It can't be that long between posts
22 July 2019 | Melbourne Australia/St Augustine Florida
I cannot believe it has been so long since the last post. We have had some highs and lows since we parked at Green Cove Springs in 2017.
Firstly, Reynolds Park Yacht Center was fabulous to deal with and we could not have wished for a more helpful and friendly place. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a different party to haul and launch the boat and that has been one of the worst experiences since purchasing our beloved 38 South.
As i had said in an earlier post I came back with my good friend JD and between us we managed to knock off a huge amount of work. Not only did we replace the rear cabin top hatches, we did the front cabin ones as well. we fitted new sumps with auto bilge pumps to the showers, cabled a new LED Tri-Color and Masthead light to the mast and we fitted folding mast steps tight to the top of the mast.
we arranged to have new Stainless-steel bracing fitted to the Bimini and Solar Panels and these were installed by a mobile Stainless craftsman named Thomas who managed to get rear steps up to the boom fitted as well. He fabricated a new anchor fair-lead to replace the old worn one and added one for a second anchor on the opposite side of the forestay on the front beam.
Even with the huge list of jobs we still managed a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center for JD, my second trip there and I still have more to see. I think we both went home exhausted but had achieved a great deal. certainly, I would not have achieved anywhere near the amount on my own and owe John a more relaxing trip next time.
The yard that hauled us had a mechanic if i can use the term so loosely onsite and we made the mistake of having him fix some oil leaks. The estimate was accepted and we left the boat in their hands. suffice to say the quoted amount came and went and we were left with a bill of twice what was quoted. Hard to believe it costs $2700 in labor to fix a stripped mounting bolt in an engine bed and that is only part of the saga. "read your contract" was the reply. The boat was there for more than 9 months and they chose a wet day to try and put the engines back in and bogged the forklift. they then charged me $300 to move the boat to a concrete pad so they could use the forklift in the wet and another $300 to move it back afterward. with any other of the 270 odd days to choose from they chose a wet day to do this work. seems we authorized them to charge whatever they wanted however I did have them refund those charges. I simply said that I had to pay for my mistake which was getting them to do the work on the motors in the first place but I was not responsible for paying for their mistakes. we were then treated like we were trying to rip him off. We were kicking ourselves for being so naive but put it down to a lesson learned.
We were going to have them sand and paint the hulls prior to splashing but after the experience with the motors decided that they could not be trusted with an estimate so i slapped a coat on in the interim. I could have ended up in a position of having to pay whatever they wanted as his word and estimates are worthless given the wording of the work contract.
The saga with the engines would not have been so bad but after we splashed the boat in March last year and left Green Cove Springs, we found that both engines were leaking oil still and i had both engine rooms full of oil after only a couple of hours. we were headed to Miami to pick up friends and and cross to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks which we did. every day I would lay out paper towels and clean up the oil once we were out of the Intracoastal Waterway and could sail, we had some reprieve from the mess. we had decided to return to the yard and challenge them on not doing the work that was (Over)charged for. essentially, they had removed both engines and stripped and replaced the seals and oil lines. funny that the one thing he didn't change was the rear main seal on both engines. That would be the ones he was told were leaking and needed to be replaced.
A year or more later and I still cannot reconcile the statement that "those oil leaks are not covered under any warranty as we did not replace the seals". How do you argue with that kind of logic. that's what they were paid to do
They offered, of course to haul the engines out and replace the seals. at around 2k extra. so the original $5,400 plus parts quote (estimated at $400) blew out to around $13,600, Parts were 2,500 of which more than $500 of that were new Racors that I had them add at the end. I also didn't include in that total the extra $500 I paid him to fix an oil leak at the injector pump also not covered by any warranty but I needed it done as it was a bad one. again, lesson learned.
As we were back up north again, we chose to move to St Augustine and hauled the boat at St Augustine Marine Center on the San Sebastian River. I must say it was a pleasant change to deal with some friendly and professional people again.
So there we are, we spent 3 months between March and May 2018 cruising and enjoying the sights of the near Bahamas specifically Bimini to Gun Cay and a leisurely trip back up north.
Our Cafe has interrupted the cruising for this year and we will be back to the boat hopefully in early 2020 to continue the journey. For now, we plan for our return and have a list of things to work on prior to leaving St Augustine. we suspect our next trip may be just around the Northern Bahamas and Berry Islands and back to St Augustine to store the boat again. We will head south to Panama the following year.
It feels good to have finally put pen to paper on this so to speak and laid out the trials with the so-called Mechanic and his boatyard masters.
On a lighter side, one job we did do was to install a new helm seat on the trip down to Miami. now we can both sit and relax at the helm and it is great to spread out on during a watch.
Once the list of jobs is settled and a date of return set, I will add some photo's to the album of our modifications and updates