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Date: 19 September 2016. Varied Recommendations.
Guest author Rich Gano on M/V Frolic.

This piece is for The Writer's Block. It is written by Rich Gano. I came to know him through his beloved woodie Calypso. She was a Grand Banks with emphasis on the Grand. Cap'n Rich offers a perspective on boatyards and the work performed therein. Enjoy.


As for recommending a yard or specific repair shop, no two boaters are going to have the same experience with a yard because no two boats and their associated problems are the same, and repair yard and repair personnel turnover guarantees varied results over the years if not months.

I live near a well-known local yard and know the owner, and his staff knows I know their boss. However, that did not prevent them putting my propellers on the wrong shafts once. Can you imagine what would have happened had I not caught it and tried to back out of the lift on launch day? I watched the same pair of mechs [mechanics] incorrectly reinstalling my shafts into their couplings at the tranny [transmission] and had to insist they redo the job properly.

They no longer work there (not because I turned them in to
their boss), but who's to say their replacements are any better?

In my memory, this same yard built high quality 70-foot sport-fishing battle cruisers (the molds are still sitting there). So why were they making those mistakes on my simple jobs?

The folks building the big boats were a series of teams or individuals brought in for their specific parts (maybe somebody from SE Florida for the stabilizer installation) while the guys working my simple job were the low-level employees of the yard staff.

Your average run of the mill yard is not likely to employ true experts in any given area. As an example, when I took the wooden-hulled Calypso in for a bit of re-caulking of her 40-year old seams, I was advised by the yard owner to employ a specific outside contractor well known for his wooden hull expertise.


I learned in Navy yards long ago that you get the job you inspect and insist on - leave your boat to the mercy of the yard at your own risk.

That said, there are variations on that theme. A friend of mine who owns a large steel-hulled trawler and has neither time nor the inclination to involve himself in the technicalities of repair and maintenance problems pays a mutual friend of ours to perform and/or oversee yard work, including stabilizer repair by out-of-town experts, in this same local yard. His choice of overseer is excellent as our friend is extremely demanding and diligent in his efforts on behalf of the owner.

There are doubtless Cadillac yards out there where only white-clothed, long time employee/technicians work and where the rich folks take their mega-boats for loving care, but most of us are dealing with the real world of smaller boat ownership with carefully husbanded funds and yards like this one.

Today, as is usually the case, the yard is crammed with a lot of big boats getting a lot of high-dollar work done. Is it top quality work today? I have no way of knowing because I have no idea who is performing the work and who is inspecting it.

Captain Rich's new boat Frolic underway:

2005 Mainship 30 Pilot II currently in Panama City, FL

What do I say when asked if I recommend the yard? Well,
I tell the questioner, they have never dropped my boat - yet.

Rich Gano on M/V Frolic.

The End

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