Thursday, 29 April 2010

All hands on deck

After a very busy Easter, things have quietened down a bit but staff illness (and some idleness (taken care of)) is keeping us on our toes.

We've got more people now working on Fair Freedom which, whilst not looking hugely different from before (hence no photos), is progressing nicely again. It's almost ready for a mist-coat of undercoat and final filling, sanding and then the full repaint. Once the gloss is on and dried, we'll start refitting all the windows (some of which have been refurbished) and re-engine her. Refitting of cabins is also underway.

Fleet Improvements
We've recently re-carpeted Rambling Freedom and Real Freedom and plan to do the same with Absolute Freedom and Flight of Freedom in the coming weeks. also put lino in the cockpits of Pure Freedom 1 & 2 and recarpet the cabins also.

Absolute Freedom has had a new CD Radio unit fitted which includes an Aux-in socket for MP3 players (and will play MP3 from CDs too). 

True Freedom has had a brand new cooker installed and Tranquil Freedom was finally finished in time for Easter. The emerging work on Tranquil was quite staggering and really swallowed time. The original plan was for a simple removal of the old galley equipment and cabinets and replacement with new units, cooker, hob and fridge. Well, that was the plan; sadly, unseen leaking windows had damaged hidden fixings and panels and we ended up removing two windows, all the wall panelling, some floors, the entire helm unit and seat and replacing. It's now looking really good - new steering unit and stainless wheel, new control switches and engine control, totally re-laminated to fit in with the new galley colours and, of course, the new galley equipment as previously seen plus a new CD/Radio player as per Absolute Freedom.

New images will be uploaded soon - some IT difficulties have caused various problems over the last couple of weeks and delays in certain areas.

May Deals
We've got a busy May Day bank holiday ahead of us with virtually all the larger cruisers booked and healthy interest in Picnic and Day boats.

Also, there are some great deals to be had for May holiday savings on both boats and cottages.

Boat Sleeps From / To Nights Was Now Save
Sweet Freedom 2 12 - 15 May 3 £316.29 £280 £36.29
Real Freedom 2 8 - 15 May 7 £552 £420 £132
Real Freedom 2 15 - 22 May 7 £552 £420 £132
Song Of Freedom 5 5 - 10 May 5 £370.14 £300 £70.14
Song Of Freedom 5 8 - 15 May 7 £583 £450 £133
Tranquil Freedom 6 8 - 15 May 7 £700 £500 £200
Tranquil Freedom 6 15 - 22 May 7 £700 £500 £200
Fine Freedom 6 8 - 15 May 7 £803 £523 £280
Fine Freedom 6 15 - 22 May 7 £803 £523 £280
Spirit of Freedom 6 8 - 15 May 7 £725 £550 £175
Spirit of Freedom 6 15 - 22 May 7 £725 £550 £175
Flight of Freedom 6 8 - 15 May 7 £772 £572 £200
Absolute Freedom 7 5 - 10 May 5 £491.71 £400 £91.71
Absolute Freedom 7 8 - 15 May 7 £808 £558 £250
True Freedom 7 8 - 15 May 7 £974 £774 £200
True Freedom 7 15 - 22 May 7 £974 £774 £200
Rambling Freedom 8 5 - 10 May 5 £438 £400 £38
Rambling Freedom 8 8 - 15 May 7 £714 £580 £134

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter rush

Sorry for the delay between postings - it's been really manic trying to get everything ready for Easter.

Poor decision?

I've tried to be honest and open in my previous blogs and it seems to have got me into trouble. It's always a fine balancing act between what to write and what not to, particularly in relation to what we're doing to our boats and this is where we came unstuck.

Fair Freedom has featured heavily in my text on this blog; how she's been in need of being taken apart and rebuilt and the process of doing this. I made no secret of the enormity of the job which is some we simply didn't appreciate until we started getting her apart; emerging work all so often swallows more time than you ever imagined the job would.

Well, the Easter customer happened to read the blog and emailed in horror as they realised it was their boat. A week before we got that email, we were quiet confident of finishing her off for Easter but as that week went on, we had major problems with engines which just swallowed our time on other boats. This left Fair untouched for the week.

The next week, we had more engine problems with the fleet.

And the next. In all, we've hoiked out four engines in March with each one being stripped and rebuilt - sadly two were too much work for the time allowed and so replacements were sourced.

All this meant that Fair Freedom is still in bits up at Richardson's and our customer was upgraded to True Freedom.

We'll be back on Fair over the next few days.

Test of strength

Easter was a success with an empty boat yard for the first time since the October 2009 half term holiday. Sadly, the weather put paid to walk-up bookings for some of the day boats, but all things considered, we've done well in terms of both getting the fleet ready (though I'd have been happier if we could have done some more polishing) and in terms of the booking levels.

However, it was not without its problems. Quite apart from the occasional engineering call-out which we half expect on the first busy part of the season, our roller iron started blowing the main fuses on Saturday. This is catastrophic; this old-faithfull bit of kit is a king-pin in our laundry system. Replacements cost over £900 and we simply had to have it working for the Monday turn arounds. Luckily, we found the problem and now it's a good as ever, but, for a while, there was panic.

Panic over, it's now 7:15am and time for me to head back to the yard for another day.