OCEANIA MARINE VISITS SAN FRANCISCO
Authored by Martin Gleeson, managing director of Oceania Marine, whilst heading for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
We decided to stay a few nights in San Francisco on our way to the FLIBS boat show to give us an opportunity to explore the city. I also had an interest in looking up Eric Haberli of Bay Ship & Yacht Co, who I had met at last year’s FLIBS, to see if I could visit their shipyard. As it happened Eric was not there but he arranged for Ira Maybaum, a director of Business Development at the yard, to give me a tour.
However, before we talk about the tour I have to tell you about the city. You will have to forgive me if I am talking about stuff you already know but it was our first visit (I was accompanied by my wife, and co-director, Shannon). We stayed right in the centre just off Union Square. The buildings and architecture are a regal blend of modern and old with many of the older structures constructed of red and brown brick. Within walking distance, in all directions, there was enough art galleries, real serious shopping, restaurants and clubs to keep a person occupied for years let alone 3 days. Not only that but it was nothing about fast food and mass produced consumerism and, instead, all about great quality and good value. For example, the cuisine was generally based on the best of local produce and this combined with wines from the Napa Valley produced an unforgettable experience.
Okay – back to work. I took a taxi, over Bay Bridge, to the north side of the harbour where Bay Ship’s yard was located. Ira soon had me in hardhat and safety goggles and we were off for our tour (for a Photo Diary of the Visit – CLICK HERE). The yard is serviced by a 3000 tonnes dry dock and 1200 tonnes Syncrolift (this is a real one made by Rolls Royce). They have the added advantage of a rail transfer system on the hardstand which provides multiple side-shift options. As a consequence Bay Ship’s yard can accommodate a number of projects at any given time.
Projects are supported by a complete range of workshops right alongside including a propeller shop capable of handling full propeller rebuild and maintenance. I was particularly impressed by the reticulation of utilities and logistical supply. The owners of the yard have had considerable input into the compressed air and sandblasting systems, for example, which ensure a quick turnaround of projects.
Bay Ship’s endeavour to do most work ‘in house’ and, as a consequence, run a fairly large workforce. They do contract out specialist aspects where necessary.
The nature of the refit work undertaken at the yard is very similar to our own in that they cater for a very wide variety from workboats to passenger vessels and white-boats. I think this is a good thing to look for in a yard because it ensures that they have developed the full range of services and skills required particularly in the area of class and flag state requirements for larger craft.
Ira was a great host and he finished the tour with lunch at a nearby restaurant, over the water. My seafood ravioli was divine. We discussed the upcoming America’s Cup 2012 Challenge to be held at San Francisco. The parallels between what is going to happen to San Francisco and what did happen for Auckland are very similar. Taking advantage of the benefits of such an event are not easy but if one realises that just as much work has to be done, if not more, after the cup finishes then they will definitely accrue. I don’t think Ira was impressed by my suggestion that San Francisco’s time in the ‘limelight’ will be short-lived as the cup would soon return to New Zealand. Oh well – I think my optimism could be excused as New Zealand had just won the Rugby World Cup 2 days before.