As the lack of progress continued and my frustration mounted, I began visiting the Marina, trying to induce some positive action by cornering those in authority, face to face, to try to unlock the impasse.
The abiding excuse was that my ‘lift’, to reunite the hull with the keel/grounding plate, apparently required very experienced operators to ensure perfect alignment so as not to inflict any damage. This I understood and accepted, but with ‘Marina Developments Limited’ owning 19 marinas, each with travel lift operators, given the will, it should not have been impossible to re-deploy sufficient experience to Northney – or am I missing something? When the marina staff stopped answering the phone or returning my messages, my frustration overflowed.
It was clearly necessary to escalate the situation but, in common with most large companies, there was no facility or information on their website to make it possible to contact any individuals in senior positions.
So, searching MDL on the Companies House website, I was able to identify 6 active directors. They were each sent recorded delivery letters outlining the situation. I explained that I had been waiting for over 4 months for the lift and that the delay, combined with the forthcoming holidays of contractors critical to the re-build, threatened to consume the whole of the season. I mentioned that I have a widely read (please forgive the exaggeration) website on which I had previously ‘sung the praises’ of Northney Marina. I also happened to mention that I give talks and that my missives have been regularly published in the yachting press.
Lo and behold, the day after my letters would have been received, I had a phone call, followed by an Email and the lift is now scheduled and planned with all the necessary contractors booked and in attendance.
I have agreed that the exercise will be carried out without my presence… It is felt that I might add an additional layer of pressure by getting too involved – does that sound like me?
Sort of like not being allowed to be present in the operating theatre when a surgeon carries out a delicate operation on your only child.
Embracing this analogy, I am prepared to stay out of the way, sitting by the phone at home, waiting pensively for news that the operation went well and the patient is in recovery.
That, of course, is not the end of the story as there are a multitude of rebuilding operations to be carried out over the next couple of months but this, most critical, initial exercise, should be accomplished within a week or two and I will be a very happy man – if it happens as promised.
Fingers crossed !
Perhaps you could have made a case for being there as you wanted to take photos.
They have promised to take photos which I will subsequently add to this blog. If I were there, I would probably not be able to help making a nuisance of myself 🙄 ….
Nick, my reaction to this story is one of utter disbelief spluttering into 4 letter words.
All Southerlies go through this operation at birth and maybe several times over the lifetime of the yacht. There is no rocket science involved! When Istana was ‘reunited’ with her keel unit in 2020, she was lowered on to it ‘clunk’. Job done. The operator didn’t have a PhD or a laser: he simply eyeballed the job.
I suggest you refloat Hejira asap and steam off (or arrange a tow) to a more amenable marina. (Even Northshore would laugh at this story if they get to read it)
I agree John, and it takes a lot to make Northshore look like paragons !