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  #1  
Old 11-21-2009
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Delicate situation

I went to check on my boat after it was hauled for winter storage and found an unpleasant surprise.

But first let me back up and give some background. I've been going to this winter storage marina for about 4-5 years. The ownership is a little tough to deal with, but the yard master is a very good guy - customer focused, knows my name, appreciative of my business and generally a solid, service-oriented guy.

When I arrived at the utility dock for winter drop-off, there was no room, despite me double-checking to ensure availability. I ended up having to tied up in a slip that was way to short - 14 feet for my 38 ft boat. I had her secured and fended off well, even though the set up was not ideal. But to be clear, there were plenty of fenders to prevent any damage. The short finger had bare wood and exposed hardware facing the boat - no dock-side rubber-bumpers of any sort.

When I saw the boat today, there was a gash in the 5-yr old awlgrip, right at the height of where the unprotected finger might scrape - a mark consistent with the boat being pulled from its slip without attention....like as if the fenders rolled past the end of the finger and then the finger and boat met. The gash is down thru the awlgrip, into the gelcoat for about 6" by .5" then trails off to a 1 foot gouge in the awlgrip (but not through it), then down to a buffable scuff for another 2 feet.

Now, I don't know for sure what happened, but I know it wasn't there when I left from my home port earlier on drop-off day. 2 weeks have come and gone since drop-off. I did check on her while she sat in the short slip the day follwing drop-off, and everything looked ok.

So here's the question...how do I approach the yard in a respectful manner without coming across too soft or too accusitory? And what do I do if they say, 'is wasn't us?'.

FYI, they already have all my $ - paid in full for the season, so they hold all the cards when it comes to launching in the Spring.


Thank you.
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Old 11-21-2009
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Go hard Pub. SOmeone knows something about it. Even if they deny all knowledge, your insurance company will ask what you have done. Insurance companies need someone to blame aka pay for it.

The yard took your money to look after your boat. End of story.

I know how you feel because a few years ago, I've had a marina employee run into my moored yacht with his steel POS.
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Old 11-22-2009
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I would first check the agreement that you signed with them. Upon close scrutiny, I found that one I had to sign for a haulout , allowed them to drop my boat without responsibility. I would definitely let them know about the damage, but knowing what you agreed to is helpful in the process. Going too hard will almost never produce the result you are looking for, but a little tact could produce the desired result even if it is not their responsibility in accordance with your yard contract.
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Old 11-22-2009
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Easy but firm

As xs implies, coming on like a bull just raises defenses.
Interestingly a friend has his boat dropped last year in the yard I use. They were great about it from the get go but it was handled as an insurance claim through his carrier, so it was up to the insurance Co's to fight it out. He ended up getting significant upgrades out of it because "while you're at it . . . " and the yard was good about it. It ended up being a $70-80K fix (40-something ft boat)
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Old 11-22-2009
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So, what is the repair worth?

This is the really important question. It's less than the $70K repair we just heard of. Is it painting the side of the boat? Is it touch-up the paint and buff-out? I suppose it depends on the boat, and it depends on you, too. I am not appearance oriented and I would tell them up front that if they can touch-up the paint and buff-out without any hassle, I'm fine with that. If I encountered resistance, I would imply that if there was any hassle I would make it painful.

My marina has always been great about such things. I have never had to do more than smile.

If you want your boat painted, I would expect that to be a bigger fight. So many variables. I guess I see dock rash as a sign a boat is actually used.
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Old 11-22-2009
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Personally, I would probably just start out by telling them that you appreciate the service you've always had, and that there's no good way to bring this up, but there's a big scratch on the boat where there wasn't one before. Seriously - there is NO good way to approach something like this, so just being up front about it, but nice, is the only way to go in my book. Stuff happens, and human nature when someone who is low on the totem pole messes up is to become defensive and not say anything, fearing for their job and the conflict that may occur as a result. Unfortunately, the yard had the opportunity to do right by you by being proactive, but they didn't, so you have to deal with the psychology of boat yard owners, which, unfortunately, is generally to deny deny deny. So... I've found being sickeningly sweet and understanding is the best approach. You don't want to get the person in trouble who did it, you've always recommended the place because of how great they've been, you don't want to change the relationship you have with them because they are so great, you understand that mistakes happen and you're not mad - you just want to get it fixed, yada yada yada.
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Old 11-22-2009
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Thanks, everyone. I will let you know how it goes.
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Old 11-23-2009
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A very bad circumstance. To the best of my knowledge, patching an Awlgrip finish is to be avoided.

Definitely approach the yard manager and see if they will take ownership of the problem.

Mostly likely they will not.

If they do accept ownership, the next question would be if they will cover the full cost of painting at least one side of the boat, let alone both, out of pocket so you are set right at no cost to you. Should the yard do this, you have found the best-yard-in-the-country.

A little more likely, they may accept responsibility but refer the damage to their insurance company.

Most likely, they will deny responsibility (they may actually not KNOW that the damage was not pre-existing), in which case you can only take the problem to your insurance company. When your insurance company offers to pay, they will deduct your decuctible from the offer.

Either insurance company will depreciate the paint job, probably over 10 years, before determining payment, so the best settlement you might see could be 50% of the repaint cost, maybe less your decuctible. If you can get them to use a longer period, such as 20 years, you are in better shape.

Unless you are willing spend 50% or more of the paint job out-of-pocket, or are lucky enough to be in the best-yard-in-the-country, you are most likely out-of-luck and will have to live with the new look.

Good luck.

Should you take a payment from your insurance company and not repaint your boat, they will lower the insured value of your boat by the full cost of the paint job not done. There is no money in any of the above cimcumstances for possibile lawsuits, or threats of such, etc. unless you have a pal lawyer who has nothingelse to do...
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Last edited by sailingfool; 11-23-2009 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 11-23-2009
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Dark, yet interesting, Sailingfool. Have yet to connect with the yard. Will let y'all know how it goes.

By the way, the Awlgrip is actually Awlgrip II - an equally impressive, yet somewhat, just somewhat, more forgiving finish for repair.

The gouge is not a 'repaint the whole boat' kind of problem - although if I were to be a complete a-hole about it, I'm sure I could pursue that and win.

I just want some justice and accountability.

Again, will let ch'all know.

P
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Old 12-31-2009
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