Q: Can you give an example or two of the repair work you’ve performed for a yacht owner?
A: One notable moment was when a boat hit some rough seas on its way to the Fort Lauderdale show, causing the chandelier to crash onto the dining room table. The table had to be replaced, but no such thing could be done before the show, so we were asked to “please DO something!” within a few hours. As Bruce worked on this table, “disappearing” gouges in an impossibly high-gloss surface, I was underneath it, camouflaging an outlet cover into the carpeting. With seconds to spare, we left out one door as the first guests came in the other.
Generally, most of the dings and scratches presented to us aren’t big, but especially in the context of a sale, they create much stress. A yacht selling for millions has to be perfect.
Q: When something like stonework or wood gets damaged, how do you repair it? Most captains and owners seem to assume that complete replacement is their only option.
A: Especially in the Med, a great many owners and captains aren’t aware that a craftsman service such as ours is available, and they turn to the excellent woodworkers and carpenters whose methods are more fabrication than repair. But a drawer front that could very well be touched up will sooner be replaced than assessed for an alternative. Bruce’s background in antique refinishing and my ability to reproduce color and grain can do much to prevent surgery.
In certain cases, replacement will be necessary. Also, when damage is located on a flat piece of good dimensions, it’ll be impossible to touch it up and seal it without spraying the entire panel, and this requires tenting, venting to the outside, and generally turns a yacht into a construction site. In those cases it is best to proceed during slow periods. In so many cases, however, on-site work is perfectly suitable, and depending on the chemical composition of the existing topcoats, the cleaning compounds in use on the boat, and the level of use the area gets, it’s possible to use greener sealers that will not be noxious, not command immobilization of the asset, in a time frame that will allow several repairs to be made. Literally dozens of repairs can happen in mere days in between charters. So in most cases, it’s no longer necessary to hide that ding with the potted orchid…
As for fractures in stone, we have a few tricks up our sleeves… Replacing stone is extremely expensive, time-consuming, and can only be done when the yacht isn’t in use. If the missing corner, chip, or fracture is in a highly visible area, some might be thrilled to know that often, a very inexpensive, expedient, and permanent fix is possible, right there at the dock.
Q: In comparison to a complete replacement, how much time does your work save the owner and captain?
A: A piece being replaced may go missing for a good long time as it is being cut, shaped, veneered, sanded, toned, sealed, edged, color-matched to the rest of the woodwork, reattached, and fitted with hardware. Bruce and I come in and in a matter of hours apply a special filler and sealer, do the artwork, and have a topcoat on there in hours or a couple of days. The boat can be in use immediately. It might also bear mentioning that a repair will often cost as little as 50 euros on a drawer front that would command hundreds or even more to replace, depending on the type of wood – a bookmatched piece, inlay work, an exotic species, etc. A quick fix and stunning results are why magic men are called just that. To quote Bruce, as he so often announces to our clients, “ ‘Tis only a flesh wound.”