- Doing prep work before arrival (could never have met our timeline otherwise)
- Having materials we’d need on board (less left to chance, no delays in sourcing)
- Clear expectations set with the yard for timing and needs (they were conscious and helpful with our desire to meet a deadline)
- Advance orientation to Thai haul outs in general, and Satun in particular (thanks to great info from the crews of Larissa and Infini, and Yawarra’s helpful notes on Noonsite)
- Working alongside hired staff (good teamwork, any questions quickly resolved)
- Take greater advantage of the craftsmen available (even on a tight timeline, we could have taken on more work: we underestimated the skill set and machinery at the yard)
- Get a better understanding in advance of materials was available at the shipyard or in Satun (we could have ordered more appropriate bottom paint through them at a fair price)
Just how much of a bargain is hauling in Thailand? Every yard is different, but for a general comparison, it was eye opening to share notes on costs with a friend in Australia. PSS posts current rates on their web site: for Totem, at 47’, the haul was about $350 two way plus about $17/day. Our haul plus hardstand fees totalled around $485. By comparison, for a similarly sized boat, our friend in Oz quoted haul/splash at $537, plus a whopping $80/day to be on the hardstand- if you want a ladder, that’s another $17.80/day (the trestle planks are extra, too). Add in a few levies and fees, and the basics that were $485 in Satun would run over $1700 in Australia.
That’s all before we got to any material costs or hired labor, but this only widens the gap. Shipyard labor in Australia was quoted to start at $68/hour and increase sharply from there. The Thai shipyard charges $19/day for sanding assistance to prep the bottom. Skilled labor is more, but not that much more.
Cruisers on a budget, this economy arbitrage helps us get things done. We go without when costs are high, and do what we can when they’re affordable- whether it’s work on the boat, or a dinner on shore. Are we taking advantage or bringing opportunity?
Whatever it is, we’re enjoying the ride. Besides, a great experience at PSS was about far more than just being a good value.
It was the mix of interesting, friendly, and colorful personalities that inhabited the yard: as varied as their boats, from the traditional Polynesian modeled catamaran to a glossy power cruiser.
It was a pretty riverfront, hiding behind the dusty main road and the hulks of ships in the yard.
It was the yard dogs that the kids couldn’t love up enough.
OK, me too…