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Old 02-10-2016, 08:18 PM   #221
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John,

I was prepared to install a nice basic system in our last boat. I came across a simple Bluetooth speaker in the store that sounded great, and the Admiral said to give it a try. We enjoyed it so much, that we took it along for our current boat. Installing something more substantial has not been discussed. We move it inside, outside, even take it home. We hear nuances from it that we have never heard before...it's really amazing. We run a Bluetooth dongle from a satellite radio.

Now I was NOT planning to spend 5k - but the lack of drilling, wiring, sealing, and mounting was exactly parallel to your thoughts.

Good Luck
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:26 PM   #222
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I think Mark is saying 6 months from the date when hull was complete?

Helmsman appears to be a very slick operation, and a nice product. They have to be doing a lot of things right to be able to achieve quoted build time, particularly when some customization is being done.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:03 PM   #223
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My Coot about the time of the purchase contract.



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Old 02-10-2016, 09:42 PM   #224
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I think Mark is saying 6 months from the date when hull was complete?

Helmsman appears to be a very slick operation, and a nice product. They have to be doing a lot of things right to be able to achieve quoted build time, particularly when some customization is being done.
Thanks for clarifying for me. So a little more than 6 months.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:14 PM   #225
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Build Time

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..

The Diesel Ducks build time is around 3-6 years now - so is 6 month a realistic time line?

Do they have a penalty clause in case of late delivery - it proves the builders commitment and organisation when they commit to this.... I might give the Helmsman a try now.
A word of caution for anyone reading this and thinking about building a new boat with any builder - don't be in a rush or tie anything firm to the quoted schedule. I will write more about this in a future posts since there are so many variables that go into building a new boat it can not be covered with one post. Regarding the Helmsman 38PH we started out with a six month schedule estimate that quickly moved to seven months due to the number of boats ahead us. We signed our contract in early November and currently planning to see the boat in May. This includes about one month for transportation from China.

I believe most established yards have a good feel on how long the process takes and their estimates accurate unless some sales rep is trying to seal a deal by promising something sooner just to satisfy the buyer. A reputable builder should never have to do this. Just remember that any build schedule is just that "a build schedule" and things can go wrong. Delay in receiving a major piece of equipment (engine, generator, ect.) can quickly result in weeks or months delays so you need to be aware.

You will note that I'm tracking our progress weekly and while I do not have a weekly milestone schedule (I could never get one on our Nordies either) I can at least monitor progress with photos and with Scott's visits to the yard. You may recall I recently mentioned that progress had slowed slightly due to focus on the boat ahead of us, I wouldn't have known this without photo's and weekly calls with Scott. Our approach on new builds is to follow progress as best you can so you are not surprised when you get the call that schedule slipped out a month or more. Unfortunately there is not very much you can do about it. Some folks may want to consider legal action but is that stress and cost worth the effort? I don't think so unless the yard was to close down (talk about a nightmare) which is something I hope never occurs for anyone. Your best protection from schedule slides and a complete disaster would be to limit the amount of down payment you put down and not make the final payment until the boat has been placed on the ship and heading home. Another topic of discussion for a future post.

So what do I think Scott would tell you today if you ordered a new 38PH? Suggest you give him a call direct and ask him but my guess would be around seven months if your ordered a boat today. With the increased level of interest he is receiving lately including from the Seattle Boat Show that may grow as he secures new orders.

Much, much more to follow on this subject including something called commissioning and what surprises you may expect with this part of the adventure.
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Old 02-11-2016, 03:45 PM   #226
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I''m anxious to hear your take on commissioning. Getting a boat built in the US you don't face that in the way you do on an import. So, I've never really experienced it except vicariously through some Nordhavn owners.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:43 PM   #227
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ahhhh...interesting subject. Commissioning and quality control goes hand in hand - so if quality control fails then commissioning becomes a problem.
I researched some yards intensively a few years back and commissioning was one of the reoccurring problems..so I backed down.
My research was almost as thorough as yours, except I had decided on the boat before checking the yard....so it was pretty hard to give up the boat when the yard failed the scrutiny...
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:52 PM   #228
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A word of caution for anyone reading this and thinking about building a new boat with any builder - don't be in a rush or tie anything firm to the quoted schedule.
This is really good advice. I made the mistake, after delivery had been delayed for months, of accepting the boat before commissioning was proven (to my satisfaction) to be complete. At that point, I had very little leverage and I am convince that most of the problems that still bug me would have been resolved if I had handled that better. In business, I have never made a similar mistake. But when it comes to emotional stuff like boats, rationality goes out the window. Live and learn.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:21 AM   #229
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This is really good advice. I made the mistake, after delivery had been delayed for months, of accepting the boat before commissioning was proven (to my satisfaction) to be complete. At that point, I had very little leverage and I am convince that most of the problems that still bug me would have been resolved if I had handled that better. In business, I have never made a similar mistake. But when it comes to emotional stuff like boats, rationality goes out the window. Live and learn.
Don't take ownership or accept until you're completely satisfied or willing to accept it just as it is with no corrections coming. I also am a strong believer in surveys even on new boats and even with builders I trust completely.

You make another great point. Many brilliant business persons make the most serious mistakes on buying and building boats. They have all the skills and knowledge but become blinded completely by the dream. It starts by them failing to do due diligence on the builder and it carries through to taking delivery when it's not ready.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:38 PM   #230
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Build Time and counting

Today I was taking with Scott about the new build and the potential to have the boat shipped to SD instead of Long Beach which would make life much easier for Mary and I. Its about a 100 mile run between ports and something I would prefer to do with full electronics especially in June when there is a lot of fog or thick marine layer. This lead us to when the boat is expected to arrive and Scott simply said six months from start. I know I mentioned that schedule had quickly moved from six to seven months but I missed the time it takes to process the contract and get the yard started. So, it appears six months is still our planned schedule.

A lot more to follow soon on many topics.

John
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:27 PM   #231
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Contract Changes - Think Twice

If I learned one thing over the years building a few new boats it is to avoid making changes after you have signed on the dotted line. Besides causing disruption to the yard resulting in possibly longer build schedules, many builders charge a premium for change notices. So with all this experience and knowledge behind us what did I do yesterday? Yes, I made our first change.

Fortunately we are not talking about anything major and nothing that should impact schedule based on where we are in the build cycle. I should also add that Scott and the yard have been very accommodating (reference our galley / salon redesign) and I believe the perfect size company to react quickly and accommodate their customers requests.

So what is our first change? We have been talking with Scott since day one about electrical power and how best to manage our needs with a "simpler boat". Since we decided not to have the generator installed at this time (possibly in five years if we make it to the east coast) I have been struggling with what size battery bank we need. I spoke with one former Nordhavn owner who purchased a H38 and took the boat to Alaska more then once without having a generator. He had a nice size battery bank installed and never looked back. The new H38 at the boat show also had a very nice 1,000 Amp hour battery bank positioned on the engine room floor that was really sweat. The yard custom built the rack that held all the batteries together allowing it to be installed in the right location to eliminate the need for ballast. So based on our projected use of the boat I told Scott to go ahead and plan on doing the same for our boat.

No sooner was I getting ready to take out the check book and Scott started to talk about how we get the batteries to the boat and possibly save me some costs. He wants to explore having the batteries shipped to San Diego when the boat arrives eliminating the need to ship them to China only to have them shipped with the boat. If memory serves me correctly shipping batteries (hazardous materials) is not cheap and why have new batteries purchased six months before you need them. I recall the suite of batteries on one of our new boats were nine months old when we received the boat. I'm not sure how many builders would take the time to explore this type of option to help save us money but I'm glade Scott works this way.

We also decided on the make / model and installation of the Microwave
oven. Hopefully these will be the only "changes" we need to make during this build cycle. More to follow soon......

John T.
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Old 02-14-2016, 12:26 PM   #232
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Music

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John,

I was prepared to install a nice basic system in our last boat. I came across a simple Bluetooth speaker in the store that sounded great, and the Admiral said to give it a try. We enjoyed it so much, that we took it along for our current boat. Installing something more substantial has not been discussed. We move it inside, outside, even take it home. We hear nuances from it that we have never heard before...it's really amazing. We run a Bluetooth dongle from a satellite radio.


Good Luck
Thanks for the post and confirming we are on the right track. Yesterday I started to play with downloading music and using the JBL speakers. You were 100% correct on the quality of the sound. We still have a lot to learn about downloading and managing our monthly usage of GB's (or whatever they are called) but I think we are on the right track catching up with the latest cell phone technology. I guess this is another advantage of being involved in boating, it provides you with a reason / need to stay current with todays technologies.

John
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:00 PM   #233
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Labeling - Never Too Much

If there was one item which I found could not be overdone on a boat it is the amount of labeling the yard does on hoses, wire runs, cables, electrical panels and ......

I remember spending hours with Jeff Merrill aboard our first N40 with a label maker marking all the primary systems and fuel transfer valves. I didn't realize back then just how helpful those labels would be in the coming years. I then found the number of labels on the N35 to be even greater and really appreciated them.

I was very pleased to see that the Helmsman line of boats follows a similar practice and provides numerous labels throughout the engine room. For anyone who is talking with a builder about a new boat I would strongly suggest you make this simple item "standard equipment".

John
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:20 PM   #234
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If there was one item which I found could not be overdone on a boat it is the amount of labeling the yard does on hoses, wire runs, cables, electrical panels and ......

I remember spending hours with Jeff Merrill aboard our first N40 with a label maker marking all the primary systems and fuel transfer valves. I didn't realize back then just how helpful those labels would be in the coming years. I then found the number of labels on the N35 to be even greater and really appreciated them.

I was very pleased to see that the Helmsman line of boats follows a similar practice and provides numerous labels throughout the engine room. For anyone who is talking with a builder about a new boat I would strongly suggest you make this simple item "standard equipment".
I gotta wonder why that isn't an ABYC standard.
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:46 PM   #235
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I think there is some evil force that always adds one light switch in every house that is hooked up to nothing just to drive you crazy trying to figure it out.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:13 PM   #236
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Battery Power - What do you think?

As most people know we are taking a slightly different path on this boat and not installing a generator at this time. This decision to simplify things obviously resulted in a little more thought process into electrical power management and batteries. Realizing we have the basic's including; main engine with alternator, inverter to provide A/C power and shore power hook-ups while at the dock we have all the electrical power we really need "90% of the time". This leaves the remaining 10% of the time when we are on the hook and dependent on batteries alone.

Scott and I have been discussing different types of batteries, quantity, installation location and even when to have them installed. I found it interesting I'm spending the same amount of time discussing batteries as we did on electronics. While at the Boat Show a few weeks ago, Scott had me look at an installation the yard performed on a new 38PH which included a very nice, five battery bank metal rack located just aft of the engine. It was positioned on the boats center line (smart thinking) providing easy access and eliminating the need for ballast. I walked away impressed with this installation and thought it would be perfect for our boat but still not sure about the added costs and number of batteries. This was going to be a $4K+ option.

Last week Scott called and we discussed one option of having the boat delivered with only the engine start power allowing us to have the batteries of our choice installed in San Diego. I liked the idea of having fresh batteries delivered to the boat during commissioning (one of our previous new build boats was delivered with batteries that were already one year old) and all we would pay for up front was the custom metal rack.

A few days later Scott called back to advise other buyers had expressed interest in our approach of building a new boat without a generator and adding a larger battery bank. Scott, being the forward thinker he is spoke with the yard and decided to make the battery bank metal rack standard equipment on all future boats allowing the owners to add as many batteries as required. This works perfect for us since we can now start with the standard batteries and add as we go.

We are still researching which type of batteries we want to end up and following a couple of Nordhavn owners looking to upgrade their batteries / inverters so they can be less dependent on their generators.

While I cannot speak for other boaters I believe I'm starting to see a trend even with larger boats looking for a path forward to simpler electrical power resources. When you think about technology advancements within the automobile industry (Tesla) related to electrical power (we own two Prius cars) it makes sense boaters should be able to find options over an expensive, maintenance required, fuel burning and noisy generators.

What do you think?

P.S> For those who may have never purchased a boat a ball part price to have a generator installed is about $25K.

John
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:36 PM   #237
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What do you think?

P.S> For those who may have never purchased a boat a ball part price to have a generator installed is about $25K.

John
Two words: Air Conditioning

I think those two words make any push toward eliminating generators very regional.

Refrigeration and freezers are secondary. Also, washers, dryers, dishwashers and hot water.

I think there's long been a desire by some to do without generators and the greater possibilities of solar power make it easier to accomplish. On the other hand there are trends running very counter to eliminating generators, such as using PTO's for thrusters and using Gyro Stabilizers.

For every trend there seems to be a counter. We are going to LED lighting and greatly reducing consumption. Meanwhile we're adding more and more electronics and computer, phone and television (and stereo) equipment, and appliances.
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Old 02-20-2016, 02:27 PM   #238
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John, It sounds like your boat would be a great candidate for solar to bridge the gap in power production. Are you considering it as a component to your vessel?
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:05 PM   #239
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What do you think?

P.S> For those who may have never purchased a boat a ball part price to have a generator installed is about $25K.
As BandB says, air conditioning is a primary driver for the need of a genny. IIRC, you live in Southern California. I have a daughter who lives on the coast around LA and they have had no need for AC in their residences. I don't recall if you even ordered AC with your boat. Not having AC would certainly make it less complex and less costly too. Other appliances like the frig, the freezer, hot water heater, coffee pots and computer equipment are also power hogs.

I guess the question that is going through my mind is the charging profile for all those batteries. Charging them at the dock is no problem but if you are off cruising and staying on the hook, you may find yourself running the engine to top off the batteries. Obviously a high output alternator can help and you could supplement it with solar panels over the pilot house. Another possibility is having a portable gas generator like the Honda 2000. Part of the argument for the genny is to offload the charging function from your less efficient main engine/alternator to a more efficient power generation system.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the profile of how you plan to use the boat. You seem to have quite a history or buying and selling boats. How sellable will you boat be without a genny? In FL, it would probably be a non starter.

Regarding solar panels, it looks like the top of the pilot house is the obvious place to locate them. But, would this create glare when you are using the fly bridge?
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:37 PM   #240
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Batteries - Feedback

Thanks for for feedback and thoughts. To answer a few questions, yes we did option for two reverse cycle A/C / Heater systems. Despite having the boat dock in San Diego (Average year round temperature of 68 degrees) we have noticed a warming trend the past few years with temperatures reaching upper 80's and even low 90's on the water. For those few occasions the A/C is worth having to make the weekend that much more enjoyable. We honestly used the heaters more than A/C out here and find the small portable West Marine heaters work fine in the small rooms. Since we only anchor out about 10% of the time (our life style includes spending most "nights" in a slip) we can handle a few warm days without A/C.

I agree if we move the boat to the east coast we would seriously consider adding the generator for the A/C unless technology catches up and we can do without. I just finished reading an interesting blog by a Nordhavn 52 owner who is slowly circumnavigating the world and added enough battery power (with larger alternators and inverters) to act as his back up generator. He can handle the A/C voltage spikes, 24V galley systems, water maker and scuba tank air compressors. Very interesting and not all that complicated. There is now a N50 owner doing something similar which we plan to follow and learn.

Regarding resale on the west coast i do not see this as an issue. Most people are more concerned with heat and like optional diesel heaters. On the east coast I can see the need for both a generator and A/C.

John
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