Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On The Hard Again: Getting Hauled Without Getting Hosed

As mentioned in the first "On the Hard Again" article, there are three major projects for this round of maintenance and repair:
  1. Normal maintenance of the engines, transmissions and generators
  2. Correction of an oil leak on the port engine that manifested itself on the trip north
  3. Alignment of the port engine's running gear.
The third, the alignment project, necessitated hauling the boat. This project is extremely complex as it involves a lot of moving parts (which is an interesting play on words as the running gear is mostly moving parts). The systems involved, working from the transmission backwards, include:
  • The Evolution Marine Coupling
  • The shaft
  • The Tides Marine Shaft Seal
  • The hull cutlass bearings 
  • The strut cutlass bearing
  • The propeller
Given that I had already made two tries over the winter to resolve the alignment problem, both of which were unsuccessful, I was determined to get it right this time. This involves a lot of players: 
  • A Caterpillar technician to deal with the engine maintenance and repairs
  • An expert on engine alignment
  • A propeller shop with the ability to work on shafts and cutlass bearings
  • Soundown, the company that built the coupling
  • A boat yard capable of hauling the boat. 
Believe me putting all of this together is fraught with challenges and ultimately required considerable time to assemble the right players.

So lets start with the haul-out. To haul the 63 you need a Marine Travelift with the capability of lifting 100,000 pounds. There is no boat yard within 40 nautical miles that has that capability. I either have to go south to Plymouth or north to Gloucester. I chose Gloucester as I have a relationship with the Guy Crudele, the Cat AMD that works out of there.

Explanatory Note: The 63 empty weighs 73,000 pounds. Add 9,100 pounds for diesel fuel (1,300 gallons at 7 pounds each). Add 2,400 pounds for water (300 gallons at 8 pound each). Add 3,000 pounds for our gear and stuff. Add 1,000 pounds for the tender. Fully loaded the 63 weighs 88,500 pounds. At a minimum, we need a 50 metric ton Travelift.

I called Cape Ann Marina and Rose Marine for quotes. I would classify Cape Ann Marina as a yacht yard and Rose Marine as a commercial yard catering to working boats. A yacht yard was, in my opinion is preferable to a commercial yard. Hence Cape Ann would be the preferred choice.

When I called these yards I asked the same question: "What is your per foot charge to haul the boat and have it on the hard for 4 days?"  Rose quoted $10.50 per foot with no charge for the first 5 days. Peter at Cape Ann quoted $10.00 per foot plus $1.00 per foot (or $63.00) for each day on the hard. Do the math. Rose wanted $662. Cape Ann wanted $630 for the haul and $252 for the time on the hard. Total: $882. Rose wins on price but only provides 110 volt 15 amp power via an extension cord. Cape Ann wins, theoretically, on yard cleanliness and the ability to connect our power cord power. I chose Cape Ann.

Explanatory Note: When you ask a marina for a per foot haul-out charge and tell them the boat will be on the hard for 4 days, you have a REASONABLE EXPECTATION that the per foot charge includes the haul out and the return of the boat to the water. Again, you have made it clear that the boat is going to be in the yard for 4 days. So, logically, it has to go back in the water. Since the boat is not going to hang on the lift, another reasonable expectation is that the boat will blocked and stabilized with jack stands. Finally, it is not unusual that the per foot charge includes power washing the hull (as the marine life if not removed immediately hardens into CEMENT). Here's an example. "Haul boat, pressure wash, block and launch  ($10 per foot)  plus $25.00 for pressure wash.

Back to the story.

I called Cape Ann and agreed on Monday, June 12 as the haul date. The owner, Drew Domenick, told me I needed to get my yacht insurer to name them as a named insured (which included the names of 7 entities) and sign some documents. Imagine my surprise when I received Cape Ann's contract and saw that $10.00 per foot was for the haul-out only. Returning the boat to the water was ANOTHER $10.00 per foot. Then I noticed that they wanted $7.00 a foot to power wash the hull (4442) and another $4.50 a foot to block to boat. Do the math. They wanted $31.50 a foot plus $252 for 4 days on the hard. Total: $2,217. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

So I called Rose Marine again, spoke to the owner and asked him for clarification. He confirmed that $10.50 per foot included the haul-out and return to the water. I then asked for the cost to power wash the hull. He said a minimum of $100 and not more than $200. Not unreasonable. I pay my diver $315 to scrub the hull in the water. Again do the math. Rose wanted $762 to $862.

There is a big difference between $2,217 and $862.

I call Cape Ann back and spoke to Drew Domenick. I pointed out that his representative had mislead me with regard to the charges. He gave me a song and dance that I should have looked at his website as the charges were clearly listed - which they were. However, as a gesture of "goodwill" he agreed to comp me one day on hard (yes a whopping $63). I thanked him profusely for his generosity and promptly signed up with Rose Marine.

I have a favorite saying about people who engage in sharp practices. So this is for you, Drew Domenick.  "You can cut a fat hog, but first you got to catch it."

Hope you enjoyed the story.

Written by Les.

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