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Ratanachai Slipway Phuket: Negatives and Positives

By doina — last modified Feb 27, 2006 11:27 PM

Published: 2006-02-27 23:27:47
Countries: Thailand

Noonsite has received a number of complaints about Ratanachai Slipways concerning among other things price and quality. The slipway management has been contacted to provide a reponse and as yet nothing has been heard. Contact Noonsite if more information is required.

Since this report was published Noonsite has also received from sailors a number of positive reports about the yard, all of which can be found below.

From Jay Barry, SV Gandalf:

For new cruisers coming to Thailand looking to have work done on their boats, and for those who should not have to go through this drama, here is what happened to us. We contracted with Ratanachai Slipway to sandblast and paint our boat. Gandalf is a 47 ft steel sloop. To guarantee the paint job, the yard insisted on their own painting regiment, which included Jotun zinc epoxy primer followed by Hartford filler, an epoxy fairing compound. The yard just happens to be the Phuket distributor for this product. This schedule of coatings was not my choice but they insisted and it was the only way the job would be guaranteed. Since we would be remaining in Thailand for a year we agreed. The job went well and we were happy with the finished paint job. It took 28 days from start to finish.

In less than 30 days, large and numerous bumps appeared growing under the paint. We contacted the yard and sent digital pictures. The yard agreed to fix the problem. So far so good. On our return to Ratanachai Slipways, the most incapable people were assigned to the warranty work. Sixty days went by with the yard using every trick to save money. The tricks included, applying polyester filler (talc being the thickener) above and below the water line. This was then ground out and replaced with Hartford at my instance. The spreading of filler over the anti fouling was especially unprofessional. Five “head painters” and two months later we finally painted the boat ourselves at our own expense. After 60 days, we escaped Ratanachai Slipway and returned to Langkawi. I have since tried to contact the yard because the “repaired” sections have grown new bumps. Because of my one year guarantee, I have tried emailing the yard and received no response. I have tried faxing the yard with no response. When that failed and not wanting to be misunderstood, I had my letter translated in Thai and faxed again to the head manager. Still no response. Our money is gone and there is no recourse to getting repaired correctly. Be very careful doing any kind of business with Ratanchai Slipway.

From Gilles Savoie, Freedom V, Vancouver, B.C.

Note of complaint about Ratanachai Slipway Boatyard in Phuket, Thailand Our boat, Freedom V, has been in the yard for about 5 months. We would like to warn other yachties about problems encountered. Although it appears that you might save money by choosing this place that is not true. You would be better off by reserving in advance a place at Blue Lagoon or Yacht Haven. Or just go to Langkawi. We have talked to other sailors who are unhappy with this place. Here are some of the troubles we've had: Workers are lazy and incompetent; If you do not use boatyard employees, a daily charge is made for using outside helpers; High prices for low quality jobs; Boats placed too close together; Very smelly due to "fertilizer" manufacturing plants next door; Toilets and showers not maintained in hygienic state; Without asking, scaffolding and wooden planks are removed from under your boat; Neighboring workers throw refuse, etc. under your boat. Office workers are rude. No access to head of boatyard so cannot make complaints known. He claims that he doesn't speak or understand english and refuses to use interpreter. The boatyard requires that sailboats must use covers when grinding; it is expensive, but the Thais are not requred to do the same causing problems with their dust and debris even with metal boats.

From Alan Main svbackchat:

We had our catamaran Backchat out at this boatyard in May 2005 and were happy with the service and the professionalism of the haulout, the most stress free that we have had.

From Dan and Yolanda Hellier

We left our yacht, Jacana of Melbourne, on the hard at Ratanchai Slipway in Phuket Thailand for a few months while we flew home to Australia. In our absence the yard performed a long and varied list of work on the yacht. This included painting the topsides, machining and fitting new rudder bearings, and stainless steel work on the davits. We were pleased with the work, the service and the friendly people. The job was about 95% perfect on our return, and within 2 days those inevitable small wrinkles had been ironed out. The price we had agreed to in advance was strictly adhered to. We were very happy with the performance of the Ratanachai team.

From Norm Mackenzie

I am quite appalled to read of a cruiser panning this haulout facility. We have had nothing but excellent service and first class workmanship. The prices are very good and the staff very accommodating. One writer suggested that cruisers should get work done in Australia. We left there this year after being royally ripped off by several trades. Two out of the three mechanics who worked on the boat were sucessfully sued by cruisers for bad workmanship, falsifying bills etc. There mechanics were the major mechanical services sponsored within the boatyards. I have worked in the marine trades, built two sailboats up to 48' and sailed 20,000 miles in the last 10 years. Rattanachai has given the best service for the best price. Australia was the worst and I would never return to that country even as a visitor. I could go on about many other times we were fleeced in Australia but suffice it to say it is the worst workmanship and most incompetent mechanics we have ever seen. Go to New Zealand... a world of difference or come here and save money and time.