Phase three of our remodel is now complete and with that, our time here at Pacific Yacht Management (“PYM”) has now come to an end. As such, this blog entry will be more a pictorial blog to show how everything came together during our time here in Seattle. That being said, however, there is one thing that I really need to get off my chest before I begin.
The reason this project has run so smoothly can be put down to three things. Firstly, the people we used were almost as keen to get the job done as we were. Secondly, I spent every day on the job from 6am in the morning until between 4-5pm in the afternoon making sure the work continued at speed required to complete and had no problem letting Jeff know if I felt things were taking too long and finally, there were many meetings well before hand to ensure everyone built in availability to their work schedules for Pendana’s arrival. Without all of the service provider’s dedication and my 100% availability, I truly believe we would only be three fifths of the way through the work required.
As most would know I met with a total of seven companies prior to deciding which company to use. When it came to getting cost estimates most companies both here in Seattle and in Canada simply did not want to put pen to paper. Surely, as owners we have a right to know what things are going to cost before the work is carried out. If more owners insisted on getting price estimates upfront the world would be a much less stressful place.
Yards in general would typically say to me that they don’t like giving numbers. WHY NOT? Do these yards not know what their cost drivers are? Are they really that incompetent that they do not know how much a particular job is going to cost? Or is it that they want to charge whatever they feel like with the poor owners (you and me) picking up the tab? Trust me, these guys know exactly what things cost in about 80% of the jobs that they do. Sure, there are things that come up or change and it is reasonable to adjust costings based on that, but seriously, if the yard you are talking to can’t or won’t give you a reasonable cost estimate then what hope do you have of the yard being able to do the work you require on time and on budget? Working on a time and material basis, without some sort of estimate is in my opinion a complete and total, recipe for disaster.
It was frustrating to me that most yards would say, “We charge X dollars per hour or we charge Y, as if this were something I should jump with joy about. Look, I don’t care what they charge per hour, what I want to know is, what it is going to cost. The bottom line, if the yard can’t give you reasonable price estimates upfront then find another yard. It is us owners paying the bills and we have the legal right to know what things are going to cost before the work is carried out, it’s that simple.
One yard in Bellingham wanted to charge me fifty percent of the estimate (labour and parts) up front before starting the work. What planet do these people live on? Is their cash-flow so bad that they can’t afford to buy the materials? Unless they are prepared to give me a copy of their audited accounts for the last three years I aint going to pre-pay a single dime! Another company in Seattle quoted a total of eighty hours to remove the old granite counter top? Really! What were they planning to use to remove it? A sponge? Another yard, pretty close to SBMC estimated the time to complete our work at six months. Guys, I know I am an amusing character to have around but six months? Really!
What’s more, this very same yard quoted US$27,000.00 to wax and polish Pendana and no, it wasn’t a mistake. While I liked the owner at this yard and after my insane laughing died down, I then decided quoting $27K for a wax and polish job was the final straw. Either they are completely clueless, which I very much doubt, or they need a new private jet – not on my dime boys, not on my dime! Another well-known yard in Sidney, Canada promised to visit us while we were in Vancouver to discuss our work order. They promised again and again and again and….. they were a complete no show. Their website promises boat owners, and I quote, “to come and experience the difference of our uniquely personal service” I must confess, I didn’t much like it.
Seriously, these businesses need to get a grip and learn how to provide what owners want which is, reasonable costing numbers upfront, timely service, employee bandwidth and dedication to their clients to get the work done in a timely manner. These businesses may be in business today but they won’t in the future if they continue dishing out the rubbish they have been dishing out. Trust me, I could go on and on about this but I won’t out of respect for my blood pressure, however, needless to say the above examples are only a very, very small smattering of the complete and total incompetence of most of yards I met with. Please don’t misunderstand me, this is not a shot across the bows of American and Canadian businesses as this issue is a problem the world over.
In closing, I am not the only one who gets hot under the collar about this. Industry expert Steve D’Antonio has written many articles on this very topic. A good example can be found HERE. So please, fight the fight and push the point home with the yards that you deal with because if we all continue to accept the rubbish being dished out by these yards (across the world) then that is all any of us can look forward to.
The primary reasons I went with Pacific Yacht Management is that they, unlike so many others, were not afraid to give me numbers and their numbers, unlike so many others, made complete and total sense from day one. In simple terms this means that Pacific Yacht Management understands the costs that drive their business. They understand and know how long the majority of jobs will take and importantly, they know how to quote and give estimates and above all else, they are not afraid of putting pen to paper in a timely manner. If your yard won’t give you a quote then run as fast as possible in the opposite direction and give Jeff Sanson a call at PYM as I have no doubt you will be pleased you did. Anyway lets press on with happier things now that is off my chest!
Happier things indeed! Let’s talk heads. As most would know Pendana has four of the 4800 series Vacuflush heads on board. These new electronic controlled, independently chambered systems are fantastic when they work, but when they don’t they can be a real nightmare to fix. The reason for this is that there are so many locations air can leak from the system and the parts used inside the heads are not what one would call quality or well designed. If you have ever changed a seal in one you will know exactly what I mean!
As we were coming to PYM, I figured I would have PYM replace all the bowl seals, replace a few vacuum chamber switches, new tank monitor senders etc (jobs I usually do). The only issue with this was, and I blame myself for this, when we attacked the job initially we did all the heads at pretty much the same time. Golden rule, always do one head at a time and confirm that it’s working properly before moving onto the next.
As we were having multiple issues since replacing all the seals and Brett, the guy who did all the initial heavy lifting was away, the big guns from PYM, the daddy of them all, the “head boy” so to speak, the expert beyond all experts was called in to tackle the issues.
When it comes to heads, I am not ashamed to say (or maybe I should be) that I feel I know more than most, so it was incredible to find a guy who actually knew more. What’s more, he found an issue with our system which is why he was awarded ‘Hero Status’ and is revered around the world amongst us head connoisseurs! I won’t go into details, but in short Chris managed to locate a wee leak (no pun intended) that would have had me and most others hunting it down for eternity! Again, when it comes to heads, I honestly thought I was the man, however, it is now clear that there is one other out there, one who stands head and shoulders above all others and his name is Chris. It has to be noted that Chris is also a very capable mechanic and ship’s captain so all in all, one hell of a guy!
Galley Counter Top and Splash Back
As most would know we decided that part of the remodel would include replacing our old counter top and splash back as the old colour scheme wouldn’t work with the new. For this job we used Dale McCurdy from MW Stoneworks here in Seattle. Again, we got lucky, as Dale and his partner Todd are more accustom to working on much larger vessels than ours and when it comes to using marble, quartz and granite these guys are pros. To give you an idea of the work they usually do here are a few pics. Oh to dream!
There was little doubt that Dale, Todd and the rest of their team were more than capable of looking after our needs and true to their word, Dale and Todd came back, (after demolishing our old counter) and promptly went about installing the new counter-top and splash-back.
David Smith from In Grain Furniture was also true to his word and installed our new custom salon table on time and on budget. To say that we are pleased with the result would also be a major understatement. David is an artist with wood and David’s work has delivered exactly what our brief asked for. I challenge anyone who comes aboard Pendana not to want to touch the surface of this table! Now, it must be noted that the table design was courtesy of Ann Rinaldi former owner of Samurai – what do they say Ann, copying is the highest form of flattery! Thank you Ann!
Jeff and Bob, the entertainment gurus, and Sam the KVH god, all came to us via Jeff Sanson and took care of our new Bose surround sound system, Direct TV, Marantz installation and more importantly did all the programming required so that now all components speak to each other perfectly. To have a single remote control to drive multiple devices is a godsend. Thank you.
New Cabinet and Inca TV Lift
Mike L from PYM was tasked with the main job of cutting the TV cabinet back and installing a new Inca Lift. As if often is the case with creative types it was a bit of a job making sure he delivered everything on time. I guess in his defence, with a project like this, one never truly knows what one is going to find. That said, what Mike L has created is a remarkable example of fine craftsmanship usually only seen on US$30 million dollar super yachts than a Nordhavn 62!
New Lewmar Hatches
We also decided that as all of our fifteen Lewmar hatches were hazed and not in real good shape that we would replace all of them and while we were at it we would also replace all fifteen of our Ocean Air screens as well. Pacific Yacht Management’s Mickey, Mike D (seems everyone around here is called Mike) and Glen made quick work of the job with the first hatch coming out in around ten minutes. That’s right, ten minutes! That said after the dry fit of all fifteen hatches we had to wait for the weather to improve and warm up a little before doing the final fit as it was simply too cold for the sealant to set.
New Technicold Air-Handlers
As if we weren’t spending enough money already we also decided to replace all of our air-handlers with the new Technicold air-handlers. Jeff and Mickey mentioned that they were about the same price as Cruisair but a much better built unit with steel drip trays instead of hardened plastic. I agreed, and as Ken from San Souci fame was now a Technicold convert I figured that if it were good enough for him, it would be good enough for us. I guess the only complaint would be that Northernlights (the new owners of Technicold) need to carry a little more stock, as it took us about five weeks to get our new units which is about three weeks too long!
New Upholstered Furnishings
Lynn Homes and her team at NW Design Guild also delivered on time and on budget all of the soft furnishings, together with a few new items to make living on board a little more comfortable. It really is a credit to her and her team as everything fit back into place perfectly.
The Final Word
The process from start to finish took nine weeks and one day to complete. Considering what was achieved during this time it has been a remarkable effort by all involved. Links to the three previous blogs covering all that was done can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE..
None of this could have been possible without the help from Jeff Sanson and his team at Pacific Yacht Management and their desire to deliver on time. I must confess that the owner, Mr Jeff Sanson is a very reasonable guy and above all honest and direct. He says it like it is which personally I like. I would much rather be told what I need to know than be told what I want to hear. Jeff and his team of employees at Pacific Yacht Management did a truly fantastic job. Without Jeff, who knows literally everyone in the marine industry and who put us in touch with Lynn Holmes in the very first instance none of this would have been possible. To Jeff and the team at PYM, my sincere thanks. Nine weeks one day, now that’s what I call, getting err done!
Lynn and the folks at NW Design Guild were incredibly instrumental in the project as well. From our very first meeting in Vancouver, to colour selections, fabrics, patterns and textures (who thought textures were important!) there is little doubt that without Lynn’s help, Claire and I would still be debating exactly what shades we should use. I was always a little sceptical of the benefits of interior designers but thanks to Lynn, I am now a convert. I now truly understand the value of getting these folks on board early in a remodel project such as ours.
What I really liked about Lynn was, the fact she put me in touch with both MW Stoneworks and In Grain Furniture and allowed me to go directly to them. I have heard of so many horror stories of interior designers making margin on the way through for doing nothing which ultimately increases the size of the bill for the owners unnecessarily. That’s not the way Lynn works, nor is it part of her psyche. Lynn was just happy to make sure we were able to use the best people so that the end result she and Claire had envisioned worked. Thank you Lynn.
Dale, Todd and the team of guys from MW Stoneworks (Ph: 206-396-1762) were truly masters and delivered on time, below budget and made quick work of replacing our old counter-top and splash-back. While it all looks pretty straight forward I can assure you it is anything but. Remember, one company quoted me eighty hours to remove the old counter-top when these guys had it out, without damaging anything in the process, including the galley sink in three. Need I really say more! These guys made a complex job look like child’s-play! Thank you.
David Smith from In-Grain Furniture was a truly great find – thanks Lynn! The care, time and effort David put into making our new salon table was remarkable. Not only has he produced a work of art, in our opinion, but he did so without any pomp and ceremony or for that matter, carry-on. If the truth be told, I believe David truly loved being involved with this project, as much as we loved having him execute on the design. Thank you.
Mark Sweeney, the carpet guy did a truly amazing job with the new carpet for Pendana. Not only was he very patient but he delivered everything on time and on budget which was a huge help. Mark and Jeff Sanson suggested that we install in the salon a led, sound reducing barrier pad which has made an amazing difference to the overall sound experienced when underway. Thank you Mark!
Now this moment we have all been waiting for…….Drum roll please…
Before and After
In closing, nine weeks and one day from start to finish and Pendana is now all done a dusted and ready to continue her voyage of discovery! The next time she will get this much loving will be on the east coast of the United States of America.
Thank you to all the companies and people involved in this project as we could not be happier with the end result.
Finally, for those who may be interested there is a new book coming, and before you ask, yes it will be in colour, include lots of photos and will hopefully be something of value. Stay tuned for more in the New Year. If you want to learn more about the new title please click HERE.
On behalf of all of us on board Pendana may we wish you, and those closest to you, a very happy and safe New Year!