I was at the lift yard at 9:01 this morning with all the mast rigging and the vinyl lettering. The office wasn’t open yet so I snapped some pictures of the boat from the parking lot, but couldn’t get any pictures of the mast because of its position in the yard.
The manager arrived shortly after me and we went inside to discuss the work. He wanted first of all to know what I had used previously for bottom paint. The yard guys had asked that question yesterday when I had delivered the mast, and because I didn’t know, I told them I’d look at my records and find out, which I had done and so I was ready with the answer this morning. I told Dave that it was Interlux Micron CSC. He started frowning and seemed all upset, telling me that the paint on my boat was an ablative, and nobody uses an ablative on a boat that’s in the water all the time, because it’s designed to slough off, and that it’s not designed to be sanded off for this reason, and he told me that only do-it-yourself-ers use it. He said that it’s used because all that’s needed is a recoat, no sanding, just a continual recoat of paint.
He explained that because he uses a different type of bottom paint, he’d have to tent the boat to sand it off because this ablative paint would create a dust that would invade everything around it. I was horrified at what he was suggesting, so I asked if he could simply put another coat of ablative on the boat rather than his own preferred paint, and he quickly agreed to do that instead, to my very great surprise. I told him I’d like the same red, and he told me he uses a better quality paint than I now have, the Pettit brand, and I wondered to myself how he gets away with being so insulting to people.
It’s just that I’ve done business with this yard before and this is all such a change from that time. Granted I’d never spent time in this yard because I’d only used it as a lift, a power wash, and later a return trip. But back in 1999 this yard was run by someone else and I was allowed to freely roam it like everyone else.
Anyway, we went on to the next subject, which was putting on the vinyl lettering. I asked him if I could have the graphics guy come in and do that since he wouldn’t let me do it myself. He said he’d have to charge a contractor fee of $45 an hour for any outside person to come in and do any work on my boat. Horrified again. He told me he was a full-service yard and his workers could do anything necessary, so I asked him if he could have his workers put it on in that case, and he agreed to have them do that. He told me that Bryan, his premier guy, was superb, considered an artist, and would take care of it.
Ok, next subject: the head valve that needed to be turned. I told him that although I had originally thought I would do that myself, and since he wanted to charge extra to have an outsider come in and do it, could his people take care of that as well? He agreed to have Bryan take care of it, and that I would actually be allowed into the yard to show Bryan what I needed done. Some concession there.
Next, the paperwork. I looked at his typed estimate. It all looked like the original estimates he had given me over the phone except for the mast stepping. He had it down for $95 an hour instead of the $85 an hour he had quoted to me back in May. I pointed this out and he insisted that was what he had told me, so I didn’t fight it. He didn’t offer any kind of break for not having to sand my boat and I didn’t bring it up. He told me he’d let me know of the additional charges for the lettering and thru-hull and I made all the financial arrangements with him, then went down to the yard with my cart full of rigging.
Bryan met me down in the yard and we discussed the mast and what I had done. He thought he wouldn’t have any trouble with it at all and I left the cart alongside the mast. Then we went over to the boat so that I could discuss the lettering and the thru-hull. He found a ladder that just barely made it to the top of the toerail and we went up. I showed him the plumbing and I think he understood what I was trying to do, but I felt uncomfortable because it’s so hard to know if someone who’s never seen your boat before understands where you’re going with this.
In any case it’s out of my hands at this point and I’ll just have to hope for the best. Portland is becoming such a weird town for sailors.