owner/manager vs. the sailboat guy. Seems like a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea to me. The catch is, the owner/manager charges honestly. The "inexpensive" guy pads his bills. It's almost a wash.
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Old 05-02-2010, 16:10   #18
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I would tell you that you knew what you were getting into when you dealt with someone who people told you was a thief, but as I considered saying that, I remembered I just bought meat injected with water and Ice cream that is 50% air. We tolerate thieves in this country instead of hanging them, I am sorry.
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Old 05-02-2010, 16:12   #19
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Thank you, Pete. As a start, I would really enjoy knowing how to reseat and reseal my starboard, sternmost port. It leaks a small amount of rain water. I'll take some pix and post them here. All help would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thats a good one to start with, btw if one is leaking I am willing to bet the others aren't far behind.

The key is going to be cleaning up the port and fittings carefully to get a good bond to the hull. If the port is held together with stainless screws into aliminium then take your time if the glass needs to come out to seal around there too. Read the sealant labels carefully, firms like Sikaflex make both sealant and adhesives, the part numbers are like 292 and 291, use the wrong one and it will never come apart again without an angle grinder (don't ask how I know). Final tip will be buy a really good quality set of screw drivers, they last a lifetime, and are less likely to wreck screw heads.

You need a nice warm day, and lots of time for the first one. The rest will be much quicker because you know what to do.

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Old 05-02-2010, 16:42   #20
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"He is very knowledgeable. He does good quality work. But he is dishonest and will overcharge you."
The assertion that someone is dishonest is usually associated with the real cost of the job. Good work takes longer and costs more. I've not found many sources that were very good and dishonest. You can't get good with that approach. Most of the dishonest folks don't do good work - that would be a good working definition of honesty. For a cheap job they don't clean up and they cut corners to save labor hours. Boat work is a PITA and takes patience or far more time than you think - both is accurate. When it takes long, then you think the conclusion is all to easy to assess the labor as dishonest because they over charged you.

For the things I do myself that I do know how to do; they take 4 times longer than I thought before I started. When having work done. You can screw up one of two ways. Poor work or paying a lot. The good work lasts a long time and won't have to be redone. Doing any job over is dishonest work. It can take 2 or 3 years for a half done job to go bad. Some things done poorly last longer and have huge costs down the road.

Getting the job done correctly saves money later on. Repairing what the last guy did has been a fair amount of my time and money on two different boats that were not ever done poor, but not always done right. Most people that do their own work don't do that great a job. Some things they can get away with and redo it over and over. It's not uncommon to find out that the PO (previous owner) was a jerk. Many PO's own another boat so what goes around comes around. When you hear about good work then you can believe it if you see it. When all you hear is how much it costs then it's not important to listen to.

If you need to have work done - Never use anyone else but the best person in town. Anyone could do a poor job, but you can't live with that.

You can learn to do more things and you can learn to do the things you think you know even better. It's the only way you can own the same boat for a long time. If you think a price is high then ask about how good it will be. Ask how it is going to be done and not just the price. If the price is low then expect a real reason and find out. Not all professionals are good at billing by the hour and not all boats are easy or hard to know before you've got in pretty deep. You often find a second problem fixing the first.
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Old 05-02-2010, 16:45   #21
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Dennis - Sounds like you got a great deal on purchasing a bunch of little problems!

The "professionals" in every boatyard do not love your boat the way you do and (in most cases) just want to get in and get out - give you the bill and move on to the next project. The rare exceptions are the rare craftsmen who do top quality work but charge by the hour. Either way - as a new old boat owner - you pay dearly.

I believe for special projects it's best to just hire one guy to do the one job and then negotiate with the next guy after the first has gathered his tools, been paid and moved on. Too many aunts in the kitchen can make for a bad meal.

Or get someone you trust to act as your project manager.

Hiring "professionals" to make your boat Ship-Shape will break the bank faster than you can shout STOP!

It's ALWAYS best to do your own work! Go ahead and get your hands dirty! Maks some of your own mistakes. You might not have time to do it right the first time but you'll always make time to do it again! Third time's a charm (just don't use 5200)! None of this is Rocket Science. Educate yourself through hands-on experience, Captain. It's YOUR boat.

My personal all-round favorite book is UPGRADING THE CRUISING SAILBOAT. A worthy addition to any library.

And I'm sure by now you've learned - if you ask two experienced sailors how to fix a simple problen... you'll get five good ideas how best to go about it!

Service all your thru-hulls, replace your zincs, roll on some bottom paint launch her, step the mast, snug everything up and go out get a little fun from your investment. There's no need to cross everything off your list before before getting underway. And you'll be hauling-out again in a year or two anyway.

To Life!

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Old 05-02-2010, 16:57   #22
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I'm inclined to say settle up with this guy, and start learning how to do the work yourself. There is a huge resource here in the form of knowledge to be tapped. It may be that the fellow is just grumpy from being shafted but if he's not inclined to be upfront on what a repair may entail and wants carte blanche, I've back off on that relationship. He may be the worlds best sailboat guy but I'm not sure being held to ransom is the best way of getting things fixed.

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Old 05-02-2010, 18:58   #23
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Port removal jig...

To remove the opening portholes on Boracay I made a simple jig out of a couple of pieces of scrap wood to distribute the load as evenly as possible.

Then I put a couple of "F" clamps through the open porthole and then evenly and gradually tightened them to pull the ports away from the steel hull. The mastic slowly let go until the ports came free.

The best way of doing your job may differ from this.

In my opinion the way to get watertight ports and hatches is to use lots of cheap mastic rather than a small amount of the expensive stuff. And to have lots of clean scrapers, kitchen paper and mastic cleanup liquid (in my case turpentine) handy.

Of course if you are not a total mud lark you could get a much neater job than me.

I have not experienced any problem with good quality name brand but cheaper polyurethane mastic, but you do need to read the label carefully to make sure it is suitable for your task. Polysulphide may be better but could take forever to cure.

Careful dry fitting after all of the old mastic has been removed is essential.
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Old 05-02-2010, 19:52   #24
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Make it the yard managers problem and not yours. Tell the yard manager you dont care who does the work so long as the work is done well and for a reasonable price. Why are you considering haggling with the people who do the actual work?

Professional yards don't do this. In fact, most good yards employ their own people and don't like it at all when you pay the one doing the work directly nor do they really like outside contractors coming in to their yards.

Only deal with the yard owner or his representative such as the yard manager, so you don't have to deal with childish personalities who are incapable of getting along with each other.
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Old 05-02-2010, 19:59   #25
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Butyl tape works great at sealing ports. It is pretty cheap, $7 per roll of 1" that will do a lot of ports. Buy grey, not black butyl.
You are sealing, not fastening with the butyl. Use the screws to fasten the port to the boat. Always use Tefgel on the stainless screws into the aluminum frames.

If the screws have been in the frames for a long time they may not come out. You may snap some of them off. Then you have to drill them out.

You can center punch the end of the broken screw and then carefully drill a small hole to start. Then use a second drill the same size as the solid part of the screw. After drilling out the screw, clean the threads with a tap. Drilling SS requires a quality drill bit like Cobalt. Don't even try with a cheap drill bit.

You can see from this description how a project can go over budget. How do you know ahead of time if any, or all, of the screws will break off? When some do, it adds a LOT of work. Maybe none will be a problem, maybe they all will. Should I quote you for a worst case scenario? Then when the job goes quickly, I've 'ripped you off'.
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Old 05-02-2010, 23:13   #26
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The guy needs to go on his knees for you and say stuff like "thank you, you valued customer" etc. instead of threatening with sabotage. I would have put him down with one of my amazing flying kung fu kicks already ;-) It sounds to me that he has his own little dictatorship setup there so put the mast back up, pay the bill and get out of there! Tell him you just lost all your money on wall street yesterday so no more work.

Find a nice & relaxed yard without sharks next season and do it all yourself. Like said, ask away on this forum.

cheers,
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Old 05-02-2010, 23:40   #27
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The guy needs to go on his knees for you and say stuff like "thank you, you valued customer" etc. instead of threatening with sabotage. I would have put him down with one of my amazing flying kung fu kicks already ;-) It sounds to me that he has his own little dictatorship setup there so put the mast back up, pay the bill and get out of there! Tell him you just lost all your money on wall street yesterday so no more work.

Find a nice & relaxed yard without sharks next season and do it all yourself. Like said, ask away on this forum.

cheers,
Nick.
Absolutly...find another yard.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:46   #28
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Do your research and do it yourself. I stepped our mast along the seawall with help from a couple of guys from marina and a rented crane. Labor cost was a couple of hundred for the crane and a case of beer. You should understand stuff like the packing gland and rig tension. There may be a time when there's no one around to help out when they need attention. The more you understand your boats systems the better.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:19   #29
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Relationships are tricky things

If you are not happy, then stop using the fella - even if that means paying him up to date simply to save future legal aggro (obviously depends on the sums involved / quality of work - but sounds like he is simply expensive).

With boats it is often hard to get a fixed quote simply because until you get halfway through a job (or to the end? ) tricky to say for sure how long it will take to do well.......to build up a relationship of trust useful to have jobs that are easier to guage, before you get into the more "how long is a piece of string?" work. Being known as a very quick payer often helps with small businesses.............not to say most folks (me included) don't drop the odd b#llock - especially when good tradesmen go bad

But as you have already identified, doing the work yourself is the future - my advice is to start off on smaller jobs (and with a short timescale) and build up your knowledge base / skills / confidence over time. As you say the boat is perfectly usable then no reason why the things you can't do / don't want to can't be deferred until you reach another place or find someone else........or indeed you simply swallow the cost (with the yard) for a few things and simply look at the whole cost of the refurb with your work offsetting the proffessionals.

On the port thing, never done one - but on jobs like that I usually have a plan b in case things doesn't go as I hoped, if not permanent to at least buy more thinking time.....in the case of the port a sheet of plastic and some gaffer tape sounds about right
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:46   #30
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Wowww! I am overwhelmed and extremely grateful for the help and advice. You've given me more than tips, you've helped give me perspective. Thank you for all your valuable input.

I am going to continue to learn to do as much as possible myself, as quickly as I can learn it. I genuinely look forward to that part, though at this early stage I still find it daunting. I'm also a bit restricted, since I work full time. But when I bought the boat, I didn't even know what a stuffing box was. Through internet research and a book I bought, I figured out how to adjust it so that it didn't leak very much and didn't overheat. For me, that was a major triumph. I've also managed to winterize all systems myself, have changed the oil several times (of course), and have begun the rebuilding of my sliding companionway cover and the teak "cap" of my stern (where the cleats, vents and wires are either attached or run through).

My ambition is to become known as "that crazy old sailboat guy." I've got the age, the craziness, and the boat now. I just have to learn how to make them all work together.

And the good news about the sailboat guy who may or may not be honest is that he won't do squat unless you prod him several times. So, if he doesn't hear from me, maybe he'll forget that list we talked about, and all will be well.
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