on customer service

Having to line up a yard to replace the mast, I had to call around to the various boat yards to accommodate our boat. You can really get a feel about the competencies of the yard by their handling of my calls.

We decided that our past experiences with SF Boatworks did not warrant our continued patronage. So we nixed out SF Boatworks as a possible yard for mast repair.

Svendsens Boatworks – we’ve heard a lot of accolades about Svendsens and they were our first choice for a boat yard. They were efficient in routing my call to the relevant person, except that he was not very available. His admin was also fairly busy, but once on the phone, she was efficient and friendly. However, Svendsens were so booked that they cannot even take the mast down before 3 weeks. That was too long of a wait on the critical path so we opted to find an alternate vendor.

Hanson’s rigging – Called and left a voice mail. Got a cell phone number, so I decided to call it instead. Reached Glen Hanson, discussed the issues with him with his promise to get back to me on some sort of estimate. So far, I have not heard back from him. Disappointing.

KKMI – Called and immediately got transferred to a project manager – Kim Desinger. He was very responsive and offered to take on the project immediately. I told him that we can sail the boat to his yard by tomorrow Noon, and he coordinated his team to accommodate us. When we delivered the boat to his yard, we pulled up to the rigging dock on J-Dock and was quickly greeted by someone that informed us this space was reserved for a pending boat with a broken mast. Given our mast was still standing, he didn’t realize that we were the boat. Nonetheless it’s nice to see that the yard’s communication process was tight. Upon checking in the front office, Kim and his riggers worked pretty efficiently to disconnect the mast from the boat and let us motor the boat back to Coyote Point with the flooding tide. It was an impressive demonstration of customer service and competency. No wonder they’ve succeeded in bringing all the Maxi boats to their yard.

broken wings…

At 1830 on April 18th, 2007, we broke the mast while heading out to the starting area on the CPYC Wednesday Beer can race. We had hanked on the 100% jib, reefed the main and by all accounts should be in good shape when we heard a crack from the mast but nothing appear to be broken.

Here’s the e-mail on the following day to the racing crew:

Last evening, the wind was blowing from the West in the mid 20’s with occasional gusts in the 30’s, seas were ebbing and made the sea state quite choppy. The mast broke just after we reefed the main outside the harbor and we were bringing the main in to close haul position when a sudden gust developed and we heard a loud crack coming from the mast. Initially we did not see any obvious signs of problem and continued sailing for a short while, but soon we notice the mast bend uncharacteristically and the bending is excessive given the tension of baby stay and sail trim. After some internal debate whether to continue sailing (as the condition is not extraordinarily above what Mist had been before), discretion bettered valor and we decided to head back to the harbor to reassess. Once we headed down wind, we saw a gapping crack at the base of the mast opening wide when the wind pressure increased. When we docked the boat, we cut open the mast boot and discovered a crack all around the base with the exception of 3 inches near the spinnaker track. The spinnaker track grove was the only thing holding the mast in place and prevent the mast from toppling over. We immediately put on the running back, and kept the mast from flexing. We were very fortunate that the mast did not fall and cause further damage to boat or people. The boat is put away at the dock and resting peacefully until we develop a get well plan.