San Diego Galvanizing
I dropped off my fabulous 33-kilogram Spade anchor at San Diego Galvanizing (www.sandiegogalvanizing.com) to get rid of some rust stains. The shops owner, Lewis Wise, called me and said he couldnt do the job. Why? Safety. As a metallurgist, Wise said that due to a small patch of corrosion at the junction of the stock and the flukes, he believed the anchor should be retired. What an incredible example of true integrity!
I emailed Spade Anchor (www.spadeanchorusa.com) and attached some photos that Wise had sent to me along with his reasons. Within a half-day, I got an email from a Spade senior executive. The Spade engineers wanted to see the anchor. If it was a manufacturing defect, theyd replace it.
Turns out that this particular Spade was one of the original models, sold to me by a retailer who had it in stock for years. My new one is much improved, and so is my respect for both of these businesses, which acted with integrity and promptness.
Wendaway, Norseman 447
I have an older, no frills, yet solid Datamarine depth sounder that stopped working mid-season. It must be 25-plus years old. Because of the age of the depth sounder, replacing it with new would also require a new transducer, which means hauling my boat. Thankfully, DMI (www.dmimarine.com) expertly repaired my sounder for a reasonable fee. Plus, it was returned to me in just a few weeks in brand-new condition. Steve, the owner at DMI, bought out Datamarines parts inventory 13 years ago.
In addition to the repair services, they have quickly and politely helped me over the phone with technical questions. When I call their office, the staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and pleasant.
Base Camp, 1987 Pearson 27
Some lofts sell storm trysails like Starbucks sells coffee-in small, medium, and large sizes; others guess at the sail size without asking important questions (e.g. the sail area at my deepest reef point); and one loft tried selling me a new mainsail with extra deep reefs, claiming I didnt need a trysail. I almost gave up before contacting a small loft, SLO Sail & Canvas (www.slosailandcanvas.com), where I was met by expert sailmakers who walked me through the process of designing a sail and even offered to send me samples of cloth and stitching.
Thankfully, they built a strong, perfectly sized sail, because a few months later, we found ourselves fully reefed with increasing winds (40 knots sustained, gusts approaching 50), an uncooperative boom, and too much weather helm. The Trysail was a godsend!
Id also like to thank Tides Marine (www.tidesmarine.com) for working with my sailmaker to design a strong trysail track that stood up against an area nicknamed as the Cape Horn of the Pacific!
Im glad that the larger lofts continue to push the boundaries of science and pricing but for custom, safety-critical jobs, Im happy that small shops with excellent customer service still exist.
Ive been using the Salt-Away (www.saltawayproducts.com) mixing unit and solution for several years now and am quite satisfied with the results. I flush my Yanmar diesels raw-water system with the Salt-Away and have also used the solution to remove salt residue on the engine and engine compartment caused by a failed water pump. Recently, I somehow misplaced the O-ring in the top of the mixing unit. Salt-Away responded promptly to my email and sent a replacement O-ring (along with a couple of spares) and some new handy information on flushing procedures. That is commendable customer service for a great product!
Sea Flourishes, Beneteau 343
Marina del Rey, Calif.
While installing our Garhauer E-Z Glide adjustable genoa car system, I ran into a problem: Because of the length-wise curvature of the deck (and hence the tracks), the cars got stuck because they hit the deck under the track. I called Mark Felgenhauer at Garhauer. While he had not encountered this problem before, he thought that they might be able to modify the cars for me in a way that would make them work and told me to send them back. I was subsequently contacted by the specialist for the genoa cars, and he suggested that a reconfigured car with a shorter body and chamfered edges might address the issue. A week later, I received two custom-built cars, at no charge whatsoever, and to my delight, they installed and performed perfectly. I consider the customer service that I received from Garhauer exemplary and way beyond what I could have expected; they obviously are truly committed to standing behind their fine products, and I will be happy to buy from them again.
Bert van Zelst
Festina Lente, 1982 Bristol 35.5