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Old 23-11-2009, 08:58   #76
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When I replied to this thread a few weeks ago I had no idea that my "wisdom" would be personally tested so soon. We are going through commissioning for the season and needed some help. We had 5 issues, painting main mast, mizzen mast, main boom, mzzen boom and replace/refurbish propellor. On the first, I give myself a D-. On the next three, an A+ and on the prop a C.

Last April we lost our prop in Clewiston, FL. While we were disabled in Clewiston we referred to the local "Go To" guy, who searched for our prop (unsuccessfully) and towed us to the yard. Based on this good experience we hired him to refinish our masts. He offered a good price and seemed reliable. When we left for home for the summer, the boat was in the work area ($17 a day). The guy was supposed to pull and refinish the masts and then put the boat in the storage area. After 17 days with no mast action (he claimed it was too windy) we told him to move the boat to storage and we would deal with refinishing in the fall. He suggested we leave a through hull open, since the summer rains were heavy. We agreed and told him to do it.

We returned last week, had AEGEA moved back to the work area and contacted the guy. When I got into the boat I found water right up to the starter. He hadn't opened the plug. Rebuild alternator and buy new starter, $600 plus. I arranged to have the mast pulled and the guy finally showed up for that. Masts on the ground, he left and came back the next day with no tools, no saw horses, no nothing. To make a long story short, he finally got the mast cleaned up and started to paint. He used a hardware store roller to try to apply Awlgrip. Any of you who have done Awlgrip know that you need special solvent resistant rollers. His rollers disintegrated and left the mast looking like a hairy muppet. He also applied it too thickly, resulting in many, many runs. When I pointed these out he tried to wipe them with a paper towel, with little success, and left, leaving the runs to fill the space behind the sail track and gluing the masking tape in place. His response? "It'll sand right off. We was gonna do that today". We fired him.

We also had found a prop on E-bay and had it shipped to him for some minor repairs. In April he told us he had sent it to the shop. When we arrived he said it would arrive in a few days. Over the summer I asked repeatedly if the bore was correct. "They're all standard". The prop arrived...1 1/2 inch shaft, 3/8" keyway, 2" prop bore, 1/2 " keyway. "No problem. We'll just get a bushing". Bushing arrived...1 3/4 OD, 3/8 " keyway. I had to contact the prop shop and got the correct bushing, which worked perfectly. That earned me my C for this job.

It took over 30 hours of intense sanding to get the main mast back to where it was when we started. We found a shop that sprayed Awlgrip next to the storage yard who is picking up the masts and spraying them for $75 an hour. On a positive note, the masts and booms are sanded and primed (by me). The shop should pick them up on Monday and have them ready when we get back from our Thanksgiving trip back home. I'm sure they will look great and one more task in the resurrection will be done.

Was he as BSer? Well, yes and no. He showed up and dove for the lost prop on Easter Sunday. When we couldn't find it, he arranged a 20 mile tow to the storage yard that came off perfectly. When it came to the paint job, however, he was totally over his head. It was quickly obvious he had never done Awlgrip. My D- for me on this one comes from not checking him out further. It would have been an F if I let it go any further. The A for the rest comes from (relatively) quickly recognizing that he couldn't do what he claimed and jumping in to make the rest of the project happen. Fortunately the damage was limited to the main mast.

The moral of the story? I'm not really sure. At age 70 I'm just not up to heavy maintenance work but I guess there's no choice. If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself or watch like a hawk. Unless you have local knowledge from a reliable source or know of someone's bad reputation it's easy to get into a mess. We were supposed to go into the water last Wednesday, but now it's the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. We figure this mess has cost us about $2,800. Now I have the moral...A poorly planned project takes three times as long as you expected. A well planned project only takes twice as long. An unplanned project takes forever and costs more than you have.

Dick Pluta
AEGEA
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Old 23-11-2009, 11:38   #77
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Very interesting read Dick.

My BS er story is not at all as interesting but I was told by a local well known marine store here that I should use solid core AC wiring because of the skin effect on the wire being multi strand and never solder ring connectors .

I have the rule of three now


1 Surf the web and read what to do on this site
2 Build your own conclusions based on the amount of info
3 Ask the Marine store clerk (once you already understand)
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Old 23-11-2009, 11:49   #78
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I find these stories very interesting, unfortunately they are pretty typical of my experience as well. It seems like you have to be very careful who you contract your boat out to, and often you pay excessively for poor work. I think the shipwright business is wide open for honest, hardworking individuals who don't BS.
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Old 23-11-2009, 12:59   #79
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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I think the shipwright business is wide open for honest, hardworking individuals who don't BS.
Maybe, but you should see the thread about boat owners on the honest_shipright.com forum
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Old 23-11-2009, 16:14   #80
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Could not find honest shipright.com from your link. Maybe they have trouble existing over here in the new world?
All kidding aside, I plan on going to wooden boat school soon, so I hope there is a market....
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Old 24-11-2009, 10:47   #81
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There is always a market for someone who does good work at a fair price. I'm an engineer who, at age 60, couldn't find a job when I came back to New Jersey. I finally started a handyman service and couldn't keep the customers away from my door. I was getting $50 an hour to hang pictures and shelves and to replace light bulbs for people who had money but neither time or skills. I retired about 5 years ago and they still look for my car. When they see it the phone starts to ring.

See also "too much work" thread on this site.

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Old 24-11-2009, 12:30   #82
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There is always a market for someone who does good work at a fair price...
... See also "too much work" thread on this site.
Dick Pluta
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There's always a market for excellence.
Not because so many potential customers value it; but because so few vendors offer it.
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Old 24-11-2009, 14:10   #83
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The thing that I find disturbing is that it doesn't even require excellence. All you have to be is "pretty good" or even "not so bad". If you can find excellence you are fortunate indeed.

I can't recall where, but I once saw a handymans truck that had his motto on the side. It was "We show up". Talk about setting a low bar!

Dick Pluta
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Old 24-11-2009, 17:22   #84
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The thing that I find disturbing is that it doesn't even require excellence. All you have to be is "pretty good" or even "not so bad". If you can find excellence you are fortunate indeed..........
Yes, excellence is often thought of (in business) as just being better that the opposition. Not a bad starting point but it is more than that.
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Old 24-11-2009, 18:29   #85
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Since I can't tell in advance (OK, I can guess, but I will often guess wrong) who is a BSer and who a bona fide marine genius, it is probably best to listen quietly to everybody. Should at any point the BS crop up, it is probably safest (though not always possible) to walk away.

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Old 24-11-2009, 18:38   #86
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It's easy to listen quietly and walk away from a theoretical discussion (aka a bull session). Then the price is nil. As I found in my recent experience, however, the BS often doesn't crop up until some expense had been incurred. In my case, I considered myself lucky to recognize the BS and pull the plug before too much damage was done.

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Old 26-11-2009, 03:42   #87
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Thanks Dick

Thanks for sharing your story Dick, I think we all can tell a similar tale of hope and dreams crushed by those who would take advantage of us. In my world the BSers abound, and like your experience, sometimes someone who is pretty good at one thing thinks that it will bleed over into an area where they have no knowledge. I have been in the marine world pretty much all of my life and there are areas where I am strong and areas where I am not so strong, I am always working at inproving both areas of knowledge. What I won't do is knowingly misrepresent what I know. What I am not afraid to do is ask questions to improve my knowledge and with the advent of the internet, we have a much wider base of knowledge to draw on. It is always difficult to find good help. Those who are good at what they do are few and far between, it seems that excellence in a certain area is a thing of the past, and that "just good enough" is the new standard, I remember a time when craftsmen excelled for the pure pride of the doing, and in time were rewarded for this knowledge. I don't know if anyone aprentices anymore, I know a few old timers who started that way and now they are almost all dead. To those who do practice excellence, bless you and we are on the look out for you, once we find you, we will keep you busy.
All the best.
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Old 20-12-2009, 12:45   #88
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OK, this is fun... Read all and I have used the little trick Raindog advised of for years... I may ask for royalties on that Raindog, unless you are older than me!
On boat faults...the way I look at it, it's all in how good you are at the fixing of them and the price of the boat and how much time you are willing to exchange for the reduced price..

The two worst boats I ever bought were the only ones I made money on owning. I can weld. Have built in steel so had the experience. The only people willing to work on boats around can't get better work because they aren't very good at it, and greedy as.. And surveyors! what a joke... I can't speak for the world but the bunch around here are miserable rorts.. one of the boats I bought was a trawler, fisho sold up cheap to a recreational(love the spell check in this program!) who bought it because the surveyor gave his blessing... I bought it for about the value of the Gardner in it and spent a month on the hard, spent a couple grand in steel and wire. Lived on her for a year and sold up for good money.

oohps... just noticed I missed a bunch of pages. I made this reply to stuff on page one of this thread... new at this. But from what I read, comments still valid. Point is, I hire nothing out. If I can't fix it, I don't own it. And If I can't judge it myself, I don't buy it.
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