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Hallsberg Rassy 40c
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thinking ahead like I always do, when something goes awry with my boat... what are some challenges you guys have faced when hiring a technician? What goes into the decision making process of you veteran sailors... what matters most to you?

For myself, at the top of my head, it would be waitlist time because I would hate to have my boat out of the water for any extended period of time, but I'm hoping some of ya'll could give me some more thought-out responses to this.
 

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Dirt Free
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Take marine electrical and diesel courses ... you'll save a fortune and won't wait a month for a tech if you can even get one.
 

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Hallsberg Rassy 40c
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Take marine electrical, systems and diesel courses.It will save you a fortune in time and money.
Thanks, seems like something I might end up doing. But with my current work schedule it's unlikely for the time being. Any other suggestions, maybe things you look for when hiring? I'm guessing you've had issues with your electrical system and engine, did those problems prompt you to take the courses? Or was it bad repair shops that made you end up doing it yourself?
 

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I seldom hire people to work on my boat, but the few times that I have, I go by word of mouth. I talk to fellow boaters and find out who they use and what their experience was. Sometimes it is just as helpful to find out who NOT to hire!

I agree with Boatpoker. Learn as much as you can about your systems, and do as much as you are comfortable with yourself. Then when it comes time to hire somebody you will understand what he is telling you, and perhaps more importantly you might know when they are feeding you a line of BS!

Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
 

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1987 Sabre 42 c/b
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In addition to what has already been said. I am assuming by the boat you have listed that you are not day sailing. It is also very useful if you are doing any cruising to be able to diagnose and possibly repair your own boat. If you are planning on doing more that coastal cruising being self sufficient is even more important.

Good luck

Foster
 

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You're on the right track. Plan ahead. Plan routine yearly maintenance for the off season, when marine work is slower. The same is true if you need portlites or a roller furler replaced or sails repaired or AC installed. Those are jobs that make the boat unusable. Minor repairs can be made during the sailing season when your enjoyment of the boat won't be disrupted.
 

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Over the years I've had to go so far as to fly techs into the Virgin Islands from Ft Lauderdale to have specific jobs done properly. There are plenty of people doing the work almost everywhere, but few are competent, honest and reliable.
Upon launching from our annual haul-out in Trinidad, or refrigeration system didn't work. A local guy charged the system, but back in Grenada it wasn't working within a week. The next guy (very, very highly regarded in the yachting community, by the way) suggested it was a relay and that we should tap it with a mallet before starting the system. I knew that was BS, but had to pay for that stupid advice anyway. The next two wanted to replace the "old" system with a new one, including piping, at an astronomical cost. All came with their fancy leak detectors, etc. but couldn't give us any sensible answers.
I am a very good marine engineer, electrician, woodworker and even a decent ET when necessary, and can fix most things underway, but I had spent my career basically ignoring refrigeration, as it was once explained to me that in order to cool something you needed heat, or so I had remembered from my youth, working as "black gang" aboard big ships.
But now, I was pissed after dumping $500 and being right where I started, so I went online to get a handle on this refrigeration stuff. I found a good article and within 5 minutes of reading it Nikki and I had found a leak in the "drier". A couple of bucks and some soldering and we had the system charged and running properly. Haven't had a refer tech aboard Skipping Stone since.
My point being, unless you've plenty of money to throw around, educate yourself in all phases of boat maintenance that you can and don't rely on somebody that won't be in some storm with you when his/her work fails.
 
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Dirt Free
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Thanks, seems like something I might end up doing. But with my current work schedule it's unlikely for the time being. Any other suggestions, maybe things you look for when hiring? I'm guessing you've had issues with your electrical system and engine, did those problems prompt you to take the courses? Or was it bad repair shops that made you end up doing it yourself?
I've taken those courses and many others. This article from my website may give you an idea of where to start.
 

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Learning basic diesel and 12v electric isn't really an optional thing, these are must have skills. Something will go wrong while you are out there, it might be your bilge pump, and you might be taking on water. Knowing how to use a multi-meter is a must for testing your 12v systems. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there, you do not need to step into a class room or pay for it. Lastly, you will accidentally mess something up, and have to replace it probably. Its part of the fun, sort of.

Of course for major work, a re-power, de-mast, that type of thing you'll need expert help. The others already mentioned talking to fellow sailors in your area about who they use, who they won't use, etc. We recently stumbled upon a fantastic marina, who were awesome to work with right around the corner that we didn't know did diesel work. We weren't ready to try our hands at replacing our motor mounts, and they were fair, fast, and very pleasant to work with.


Happy Sailing!
 

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Learning basic diesel and 12v electric isn't really an optional thing, these are must have skills. Something will go wrong while you are out there,
I was going to say that, there are no technical repair people at sea. And you can't afford to have someone go over the entire boat and check every little possible point of failure. So you need to know a little about everything, which is one reason why I tell people to start with a small boat and work their way up. I saw two boats pulled into port this weekend, both owners with only a few years of experience, both stupid problems. And only one got banged on the pier.

As far as selecting a service provider, for boat or otherwise, I ask people. When I hear the same name from a number of people who seem to have a brain, that's the person I try. I don't ask price; when you get someone good it's always worth the money.
 

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I've only had pros a handful of times in since I got the boat in '85: Engine work which required not only special tools but experience with diesel engines which I didn't have. A friend who does refer replaced my clutch (engine drive). A soda blaster. A rigger to make up some stainless wire rigging. Upholstery shop to cover my foam... and make cockpit cushions. Canvas shop to make my dodger. And of course sail maker. Everything else I did myself... plumbing and electric... AP install, electronics, joinery. I carry too many spares and tools. I am pretty comfortable maintaining these systems.
 

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Get Nigel Calders (latest) book on sailboat maintenance and read it. A lot. Try to keep up on things everyday. Do not put maintenance projects off. Try to keep it simple. It's really a difficult trying to even think straight when you have a complex problem and you are tired, seasick and your head is literally down some hole.
 
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