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Weekly Update - A Rogue Contractor

The last few weeks have been ridiculously busy as we target leaving Antalya at the end of April.  We have been in the USA since November on personal business and in this period our Yard has completed most unfinished items.  On return we began our inspection. With some there was no issue though progress was rather slow, with others we had problems. Below is that story written as an example of what can happen and our solution.

A Rogue Plumbing Contractor Causes Havoc

The engine room is rather a tight space, a function of the narrow beam and need for duplication. Within all the various systems of a yacht intertwine, I believe it is in the installation that one can separate the good from the bad.  Compounding our dilemma is the addition of a water/glycol cooling system for all the high voltage hybrid accessories that are shoehorned in. It’s not rocket science but is an additional burden of pipes one would not ordinarily encounter.


At this point I think I would sum up our situation by a reflection between the difference between something that “works” and something that is “seaworthy”. 

Explorer Yacht Systems

It’s not the same thing though that can be a difficult point to get across.  There is also such a thing as shoddy contracting and missing supervision. We spent two days on this system correcting endless small niggles, pipes cut to short or overly long, doubling up pipe clips, adding pipe support etc. Our problem was that the various small niggles seemed endless and the further we looked the worse it all became.   Sometime in the afternoon of day 2, hope was abandoned and so was the installation. It is quite therapeutic tearing out shoddy work and watching it disappear.   We salvaged what materials we could and will begin reinstalling tomorrow with new plumbers under our own supervision.  An example of the issues we found include:


  • Pipes secured by tie wrap from power and data cables.

  • Multiple pressurised pipe joints within 12” of 600VDC power batteries

  • Alternating pipe diameters

  • Improperly clamped pipe ends, loose fittings, oversize pipe clamps, crushed spigots.

  • Overtightened plastic pipe thread connections causing cracking at the threads.

  • Shortened pipe spigots (makes it easier to get the pipe on, can’t clamp it properly)

  • Taper threads in parallel thread sockets

  • Over reliance on pipe thread tape for sealing

  • Multiple mixed metal fittings and galvanised weak pipe clips

Serpentine pipe runs often restricting bilge access, pipes unsecured in bilges and penetrations.

Is this a typical experience in yacht building?  To be honest I’m not sure but there are parallels with higher end custom home building where we used to exist. Profits are made when a job is done right the first time, on time and with no rework.  New subcontractors are typically closely supervised until proven and order maintained to everyone’s benifit.


Everything can be fixed later but its so much better to do it right on day 1.


CE Class A Certificate successfully achieved

On a brighter note, a notable milestone was passed after completion of a supervised inclining test. The CE Certificate (Category A) has been issued by Dutch Certification Institute (Recreational Craft Directive 2013/53/EU). 

Tests and calculations were supervised by UK MCA Surveyor and undertaken in accordance with ISO 12217 so the Yard can use the same calculations for our UK MCA Category (0) Survey under MGN 280. There is no intention to use Vanguard for commercial purposes though the insurance company like to see a design rated for use in the off beat locations we intend to cruise.

CE Category A for advanced Explorer Yacht

Regards to all. It is a bright spring Saturday morning in Antalya and the plumbing is going back in today!!

Chris Leigh-Jones

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