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Old 06-02-2010, 11:03   #46
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Thanks Erika....I love my boat, and I love working on her.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:12   #47
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Good ones are out there but the majority of experience to date tells me differently...Like any other industry you have clock punchers just doing the minimum to get by most of the time.

I will be doing 99.99% of my own EVERYTHING form here on out...I can screw up my self with out getting charged for it.

I have also learned why trades do not like you looking over their shoulder...it's because when they screw something up they cant declare it as a pre-existing fault and charge you for it...My yard tried to pull that on me a couple times....Pictures are worth more then just words sometimes.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:48   #48
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Thanks very much, one and all. This is an amazing community. I truly am not worthy, but I will try to be as the years go on.

Carl, thank you immensely for your well-thought-out response. I think your advice is uncannily appropriate to my situation.

Erika, also, thanks so much.
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Old 06-02-2010, 19:16   #49
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Here is a link for quick access to some of Don Casey's Library.

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Old 06-02-2010, 22:03   #50
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Dennis

You're already ahead of 50% of boat owners because you were trying to figure out the situation instead of just yelling or being a jerk. A little appreciation of good work, prompt payment, a few donuts, and asking about the guy's kids will put you in the top 10%. Guys in the top 10% always seem to get their boat launched on schedule.

I also do a lot of work on my boat, but hire pro's for anything that might get someone hurt - including me. Masts and standing rigging are one of those things. AC wiring is another. Lifting 120lb batteries at an angle through a #$!@ tiny access hatch with a 55 year old back is another.

And don't get so wrapped up doing your own maintenance that you never get to go sailing. That's a real waste.

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Old 07-02-2010, 05:47   #51
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Thanks, Carl. Oh yeah.... that sailing thing.... gotta do it!
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:44   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post

I have also learned why trades do not like you looking over their shoulder...it's because when they screw something up they cant declare it as a pre-existing fault and charge you for it...My yard tried to pull that on me a couple times....Pictures are worth more then just words sometimes.
I can certainly see that happening in this business. Digital cameras are great, get one and use it.
I may regret this post but here goes.
But another reason is that owners can get in the way as well. While there are some real cheap shoddy workman out there to be sure. Sometimes the owner can be his own worst enemy. I expect owners to be concerned about the work done, it's quality, and the cost. But there have been times I've had to ask a customer to please find something else to do. I believe in customer care, service and support after the job is done. Those that know me here might attest to that. But I can't answer 100 questions while I'm upside down in positions that would qualify me for the Cirque de soleil. As others have said it can take time to do the simplest of tasks. I can change out a hose with a new barbed fitting and clamp in one minute on a bench in the shop. It can take thirty minutes or more if I have to dislocate my shoulder and elbow to reach it on a boat while explaining to the customer why the fitting he never knew was there, is there, why it's there, what it does, how it does it, who makes it, why some are better than others, why it has to come out, why it was done wrong in the first place (even on a brand new boat), and why it's better to replace it with a new one instead of re-using the old one or the cheap spare he bought at Home Depot, explaining dissimilar metals, Tef Gel, teflon tape, missing O-rings, different type of O-rings, torque, vibration, two clamps instead of one, 316, 304 and Home Depot clamps, supporting hoses, chafing, and now why a one minute job he did himself at home under his kitchen sink is now being billed at half an hour on his boat.

Sometimes I break things accidentally. I own up to it and repair it at no charge. It happens, your boat has many difficult places to reach with A LOT of stuff jammed into places that must have taken a crow bar to get in. Sometimes my elbow does bump into things, I'm sorry, I try my best at being perfect. I try my best to show up and say we can fix "Broken A" this is what it will cost and I'm outta here. But "Broken B" is hiding behind "Being fixed A" and my X-ray glasses don't work as promised. Boats are not like Toyota Camrys where millions are made exactly alike on an assembly line and a car mechanic knows exactly where to look. I don't know the sins of the previous owner of that ten year old classic boat you just bought even if he did tell you everything works perfect. Even surveyors don't know everything so I cringe and hear shades of Richard Dawson when I hear "but my surveyor said"

OK rant over, I feel better.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:18   #53
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Points well taken, Tellie. One of the balances I'm trying to achieve as a new boat owner is to manage the maintenance process effectively without getting in the way of those I've hired to do the real work. I'd like to watch and learn certainly, and even assist...but I'd also like to fall short of the category of "pain in the ass customer."

It reminds me of a sign I saw in a garage somewhere:

Rates: $36/hour
If you watch: $45/hour
If you help: $65/hour
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:54   #54
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I find I get the most out of my shipwrights if I help by running errands (often parts) and do things that require at least two people with them. If they want to be left alone I go do varnishing, or something else that needs to be done, but they know I am still around if they need help.
I am friendly, try not to be a pain, and show real interest in their work. I complement them immediately when the work looks good. I refer to good people and let them know they are outstanding whenever they walk by the boat and I am on it.
I always get a price estimate before and I am not surprised when it is 10-20% more on an old boat.
It is easier to catch flies with honey....
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:03   #55
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I find I get the most out of my shipwrights if I help ...
... It is easier to catch flies with honey....
My hourly rates:
Basic: $35/Hr
If you watch: $45/Hr
If you help: $55/Hr
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:17   #56
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Why can't I help, Gord? I bought a brand new Leatherman, and I gotta flashlight.

:-)
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:40   #57
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Why can't I help, Gord? I bought a brand new Leatherman, and I gotta flashlight.

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Old 07-02-2010, 11:14   #58
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I've seen those kind of shop rates before. Since I bought Oh Joy (or as some say, received her as a gift) I've done all of the work. Am I a boatwright? I may be now but wasn't when I started. Seriously, DIY, it's much more fun, if you have the time.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:30   #59
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If you have the time, DennisM, read the directions, and do it yourself. If something stymies you, ask for help. Sailboaters are the most helpful people you will ever meet.

I would not have made it through my recent trip from Michigan to Guatemala without the kindness and willingness to help that every sailboater offered. Always refusing any money and saying, "just "pay it forward."

And that is what I do. It makes the world a better place and helps the fun quotient stay high, in a sometimes expensive pastime. When you get out in the world cruising, you will encounter fewer of these "land shark" profiteers who are out to get you and more cruising sailors like yourself.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:45   #60
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Loads of good points - nearly all of us have been bitten by some geezer in the yard at some time!

One key lesson we really learnt the hard way is before starting any job, whether ourselves or commissioning someone - askwill it stop us sailing?

We learnt this by - ho hum - taking out our 'windows' (I'm calling them that for clarity.) On RG, almost all the lights are below the deck level, and apart from 2 transom hatches, they don't open. They are 12mm thick and sit into purpose built chamfered frames within the hull, which require the strengthened plastic to be gently shaved around each of its four edges to sit neatly against a neoprene gasket, and then be held in place by interlock screws. There are ten of these windows. We took them off because they were badly crazed and it was months before we got it all sorted out. Absolute nightmare. We couldn't leave the dock without fixing them.

So - if you decide to get the mast in and move on out away from this difficult scenario, don't start any new job which will keep you there! In the meantime stick good duck tape over the leaky bit and that's be sweet till you can take on the job.
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