Leaving Puerto Rico ... FINALLY
30 November 2014 | Fajardo, Puerto Rico
This last month has been a trying one. I guess I had unrealistic expectation when we left Smart Move in the care of the people in the boat yard with a list of things we wanted done. I really, sincerely expected when Smart Move was splashed back into the water everything would be done and done properly and she would be in sail away ready.
The reality was not all of the work commissioned six months before was complete, some had not even been started. Some of the work was not done to the manufacturers specifications and instructions, thus voiding our warranty if left as it was. The explanation for that piece of work was “that’s the way we have always done it on sailboats”. Back in my days as an architect that line from a contractor would have been enough to boil my blood, I guess I must have mellowed a bit because I am just extremely disappointed. Tired of waiting around and listening to excuses we are sailing away with a brand new, dripless shaft seal that is leaking at a surprising rate and without our asymmetrical spinnaker and it’s new furler (we have yet to lay eyes on, but we have paid for it).
It took 7-8 months to put together a comprehensive list of the things we wanted and needed done. When we got to port the boat yard contractors had ample notice and knowledge of the scope and details of the work.we wanted done. One particular piece of work, hard coat antifouling paint across our transom, never got done. However, I didn’t realize this until Smart Move was being lowered into the water – too late now. For whatever reason, all of the 473s I have ever seen sit just a bit low in the water leaving about 4-6" of the transom in the water all the time. It becomes quite the busy little bioshpere, I documented some of the hitchhikers last year – but the bottom line is it takes a lot of time and effort to keep that one little part of the boat clean and just a bit of antifouling paint would have saved me a lot of work. When I pointed out the paint was missing (as the boat was still in the slings) I think the response was “oops” – really?!?
The hard thing is I really like all of these people. I wonder what I could have done better to make the outcome more successful. I don’t know, maybe with the improving economy they were all to busy – maybe we are just small potatoes compared to their usual work and we were more of a nuisance than a valued repeat client. Maybe we just need to stay with Smart Move and supervise all of the work, funny but I never think of professionals needing babysitters. I got the distinct impression they all thought we were too picky. One thing I do know is that if Barry and I would have run our architecture firm like this, we would be working for someone else today instead of sailing around the Caribbean!
Oh well, it is time to put this behind us and continue ‘living the dream’ so to speak. It is yet just another learning moment in a long list of learning moments we have complied since starting this adventure. The ‘glass half full’ view for me is that we are becoming more and more self-sufficient sailors, learning new skills along the way – not a bad thing at all!