Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?
That may be exactly right. Maybe not the entire northeast, but many parts of it. I suspect Maine has more reliable yards. The Bay and nearby coast has some of the most outstanding sailing anywhere and countless destinations. The marina staff can be very friendly, including ours!! Its just the quality and organization of the tradesman that are awful. Maybe the best of the best are all building custom one-use boats for the next Bermuda race.
I may not be too far off on that one.
I purchased my boat in Marion MA and had some work done in preparation to move the boat up to Boothbay Harbor, ME. This was in 2005. If I'm remembering correctly the labor rates in Maine were less than 1/2 the Mass rates. If I were anywhere from the mid-Atlantic region and north and contemplating a major refit I would consider having the work done in Maine. There is nowhere I can think of that ever comes close to the number of qualified yards with reasonable rates and skilled craftsmen to work on anything from destroyers to cedar planked canoes.
Keep in mind that yards like Hinkley and Morris yachts may be the exception to the rule and will likely have rates equivalent to anything on the east coast but it will be unlikely that you would be unhappy with quality of the work.