Ecuador, Puerto Lucia: Boatyard Work – Feedback from Cruisers

Useful information from cruisers, for anyone planning to get work done on their boat in Puerto Lucia.

Published 8 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Posted July 2016

By SV Heart & Soul

Stewart Yachts Services in Puerto Lucia, just north of Salinas, Ecuador, is ideally located for haul outs, routine boat maintenance, any type of repair or remodeling if you are crossing the Pacific or proceeding north or south from Central America to the southern tip. The weather is conducive to boat work due to the dry nature of the coast.

After our first two years of cruising, we had decided on a few modifications to our interior. We were in Puerto Amistad and traveled to meet Marisol Stewart and Jeremy Walen, the owners of Stewart Yacht Services in Puerto Lucia, near to Salinas. After being shown around the yard and shown examples of their work, we were pretty sure that this was the place for us.

We arrived in August 2014 with a long list of various projects, including bottom painting, fabrication of a sturdy bow-roller, replacement and some fabrication of stations, various stainless steel projects, cabinetry projects, a new cockpit table, and reupholstering, plus more on the wish list… Marisol helped us find a reasonably priced apartment for the time we were there. By the time we pulled out at the end of October, we had added repainting the hull to the list and were very pleased with the quality of all the work. Jeremy is great with design and we found we were able to work closely with him to get things the way we wanted. He also stood behind his work and quoted a price.

A year down the road when we’re in the Caribbean and had a particular problem, we felt that due to the structural nature of it, Stewart Yacht Services was the only yard we knew we could depend on. So we revisited Stuart Yacht Services in January 2016 on our way to Chile and presented the work crew with another list. This time we had a time restriction and thought we would only have time for the main essentials on the list. But amazingly our whole wish list was accomplished with the usual excellent quality in just under a month and a half.

There is nothing that this team cannot do in the line of boat repairs, fabrication, painting and design. We felt the price was also very good. We would definitely recommend Stewart Yacht Services as a place you can trust. Not only do they stand behind their work, but they are very helpful with a load of other stuff and very affable and welcoming.

Posted June 2016

By SY Galatea II

I came with my OVNI 395 at the beginning of November 2015 to Puerto Libertad from Puerto Amistad, because I had to haul out my boat. On entering the marina I had to first give my credit card and I was disappointed at the welcome this exclusive marina gave me.

A day later I met Jeremy from Steward Yates & Servicios and I was skeptical about the shipyard after the reception the day before. What a surprise! I met a competent and helpful guy and I gave him a work list because I wanted to go home for the next 5 months. In May 2016 I came back to the boat and now the 2nd surprise – 90% of the work was well done!

Marisol at Steward Yates & Servicios is an extremely helpful person. She organized for me 2 workers for 1 Week so that I could put the boat into the water at the exact date that we programmed. Once in the water, the motor didn’t run! A Yanmar specialist checked and found that all the tubes were very dirty. We decided the day before leaving to clean the tank with 100 gallons of diesel in. Marisol organized this in a half day! Also, she did the paperwork for clearing in the Galápagos Islands together with the agent Bolivar Pesantes in Galápagos, a very helpful person too.

If you are in need of any boat work, I would strongly recommend Stewart Yates & Servicios. The business is owned by Marisol Stewart and Jeremy Whalen and has been in operation for over 14 years. Their work is top quality, very reasonably priced and on schedule. There doesn’t seem to be anything they can’t handle. Their services include stainless, paint, carpentry, canvas, rigging, fiberglass, electrical and mechanical. They also run a small chandlery and are licensed importers in Ecuador.

Puerta Lucia Yacht Club in Salinas Ecuador is a very convenient stop before crossing the Pacific or heading south. The climate is perfect for vessel storage with light rains only a few times a year, low humidity and zero lightning strikes. For pullout, the marina has a 50-ton travel lift. The location is also a great place to restock. With a ten-minute taxi ride, you will find large grocery and hardware stores. Even a good sized marine chandlery and mall with a movie theatre. In an ocean of boatyards, Stewart Yates & Servicios is heads above the rest.

Georg Herzberg 

SY Galatea II

Posted May 2014

By Michael Bland, SY Salamander of Hamble (UK)

We had a fair amount of work done by Stewart Yacht Services and were very happy with the quality, cost, and timing. The work we had done included: Bottom stripped and repainted. GRP repair, stainless steel work for solar panels and anchor roller, anchor chain galvanized, fabricate awning to cover coach roof, fabricate dingy cover. These were all completed in one month.

All work was done to a high standard and to quoted cost and time. The boatyard manager Jeremy Whalen was on hand and kept us up to date with progress. We would recommend them to anyone needing boat work done in the area.

Posted 28th February 2013

By SV Wild Fox

Stewart’s Yacht Services is jointly owned by Marisol Stewart (an Ecudorian) and Jeremy Whalen (an American).  Both live adjacent to the haul out area.  Jeremy has cruised long term, is very hands-on and has many skills especially stainless welding.  Marisol has more of an executive role.  Shortly after my arrival and even before work and prices had been agreed they arrived down at my boat and gave me a local mobile ‘phone with $10 of credit on it and some useful numbers already saved.

They have a team of seven workers some of whom have been with them for a long time (Marisol first started the business 14 years ago).  Two things stand out:-

1.     The quality of the work is very high

2.     The speed is of the work is very slow.

So do not come here if you do not have time to spare.  While the daily rate of $60 per day per person is low you must remember that they do not get much done in a day. That said Jeremy is happy to give a fixed price for most jobs and to stick to that price.  He insists on everything being finished perfectly. On arrival I saw over a 68-foot boat which had had a complete rebuild with some major work, like knocking two cabins into one, moving the steering position forward by four feet.   Everything was superbly finished.

I had topsides re-painted (two colors), masts stripped and re-varnished, a complete re-work of a propane system, stainless fabrication and welding, canvass work and a myriad of little jobs and some general labor work such as stainless polishing.  I had no complaints about the prices.  I had absolutely no complaints about the finished work.  Just the timing which hurt as even the hard standing at the marina is expensive.

If you are coming from Panama and you are having any type of paint work done then buy your paint there (or have Marine Warehouse ship it to you in Panama).  Import duties in Ecuador are high but if you are carrying paint for your own use then it is duty exempt.  Also, stock up on parts and chandlery.  Apart from zinc anodes, there is not much you can buy down here for a boat.


sv Wild Fox

Update November 2013 by SV Wild Fox

I had work completed in this boatyard in December 2012 and had, on leaving, a generally good impression. Some work, however, requires the test of time.

New battens were made, said to be unbreakable. I broke three in short order.

A deck box with a teak lid de-laminated. The yard admitted that the wrong adhesive had been used.

A new bimini is starting to fall apart as the seams were not hemmed.

Lettering on a fender board is peeling off – the previous lettering lasted six years.

No financial recompense has been offered for any of the above. This is one of the problems cruisers have – once they sail off into the sunset as far as the boatyards are concerned it is a case of out of sight, out of mind.

February 2014

Response from Stewart Yacht Services; 

We’ve been in contact with Anthony via emails since his departure. The list of work performed on SV Wild Fox was extensive and done with great care and quality. Refer to his initial write up. He was involved in each project. He inspected and approved of each design, execution and finish.

The battens were a joint effort and were never referred to as “unbreakable”. Boat bits that the ocean can’t break don’t exist. Especially r and d designed battens on a junk rig. A lot of research and thought were put into their construction. The only way to test the fourteen battens was to take them sailing. Which we did prior to his leaving. we had ten to fifteen-knot winds. Previous to this set he had tried every type of batten. Each presented its own set of issues or complete failure.

The “Bimini” – which is referred to in the US as a dodger – are generally not hemmed at the vinyl or poly but hot cut. Bad weather or over stretching can pull seams. We use only tantra thread, double back, umbrella and standard construction techniques. The thread pulling can be caused by dropping a boom, or in this case battens, overstretching.

We built Anthony a beautiful treasure chest style propane box that had an adhesive failure on the lid lats. Possible bad epoxy or a bad mix. I asked him for his Paypal account and asked him what he thought would be a fair compensation. He sent me a bill to epoxy the five lats back on that exceeded the price he paid to have the box constructed and propane system installed. I have yet to get a definitive answer and couldn’t imagine he would consider the “repair bill amount” he sent as reasonable, but have no idea as he never clarified.

We do care about our work and that the experiences here exceed expectations.

Anthony of SV Wild Fox is happy to pass on tips and recommendations to anyone considering having work done on their boat in Puerto Lucia. Contact [email protected] to get in touch.

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