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Old 01-03-2010, 06:32   #1
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Renovate from a Distance

I have puchased a 30' sailboat sitting on the hard near New Bedford Mass.

I want to make a few improvements before I move it home to the US Virgin Islands in October.

I cannot be in Mass. for any lengnth of time and I wouldn't be much help anyway.

If I was making revisions or additions to plumbing, mechanical, structural in my pre retirement life, I would have a architect or engineer design as necessary and write a Scope of Work that I could hand to the constuction company for an estimate or in this case the yard manager. The architect or engineer would follow the work to insure workmanship, to follow costs and make practical and tecnical advice until the work is complete.

How do I find a person who does this type of work? What are they called? Does anyone know of someone in that area? Any advice would be helpful.

I understand that the yard I am in has a very good reputation and following what I expect will be helpful replies in this forum I may call the owner/mgr of the yard and ask if he provides these services... I doubt it though.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:57   #2
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You just need a good all round shipwright with the common sense to discuss the job with you and get on with it.
Archiatects,, engineers, agents, etc, ....too much scope for missunderstandings, excuses, blame and runaway costs.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:26   #3
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A friend of mine has a part time business offering his services as a project manager for major re-fits on sailboats. I wonder if the yard manager would know of someone who does that in New Bedford?
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:30   #4
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I went through this process for a home addition. Even if you have a detailed statement of work, there are times when you need to be able to trust the on-site leader to interpret correctly. (e.g. A window over the toilet is a bad idea, that the architect left off any bathroom outlets, was a mistake no one caught)

First thing to find out is can anyone really work on your boat? Many yards only allow their own mechanics, glassmen, etc. to work on boats in their marina. This is important as you may want to change marinas if you do not have confidence in the one it is at.

I absolutely agree with Anjou on a shipwright with common sense. Plan a few hours with the shipwright at the boat and plan to pay for it, even if they do not ask you to do so. You need to get face to face and ensure they understand what you expect. They need to understand your expectations, especially when being remote. Any questions cost you money or time. Go through the boat and tell them what you like and dislike and what you expect.

On your boat, if they have to replace a seacock:
- Do you want to approve it?
If so, this affects time and budget. You will pay for the mechanic to be there, then when they come back. It may add a week, because they will pick it up the next time they get parts - because they don't know what you want to do.
Do you want it replaced with similar product? Better? Maybe you have plastic and you want brass. You may not be willing to replace them if they are still good, but if he needs to replace one, consider what you want him to do?

Now, what about: Impellers? Door hinge? Hoses? Winterizing? Engine hoses? head? holding tank? ...see the issue?

For me, the best approach is "anything under $X" they can deal with. Anything over "X?" I need to approve. I don't want work to stop, and then need to get everyone back, so they can ask about an $8 handle. However, every expense, is sent to me when it is incurred. Then keep a list so you know how the next purchase is affecting your budget.

Also give them free reign to do what makes sense. You would not bring someone in to hit those few spots with vanish. But, they are bringing in someone to vanish the doors - having them hit those spots at the same time may cost nothing. Or if they planning to replace the head, they should replace the hoses - or maybe the hoses are like new. A good shipwright (and those working for them) would know to do the right thing.

While no one likes micro management, they need to know that "anything that works" is unacceptable. You want a long term quality job and you will let them manage it, unless they fail to do so. Also, if they don't have one, consider buying a cheap digital camera for the boat. A picture can explain a lot via email, when you are questioned.

Finally, you may wish to have a "mini-survey" done midway through or at the end. Speak with whomever did the survey and ask the cost of having them check in on the work. This gives you someone with a limited interest, and most of it yours, on the outcome.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjou View Post
You just need a good all round shipwright with the common sense to discuss the job with you and get on with it...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kefaa View Post
... Even if you have a detailed statement of work, there are times when you need to be able to trust the on-site leader to interpret correctly ...
What anjou & kefaa said.

You wabnt a project coordinator or manager. This person may also be a prime contractor, or not.

I spent 10 years doing refits, and they generally worked much as kaeffa suggested.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:43   #6
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I've been doing a long distance rehab on my 40 year old Pearson 35. No major stuff, just adding hardware and electronics. It's taken a lot more time than I thought and, of course, way more money. If you are going to hire the work done, be sure you have lots and lots of boat units lying around. Hiring the work adds up extremely fast. Had an electrical problem with the engine that I couldn't figure out, that turned into nearly a boat unit for a days labor and a few parts.

If you absolutely have to have the work done before you sail the boat down and can't accomplish it yourself in a couple of weeks vacation time, suggest you have the boat shipped. You will save a lot of money. If the work would be hired out no matter where the boat is located, then it makes no difference. Just get be sure your wallet is inflated with lots and lots of boat units.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:55   #7
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I have met more crooks in boat maintenance and re-fit business than you dare to believe. And some artists too.

I believe the only way to judge is by being able to see the job done on some other boat. If you like what you see and you like the price, hire the guy.

Another way to go is to leave the boat with a good boatyard that specializes in such jobs.

Good renovation and re-fitting is VERY, VERY time consuming - be ready to pay top $$ for a good job.

b.
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Old 01-03-2010, 14:56   #8
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"a few improvements"
Perhaps you could be more specific?

Moving bulkheads might require a shipwright, but adding a plasma TV wouldn't. Who you require will largely depend on WHAT you require.
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Old 01-03-2010, 16:14   #9
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O yeah

I know about houses , oil refineries and power plants, not boats. I thought a Scope of Work was just good planning. How do they know what to do if I dont tell them or give fairly accurate guidelines? My question was about where are these guys and how do I find them.

Specifically .. Windlass in a boat with a unstayed mast well forward (nonsuch), a swim platform, davits, divide chain locker, preventitive maint on yanmar with 750 hours (yes Gord May I have signed up for the classes you reccomended), inspect and replace batteries if necessary, washdown for chain rode, and i want one of those folding Lewmar wheels that fold up for easy access.
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Old 01-03-2010, 17:30   #10
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I think you have to decide if the work can be done in the USVI - near you - and if not I would ask the previous owner who he used for maintenance. I would also ask the manager of the yard where it is stored for recommendations.

I think what previous posters are saying is that there is a ton of variation in the quality of yards and boat mechanics. At a minimum I would develop the worklist myself, do some research on the phone and then make a trip to see the mechanic face to face and explain in detail what I wanted. I would ideally have a couple of choices of mechanic to interview.

There is also a potential "barrier" that the mechanic you choose is not authorized to work at the yard where your boat is stored.

At the end of the day if you aren't going to work on the boat yourself you will need to find a yard in the BVI anyway. If you did a basic safety check (engine service, batteries etc from your list) where it is now and gave your new yard the work they might see you as a pretty good customer and help you build that future relationship with them.
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Old 01-03-2010, 21:39   #11
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Add to what Dan says, your warranty especially on the engine work is going to be useless, if the yard doing it is in RI while you are in the USVI with the boat. That all sounds like stuff that doesn't need to be done before delivery, beyond routine pm on the engine and batteries if they need it.
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Old 01-03-2010, 22:39   #12
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I know about houses , oil refineries and power plants, not boats. I thought a Scope of Work was just good planning. How do they know what to do if I dont tell them or give fairly accurate guidelines? My question was about where are these guys and how do I find them.

Specifically .. Windlass in a boat with a unstayed mast well forward (nonsuch), a swim platform, davits, divide chain locker, preventitive maint on yanmar with 750 hours (yes Gord May I have signed up for the classes you reccomended), inspect and replace batteries if necessary, washdown for chain rode, and i want one of those folding Lewmar wheels that fold up for easy access.
These do not sound like extremely technical items. I believe that a scope of work and a good yard could accomplish these items. I assume youknow that you will be into this projects for over $5k ( I can't guess how much more) but look at the prices for the items that you want just the materials are going to run $5k.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:54   #13
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Irie-
"I know about houses , oil refineries and power plants, not boats. I thought a Scope of Work was just good planning."
No matter how sensible and professional it may be...apparently you're in the construction business and "scope of work" is trade jargon in that business? Don't throw it at a boatyard, because all they know is that it is funny talk which might make you a problem customer, like an attorney or alien of some kind.
They don't do "scope of work" and they aren't construction contractors. Much the same way that an automobile dealership has their own standard shop contracts, and won't bother to read, much less sign, something different that a customer walks in with. You'll probably have to live with a written estimate and standard mechanics/shop estimate based on the RI motor vehicle or other laws, and it will be enforced as per whatever are normal RI laws, which probably also place limits on how far the final bill can deviate from the written estimate, rashly assuming RI treats these things like most other states.
Another reason to just do the routine servicing and prep up there, and do the bulk of your work on your home ground.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:44   #14
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LOL

Lol, that puts me between a rock and a hard place for certain.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:16   #15
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FWIW:

I only am 45 min from my boat but feel I should be living in my car next to it while its being worked on...Almost everything that the yard has done has needed tweaked, my direction or reworked in some fashion..and I am a very passive person anymore..so its not like Im some neurotic perfectionist....( LOL.. just watching one of my videos will prove that to you.....

Simple things that you think "How in the world would they not know that or think of that" ....Drive you nuts, and can end up being a "Well, I guess I will have to live with it now or deal with it later" scenario.

Detailed drawings help but are not a panacea...I had them for my mast step but they still welded it up wrong...I made them eat that mistake and change it.
 
A daily email with pictures and drawing and explanations going back and forth form both sides is the next best thing...No one else you can hire knows whats in your brain.

The problem with Yards is delegation...Its like telling a story and by the time the worker bee hears it ..it has changed.
You need to be there to keep the story the same all the way through the project or I assure you it will have a different ending or at least some exciting chapters then you wrote.

Hope this helps someone.
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