Saturday, October 1, 2011

Free At Last!!

Gleaming PropSpeed on the props next to Spurs with new zincs...well done! 
Free at last! No, we're not off cruising south...yet. But, we are OUT of the boatyard, finally, and FREE at last. Happily, we're now back in Outrigger Harbour where we aim to finish up our last few projects, repairs and upgrades, and then get underway! It feels SO good to have the boat in the slip just steps from the condo, where we're able to focus on things we can control, like the remaining maintenance, provisioning, stowing spares, cleaning and route planning. The fun stuff! 

Not to be downbeat or depressing here, but truly, our time on the hard was a dismal experience this year. While some of the work done was of high quality -- gel-coat work  and our fresh bottom paint is spectacular, for example, as are our props and clean thru-hulls -- but unfortunately, the huge hassle of dealing with the management offset any gain, nor did the experience instill confidence in the work done! We discovered that any necessary parts we'd ordered (and paid for) couldn't be delivered directly to the yard without a surcharge, and any sub-contractors we had working aboard were required to bill through the boatyard, so another percentage could be added to the cost. Ouch! Every estimate quoted for any requested mechanical work was astronomical, yet when we questioned the quotes wanting the break-down for parts, time and labor, all we got was blustering. Ron would walk though the quotes to clarify time, labor and parts, and eventually... the quote would come down 2/3rds or more. (Can you say exhausting?) We were baffled by the quote of 32 hours to replace a hot-water heater, especially when the old one was prepped for disassembly and the new one was already aboard waiting to be installed. We overlooked the protests: "But it's plumbed to one of the engines, too!" (Yes it is. Like many a boat. And your question is....?) 

Or...when we realized we needed to have our rudder seals replaced, imagine our horror when we received an email from the boatyard asking if they could CUT our lower rudder fins, in order to get clearance past the rudder shoes so that they could change the rudder seals. (Excuse me?!?! NO!) The rudder seals are, in fact, easily accessed from inside the boat and changed by removing the bearings at the top of the rudder post. They do not require the rudders be dropped at all! (And definitely, no cutting involved.) As stated, the experience didn't exactly instill confidence in their mechanical expertise... 

And so it went! Thankfully, after a several setbacks, much frustration and many moments where we questioned our sanity, we're past all that. We now have quite a repertoire of incredible stories to tell about our time on the hard, and let's just say, laughter abounds!! Because you have to laugh. Smile and move on! We're just delighted to have Equinox home! We have a few other projects to focus on and coordinate, which are scheduled this coming week, and in the meantime, Ron and I have spent the last two days doing our own work: maintenance, oil changes, intense cleaning, heavy hauling, spare parts organizing and such. It's not going to be easy, as it's far from over...but it feels good to be doing work of our own, both happily done and honestly done. Because the goal? Getting back out there!

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