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Old 07-02-2010, 12:51   #61
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Thank you again, folks! I've been trying to gain about 30 years' experience in the space of two seasons. I know it's not possible, but the wisdom, insights and willingness to help on this forum are moving me closer to being a safer and more self-reliant cruiser/sailor. The value of that is immeasurable.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:53   #62
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DIY

Gallivanters, you recommended a book "UPGRADING THE CRUISING SAILBOAT". Is that the same as "Spurr's Guide to Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat ", by Daniel Spurr that I found on Amazon?

I'm in a somewhat similar situation to the OP: new to boat ownership and have been paying to have a few things done. Always shocked at the price, but don't think I've been taken advantage of - yet!

I feel at a disadvantage when it comes to the learning curve. Being a typical female, I haven't spent time fixing things, repairing cars, etc. throughout my life; I think that kind of experience and confidence in one's ability to DIY is much more common in men. I'd like to get to the point where I can do a lot of maintence and repairs myself, so I've been watching the professionals closely (while staying out of the way ). But it's daunting. I keep thinking about the likelihood of *#@!ing up so badly I compromise the integrity and safety of my (wonderful) boat.

Maybe I'll be lucky and find a "soulmate" who loves DIY, and I can spend my time keeping him happy! LOL!

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Old 07-02-2010, 13:01   #63
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Being a typical female,
Margo

I know I'm asking for trouble from the other females that post here. But only ten posts in two years and you think you're a typical female?
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Old 07-02-2010, 13:17   #64
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There are a few really good 'how to' articles by the venerable Mainesail here: Compass Marine Project Articles Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
Good luck with your E 32. You might try exploring other yards that may be up or down river from where you currently are. We keep our boat in Nyack which may be a bit too far south for you. Explore some different options.
Mostly, good luck.
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Old 07-02-2010, 13:45   #65
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Tellie,

"But only ten posts in two years and you think you're a typical female?"

LOL! I guess I'm only typical with respect to DIY. You're right, in most other ways I don't fit many of the stereotypes.

Margo
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Old 15-02-2010, 13:19   #66
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Dennis,

I think you have a found a topic that stirs more juices than "What's the Best Anchor?"

But, in all seriousness, you're getting the benefit of a great deal of experience on this forum. Its great to see. I do a lot of my own work. But on the stuff I won't/can't do, I have to agree with the folks that 1.) good boat work is never cheap, 2.) it ALWAYS costs more (takes more time) than you thought and 3.) you want it done right.

Best of luck to you.

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Old 15-02-2010, 13:36   #67
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Thanks, Dave. And you're right about all three, of course. I also want to be treated fairly and honestly, however. And I am not very tolerant of someone else acting like they own my boat, just because they know a lot more than I do about how to maintain it. It's a dilemma... and I've been trying to walk a tightrope with it.
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Old 15-02-2010, 15:43   #68
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If you are not happy.....Pay what you owe....load the mast on the boat (in a cradle) and go somewhere else....do your research on the next yard.....for the DIY keep coming to this board

As far as liens go....in Maryland, you have to have possession of the boat...i.e. you have to be a boatyard or have the permission of the yard to file a lien......
I learned that lesson the hard way....I can get all the judgements I want but that doesn't compel the guy to pay.....I just wrote it off as a loss.
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Old 16-02-2010, 06:47   #69
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Good advice, Chief. I don't know what the NY laws about liens are. I should probably check, though sticking my head in the sand and hoping I never need to know is more like my style. LOL

I always pay my bills the moment I'm handed an invoice. I don't owe the "sailboat guy" anything, fortunately. I am immensely respectful of people with specialized skills who do the "real work," even if some of them can be a pain in the ass.

And yes, I'm looking for another place to keep my boat, especially since I'd like to be closer to my cruising grounds, which begin at western Long Island Sound. Even just a little further south on the Hudson River would be a help.
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Old 16-02-2010, 09:03   #70
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I have come to the conclusion that you want to find a yard that works on boats one boat at a time or at least has a dedicated crew assigned to one boat only from start to finish and that is their only project till its done....I have personally witnessed way to much head scratching "on the clock" as to where, what, or how mechanic X left things for mechanic Y to figure out.
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Old 16-02-2010, 09:10   #71
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Thanks, Stillraining. There may be such a place around here, but I have yet to find it. I will keep looking, for sure...
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Old 16-02-2010, 10:04   #72
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it may not be dishounesty on the sailboat guys part,i repair car body work and i get asked for a quote,so i quote it,now sometimes you run into additional works,so you call the customer with the bad news and inform him of the increased charge if he wants the additional work done.

The problem is that most folks are fine with this,but there are those who think you are ripping them off.

I have in the past lost money as a result of customers refusing to pay for additional works,i had one guy where i fixed his bmw,i explained that i had to buy some new parts,he said so what? you quoted me XX,the next time he brought his car in i did the repair that we agreed at the price we agreed,i found some additional works,i pointed those out to him and he went nuts as i had not done them,i could go on and on with examples of people like him but i wont as most folks are great to deal with.

The problem with old cars and old boats is that it is sometimes impossible to give an accurate estimate and whilst you are doing the repair you can uncover damage that if you dont fix it,the repair that you are doing will not last long

I would take my boat out of that yard and find another as any client/workman relationship has gone and only distrust is in it place.

If you find yourself in future having work carried out by someone on your behalf,then tell the guy that if he finds any additional work,to call you as it may put your budget out.
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Old 16-02-2010, 10:41   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisM View Post
I hope this won't be too long to read, but I would be very grateful for some advice from experienced boatowners...

I purchased my first sailboat last April, and this is my first winter on the hard, where I have a fairly long punch list of maintenance (and a few repair) items I need done on my 20-yr-old boat. At this stage there are only a few items I am capable of doing myself, despite the books I've bought and the advice I've received from friends. I am dedicated, however, to keep learning so that I can eventually tackle most things.

So, that puts me in a situation where I must rely on local boat experts to do most of the work at this stage. Well, there is one guy who is recognized locally as THE sailboat guy. Everyone I talk to has said the same things about him: "He is very knowledgeable. He does good quality work. But he is dishonest and will overcharge you."

I have had him do some work, and with each of two invoices came about a $100 surprise. He refuses to provide estimates, and he becomes very unhappy when you refuse to give him free rein to explore and fix as he sees fit.

This caused me to seek out other competent folks: one who will do fiberglass work and some reseating, and one who can do engine and propulsion work. They, too, are both competent, and their reputations are much better.

The kicker is, the engine guy won't work with the overall sailboat guy, and the overall sailboat guy won't work with the fiberglass guy.

Aside from simply moving my boat to a different part of the world, I'm at a loss about how to proceed. I'm hearing horror stories, for example, about how the sailboat guy overcharges you and when you refuse to pay it, he slaps a lien on your boat and keeps you out of the water and in the courts. And yet, he's really the only guy around who really knows rigging. He unstepped my mast and will have to be involved in restepping it, reinstalling my radar, gps, etc.

Has anybody else faced these battles? Whatta nightmare. Any advice?
You need to approach repairs and service work to your boat the same way you would apply them to your car or your house. Ask for references and check on them prior to working with a marine contractor, get written estimates, don’t pay up front, require written approvals of work, require written change orders, etc.

I can’t speak for New York state, but in Florida there is a mechanic’s lien law and the contractor can legally hold your boat until the bills are satisfied (just as auto repair garages can legally hold your car till your bill is paid). The same is true down here for boat yards—no cash, no splash. In the final view it is buyer beware, especially with “professionals” who work on boats.

Good luck,
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Old 16-02-2010, 21:03   #74
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Originally Posted by bastonjock View Post
it may not be dishounesty on the sailboat guys part,i repair car body work and i get asked for a quote,so i quote it,now sometimes you run into additional works,so you call the customer with the bad news and inform him of the increased charge if he wants the additional work done.

The problem is that most folks are fine with this,but there are those who think you are ripping them off.

I have in the past lost money as a result of customers refusing to pay for additional works,i had one guy where i fixed his bmw,i explained that i had to buy some new parts,he said so what? you quoted me XX,the next time he brought his car in i did the repair that we agreed at the price we agreed,i found some additional works,i pointed those out to him and he went nuts as i had not done them,i could go on and on with examples of people like him but i wont as most folks are great to deal with.

The problem with old cars and old boats is that it is sometimes impossible to give an accurate estimate and whilst you are doing the repair you can uncover damage that if you dont fix it,the repair that you are doing will not last long

I would take my boat out of that yard and find another as any client/workman relationship has gone and only distrust is in it place.

If you find yourself in future having work carried out by someone on your behalf,then tell the guy that if he finds any additional work,to call you as it may put your budget out.
Being a self employed person i am aware of both sides of this issue..

Bottom line if I miss something in my bid i eat it period..I don't even approach the customer. That said I don't have x ray vision either and say an engine rebuild you have really know idea what your going to find until you open it up...much the same as digging a foundation hole i have know idea where bearing soil is to be found so I will often give a bid stating a dig to a maximum depth ..anything over that depth will be an extra...so i have no problem with those kind of things...Its the replacing of hoses and or wiring or a sea strainer I have issues with if the time is doubled...That's a bidding problem not a customer's problem.

The issue i have with mechanics or boat yards is they want everything to be T&M or an open checkbook...what ever it takes it takes...well that's just not acceptable.

I have learned my lesson... and my current contract states what their bid is what they get period...so either pad your bid up front to CYA or don't whine to me about how long it takes over what you thought it was going to.

The industry needs to grow a backbone... Mine does with me at the Helm anyway....
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Old 17-02-2010, 04:39   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bastonjock View Post

I have in the past lost money as a result of customers refusing to pay for additional works,i had one guy where i fixed his bmw,i explained that i had to buy some new parts,he said so what? you quoted me XX,the next time he brought his car in i did the repair that we agreed at the price we agreed,i found some additional works,i pointed those out to him and he went nuts as i had not done them,i could go on and on with examples of people like him but i wont as most folks are great to deal with.

.
And you did business with that guy again? Next time he came in I would have padded the bill with the amount he stiffed me with the last time, take it or leave it buddy!!
I agree that quoting on a old boat is dificult, but you have to give the customer SOME idea of the costs involved, or else how can you expect him to be able to pay it. At the local yard, I asked for quotes on work, and was told " I don't give out estimates" period. So guess what, I did it my self. I might now be able to extimate the costs exactly, but I know I can deduct the $85 fricken bucks per hour they were going to charge me. I use some of that savings on buying the best tools I can, and some on upgrading the items used, so the cost savings my not be the best, and yes my time could be considered into it, but I don't do that as I expect that there is a cost of ownership involved with boats, and that my time will be used. Plus the amount of learning I gain in doing it my self is worth a lot.

For instance, I did some fiberglass work a few weeks ago. Not much, no big deal really, except the last time I tried to do glass work was a long time ago. It turned out ok, Next time will be better. If I had paid someone to do it, would have cost a couple of hundred bucks, cost me nothing, I already had the supplies. And I learned something that will make the next time a better job. What do you learn when someone does the work for you ?Where is the pride of ownership when you buy a turn key boat and then pay someone to manage it for you ?
A professional might do the job better, and might not. There are tons of horror stories out there where they messed up the job big time. On my boat the PO had someone install the radar, and they drilled thru the diesel fuel fill hose ! Stupid mistakes really. The owner of the boat, that knows his boat, would have not done that. But of course he might have done something a hard more expensive way the someone that has done it multiple times before would have know better. So, you learn.
Bob
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