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Exceptional Yacht Service

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Mark Woglom, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Mark Woglom

    Mark Woglom Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Live in Gilford NH. Boat in Sarasota winters, New
    A while back, I posted that I wanted to have a fairly long list of work done to my newly acquired 2003 Azimut 55. I was looking for a yard anywhere from SC to FL, and I was seeking a "no excuses" type of facility to do it "right". While I didn't want to pay any more than I needed to, I put a premium on service vs "cheap".

    Soon after I made my post, I received a PM from the owner of a custom sportfish facilty in Beaufort NC .... Lightning Yachts. The owner's name is Bill, and he indicated that the economy had put a burden on new builds, and they were currently doing refit type work. He indicated that they had an open slot, and they would be interested in giving me a proposal for my work list. I called Bill by phone, and was impressed by both his demeanor, his work philosophy, and his apparent expertise. Long story short, I hired Lightning Yachts to do the work. Here is some of the services they provided:

    1. He came to Myrtle Beach, where my boat was originally located, to review the work with me. I was not charged for that initial review or travel.

    2. Bill himself, along with a couple of his workers, came to Myrtle Beach and took the boat North to Beaufort. I'm based in NH, so this was a huge help. As Bill wanted to get started ASAP, he did not charge for this daylong trip.

    3. My worklist was fairly long. I had read of some of Azimuts mechanical/electrical shortcomings, and I wanted to proactively address as many as possible prior to my use of the boat. My listed included lots of electrical, navigation, entertainment, mechanical, plumbing, carpentry, and cosmetic upgrades. Bill provided a rough estimate of the anticipated cost for each item, prior to starting work.

    4. I was charged a very reasonable hourly rate, and a more than fair markup on parts. As Lightning dug into the boat, they found a few additional items were they recommended improvements/repairs. None of those recommendations came without photographic substantiation, and an estimated cost if I elected to pursue the improvement/repair. As I wanted to the boat to be as "right" as possible, I elected to pursue each of Bill's recommendations.

    5. My boat was with Lightning for about 6 weeks. As far as I can tell, my boat received 100% of their attention, and it sat inside their enclosed building the entire time ... a big relief as Irene approached.

    6. I received e-mails at least weekly, including photographs of the work that had taken place the prior week. All of my contact was directly with Bill. Any question that I had was adressed in detail within 24 hours.

    7. I was never asked for any up front money, and I was provided with a detailed invoice, including receipts for all parts, monthly. While I paid promptly, I was never hounded for money.

    8. Bill is an electrical engineer, and he thinks like an engineer. As best I can tell, every recommendation he made was a recommendation that resulted in either better value to me, or better quality to me. I always felt that Bill was acting in my best interest.

    9. One of the things I had done was to replace the swim platform and cockpit teak decking with Nuteak. (I know ... I know, it's "fake teak", but I ain't gonna sand it, oil, it, or varnish it ... I'm going boating) Most of the time, you see Nuteak installed on newer boats, where teak decking did not previously exist. This installation was much more difficult, and required building up some of the areas where the underlying surface was too low. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Nuteak rep, telling me that Lightning's installation was one of the best that they had seen. I haven't seen it yet (I will tomorrow), but that is certainly a testament to the quality of work that was done.

    10. I wanted to buy a bunch of new equipment for the boat. Several thousand dollars worth of stuff that was readily available from "the" national catalog. Bill took the time to seek out this equipment at lower prices, saved me $, and still made a few $ for himself. He had it shipped to his facility, andplaced the equipment in the boat for me.

    I have owned boats, planes, and real estate for a long as I can remember. I have NEVER had such an experience with somebody that provides service/value of this magnitude. This is my first/only experience with Lightning, I have no interest in Lightning other than as a customer, and I was not asked to publicly comment on my experience. I simply feel that superior service/value of this magnitude warrants praise.

    If I ever want a custom sportfish (I probably won't), a complete yacht refit (I hope I won't), or lots of great work done, I'll be calling Lightning again.

    Kudos ... obviously.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    10,458
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    It's good to hear that you came across a yard that treated you right, after the previous frustrations you had with people in the marine industry. I like the hear this because it keeps people enjoying their yachts instead of selling them out of frustration.
  3. GFC

    GFC Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    Tri Cities, WA
    It sounds like Lightening was willing to go the extra mile to get work that would help keep the shop open, the lights on, and his workers employed.

    Good Job Lightening for doing that, and for doing a good job on the work and on keeping the owner updated as the job progressed. You have set a high standard for other yards to try to reach.
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
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    8,783
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I've been familiar with their reputation for quite awhile, but never had work done there. Wow, did they ever do things exactly as they should be done. I have a sense that after that recommendation in this location the economy at that yard will be improving sooner than most. Nice to hear nice things.
  5. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    Palm Beach to Ft Lauderdale
    Mark,
    Thanks for sharing your good news and fortune. Too many times we quickly blast out bad news or service, not taking the time to publicly praise the good still left in the world. Bill certainly knows that he has to offer more than the other guys to survive these trying times.
    Kudos to Lightining Yachts. I hope they see some additional business from your post.
  6. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    244
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I saw your boat in there, interesting to hear the story. They do have a good reputation around here, but I hadn't heard any direct experience or specifics. I'll have to keep them in mind for the next big project.
  7. 84far

    84far Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    834
    Location:
    Brisbane, AUS
    Hi,

    I've been in contact with Bill over the past few years, and I've always been impressed by the level of knowledge he has. His always willing to help out even when the other guy is on the otherside of the globe.

    I believe his got a 64' Sportsfish concept on the drawing board at the moment, hopefully we get to see that soon.

    Far
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
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    8,783
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I sent a copy of Mark's post to my mechanic (mentioning of course that I'm quite happy with him so far). Any mechanic or anybody who reads that has got to think "I'd really like someone to say that about me". In these times of hardship it can't hurt to have a little extra incentive to do good when many are thinking about just giving up.
  9. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
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    7,392
    Location:
    My Office
    Hi,

    A great review for a member here who always seem to provide sensible answers on a wide range of subjects.

    I also asked around a bit with my US based colleagues and heard only good things about that operation.
  10. Bill106

    Bill106 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    382
    Location:
    Beaufort NC
    You're welcome!

    I want to thank Mark for his more than kind words of praise (and everyone else too!). He asked me if it was ok to post his experience but I had no idea we had done anything unusual or noteworthy. We were just trying to help out someone who was (amazingly in these times) having trouble getting things done on their boat. It has been an equal pleasure working with him getting his new pride and joy ready for this winters getaway for him and his bride. It was a breath of fresh air to work with someone who knows boats, what goes into them and most importantly, what he wants as well as Mark does.

    All of our past clients have become great friends over the years and we stay in constant contact, be it a fishing report from remote places (wish I was there!), a call or email with a quick question or a birthday greeting, it's more like an extended family. I hope I can add Mark to that growing list too. Here's a pic of his baby heading to the water on Monday.

    Attached Files:

  11. vlafrank

    vlafrank Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Messages:
    120
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    Good vibes, especially in this day and age!

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