The question you will inevitably ask
yourselves if you are unfortunate enough to end up at Manoel Island Yacht
Yard for more than a few days is – “Is this the worst run boat yard in
the Med”? Well that’s a
difficult one, (a bit like what was the worst pop record of the 70s) but
MIYY is definitely a contender.
However, when you take into account
its rate for work of 140 Maltese pounds per day (about E300 at the time of writing)
and that this is based on a notional working day of 6 1/2 hours (but an
actual working day of closer to 5 – see below) then MIYY is pitching
itself against the best yards in Europe and in that field it is very
definitely bottom of the pile – and by a very long way.
MIYY is almost a caricature of what it
must have been like in a British Leyland factory in the seventies –
unmotivated workforce, restrictive labour practices, ineffective
management, under investment, etc, etc.
All of this feeds through of course
into the ultimate cost of any job – ie two people on a job that only
requires one, the half hour after clocking on to discuss last nights big
match before starting work and the same before and after the 10.30 lunch
hour and before packing up at 2.30pm etc, etc, all of this time has to be
allocated against some job or other.
If you’re lucky it might just be shared around pro rata,
The customer service ethos is
unfortunately from the same stable. We
have found the Maltese in general to be a slightly reserved, but charming
people. What a shame that most
of the very few deeply unpleasant Maltese that do exist seem to have found
their way into the management of MIYY.
Amongst the older workforce there are some highly skilled, knowledgeable
and helpful people, but with little support from their management it must
be dispiriting for them to watch others drawing the same salary for doing
much less work.
The yard must once have been a gem,
but in the same way that the working practices have been allowed to
deteriorate, so have the fabric of the yard and its equipment.
All of the above means that as well as being expensive, any work
contracted will inevitably be delivered late and most likely executed
In the end we considered ourselves
lucky. The prices quoted were
outrageous, but we might have been tempted to accept them and give the go
ahead for the yard to do the work, because we really wanted to take the
time to see Malta. However,
our materials were delayed at customs (yes Malta is now in the EU, so
there shouldn’t be any customs clearance, but that’s another story) so
that we were able to watch several botched and late jobs, listen to other
dissatisfied clients, and in the end we
did all of our work ourselves – a pity as we had hoped to see something
more of Malta. This lead to a number of stand up rows with the yard
management who “expected” to be given the work.
NB this is the first shouting argument we have ever had in any yard
The above probably sounds too
negative, but in the month or so we stayed at MIYY we were unable to find
one customer with anything positive to say about the yard (and that
includes the Maltese customers. Now
we all gripe about yards, but generally mostly, we can list some redeeming
features. Not many at MIYY,
but the liferaft service station is first class.
I don’t know if its run as a separate business from the main
yard, but it certainly feels as if it is!
Finally, to give a feel for why we
found the pricing so detached from reality, a couple of examples.
You can judge for yourself:
To polish our new stainless davits, a
roughly 4 metre length of steel tube with a couple of bends and some bits
welded on, they quoted LM380 (that's E700) + tax. We found a guy
with a small stainless workshop in the town who did the job for LM50 all
in. He did some other excellent work for us as well. Though for obvious
reasons he wasn't allowed to work in the yard itself.
To drill a 2" hole in the transom
for our new generator exhaust they quoted LM50 (E100) on the understanding
that I did all the preparation and finishing and they just physically
drilled the hole. I did it myself. Drilling the hole took a
bit less than a minute. Now Samarang was less than 100 metres from
the main workshop, so they'd have to walk very slowly indeed to be able to
justify more than 30 minutes to do the job.
2 man days to lightly abrade the hull
prior to painting (with the caveat that we would have to pay more if it
ended up taking longer). They were absolutely adamant that the job
couldn't be done in less time. I did it myself, 4 hours and the
paint shop foreman commented that I'd probably sanded a bit more than I
actually needed to.
I could go on. It's a long list,
but I think you get the picture.