Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Slogging against the tide...

"Your hatches are done but didn't turn out too well." 

My first thought was, "Well, then they aren't done yet, are they?"

When one is powder coating cast aluminum, one must be careful to pre-bake the part to prevent out-gassing.  (Something I thought I knew and verified with a 10 minute search on the Internet.)  One would think an outfit calling itself "Performance Coatings" and claiming to be experts in powder coating would know it as well.

Apparently one would be wrong.  As a result, one ends up with hatch frames that look like they have been painted with non-skid; really ugly gloss-black non-skid.  Honestly, I have done better paint work drunk, outside in the wind, with a rattle-can.

The sad fact is I'm not even too surprised. This entire experience of buying Kintala and trying to get her seaworthy has been a parade of incompetence. A welder who couldn't weld, a surveyor who didn't, a mechanic who missed a disintegrating drive, a rigging inspector who couldn't tell a good rope from bad, why would I expect to find a painter who could paint?  There have been exceptions; UK-Halsey, Cameron Marine, the folks who made the mattress for the V-berth.  I certainly hope the V-drive people join that short list, but truth to tell I'm not holding my breath.  I fear the tranny / V-drive repair is many, many moons from being completed.

I would admit to much of this being my fault if I was trying to get things done on the cheap, going with the lowest bidder, haggling everyone over a penny here and a dollar there.  But we haven't done it that way.  Instead we have tried to find those with the proper credentials, the right capabilities, and good reputations; hoping to get what we pay for.  It is an approach bred of spending thousands of hours miles above the ground going ridiculous speeds - spending an entire working lifetime betting my life on the expertise of others.  Countless others have made that same bet on my abilities, and do so every time the cabin door is closed on my airplane.

It is an approach not working very well in the sailing world, but we have no choice but to keep trying.

Just like the painter.


S/V Veranda said...

If you do arrive at a system for finding the "right" vendor for anything boat related please let me know.

TJ said...

That does seem to be a mystery, doesn't it?