Managing Boatyard Costs—Part 2

"Morgan's Cloud" emerges from the paint shop at Billings Diesel and Marine. This project did go over estimate, due to some unexpected adhesion problems with the old hull finish, but because we had fully documented the project prior to starting, we were able to arrive at a shared pain compromise that was fair to both sides and kept us friends too.

In Part 1 I looked at three options for maintaining an offshore boat, and concluded that the best bet for many (perhaps most) of us is a hybrid approach of DIY mixed with delegating some projects to a boatyard or other boat maintenance professionals.

So now let's look at the project management skills we need, and the actions we need to take, to make this approach as efficient and cost effective as possible.

Scope of Work

The first, and most important, step in managing a project, any project, is to write a scope of work document. Yeah, I know, this all sounds terribly bureaucratic, and a pain in the neck as well, but seriously, this document alone will head off at least half of potential boatyard disasters before they happen and save us a bunch of money as well.

Even if the job at hand seems simple, perhaps just painting the bottom and buffing the topsides, a clear specification is still worthwhile.

In fact, this is such an important document that I'm going to devote much of this chapter to a detailed description of how Phyllis and I prepare one, and then move on to how we use it as a foundation for managing a fair relationship with the boatyard:

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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