{Stus-List} "Cheaping it"

Steve Rosen alert451 at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 10 13:11:52 EDT 2009

I (used to belong) was associated with a yacht club that maintained their launch ( a Tripp launch with a westerbeak ) using the all too affordable NAPA auto parts- no slight to NAPA- they make fine parts or cars- and most holiday weekends, sunday evenings, the launch was out of service...the most frequent cause?  failure of NAPA electrical parts, starters, and other auto grade repairs.  What is more expensive than a YC where the launch does not run...since the club is located on the shore of a usually choppy river with lots of (high speed) motorboat and ferry traffic, strong currents and tides, a beach launched dingy and 1/2 mile row just did not suit the attitudes- or the physical abilities of most members ad their wives.

Far as I can tell, they repeat history year after year...somehow expecting a different outcome.

The lesson- as this thread suggests- don't go cheap (different than thrifty) on maintaining a sailboat

From: Dennis C. 
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:49 AM
To: CnC-List at cnc-list.com 
Subject: {Stus-List} "Cheaping it"

 As a guy who is around boats, works on boats and generally just likes "messing about with boats", I see a lot of less than optimum decisions made by boat owners, including me.

OK, me first.

On the trip from Mandeville to Pensacola, the engine oil pressure reading began to increase, finally pegging out at over 100 psi.  I figured it was a bad sending unit or secondly a bad gauge.  Provisionally I decided to do an oil change and filter change and anchored and did so noting nothing abnormal.  When I got to Pensacola, I located a Westerbeke distributor and found out a sending unit was $70+.  I couldn't find the resistance specifications for it to locate a "universal" unit.  Heck, a sending unit is a sending unit, right?  Being in a particularly unusual "cheap" mood, I went to a local auto parts store and got a 0-100 psi sending unit with the correct thread size and installed it.  The gauge still pegged out.  $15 bucks down the drain.  I called my buddy in Mandeville and ordered a new OEM gauge and sending unit.  Installed the new sending unit and gauge this weekend and the readings are normal again.  It was the sending unit.  I kept the old gauge as a spare.

A few weeks ago, my 2nd "cheapie" air conditioner cooling water pump died.  This $50-60 pump came with the original air conditioner.  I installed my spare "cheapie" pump (the 3rd pump in 7 years).   I just never upgraded and always carried a spare.  Now I'm upgrading to a $250 Dometic pump which should have much more longevity.  I will keep the 3rd "cheapie" as a spare.  

My buddy called me tonight to tell me about a boat having electrical issues.  In particular, the refrigeration system wasn't operating properly.  On investigation, the owner had replaced the two 4D house batteries with a couple of much smaller series dual purpose batteries.  Heck, batteries are batteries, right?  The owner wasn't happy with having to pay my buddy a couple hours labor to tell him he's a dumbass and he should go buy some 4D batteries.  (Well, I'm sure he said it more tactfully.)

I had that same discussion with one of my clients.  He wanted to do the same thing.  I told him that not only would he adversely affect the electrical system on his boat but that he would decrease the boat's value.  Fortunately, he listened.

Point:  every time you "cheap" something, you pay twice, once for the cheap shot and then again for the right way.

I could go on and on.  It's a lesson we never seem to learn.

Sorry for the rant.  I just hope it prevents someone from paying a little bit now and then a lot later.

Anybody else want to share similar experiences?

Dennis C.
Touche' 35-1 #83
Mandeville, LA


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Stephen Rosen
p: 973 692 1083
c: 860-460-6975
alert451 at hotmail.com
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