I have had excellent experiences at Napa Valley, with our old cruising boat (all DIY)and with my current
boat (almost entirely work done by the yard). If you are going to do most of the work yourself, it will definitely be less expensive at Napa. Though it is a big yard, a lot of it is for storage
only, so booking in advance is advisable.
boat, a 30 foot composite Atkin Tern (converted nearly 20 years ago to junk rig), arrived at Napa from Martha's Vineyard
on a heavy trailer
at the end of March last year. It suffered some trucking damage, which was spotted by Mike Meyers, the yard manager, as soon as he lifted the boat off the trailer
. Since no work could begin until after a survey
, Mike put the boat in the (much cheaper) storage
area. After I had the boat surveyed, the yard came up with an itemized quote for the work, and the trucker's insurance
company did pay. The boat was moved to a covered shed in the work yard, and I was really pleased with the work done by Dave (Mike's brother), which involved both carpentry and fiberglassing. (I've also been impressed in the past with Dave's spray-painting jobs).
I also got the yard to install masthead running lights and a basic depth sounder
, and I got the phone
number of a lettering painter who lives down the road from the chandlery's bulletin board. Quest has been documented for a long time but now has her name and new hailing port on the stern. I even paid the yard to paint the bottom! After launching, I ended up staying on their "guest dock" for several weeks, moved under the crane to get the mast
installed, then back to the dock
to figure out as much as I could of the junk rig
. When it was finally time to head
down the river, I was a little sad to leave a second home.
I should also say that this is not a "fancy" boat yard. There's a little more paving than when we first went there for a haul out (2006 ?), the bathroom is nicer, and the store has a much bigger stock, but a lot of the yard is dirt. It's 8 or 10 miles to supermarkets, Trader Joe's, and hardware
stores, so you need to plan on shuttling a car to the yard. It's hot in summer and can get very cold in winter. Your plan to go in the fall is good (though it is fire season). The people are what make Napa a good yard, both the hard-working, patient employees, (who tolerated me being too chatty when they really wanted to work) and many of the people working on their own boats. Back for another haul out was a couple we'd met in the yard at least ten years ago, and off in a far corner of the yard was a young dreamer, who really was close to finishing his restoration project
There are plenty of sailboats in the yard, but it is not Napa's main orientation. For good, basic hull
work it's great.