When you own a boat, you get used to making repairs, waiting for parts and changing your sailing plans. You also get tired of hearing the saying “It’s a boat,” meaning don’t expect to be treated by marine businesses like you are by a car dealer or any other company. We heard that within days of taking possession of Seas the Day in July, 2008. When we itemized a long “fix list” for warranty items, we didn’t understand why the company that sold us the boat wasn’t getting things done quickly. After three months we left Ft. Lauderdale with items not fixed. “It’s a boat” they told us. Slowly but surely we realized that everything costs more if it has the word “marine” in its description. We understood we needed to lower our expectations when dealing with these businesses or be forever frustrated.
When something stops working on the boat, which happens regularly, we know we’ll have to fix it and it might affect our cruising plans. That occurred last year when we had a leak in a fuel tank days before we were leaving Stuart to start our 2012-2013 Bahamas cruise. We got the fuel tank fixed and left a few days later than planned. When we reached West Palm Beach, our first stop going south, we dropped the anchor into sand and the windlass dropped into the anchor locker. Ordering and installing the new windlass took a week, again delaying our cruise. But it was OK…..unavoidable when you own a boat and we accepted it.
However, when workers damage something on your boat and then don’t bend over backwards to fix it quickly, that is not acceptable. In June our anemometer was damaged when the mast was being taken down (unstepped). We saw it happen. We’re not sure when the radar was damaged: when the mast was dropped, when the mast was transported to or from storage, or when it was put back on (stepped). But we knew on our way back to the marina with the mast back on in mid-November that it wasn’t working. Today, three months after the mast was stepped, we finally got our repaired radar unit back on the mast. It’s not completely fixed but we have been assured that they’ll be back tomorrow to finish the job, along with installing a new anemometer at the top of the mast. If, and this is a big if, the repairs are successfully completed tomorrow (Wednesday), we can leave on Thursday or Friday. Sunday looks like a good day to cross from Miami to Bimini, and it takes us three days to get from Stuart to Miami if we don’t sail overnight. I have my doubts that we’ll make it there by Sunday, but if we can just leave Stuart this week with all systems working, we’ll be happy.