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Old 05-16-2022, 06:58 PM   #1
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Bonehead Boatyard Antics

Under the heading of "I have to laugh or I'd cry...." comes today's story of the perils of refits. I've been pretty quiet on my trials and tribulations, but I had to share this one today.

First....a HUGE WARNING: If you want work done in Ensenada MX, DO NOT USE MARIO AT NIZA MARINE. He's a nice guy and means well, but is clueless when it comes to boats; and is the type who is afraid to be transparent. I've assembled some pictures HERE..

The good news is I have been working with Guillermo at LaCosta for the last few months which has been great. It's only been recently that I've been able to laugh at the crazy stuff Niza did. Their cluelessness cost me a lot of money, but I am looking forward as I'm getting closer to moving on.

But I had a good laugh today. I took Weebles out for a sea-trial and the thruster didn't work (amongst other items). Motor turned, but no oooomph.

TToday's installment of Bonehead Boatyard Antics: When Niza installed the props on the new thruster, they forgot the locking pins that actually engage the props. Look at the exploded diagrams below - these pins are almost impossible to forget unless you had zero mechanical aptitude. Of course, the guy who installed the props and had no idea what the spare parts were tossed them in the trash so these pins are long gone so will have to fabricate something.

Anyone have any other bonehead boatyard stuff? I have a zillion of them - when I pull pictures I'll fill-in. I wish I could post the short video of the props free-wheeling. I almost spit-out my beer!

Peter

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Old 05-16-2022, 08:16 PM   #2
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All I could think of was of Mr. Reilly, the bad contractor in the Fawlty Towers comedy series. LOL
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:47 PM   #3
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I had my twin propellers installed on the wrong shafts by the yard. I caught it while still on the blocks.
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Old 05-17-2022, 01:24 AM   #4
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Peter, I know what went wrong. It is not that bad, it will buff out.

Quote:
What went wrong?
Project Management. I am not the best at tracking all the small details from a distance. Despite a million diagrams and a decent business sense, I let this get away from me.
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Old 05-17-2022, 05:21 AM   #5
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What was wrong with the boat BEFORE you took it to that yard?
Did you have to pay the yard to screw up your boat?

Was the 2nd yard able to 'unscrew-up' your boat and make it right?

The re-dos were corrected at the first yard for free?

If it makes you feel better, at least the did not drop it, resulting in a constructive loss as the yard did to my N46.
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Old 05-17-2022, 05:42 AM   #6
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The Side Power propeller upgrade kit comes with those pins plus all the hardware. I usually break a propeller blade every 2 or 3 years (fish in the tunnel when the motor starts). Buying the 2 propeller kit on sale from Defender.com is cheaper and gives you the spare bits and anodes.

https://www.defender.com/product3.js...583&id=1263281

Ted
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Old 05-17-2022, 06:09 AM   #7
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Another favorite bonehead thing the old team did. This drawer is in the v-berth, just forward of the head compartment. Obviously the head compartment was finished after the drawers were installed as the upright now prevents full opening (or removal) of the drawer. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-17-2022, 06:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDan1943 View Post
What was wrong with the boat BEFORE you took it to that yard?
Did you have to pay the yard to screw up your boat?

Was the 2nd yard able to 'unscrew-up' your boat and make it right?

The re-dos were corrected at the first yard for free?

If it makes you feel better, at least the did not drop it, resulting in a constructive loss as the yard did to my N46.
It's a long story. Issue with Weebles was she was a 50 year old boat that had been neglected for 10 years - my boating Rip Van Winkle phase. The reason I stopped delivering boats in 2005 was a past colleague made an offer I really couldn't refuse so I went back into corporate America as a management consultant. I relocated to Florida but since I was flying every week, planned to spend more time in SF than I did. Best laid plans.

As far as paying/not-paying to remedy mistakes, well, there comes a point where you have to look at the underlying work and decide if it was a mistake (like the drawer photo I just posted) or ineptitude (not installing the locking pins on thruster prop). From there you have to ask if they guy who screwed it up is the right person to make it right. When the Nizas principal - Mario - stopped being honest with me was when I pulled the plug. At the time, Covid was raging and I simply was unable to get to Mexico.

I lost a few bucks. To Mario's defense, he acknowledged he owes me money. We disagree on the amount and he is unable/unwilling to pay the amount he does acknowledge which is fine. Mostly it cost me time.

At some point, I'll compile a do's/dont's article on large refits, and doing it remote. I still believe it possible, but there are some pointers that in hindsite make sense.

Peter

Peter
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:02 AM   #9
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The WRONG way to mount a cleat

Attached picture is looking up at underside of caprail where the 10-inch cleats are attached. Each cleat has four fasteners (NFM - HERE) - you see only two. One has a fender washer (blue tape obscures), the other has no backing whatsoever. Where are the other two bolts you ask? Buried in a hole with nothing but caulking securing them. From the deck, they look fastened.

Here's where the experience and integrity thing plays out: The real issue is the fasteners on the style of cleat I purchased is too wide to effectively back underneath. The caprail is a good 7-inches wide but underneath there's barely 3-inches due to heavy construction. The guys installing had a couple options - they could do what they did and 'pretend' to install the fasteners. They could use lag-screws which, given the heft of the caprail, would obviously be better. Or they could say "Pete, these cleats won't work properly. You need a different style cleat that have two heavy thru-bolts instead of four." (I ended up with these Buck & Algonquin cleats - if anyone needs really nice lightly used 10-inch cleats, I'd let my old ones go.....).

What's sort of funny is the new guys originally didn't believe me - no way someone would faux-mount a docking cleat. Only a couple were visible and were a pain in the butt to get to due to interior cabinetry that had been installed after the cleats. But I had them all replaced. All of the cleats were to some extent improperly fastened.

Obviously, mooring cleats are pretty important from a safety perspective. But the guys installing them either didn't know better or figured no one every notice since the fasteners are mostly hidden.

Peter

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Old 05-17-2022, 08:08 AM   #10
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and yet, you paid them?
Guess you paid them so you could get your boat out of their yard and into another yard.
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
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and yet, you paid them?
Guess you paid them so you could get your boat out of their yard and into another yard.



Sometimes you have to.
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
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and yet, you paid them?
Guess you paid them so you could get your boat out of their yard and into another yard.
It's more complicated than that. Short answer is you sometimes pay for work you think is done but isn't. Much of the issue is Covid prevented travel, Mexico was locked-down. I had worked with Mario/Niza for a year and things went pretty well. I insisted on pictures of course, but in hindisght, pictures were selective - many close-ups without full situational awareness (that's a yellow flag).

Here is the link to a small handful of diagrams for electrical, plumbing, and raw water. There are some things that are not immediately wrong. For example, on the cleats in an earlier post it wasn't easy to verify. The electrical re-wire was 'done' and it wasn't until I spent some quality time that I realized it was FUBAR with really bush-league mistakes. For example, instead of running power to the thuster from the generator start-battery that is 4-feet away from the thruster, they ran it 25-feet to the house battery bank in the lazarette. In hindsight, I should have known something was wrong when they said they needed another 50-feet of 2/0 cable.

Another example of how you can pay for something too early and not realize it. The boat was indeed painted over a year ago. Great - I paid. Fast forward to when I get there last summer (6-months after I fired them and banned them from the boat, which you can do in Mexico), there are these enormous gouges in the top-deck (see picture). I ask Mario "What the hell is this?" I get this lame response of "The guys dropped a tool." My reaction was not my rosiest moment. It was not the first lie, and they actually got worse from there.

Look, a major refit is a very complicated project. Keeping track of each sub-project will require some level of trust or a legion of inspectors. And even inspectors (surveyors) miss a bunch of stuff.

Peter

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Old 05-17-2022, 08:47 AM   #13
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Reading all this makes my stomach hurt and it isn't even my boat.
I am so very sorry they screwed your boat. I do hope you were able to negotiate a lower than agreed upon price.
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:57 AM   #14
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Reading all this makes my stomach hurt and it isn't even my boat.
I am so very sorry they screwed your boat. I do hope you were able to negotiate a lower than agreed upon price.
Thanks OldDan - it's all good. As mentioned, I lost a few bucks on the deal, but mostly time. There is a constant annoyance factor too. Mario/Niza simply lost all sorts of oddball items that have been difficult to replace, especially with supply chain issues. For example, I am having new AC units installed. There is a control cable from the compressor to the wall-mount controller. For Webasto, it's a proprietary cable. Missing. Took almost a month to get a replacement and it was $50. Small hydraulic fitting for fuel on new NL generator - missing. Took about 3-weeks to source and around $60 plus express shipping. Antenna adapter for IridiumGo - missing. $100 plus a couple weeks. Stairs from saloon to forward stateroom. Gone - need to be remade. When I fired them, my head and outboard were missing. When I threatened to call the Police, they miraculously re-appeared.

I am not relating this to diss on Niza (though that's poetic byproduct - did I mention there are pictures at www.NizaMarine.net), but mostly as a cautionary tale. I'm not exactly a novice at this stuff and I still encountered more than my fair share of issues. I knew it wouldn't be easy going in. Harder than I thought.

Mostly, I hired the wrong guys. Ironically, my first choice was Guillermo/LaCosta but I could not make contact. Work with LaCosta has been going well - slow, but rock-solid. As it turns out, in the end, it's cheaper to pay an experienced tradesman more $/hr than pay an inexperiened one less.

Peter
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:09 AM   #15
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When I do side work, I let the customer know I can do fast, cheap and good pick two.

Sorry to hear of your troubles, I do look forward to seeing your refit completed. It seems to be well thought out and a lot of features packed into a nice small vessel. I think those Willards are beautiful boats.
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:23 AM   #16
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When I do side work, I let the customer know I can do fast, cheap and good pick two.

Sorry to hear of your troubles, I do look forward to seeing your refit completed. It seems to be well thought out and a lot of features packed into a nice small vessel. I think those Willards are beautiful boats.
While affordability definitely played into my decision to have work done in Mexico vs SF Bay, I did not seek the lowest price within Ensenada. When I started, Niza had great promise. The go-to boatyard for recreational vessels is Baja Naval that has a decent reputation. That's actually where I started but after 3-months and not being able to get any quotes out of them, I sought out alternatives and came across Mario who purportedly was a small team that had been trained at Baja Naval so had decent creds. So I wasn't shy about spending good money (by local standards). And I was pretty open-eyed that I had to be pretty precise in my instructions (ergo the 100's of detailed diagrams). What I didn't count on was Niza would chase-away any craftsman with any talent so only dregs would be working on Weebles.

For experienced, journeyman quality marine labor, going pay is around $80-$100 per day (around $10/hr for full-time work - more for side-work of course). Now, that's their pay so obviously a yard is going to charge more to make money. But if you want/need a quality mechanic or electrician, that's what you're going to pay at a minumum (plus a helper). I'm totally good with that and had no desire to chase the rates downward. That's what I thought I was getting and honestly, thats what I did get for a while. But things change - Niza Marine is two guys - Mario and Luis. Luis is a very talented craftsman. Unfortunately, Luis disappeared at some point and quality became dismal.

Peter
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:40 AM   #17
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How does a company lose a head, outboard, cable, steps, hyd fittings, antenna adapter,
failure to mount the cleats properly, screw up the new drawer, a rat's nest of wiring and I am other problems that have yet to be discovered.

Did you have to pay for the replacement parts? Did they charge you for the extra yard time too?
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Old 05-17-2022, 09:41 AM   #18
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Peter, I wasn't implying you were cheaping out, I hope you didn't take it that way. I hate to hear of anyone having negative experiences. your write up on website is very interesting.

I had a conversation with someone I hired to do a concrete slab for me, I paid a the deposit before he started, when he came back for the other half of the money I pointed out all the things he did wrong with the slab and told him he wouldn't be getting anymore money. It really got his attention when I told him "Just because I hired you to do the job doesn't mean I don't know how to do the job." I never heard from him again, and I poured a new slab over the top of his but did it myself the second time.
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:18 AM   #19
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Peter, I wasn't implying you were cheaping out, I hope you didn't take it that way. I hate to hear of anyone having negative experiences. your write up on website is very interesting.

I had a conversation with someone I hired to do a concrete slab for me, I paid a the deposit before he started, when he came back for the other half of the money I pointed out all the things he did wrong with the slab and told him he wouldn't be getting anymore money. It really got his attention when I told him "Just because I hired you to do the job doesn't mean I don't know how to do the job." I never heard from him again, and I poured a new slab over the top of his but did it myself the second time.
Not at all - I didn't take it as implying anything. It's a good question/statement; and definitely a good reminder that it's a balance.

This type of experience is a bit embarrasing to be brutally open. While I'm super-pissed at Mario/Niza, it's mostly because of the lies, omissions, and carelessness - I could have worked through everything else. The inability to accept responsibility. But I decided to be fairly open now not throw barbs at Mario/Niza (well, there's a bit of that), but we all see folks on this forum looking at a Project Boat. Well, you no longer have to give obtuse generalities about how it can be a runaway project - just point them to me. Feel free to use me as an example. In hindsight so much is clear.

Peter
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:26 AM   #20
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I think your lesson to me is that a project boat is not something to hand over to anybody but yourself with professional assistance, where needed, directly observed. Otherwise, it might be too tempting by ANY yard to place tasks realated to the project farther onto the back burner every day, regardless of the quality of the work they may perform.
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