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May 16 - Jun 14: Boatyard Hell

Once the survey was complete and we had decided to buy the boat, we needed to start fixing stuff. We wanted to take advantage of the boat being out of the water on the hard at Nelson's Marine in Alameda. We figured we would have the boatyard take care of a few quick jobs and then we would move the boat to her home in the Northbay.

The important items on the job list from the survey Kent had written was short: replace the packing gland hose (which needed the shaft to be decoupled from the transmission and pulled back), and replace two old thru-hull sensors that were giving faulty readings. There were a few other things we could get Nelson's to do after if we had time.

Packing gland hose
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Depth sensor thru-hull
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We had everything lined up on Monday, and with an entire week to tackle the two projects, we should have been quickly back in the water. Everything started well, but jobs slipped and the yard manager didn't like returning my calls. Stuff didn't happen, the transducers didn't fit, and we were trapped in the boatyard for two weeks!

The ablative bottom paint on the boat has a nasty habit of going bad when exposed to air. The copper oxidizes and becomes ineffective at repelling marine life. So we had to repaint a perfectly fine bottom. Nelson's just happens to have the most expensive bottom-painting procedure in the entire bay. It sucked, the yard visit was almost three times as expensive as we had figured, but we finally got back in the water and motored five hours up to Loch Lomond.

Once there I was checking the packing gland hose to make sure it wasn't leaking and was a little upset to find the transducer installed in the wrong direction! Funny because the yard manager had given me the whole "yeah yeah, I know what I'm doing" speach when I mentioned the transducer angle.

So the next weekend we brought the boat back to Nelsons. They were going to meet us on Saturday at noon, haul the boat, remove, rotate, reinstall and rebed the sensor, and drop us back in the water. We were then going to head back to Loch Lomond. It would have been a long day, but I couldn't keep taking time off work.

Back out of the water
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Motoring with Bekks
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When we got there all the dockworkers were studiously ignoring us. It turns out the yard manager had waited an hour and left. In his Hummer. I hate Hummers. I hate people with Hummers. It was lucky my parents had driven there to meet us - without them we would have been stuck there without a car.

I ranted and raved for a bit, left an oh-so-polite voicemail for the manager, and we took off. I was steamed. I was toying with the idea of canceling my credit card payment, but Carl Nelson stepped up and made things right. Nelson's fixed the transducer and delivered the boat back to us later that week.

Later I found out that the yard manager was leaving Nelson's and heading back to the East Coast. Maybe his head wasn't in his last job? Who knows. I'm never going back, that's for sure. We went into the boatyard in the middle of May, and we didn't get out of there for a bloody month.

I hadn't heard anything bad about them before, but the whole thing sucked for us. Stressful, expensive, and time consuming! It was a night-and-day contrast to my experience at KKMI, and really drives home how important it is to find good boatyard folks.


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Random 'best-of' trip reports:

Stripping down for a skinnydip

 

SeaWorld escapee

 

Exhausted Will and Sara returning to PV