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Monday 12th March 2007 – Kyle - Visit to watch the mast stepping?

Since the boat was in the water on the previous visit, the next step appeared to be stepping the mast, Maryanne had suggested that I go up on the Monday to watch it being done (watch and learn). I originally rejected the idea as too big of a hassle (it is a very long drive - 5 hours each way) however as with most things, once I thought about it a while, the tide turned, and I decided it actually was a good idea.

I showed up at the factory at around 8:30am. The boat was covered with frost, with the mast sitting on the ground beside it, ready to be stepped. My first order of business was to go inside to check the buoyancy tank for water accumulation from the previous day’s rain (there was none).

A workman came on the boat and asked if I was the owner, I said “yes” and introduced myself. He was then interrupted by another worker who asked him to go and do something in the factory. My intent was to take pictures to have a record of the mast stepping process for when we need them. I started by taking close up shots of the mast fittings and hardware (for a record of serial numbers, etc). As I was doing this Tony came down and said “While it’s nice to have you here, our workmen have a lot of work to do”. I interrupted and said “oh, no problem, I’ll be out of the way I just want to get some pictures of the mast stepping”. He then replied “no, not out of the way – off the premises. They can’t work with the owner looking over them”, and turned around and walked back to the office.

I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I had not meant to interfere or cause any harm, but I was clearly not welcome. I hastily gathered my things from the boat and left, having only been there about 20 minutes. The worst of it was Tony’s leaving so quickly, left me not knowing when it was safe/fair/allowed for me to return – so I unwillingly decided to leave the boat for the day – a tough decision after so long a drive.

I tried to salvage the day somewhat by visiting Peter Kennedy who was nice and said that nearly everything was done – all that was left was the wind generator mounting, the transducer for the fish finder, and the hawse pipe for the windlass.

I next went to Ocean Options to talk about the hole in the buoyancy tank. Jeff took a while to get on topic, but once I explained how grave it made the situation, he called in Dale, the shop manager to talk to me about it. Dale became very concerned and started working on a solution before I had even left, which made me feel much more confident.

On the drive home I was feeling bad and thinking about my exchange with Tony and slowly started to realize that he had not done anything wrong, it was just his demeanor was more blunt than I was prepared for. I understood that the boat still had a lot of work to be done and as such was still in production, the difference was that since it was outside, where access was not as easy to control, it became necessary for Tony “get me off the factory floor”, I would not have shown up to the factory with a lawn chair and expected to be able to sit in the corner in the building while the boat was on the production line. It is distracting for workers to have the owner staring at them while working – they would start to worry about what the owner thought/saw more than working on the boat and keeping safe. Tony was right to protect the interest of his workers, I just wish he had not used the word premises – it made me feel like I was in 4th grade and in trouble with the principal. (Maryanne: We were probably wrong to expect Kyle to watch the mast stepping – but the ‘rules’ were never really made clear by PCI. Once we had paid we were given the impression we could come and go on ‘our boat’ as we pleased – a simple clarification at the start, would have avoided this long drive for such an unproductive short visit)

Even though I understood this, I still feel uncomfortable now about going to the boat, looking at the boat, and asking any questions about its status.

I did contact Sue a few days later to try and get a read on when the boat was going to be commissioned and handed over to us officially (the test sail, etc) and was told they would let us know. So the next step is in the hands of the weather, Peter Kennedy and PCI.

I talked to Peter Kennedy that same day (Wednesday) and he said he was just finishing up and sent us some photos – including one of a working wind generator. He said he expected PCI to take a couple of more days in commissioning so that was probably going to rule out the weekend of the 17th for delivery which I was really hoping for since there were 2.5 days of forecast tail winds - pretty perfect to get us home.

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