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Old 09-18-2019, 05:01 PM   #1
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Frustrating Day On Sonas

Sonas has been over at the yard for a few weeks having regular maintenance done (bottom paint, zincs, gelcoat chips repaired, cockpit door repaired, hose clamps and hoses, through hulls all checked and lubed, new ER light, new belts, new battery switch for windlass/thruster, etc. etc), new sonar transducer, alternators refurbished and some new wiring run, new washing machine to replace the banshee that was in there, and try and find out why raising my windlass starts the port engine!!! (they couldn't replicate the issue)!

So a ton of work, all ready for some great fall through spring Florida cruising.

Hah! What is that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men!

Did an ER check before we left the yard. All looks good. Sea cocks open, nothing loose laying around, no stains on the bilge diapers. Start her up and got ready to leave. And off we go.

Go along the Ortega River and hail the drawbridge for an opening. As we approach the bridge the port engine quits! Get the anchor down and tell the bridge tender we wouldn't be needing an opening.

While I wasn't necessarily cursing the yard, I was thinking "we ran through two thirds of the Bahamas and up the ICW before taking the boat over there and she ran fine - now what have they screwed up?"

Took me about 30 seconds to see that someone had nudged (or turned) the dual Racor filter valve handle to "off." Well OK, that's annoying but whew, no biggie so long as the durn engine isn't now air locked. Turned the handle to on and the engine started immediately. And off we went again. (of course the crew is now complaining about a muddy foredeck on a boat the yard just cleaned!).

Pass through downtown Jacksonville and happily cruising the St John's towards home port. We are up on the FB and as usual we keep checking the temperature and oil pressure gauges. Just out of downtown Jax and I glance at the gauges - the starboard oil pressure gauge is pinned all the way to the top! S&*%. I run down and quickly look at the PH gauge and it is showing 20psi. (They usually sit around 60psi). Pull the throttle back and kill the engine.

While we continued on one engine, I went into the ER and saw nothing in the way of oil in the bilge pan, no sign of a leak. Pulled the dip stick and plenty of oil in the engine pan. I go back up and start the engine again and the gauges show the same - one pinned all the way the other showing 20psi. The alarm not going off (it probably wouldn't at 20psi).

I called the yard and he told me that the sender probably went through the PH gauge and then was replicated at the FB gauge. If one of the gauges went bad it may impact both of them. But since there was no way to ensure that the pump had not gone until we could swap in a known good sender and gauge - the best thing would be to keep it shut down. So we came all the way home on one.

It is SO annoying and frustrating to have made the effort to keep the boat in tip top shape and to have just written a nice sized check - to now have a boat at home dock that needs more work before we can use it.

No one hurt and it's just stuff, but sigh!
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:35 PM   #2
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Agreed and sounds familiar. I just had all my canvas replaced to find a few things broken that were not broken before including the flybridge refrigerator and the flybridge table. Both we probably knocked during canvas installation and will be difficult to fix.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:01 PM   #3
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I hate when things unfold that way...But don’t forget, at least you have that beautiful vessel ....
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:39 PM   #4
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One of the reasons I do my own work. When something is broken I know which idiot to get mad at...
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:42 PM   #5
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At least you didn’t do it to yourself.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:19 PM   #6
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One of the reasons I do my own work. When something is broken I know which idiot to get mad at...
I really can't pin this on the yard. They didn't do any engine work - I have another company do that at the home dock. Just stuff breaking/wearing out I guess.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:21 PM   #7
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I hate when things unfold that way...But donít forget, at least you have that beautiful vessel ....
Funny that, after we tied her up we looked out the window and said - the view looks better now! Something was missing the last few weeks!

And if its a new gauge or oil pump, not the most expensive problem to fix!

Just annoying.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:31 PM   #8
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A mechanical oil pressure gauge on each engine in the engine room is a must. Multi station electric gauges have too many points of failure.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:35 PM   #9
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A mechanical oil pressure gauge on each engine in the engine room is a must. Multi station electric gauges have too many points of failure.
You know, you reminded me of something.

The engine and genny panels ARE replicated at the back of the ER (still electric though). Wonder what I would see if I ran the engine and looked at that starboard gauge?

Regardless, it is a good pointer that I actually could (probably) have a sender going to three gauges.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:35 PM   #10
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One of the reasons I do my own work. When something is broken I know which idiot to get mad at...





Agree, just think most of the yard employees make min wage
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:45 PM   #11
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Agree, just think most of the yard employees make min wage
Do you know that for a fact?

I met with the electrics guy regarding my alternator set up, my windlass issue, and a couple of other things. That guy not only really knows his stuff but his "bedside manner" with us (and especially my wife who commented on how he made sure to talk to and with her) was superior.

I have worked with a number of yards here in Florida the past 20 years (in Jacksonville. Fort Myers and Stuart for example) and I certainly did not get any impression whatsoever that I was dealing with minimum wage people.

Or was that just a throw away comment?
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:03 PM   #12
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Apart from the Racor being closed, it looks like an unfortunate coincidence. Hope you get to the cause soon.
After some experiences, for abundant precaution I hesitate to go offshore after having work done until I`ve run for a while. Not sure that`s your situation, but it`s my experience.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:12 PM   #13
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Apart from the Racor being closed, it looks like an unfortunate coincidence. Hope you get to the cause soon.
After some experiences, for abundant precaution I hesitate to go offshore after having work done until I`ve run for a while. Not sure that`s your situation, but it`s my experience.
Bruce, thinking more about it tonight, there was a very logical reason for the guy closing the Racor (it was slightly leaking and I have a rebuild kit in hand so did not ask them to do anything with it, and he may have seen the leak) but I should have been made aware that he did it, but also down to me for not having seen it in the ER pre-check.

The oil gauge issue - we will see. But ether way - new gauge or pump, not a big deal.

We usually have the engine service in February. Our Bahamas jaunts usually start in March, pretty soon afterwards. But we do have a three or four day run down the AICW before we go off shore, so that works!
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Old 09-19-2019, 04:01 AM   #14
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Agree, just think most of the yard employees make min wage
Lambs Boatyard (Where Sonas was) has a great reputation and I don't think they employ minimum wage techs for the type of work they do.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:33 AM   #15
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MY guess , would be a wage of $30 to $40 an hour , even in FL ,to keep a good tech from moving on.


Minimum wage to wash the deck ,perhaps.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:17 AM   #16
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Frustrating and annoying, to be sure. But, as you said, no one was hurt. No damage to Sonas. With a little troubleshooting, you'll get to the bottom of it and she'll be back in fine running order. Still, you hate to have issues after just having written a fat check.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:28 AM   #17
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My experience with and working in yards...did work at one large, corporate yard...mostly mom &pop to mid sized. None with the big, mega type yards.


Yard guy - minimum or near minimum wage... helper with launching/lifting blocking, does pressure washing, go'fer stuff in general, etc



Yard Tech- depending on skills and certifications....one step up from yard guy but could be top dollar guy at marina if a skilled painter or glass guy......painting, basic glass work, canvas hardware stuff, runs lifting equipment, etc


Shop tech...another one steop up from yard guy depending on skills and certs...usually paid a living wage....electrical as in bilge pump installs/replacement, interior repairs, appliance repair/installs, some engine work.


Mech - engines ...pad the going rate to keep around...yet depends on factory certs and types of engine experience.


Hardly any 2 yards are the same or run the same..always a twist and so the help often is assigned tasks outside their real experience base.
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:52 AM   #18
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Two more - the service manager, a good one is worth his weight in gold. Not only his marine knowledge but his responsiveness.

And sublets. I believe most yards have a list of contractors for work which they sublet. My alternator refurbishment for example, and perhaps even the Panoptix transducer install and set up. I know there is an electronics business on site at Lambs.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:31 AM   #19
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I didn't include all possibilities.


The service manager is usually not billable....some may bill for estimating large jobs.


Some big places I have heard have project managers that I believe are billable hours ...but I can't say they always are.



Sub-contractors are the usual going rate, they are usually tradesman level in their specialty (IOW not a yard guy) and can be billed at whatever the going rate is plus a marina surcharge (if that is the way that yard works).
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:56 AM   #20
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ANY day on a Grand Alaskan is a good day. Yes?

I second the mechanical oil. My Bertram 35 had both mounted together in a dual gage pod that was screwed to the hatch framing in plain view if the hatch is lifted at all. Mechanical temp might not be a bad idea either, or even better a thermal gun which could be used to isolate high temp areas of the engine.

You own a Grand Alaskan and you allowed a leaking Racor? Titch titch.
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