Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Repair vs. Replace

Normal Presentation

Upon arrival in St. Maarten our autopilot died.  By the time we left, I thought I had it resurrected.  But, 10 minutes into our crossing to St. Kitts it went out again.  We hand steered for the next 7 1/2 hours.

The next day:
7:15 AM Troubleshoot autopilot
8:00 AM Decide with 90% confidence the electric motor on the pump is out
9:00 AM On the way to breakfast we ask Charlie, the dock master if he knows where there is an electrical motor repair shop
9:05 AM Charlie doesn't know so he calls Percy, the taxi driver
9: 10 AM Percy arrives to take us to Neil, the electrician
(It's a small island and Percy drives fast)
9:15 AM Neil is not there, but Debbie, Neil's girlfriend/business manager says bring the pump in and he will take a look
9:30 AM Percy drops us off at the coffee shop for breakfast
10:30 AM Return to the boat and remove pump
11:15 AM Deliver the pump to Neil via bicycles

Neil Jeetlall

11:30 AM Neil says the good news is my diagnoses is correct; it's the motor.  The bad news is that it is the armature in the motor is shot.
1:00 PM Neil delivers the armature to Roderick, the only guy on the island that can rewind armatures
3:45 PM Neil picks me up at the marina
3:50 PM Neil picks up Brandon, Debbie's son from school
3:55 PM Roderick demos the rewound armature
(Neil drives faster than Percy)
4:10 PM We return to Neil's shop where he reassembles the motor and pump
4:30 PM Neil drops me off at the boat with the rebuilt pump

Total cost for the rebuild was $200 USD vs. a new pump from the US is $619 + shipping (apx. $120) + customs fees and a few days waiting if we were lucky.

We probably could have escaped customs fees by declaring "boat in transit" and providing the necessary documentation.  However, the locals pay upward to 85% import duty on repair parts.  Therefore, it is cheaper to repair rather than replace.  Might not be such a bad thing compared to US where everything is becoming disposable.

Should you find yourself in St. Kitts needing an electrician, contact:

Neil Jeetlall
1 (869) 668-4444 

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