Re-stepping mast.

KKMI Richmond Boatyard Review

It started with my haul out on July 21st and ended on October 21st, 2020 and all in all I had a very good experience at KKMI Richmond. I had expected at the most my project would last three weeks, so to last three months has been a frustration, but I have only my standing rigging supplier’s logistical hold-up to blame for the lengthy period.

The major projects I accomplished included:

Work by KKMI

  • Bottom paint job (work by boatyard)
  • New furling Jib Forestay w/1*19 cable
  • Help machining 6 stemball bolts.
  • Installation of coaxial cable connections.

Work by me

  • Propeller & shaft cleaning and painting
  • Re-wiring mast & replacing two light fixtgures
  • Installing new VHF antenna
  • Installing new Raymarine anemometer
  • Disassembling and cleaning mast, spreaders
  • Removing old standing rigging
  • Installation of new standing rigging from Colligo
  • Compounding/buffing topsides paint
  • Replacement of zinc anodes
  • Install new ‘extra’ jib halyard.
  • Run new messenger line for future whisker/spinnaker pole topping lift

So, I really did most of the work myself, beyond the painting. I liked at least three things about working at KKMI:

  1. My ‘project manager’ was around and available to answer my novice sailor questions. His name is Kevin McMullin, and you should ask for him if you’re going to embark on a project here. He was helpful and polite and always had good suggestions for me. When I had my 2.5 months of waiting for Colligo to deliver my parts, he did not charge me storage fees to leave the mast at the yard. I think he told me he commissioned some Ericsons in the late 80’s.
  2. The yard has a very well-stocked chandlery (boat hardware store, for the uninitiated). How wonderful to be able to walk in and buy just one or two of the the exact tiny stainless steel fastener, or cotter pin, or tape, or anodes. Each boat undergoing work at the yard gets a tab, and it’s easy as pie to walk in, grab what you need, and “Put it on my tab!” If I had been schlepping back and forth to West Marine or elsewhere, everything would have taken much longer.
  3. Otherwise, people give you space to work and pretty much allow one to do his/her thing. I spent a lot of time hovering around my mast, and I could plop down my tools at 9am and leave them spread around in a (work efficient) haphazard way under my mast until 4pm. The yard is mostly concerned (with reason) that people don’t hurt themselves, or run afoul of environmental regulations.

If I had any disappointments, it was only at the very end. I put back together my standing rigging with my parts from Colligo Marine that had finally arrived. We set a time to crane my mast back into my boat. I drove over and waited at the appointed time. There was a backup for the crane (another project taking too long) but no matter. I had asked if the KKMI guys could look over my standing rigging work and make sure I hadn’t made any errors. I was assured that such an inspection was a standard part of their work. My hope was that I could hand-off the rig tensioning part to them and feel good I wasn’t merely relying on my own judgement.

After the backup subsided, it was my turn. I moved my boat from the guest dock where I had it rested to the crane dock and in that time period the rigging team pulled my mast right up and got it ready to plop in my hull. Point being, I don’t think anyone ever went over all of the bits and pieces I put together. Oh well, I feel pretty good that I had everything set up properly.

Once they had my mast in the boat, the team was able to pin the turnbuckles for the forestay/furler, backstay, and upper shrouds, but the intermediate and lower shrouds were not reaching the chainstays as intended. I had unfortunately made the “new parent at the PTA meeting” mistake already.

What is the “new parent at the PTA meeting” mistake? It is the case that if one reveals himself/herself to be reasonably competent and or remotely clever in certain circumstances, others will foist work upon him. In the PTA context it means that if one asks, “Should we have a Zoom Halloween carnival?” The answer will surely be, “That sounds great, my kids will love it. Let us know when you have the details worked out!”

In the boatyard, it meant that when the rigging guys realized my lower shrouds would need some attention/stretching in order to be pinned, and they considered the new Beneteau that was in line behind me for the crane, waiting to be commissioned, and said, “Well Tom, looks like you can take it from here.” I didn’t want to deal with all of this, but here I am. More in another blog post.

But, I had a good time at the yard, and I didn’t want to make a stink about it. I had supports fore and aft and starboard and port, so I felt good about driving her back across the bay to Sausalito.

And the damage? It turns out all the work was free, I just had to pay $3,400 for a trucker’s hat with the yard’s logo on it. The breakdown was:

$1850 – Bottom job package with paint.
$450 – Build new furler forestay.
$260 – Install new coax connectors, machine rigging stemball bolts
$380 – Crane Unstep & Step mast
$260 – Stuff I bought from the chandlery
$150 – Tax & Environmental Fees
Priceless – Corporate baseball hat

I would patronize KKMI Richmond again.

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