Where Credit is Due: November 2012
My wife and I bought a Vesper Watchmate 850, and after delaying the installation a few months, we finally got it in and powered it up. After it ran fine for several hours, it gave us a Voltage Standing Wave Ratio error. (VSWR is basically an efficiency measurement of the antenna system.) After some troubleshooting, I sent a note to Vesper Marine in New Zealand (www.vespermarine.com). There was a prompt and very thorough reply to all my questions. I had a very informative conversation with Jeff from Vesper, and I tried his troubleshooting suggestions. The problem certainly did appear to be the antenna, but after using another antenna and cable, Jeff said to send him back the unit and they would analyze it to be certain.
Off went the AIS to NZ via the post. My next contact at Vesper was from Carl, who informed me that they had run the unit on different antennas for a week with no error messages. This next part just impresses me so much (and they’d already done that!): He suggested that sending back the same unit would not prove anything, so they would send me a new one with an upgrade that displays the VSWR reading. Not only did they send me the new one, but it came quickly via FedEx, instead of standard post. Once it arrived, I installed it, and we never saw the VSWR error again.
Not only is the Watchmate 850 top notch, but the service from everyone at Vesper was exceptional! This is a company that supports their products. Thank you, Vesper Marine!
Jim and Sharna Yates
Second Spray, IP40 #37
In 2010, I purchased my boat, which came equipped with Blue Performance sheet bags. During decommissioning this year, I noticed that one of the loops that hold the bag to the bulkhead had parted. I wrote Blue Performance (www.blueperformance.com) to inquire about fixing this problem, and they, in turn, shipped me a new bag for only the cost of shipping.
The response to my inquiry was immediate, and I had a new bag within seven days. This level of no-hassle service and standing behind their product is what all suppliers should strive to attain!
Escape II, FP Mahe 36
After five years of hard use on my dock lines, my Shockles Line Snubbers were showing their age (although still working fine), so I decided to replace them. I contacted the company (www.shockles.com) to order replacements and actually got a personal email back from the president, asking why I needed replacements. After I explained, he said that if I returned the old Shockles after I received the new ones, they would happily refund my purchase price, so they could tear apart and evaluate Shockles that had been in hard use for five years. Great company, great product, great service.
While on vacation, my Garhauer lifting davit—normally used for hoisting my outboard and my labradoodle—saved my boat!
After spending a peaceful night at anchor on Lake Tashmoo in Martha’s Vineyard, the family and dog went ashore for the day. When we returned that afternoon, we found that the wind had picked up and our boat was gone. After a frantic few minutes of searching, we saw it about 500 yards downwind, side-to-side with a big, moored cabin cruiser.
I assumed somebody saw our boat dragging anchor and tied the two boats together, but upon arriving at the scene, I found the only thing holding the two boats together was the davit lines and hook, which had become entangled on the other boat’s foredeck cleat. The severe strain on the system was visible and audible. Once the mess was untangled, the only damage I could find was two bent screws that held the davit to the stern rail. The tubes, lines, and blocks were as good as new despite having held back a 14,000-pound boat for who knows how long.
Finally, less than 24 hours after emailing Garhauer about this, I received a message that a replacement rail mount was in the mail free of charge! My boat has many Garhauer products (www.garhauermarine.com), and I have always been very impressed by the quality of construction and excellent service, but this was truly amazing.
Analgesic, 1988 Catalina 34
Almost two years ago, my Myerchin knife was showing signs of wear and would not open. Knowing that the company (www.myerchin.com) offers a lifetime warranty for the knife, I packaged it up and sent it to them by U.S. mail. After a few weeks, I called the company to check on the status, and they reported that they never received the knife. (And I, stupidly, did not use any tracking services for the mailing.) After six months, I considered it lost in the mail and purchased an inexpensive replacement from West Marine.
This past Monday, I received a brand-new, next-model-up Myerchin knife, with packaging and a carrying case, delivered by UPS. Apparently, they had found my old knife and made good on their guarantee. They could have just as easily forgotten about it, as I did. It’s great to find a company with the integrity to do the right thing.
Edd M. Schillay
Starship Enterprise, C&C 37/40
City Island, N.Y.
I have a Switlik MOM-8A man-overboard module. It is designed to mount to the rails with clips that shear off if you catch the module on a tight squeeze in a slip. I had a tight squeeze; the clips sheared as designed; and the module was not damaged. I could not find new clips, so I contacted the maker. Switlik (www.switlik.com) promptly sent me new rail-mounting clips along with a spare set, at not charge at all! Great service from a great company!
Sunflower, Beneteau Oceanis 523
East Greenwich, R.I.