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Old 28-10-2021, 13:51   #1
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Sailboat refits in Thailand

I am considering buying a 2004 catamaran which has had virtually no refits to anything - just regular PM as far as I can tell. Currently required, among other things, is Standing and running rigging, new sails, trampoline, through hulls, all instruments, solar, batteries and other systems needing a good check over and likely attention.It's a major refit.

Does anyone out there have recent experience with Thailand in general and can you offer your opinion on whether or not you would take on this project in this country. What I have read is hit and miss and unless you are there to babysit, good luck. If not Thailand, what could my options be. I feel I could get the boat at the price required in order to invest $100K or more into it.
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Old 28-10-2021, 18:17   #2
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

I think what you have heard is the same anywhere. Just pointing out that if you don’t babysit the project in Canada or the United States, you also will find a hit or miss experience. Mostly miss.

Unfortunately, I can’t add to the knowledge about your actual question. But you have to babysit any refit.
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Old 28-10-2021, 18:43   #3
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

I have to agree with Chotu. There are WAY too many ways to cover up inconvenient facts & errors. Thailand is excellent at cosmetic repairs, but even then, if you don't make sure the surface is correctly prepped & completely clean, some idiot will run their hand over the surface, leaving behind oils that will affect adhesion in the long run. And while some of the bigger shops can do more technical modifications, I wouldn't trust them completely.

Our 4-month Thai refit in 2013 stretched into 2 years, & cost several times the original $40K quote, despite our being there every single day.

Thailand doesn't produce much nautical gear, & their import duty is something like 40%, so those sorts of costs will be pretty high.

If you don't want to babysit your refit (anywhere), you'll probably find that it looks good, but will bring you disappointment later down the line.
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Old 28-10-2021, 20:48   #4
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
Our 4-month Thai refit in 2013 stretched into 2 years, & cost several times the original $40K quote, despite our being there every single day.

Thailand doesn't produce much nautical gear, & their import duty is something like 40%, so those sorts of costs will be pretty high.

If you don't want to babysit your refit (anywhere), you'll probably find that it looks good, but will bring you disappointment later down the line.

Jon and Chotu have it right. I don't know your plans for using the boat from Thailand, but something to consider is shipping the boat to BC where it will be easier to supervise the project and have greater access to parts and supplies.


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Old 28-10-2021, 21:35   #5
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

We did a refit in Phuket Thailand in 2009. We planned the project and managed it closely. The scope included hull work, keel, work, major rudder work, engine work, rig work, interior painting and woodwork, cabin sole, hydraulics, sails and quite a bit more. Because the boat had been in constant use with regular maintenance much of the boat was already in good operating condition. The refit was big but not a huge job. Our previous refits in Sydney in 2002 and Singapore in 2006 were more extensive.

At the last minute before kicking off the project we found a bit more money and we added a new AwlGrip paint job to the plan. The total cost was $45,000.

We were very happy with the outcome. It was completed on time and within budget, although the paint job was barely completed on the schedule. Everything else was a non-issue. I credit much of the success to the fact that we did not change any of the specifications along the way. We knew what we wanted, how we wanted it done, and that is the way it went down. We wern't overly picky, but we were attentative. We did all the subcontracting ourselves. We needed paint work,we found the painter. We needed welding we found the welder. etc. We rented an apartment right in the boat yard itself and visited the boat at least twice a day.

We found the work was excellent although we supervised closely. There is a lot of boat work done in Thailand and the workers there have developed the skills to do a good job.

We has no issues with parts or supplies. Much of what we needed was available locally and importing parts from the US or other international sources was quick and easy however there is importation duty to be paid.

The key is to do the project where a lot of boats are worked on every year,. That is where you'll find the skills. And...be there every day. That is the same everywhere.
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Old 28-10-2021, 21:49   #6
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

I have seen many "repairs & refits" done in Thailand and have to agree with everyone you need to be there or get a project manager you trust ! There are some very skilled people here.
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Old 29-10-2021, 08:50   #7
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

We did a refit on our 1989 Taswell (monohull) in Phuket, in 2010-2011. The marina had "apartments" for rent, which we used. We had the teak deck and caprail replaced, as several other smaller wood jobs done, replaced the standing rig and chainplates, had engine and refer work done, had some electronic work done, had the bottom stripped and redone-including some fiberglass work. We also had our mast taken down, and completely refurbished/repainted. And we had a considerable s/s work done. We were there about 10 months, were completely satisfied and happy with all the work we had done, and considered it not to be a good deal.....but a great deal! The contractors really knew there business. We were there, on scene every day.....not to "oversee" their work, but to do other jobs that we could do when the boat was apart; the contractors we used needed no day-to-day supervision---altho we were there, and routinely added other "stuff" to their job list. And while we had a "bid" price for the initial contract work, as we added the add-ons they were priced ahead of time, and priced fairly. And Phuket was a fun place to be-it was not a drag to be there/we really enjoyed out time there. I don't know of another place I'd recommend over Phuket-either for the experience or the value-it was very, very well worth it. And, most importantly, ALL the different contractors we used were local (on site), really knew their stuff, were professional, and did excellent work. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
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Old 30-10-2021, 18:22   #8
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

Lots of boats come to Carmen, Cebu, Phils, to get major work done. Pinoy Boat Services(Zekeís) has new haul out ramp just for multihulls. New sails from Hyde Sails in Cebu (I just got two new ones!) They have great in-house welder. Do quality fiberglass & paint work. Customs is 40%, but u can slip by that for electronics & boat parts from the States by shipping using Balikbayan Boxes from LBC or Johnny Air in the USA. LBC takes 2 months to receive by sea but they donít charge by weight & Customs doesnít inspect boxes.

Like everywhere U need to be onsite to control whatís happening; otherwise U will be disappointed! Thereís plenty of accommodations nearby & lots of cheap transport. Prices are cheaper than Thailand.
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Old 31-10-2021, 15:23   #9
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
We did a refit in Phuket Thailand in 2009. We planned the project and managed it closely. The scope included hull work, keel, work, major rudder work, engine work, rig work, interior painting and woodwork, cabin sole, hydraulics, sails and quite a bit more. Because the boat had been in constant use with regular maintenance much of the boat was already in good operating condition. The refit was big but not a huge job. Our previous refits in Sydney in 2002 and Singapore in 2006 were more extensive.

At the last minute before kicking off the project we found a bit more money and we added a new AwlGrip paint job to the plan. The total cost was $45,000.

We were very happy with the outcome. It was completed on time and within budget, although the paint job was barely completed on the schedule. Everything else was a non-issue. I credit much of the success to the fact that we did not change any of the specifications along the way. We knew what we wanted, how we wanted it done, and that is the way it went down. We wern't overly picky, but we were attentative. We did all the subcontracting ourselves. We needed paint work,we found the painter. We needed welding we found the welder. etc. We rented an apartment right in the boat yard itself and visited the boat at least twice a day.

We found the work was excellent although we supervised closely. There is a lot of boat work done in Thailand and the workers there have developed the skills to do a good job.

We has no issues with parts or supplies. Much of what we needed was available locally and importing parts from the US or other international sources was quick and easy however there is importation duty to be paid.

The key is to do the project where a lot of boats are worked on every year,. That is where you'll find the skills. And...be there every day. That is the same everywhere.


Wow really nice work
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Old 31-10-2021, 15:59   #10
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

Finishing a refit in Ensenada MX. I think it important to note why it's you need to be there during the refit. For the most part, all work is custom so there are constant questions and options on parts. If you do not know what you are looking for and cannot offer guidance, one of two things will happen. One: Workers figure it out on their own. Chances of this ending up the way you intended is near zero. Two: workers don't know what to do and move on to another job where direction is more clear.

Note, this is universal. As a prior post pointed out, US is not immune. In the end, if you don't have a really, really good idea how a boat should go together, buy a boat that doesn't need a refit. Chance of cost/time over-run are incredibly high.

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Old 22-11-2021, 18:06   #11
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

i suggest you to visit the Hacking website and read his near daily blog of their refit in Phuket. Then google Bruce Balan for his take on refit work in Phuket. I finished a 9 month fitout in Phuket area end of 2019 and wish Iíd had this knowledge beforehand. I will pm to you my written review.

As other posts have noted, material costs are high and so are import duties and even labour rates have doubled in recent years. The only bargains here are Thai food. The

Many boats for sale out here are ex-charter boats as Covid has killed off the charter market. It has also killed off cruising as we knew it, at least for now.

The climate here is brutal on boats requiring constant work. Ask yourself why, if itís such a good place for a refit, the current owner hasnít done it?

My earnest suggestion is to look around closer to home.
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Old 22-11-2021, 18:10   #12
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

PM sent.
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Old 23-11-2021, 10:16   #13
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farang View Post
i suggest you to visit the Hacking website and read his near daily blog of their refit in Phuket. Then google Bruce Balan for his take on refit work in Phuket. I finished a 9 month fitout in Phuket area end of 2019 and wish Iíd had this knowledge beforehand. I will pm to you my written review...My earnest suggestion is to look around closer to home.
I've read the Hacking's report, quite an extensive account I must say, and, quite an extensive refit they did, in fact I'd say it was almost a complete build. I'm amazed.

I didn't see any final summary of how they felt about the job, you have to read between the lines in the detail reports, but it seems to me that the main issue Hackings had was with a project leader/main contractor/boss, who was apparently a bit of a scoundrel.

Otherwise it seemed to me that the project went about what one would expect. Lots of setbacks but in general a ton of work got done and it looked pretty good to me. We have not seen the actual costs yet (at least I have not) but I'd guess that they far exceeded the original estimate which seemed astonishly low.

I didn't get too much from the Bruce Balan report other than he was not satisfied with the work done or the prices.

I have not seen Farang's report.

From my perspective the work whcih was done for us in Thailand was of good quality, some areas really excellent (cabin sole, interior painting, metal work, engine work, and exterior paint work). I found the workers honest and skilled. I know for a fact that the prices I was charged were lower than anywhere else I've had work done, by a margin. That's my experience.

I've had refits previously in Seattle, Sydney, Australia, and Singapore, and major work in New Zealand, Trinidad, and Columbia. I found that the experience is quite the same everywhere, the requirement to closely monitor is universal, and foul-ups, set backs, and disappointments have to be expected. Often there are conflicts and at times they quite serious.

I had none of that in Thailand.

Finally, Farang, people who are long distance cruising don't often have the option of getting work done "closer to home". For me it would have been half of a circumnavigation to get back to Seattle.

Mostly we have work done wherever we find ourselves where resources seem to be available.
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Old 23-11-2021, 11:35   #14
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

I had a major refit done in pocket, and would go back again. My projects included new teak deck, interior woodwork modifications and refinishing, new headliner, leather cushions, awlgrip exterior, and a SS liferaft mount. I supervised daily, and learned Thai words for 'not clean' and 'no good'. The master craftsmen were excellent, but did not supervise the apprentices. All projects came in on quoted prices, but not on schedule. I would not go there for rigging, engine work or electronics.
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Old 23-11-2021, 17:22   #15
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Re: Sailboat refits in Thailand

The OP is not ďout cruisingĒ but considering buying a half million dollar boat half way round the world from BC in the middle of a pandemic in a country where he wonít speak the language and may be unfamiliar with the cultural nuances, trying to get a refit done before his visa expires when itís impossible to do a ďvisa runĒ to extend his stay. Or even worse, sub it out to a scoundrel expat to complete whoíll fleece him blind.

I donít know when WINGSAIL was here but labor rates have doubled in recent years since 2015 and while quality work can be found it all takes twice or three times longer. PM me wingsail and Iíll send you my review.

Iím just suggesting the OP, and anyone considering the same, to buy closer to home in the current environment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
I've read the Hacking's report, quite an extensive account I must say, and, quite an extensive refit they did, in fact I'd say it was almost a complete build. I'm amazed.

I didn't see any final summary of how they felt about the job, you have to read between the lines in the detail reports, but it seems to me that the main issue Hackings had was with a project leader/main contractor/boss, who was apparently a bit of a scoundrel.

Otherwise it seemed to me that the project went about what one would expect. Lots of setbacks but in general a ton of work got done and it looked pretty good to me. We have not seen the actual costs yet (at least I have not) but I'd guess that they far exceeded the original estimate which seemed astonishly low.

I didn't get too much from the Bruce Balan report other than he was not satisfied with the work done or the prices.

I have not seen Farang's report.

From my perspective the work whcih was done for us in Thailand was of good quality, some areas really excellent (cabin sole, interior painting, metal work, engine work, and exterior paint work). I found the workers honest and skilled. I know for a fact that the prices I was charged were lower than anywhere else I've had work done, by a margin. That's my experience.

I've had refits previously in Seattle, Sydney, Australia, and Singapore, and major work in New Zealand, Trinidad, and Columbia. I found that the experience is quite the same everywhere, the requirement to closely monitor is universal, and foul-ups, set backs, and disappointments have to be expected. Often there are conflicts and at times they quite serious.

I had none of that in Thailand.

Finally, Farang, people who are long distance cruising don't often have the option of getting work done "closer to home". For me it would have been half of a circumnavigation to get back to Seattle.

Mostly we have work done wherever we find ourselves where resources seem to be available.
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