Thursday, July 2, 2009

Economics, Poetry and Religion - Man, I am So Bored

May 1, 2009 we left Beaufort NC and our home, Meredith.

Meredith was suffering transmission troubles and oil leakages as has been reported. Much thought and investigation produced a decision to replace the diesel.

At that point we congratulated ourselves on not pursuing our original plan to tour Cuba and more of the Caribbean basin. Had we pursued our original plan we were convinced we would have been stuck on some backwater island with no mechanics and no parts.

We have all read horror stories about parts taking 6 or even 8 weeks to arrive in some out of the way venue.

Eight weeks into the process and Beaufort NC, in the heart of the industrial and consumer heartland of American boating seems to be suffering from a liberal dose of Manana culture.

Our new diesel, a Beta 43, we were told on initial inquiry with Beta USA, could be delivered by pickup truck in less than an hour from the Beta warehouse to the yard where Meredith rested.

Stanley, the experienced voice at the end of the Beta telephone, neglected to mention that while the engine could be delivered in less than an hour such a process would require that he, Stanley, actually had a Beta 43 in stock.

He did not, of course, have such an engine in stock. Inventory would be restored in only three weeks.

Or, it would have if Stanley had ordered any inventory. He did not.

The mechanic ordered our engine about two weeks later and was told the engine would be in hand in "three weeks". That was five weeks ago.

We called Beta USA a couple of days ago to check on delivery.

We were told it would be three weeks for our engine to arrive.

At least on the islands Manana means "tomorrow".

We are being affected by "Island Culture" or what happens when an economy loses fluidity.

No one is maintaining inventory, not even the jobbers. (You might wonder how jobbers, whose claim to a fee is based on maintaining stock for final users, justify their existence in such a scheme but no matter. They persist).

So Mike the Mechanic ordered our diesel expecting next day or even next week delivery.

Beta USA, had no stock but expected rapid delivery of a Beta 43 from Beta UK the outfit which marinizes the Japanese Kubota block.

Beta UK, did not have a marinized Beta 43 in stock and did not have any inventory of stock Kubota blocks that it could marinize. It had to order a block from its Kubota supplier before it could begin production of our new diesel.

I suspect Beta UK may have waited a bit to accumulate several Beta 43 orders so it could do the marinizing more efficiently.

In the end it means Meredith will not have its new diesel until end of July. Maybe.

On one view the process is way cool. We are getting a Japanese engine, marinized in the UK and installed in the US.

By the time it is installed in Meredith Our Beta 43 will have travelled more than 12,000 nautical miles. That is more distance that it is likely to travel during the rest of its life.

In the meantime the Budget Committee and the Skipper are stuck at home with the kids and leaky roofs and breaking down cars while all our Ontario friends are away sailing.

"They also serve who only stand and wait" says John Milton.

"Idle hands do the devil's work" says Grandma Benner.

And there is no unemployment is there Grandma?

Post Post: Posting will remain sporadic or nonexistent until we return to the water. Say mid August or so.