Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Master John, Dec 12, 2010.
I'm after the article that received this review:
Here is Page 1
Here is Page 2. This is not as clear as P1 as I had to drop the quality as originally it was 2.6kb too large.
I don't realy understand what the problem is.
If it were only a small paragraph in the building contract that stated that an Owners Rep is welcome to supervise the build provided that he is in possession of the following relevant exerience and/or qualifications...
I'm sure it can be explained to an owner that a builder with decades of experience is not going to accept the supervision of a sea-scout.
Not difficult to imagine where the writer of this article got his inspiration from, considering that he is probably sharing a desk with Mr. Buckley.
It is easy to see what the problems is in a lot of the business today.
Owners who may be brilliant in business seem to develop teenage hormonal rushes to the brain when it comes to their boats.
There are a number of seriously disappointed Owners and ex Owners who have found to their considerable discomfort and financial cost that the smoke that was gently blown past their sphincters during the rosy glow of the specification and contract signing has now turned out to have been the equivalent of a landfill methane charge and the acids in the flue have caused them to regret ever getting involved in the deal.
There is no formal qualification nor stipulated requirement for any particular experience to be an Owners Rep/ Build Captain( no qualifications required if it is not leaving the shed under your command), Project Manager.
Some yards like a weak yes man that can easily be encouraged to accept change to "improve things" at a cost to the project. Others will try to keep an OR very busy at times while major things slip through and when they are noticed always fall back to the old excuse "It's too late, you should have told us earlier, to change that now will a: delay the vessel, b: cost money etc.
In the last 20 yrs I have done a number of large builds in various roles from the very beginning Spec stage through Build Engineer to Project Manager then sailing on them. It never ceases to amaze me when I meet some others doing the same job who sometimes seem to have just swung down out of the trees.
They have somehow managed to convince a very savvy businessman that they are the ones he needs for his dream project to become a reality.
I am open with clients at the outset that in order to get the best possible boat they need to have a good tight specification, and a good supervision team starting alone or with one other and increasing as required by workload.
In working with a small team it is sound practice to have the control of certain facets supplemented by using appropriately qualified and experienced specialists in various disciplines where required - this is also the best way to go if there should be any arguments at the end that require the contracted dispute resolution apparatus to be operated as no one can possibly know everything and anyone that says they do is not only fooling the client but themselves as well.
I am happy that my professional qualifications and experience will stand up to any scrutiny. I was at an interview last week where I was asked for my professional qualifications and references to be shown. I was able to show my Certificates which were photocopied by the client and gave written references with the up to date contact details of the authors if the client wants to contact them to verify I am who I say I am with the experience I claim to have.
An old but true statement : The day you stop learning is the day you die.
It is difficult to penetrate the BS barrier and by the time owner discovers he has been screwed the damage is done and all that remains is very costly damage control. Trying to market a good service by pointing out that the owner is being scammed doesn't work.
A yard will do whatever the owner or his rep says to do. A yard is not a boat nanny, it is a contractor that provides whatever its customer desires, right or wrong.
Even a yard known as a world standard recently explained an egregious and horribly expensive mistake that will haunt the boat for as long as it exists, as simply following the owner's rep/build captain's instructions. The mistake did not impact safety or the quality of the yard's work, it just created a chronically miserable and expensive situation that will never go away.
As much as we would like the yard to tell the owner that his boy is an idiot, they are not in business to provide social or psychological services to billionaires. Brokers make sure "their boy" gets the captain's job to cement the relationship, not to make sure the owner gets what he thinks he is paying for.
It is really difficult not to become cynical about this but you know it is out of control if Martin Redmayne writes about it.
To start with I am no build expert.
Granted there are a lot of people around (in all businesses) who profess to be experts at all things, steer conversations towards the bit they actually know, and try to bluff the rest. But is a build captain's job to know everything or to see that the owner's wishes are fulfilled? Those wishes that were contracted for hopefully, but maybe not, after the owner consulted his team of experts in particular fields? Of course the more expert the build captain is, the better off the owner will be, but it's bound to upset the yard if they try to cut corners and get caught. Saying that the owner's rep doesn't know what he's talking about is easier than admitting they were sloppy or crooked or whatever.
On a very scaled down example, a few years ago we asked a yard to have the forward windshield re-glazed (figuring they'd bring in a glass man). Instead they had their carpenter/jack-of-all-trades do the work. It was horrible. When I complained the yard manager tried to tell me that "this is the way it's done" as if I were a fool. To this I pointed to the yacht right behind ours. His response was "well, this is the way that Princess Yachts does it" with an air of superiority. So I dragged his butt over to a Princess and pointed. His response, "well if that's what you really want we'll do it your way", as if I'd not shown him anything and they were going to do it the wrong way to appease me. They then screwed the job 2 more times before getting it tollerable, when all they had to do was look at any other windshield for an example of how to do it. When you don't know diddly, arrogance and attitude seem to be an acceptable substitute on all sides of most businesses and projects. Although it's often a good idea to hire a lawyer or accountant to check the work of your lawyer or accountant, it seems a bit expensive to hire a yacht design team to build your yacht, another to check their specs, and a 3rd to follow the project through step by step and day by day.
You should see what it costs when an owner thinks the captain of his 60 footer can oversee the build of his 160 footer.
If you are an Owner spending 100 Million on a project would you see up to 1% as an excessive amount for fully insured competent oversight and supervision of your dream yacht?
And how many times have we all seen some over-paid brainless twit manager bring down businesses in every field? Nothing new there. Everything is as good as its weakest link. That's why I've never been too comfortable delegating responsibility. But then again, I'm not a billionaire. He hires the wrong people he pays the cost. That's totally on him. The yard just has to eat the frustration. That's why they get the big bucks.
I recently had a business situation where someone tried to dump their problems and incompetance on my shoulders. Boy did that cost him. Same as this fiasco probably cost this buyer.
Great article, thanks for posting K1W1. The guy is talking sense, I guess the great thing about his idea is if it is a team of people calling the shots on behalf of the owner, the person second in command can get the necessary experience for how ever many years, and when the time comes he/she can step into the bosses shoes with little sweat.
Also, am I aloud to posts some pictures from that facebook page...? It really gives one an idea that this project always had the chance to fail. Cheers
Yeah, you're right. My head just doesn't wrap around numbers like that. Like putting up a building, you need your own architect, carpentry foreman, electricial foreman, etc. Same here, 100%. But you still need a project manager (in this case owner's rep), because you don't want 10 guys calling you every night with major and minor decisions. But the wrong owner's rep has the power to be a thorn in everyone side. In my little numbers I save the owner's of the boat I manage considerably more than I'm paid. Money well spent.
While this may often be the case, I don't think it's good if that's your goal from the outset.
K1W1 - Good article, thanks for posting it. Don't know how I missed that.
It's also up to the owner to hire not only a person or team with the right credentials, but someone who is going to tell him straightforward if something is a very bad idea. Some build captains can be a real pain just because they (sometimes wrongly) assume the owner will not accept this or that.
But this is the issue, because if it's a new owner getting into the big stuff for the first time, he/she might not know who to talk to.
Plus telling someone they can't get the dream they want built when they are waving green notes in your face.
But then again, you might have a owner here who wanted to save and a corner cut he and there will be ok.
If someone doesn't "know who to talk to" they have no business getting into the big stuff. Otherwise they must accept the old adage about a fool and his money. Obviously you're talking about someone who was trying to save money or he would have been with a well established yard.
Ed, please don't take this as a personal criticism but we are talking about people and processes that I don't think you can even begin to comprehend.
Very smart people buy newbuilds from very well established yards on a regular basis, and some of them get royally screwed in the process. They are not necessarily cheap or trying to cut corners even when they do go to other yards. There just are not that many yards that can build the type of boat we are discussing.
FOX was a low budget conversion hyped by a couple of guys who thought they had a better idea and sold it to someone who was happy with that idea.
Believe me when I say that even the yards that are considered the gold standard by this industry can and will deliver a boat that is a disaster because they were told to build it that way by an owner's rep or "build captain" who couldn't oversee the construction of a birdhouse.
I think generally speaking I disagree, eg, someone could have been boating there whole life in say a modest 40-50'. and suddenly there business goes boom and they can afford something 150'+. Which means a step-up in the yards. Then who do you go too... who do you speak to...?
This Fox built was a budget boat from the get go.
Nothing personal there at all Marmot, but I appreciate your courtesy. You're absolutely right, I'm learning as I go here. Way more money and way more complex than I deal with. But I know a bit about projects of various types and build principles, and who can screw things up in untold ways. My point was simply that there are very few reasons I can see to bring a project like this there except for cost savings. It wasn't because of their reputation. Projects can be screwed up by any number of people on either side of a contract. The buyer needs to have a rep in place (hopefully a knowledgable one) to make sure the yard does what is specified. The yard cannot allow a vessel to be made unsafe because an owner or his rep says so. It's hard to say "ain't happening" when there's a lot of money on the line, but sometimes that's the answer. Beats this fiasco.
And Far, I just love the new monied folks who think that if they can afford something, that qualifies them to run it or build it. That's a world I live in every day. Sorry folks, having money doesn't equate to experience. It just means that you can afford to rent the experience if you're smart enough to do so. If you're not, or if you're to cheap or too proud to do it then.....
Cap, I get your point, I was just trying to state another.
Actually, I'm agreeing with you on that. I'm saying that, unless you can buy, rent or steal the expertise to make a big leap; you shouldn't leap. Years ago I had a client, never ran a boat before, bought a 60'. His friend gives him my card and says take some lessons. He runs a business, makes a lot of money, drives a very fast car. What's he need lessons for? I ended up working with him for over a year, after the incident . Life would have been a lot cheaper had he called me before he ventured out on his own. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm saying education is expensive, if you don't know who to speak to.