Feb 9 2007 - Kyle - Factory visit with Maryanne (who was sick)
A very good day! Our first stop was the PCI factory where the boat sat in the very last bay of the production line. She needed to be cleaned up from the enormous mess left by the production process. There was dust everywhere and everything important was covered with plastic sheeting and tape, but apart from the cushions, everything was there and already installed.
On previous visits when I had gone aboard, I would only take one or two steps into the boat for fear of stepping on something I shouldn’t or interfering with the work. This time I went aboard in earnest and gave myself the tour. I could not believe after all that saving and all that waiting and all that time spent dreaming about this, that I was really standing in our actual boat. Thinking that this was the first time I really saw the inside of what would someday be the only home we’ve had for years almost brought tears to my eyes. It was so big and beautiful and it amazed me to see the dream I’ve had in my head manifested as a physical thing that I could stand in and touch and feel.
Maryanne did a very elegant job of explaining to Sue how pleased we were with the boat and how long we have dreamt of this time in our lives. She told her that what PCI was doing really was making a big difference to us, and that her efforts, and the efforts of everybody else in the factory, were not unnoticed or unappreciated. We were looking forward to our next visit – to purchase the finished boat.
Our next step was Peter Kennedy’s office to ask for a favor. After discarding Jeff Hamilton’s forced air heater in the bow proposal, we had emailed Peter to ask if he had any ideas on how to solve our heat problem? He initially said he thought a bulk head heater would do the trick, but after looking more closely at the specific installation requirements, decided it would not be feasible. We came to the unfortunate conclusion that we were back at the Espar forced air option again. We liked the idea of the Espar, but honestly had little faith in Jeff Hamilton’s ability (or desire) to install a system that would meet our needs and would work with the boat. Peter had previously laid out a good Espar installation with us but admitted he did not feel experienced enough to do the job. The favor we then decided that we wanted was for Peter to act as project manager for the heating installation while Ocean Options did the actual work. Peter seemed much more willing to listen to our needs and ask the right questions, to make sure we got what we wanted. To our great relief, he agreed to do the job.
We then went to Ocean Options to talk to Jeff Hamilton. It was a bit embarrassing to go back to Jeff and ask for his help after telling him his stupid bow system would not work. He was justifiably a little smug that we had come crawling back to him, but that was tempered significantly when we told him Peter was to be his new boss. We setup a rendezvous at the PCI demo boat after lunch.
Peter invited us to lunch with another of his clients – John (also from the UK) - who was refitting his Westerly 32 for an Atlantic crossing. The lunch was wonderful – sea stories flew across the table from every direction, accompanied by gasps of amazement or bellows of laughter. I have always found Peter to be outstanding company. He is intelligent, articulate, interesting and immensely likable. He made us feel like long lost friends the way that many cruisers do when you have only known them a very short time.
After lunch, our next order of business was the rendezvous with Jeff Hamilton at the demo boat. Peter stole the afternoon when the first words out of his mouth to Jeff (following introductions) were “Let me show you why what you want to do won’t work”. We loved it! Jeff had tried to bully us into installing what he wanted by treating us like we didn’t know anything because we had never owned a Gemini before. Peter wasn’t having any of it and clearly was in command of the situation. He got down and discussed options with Jeff; Peter knowing more about the boat and Jeff knowing more about heater installation requirements. They bounced a few ideas off each other, and between the two of them came up with a good system. Jeff kept saying that he knew what he needed to get started, but Maryanne jumped in and stopped him by asking specific questions about fuel line routing, or electrical supply, etc, until everybody on the boat agreed that they were satisfied and happy with the way the system would be installed – a small, efficient system under the starboard quarter berth, with outlets in the galley and the main berth. We knew where everything would go, how it would be fed, and how much heat we would get. Jeff complained that the head would be too cold. We explained (again) that that was OK with us, in exchange for the reduced complexity of the system. Maryanne made it clear that no part of the installation would be done without Peter’s explicit approval.
At the end of the visit, we left feeling that we would be getting just what we had wanted all along. Peter had really saved the day for us. A couple of days later Jeff sent back a quote that was more for the new “simple system” than for the prior complicated stupid bow system. The estimate contained no information, just a total. I guess he was upset at not being able to direct the installation. The difference really is not enough to be worth fighting over. We are just glad Peter will be looking over his shoulder (and doing the electrical part) so we feel comfortable with having a more expensive installation we like, verses a cheaper one we don’t – but we know we were paying for “upsetting” Jeff, not really for the work or the parts required.
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