Bruntons & DHL
11 April 2008 | Shelter Bay Marina
We have Varifold props, which we love. They work great in forward and reverse, we've never had them not fold or open, and they were in great condition at the two year mark.
We have never had zincs on the tips of the props. The Saildrives have zincs of course but the threaded tip on the props came bare from the factory. I asked the factory about this and they said the props don't need their own zincs, which is a reasonable enough answer I suppose.
I asked Bruntons, the makers of the Varifold props, about the prop zincs and they indicated that you must have them. The respective answers were no surprise. So in the interest of being as responsible as possible I decided to put some zincs on the props. When I inquired, Bruntons informed me that I should buy them from Bruntons, again a fairly predictable opinion.
I figured for the first time out I'd buy the parts from Bruntons, pay the vig, and then see if I could find similar bits elsewhere for a more reasonable rate. The wait for the Panama canal gave us a long enough shipping window to place the order.
The zincs were $34 each and we also ordered a zinc holder, which on our props is a little metal piece that screws in with three socket head screws and has the threaded bolt that the zinc screws onto. This piece is also the bit that stops the blades when they are fully folded. Our starboard prop has two blades that touch when folded due to an indent that has worn into this zinc holder piece, so I wanted to get a new one to see if replacing it would keep the blades from nicking each other every time they fold.
The two zincs and the one zinc holder came to $100, however shipping by DHL came to $130, for a grand total of $230. At a prorated $100 per zinc I was understandably hesitant to place the order. In the end I decided it was probably worth it to get the first set right, and hey, I've been over the coals for parts and shipping the whole Caribbean trip so why not.
Then DHL arrives, promptly I might add, and even more impressive at the boat! No crazy negotiations with customs or anything. Surprisingly though they want $13.80. For what I inquire? No hablo anglais. I really wish I had spent more hours on the Spanish. I'm sure that it has cost me more than the $13.80.
So after paying what I assume is a customs fee I happily opened my package. One zinc. Lovely. Several more emails with a rapidly distant growing European and I think they are completing the order. Hard to tell because although they seem take action when I email them they are either too embarrassed or to annoyed to write back. I finally corner them enough to discover that they have shipped the remaining zinc.
Then DHL arrives. $13.50 por favor.
No hablo anglais.
Yo no tengo dinero. I learned that from Thomas walking in the scary parts of downtown LA. This was of course not what the delivery guy wanted to hear. I tried to explain that I had already paid the import duty on this item as the previous shipment was charged by the invoice which included all items I had ordered (regardless of the short fall in contents).
No hablo anglais.
No hablo Espaniol
I only had a $100 and Hideko was gone with all of the small change. I originally thought $100s would be good to have on the boat. Unfortunately many places simply will not take a 100 dollar bill, due to too much counterfeiting, dogma, or whatever. The marina would not break my hundred. The restaurant would not break my hundred, not even if I bought lunch for myself and the next three people.
After much running about the dock I was finally at a loss. Cheque?, I offered.
What!? DHL would not take my crispy new green back but they would take a check?! Well let me just print one out from Photoshop... (just kidding).
So I paid $13.50 (pretty close to the prior $13.80 but I was not going to even try to figure out what was going on there) and took my package. I now have my two zincs and the one holder for a grand total of $257.30 and two weeks of lead time.
Any cruiser reading this will simply say: u huh. Not an atypical story by any means. Just the fun for today. It is too late for the Spanish but I am now studying the French course we have on DVD with renewed zest. Eleven days until our transit. au revoir...