Thursday, 1 July 2010

New month, new blog. In fact its been 2 months almost. Reason; Havent had much of interest to report on the boat front.

Story so far. I paid a £500 refundable deposit to book my build slot which was to commence in May. 2 weeks before the start date I paid 25% of the total build price inc VAT to purchase the steel.
Weeks went by and everytime a vacant spot became available in the workshop, another boat was started but not mine. This happened 3 times.
Over the years ive heard some bull, some good and some rubbish but this guy realy pulled the stops out and must have laid awake nights figuring what crap to tell me next.

Chinese are buying up all the steel.
Theres a world wide shortage.
The steel yards wouldnt deliver in the snow, causing a backlog.
Global prices are shooting up and stockholders arnt releasing the steel.
Stockholders are creating an artificial shortage to justify price rises
Theres not enough capacity to uncoil the steel, they cant process it fast enough.
My keel plate is too wide to move by ordinary transport.
Its uneconomical to bring half loads from the docks.
Its the month end and with the price rise due next month, its mayhem out there
Bigger steel users are getting all the priority
My steel is on the floor, ticketed and waiting to go next
My steel is loaded on a trailer but no lorries are available to deliver it.

There were a few more but I glazed over and couldnt be bothered to listen. Ive heard some real crap in my time but this guy is a born pro. He should be on the stage, -Coach, leaving town anyday soon I hope.

Ive tried so hard to get through to this guy. Ive been nice, Ive pleaded, Ive reasoned, Ive lost my temper, Ive even threatened and Ive explained that he gets some desperatly needed money once hes built it and I thought for a few days he took it on board, but alas, nothing materialised. Another month went by, and I was aware that boat builders are going bust at the moment, and im running a huge risk. If these guys go bust and the Receiver locks the gates, im going to be a long way down the Creditors list.
The yards best welder, Ghandi (Andy)quit, leaving only 1 full time guy. When they did have steel, they still clocked off at 4.30 and didnt work Saturdays to catch up. When your self employed, you work while you have work and have days off when it rains. Oh no, thats Farming, but the same principal applies.

I decided to become a pain in the ass, after all, the squeeky wheel gets the grease, so I was turning up at the yard every other day, putting the pressure on and listening to the crap excuses.

By now I was frustrated, anxious and angry. I was chatting to a few other boat people who made enquiries and told me the following.

The original price I was quoted sounds to be 8k under the going rate, and the yard will be building at a loss.

Steel prices havent risen the £400 odd quid a ton Ive been lead to believe, Steel is available at 3 days notice and this guy is probably up the Swannee financially, having used my money to buy the steel for the last boat and cant afford to buy mine now. When I paid him back in April, he said I was price rise protected as he was buying the steel straight away.
Doesnt sound like that to me now.

Then last week, a chap turned up at the yard, in a foul temper demanding his money back because he was fed up with waiting for his boat. They only offered him 6K and hes threatened to return next week and get violent.
In another strange twist, I turned up at the yard one day last week, dressed in shorts and flipflops and was told I wasnt dressed for work to which I replied, 'no steel no work, so whats the point'. I was assured I would get my boat eventually but if I wanted to cancel and have my money back, I was most welcome.
Oh yeah, you would love that, but I want my boat that you promised me when you took my money, so im going to wait and wait.

So, last Friday they scrounged a rusty 10mm plate 10' x 14' from somewhere and made a start.

The floor space became available because the narrowboat in front on mine was put on hold, and was dragged to one side, leaving the main workshop space open to make a start.
All looking good so far, but they didnt work the weekend as promised, bloody world cup probably got in the way.
Progress through the day is slower than paint drying. Phone rings every 5 mins and with so many people popping in and out for chats, cups of tea, freebe welding work needed on a variety of little jobs, about 12 hours work has been done in 4 days. To add insult to injury, the narrowboat is now back in pole position and will have to be finished first.

My steel plate is large enough to keep them busy for about a week whilst they fabricate the stern, so if I was running the job, I would be getting the next delivery lined up for a flawless contination, but I guess he doesnt have the money, which leads on to the next phase.

When the hull is half built, im expected to pay another 25%, and im betting my boots that hes going to make the stern and call that half way, so he can get his hands on the money, which will probably be used to finish the narrowboat in front.

And some of us thought moron brown was the worst accountant in the world. Is this why so many kids need to learn business studies these days? Its hardly rocket science to see what a mess people get into when they rob one to pay another. Common sense is so uncommon now.

On a better note.

I have made the engine/gearbox adaptor and its super sexi. Well done Ames, a gold star for you.
I collected my windows only to find the plonkers made them to open sideways, so they had to remake them.
I found a great source of 7 laminate plywood, far eastern, good both faces, no voids and £6 a sheet CHEAPER than the next best price I found.

Ive bought the battery out of an electric forklift which will be more than enough capacity for my needs. I also had a visit to Sterling Power and chatted to Charles Stirling who explained the whole charging/inverting procedure, and ive purchased the kit needed at a great price from Marine Mart.

To all you people who have spent an age in the maternity hospital waiting for the birth, I not only sympathise but I empathise with you.


  1. Farkinell! What a nightmare!

    At least progress has started, but I'd be extremely twitchy about handing *any* more money over to this guy. I'd be thinking along the lines of getting as much built for the price already paid as possible, then grabbing the part-completed hull and running. As fast as you can, to a more reputable boat builder.

    Keep us updated.

  2. I couldnt agree more. The way I feel about it at the moment is angry and disgusted that there are people like this who have no honour or integrity.

    Whats more, where is the business sense? Its far easier to be straight and do a decent job than tell all these lies, worry over it all and make yourself ill and for what?
    I cant respect a fool.