Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Givens Continued....In the trash can it goes!

So I called again this morning to Givens and had a return call in a few minutes from both Frank and Lori Perrino. Needless to say, they were very unhappy that I was generating negative publicity for them that might negatively impact their business. They had received the tests from my raft and while it may be possible to perform several repairs bringing it back into working order they were of the opinion they no longer desired my patronage as a customer. I explained that the feeling was mutual at this stage and requested they dispose of the raft.

Interestingly, the second half of the conversation turned decidedly more positive. I reiterated that I was aware of the age of the raft and the fact that it my no longer be serviceable. Knowing that, if the raft couldn’t be salvaged, I would need a new raft we discussed purchasing a one when I first contacted Givens.

Frank stated that there were really two options in terms of high quality rafts: Givens & Switlik. Frank said that in order to show there was good faith on their end they would be willing to sell me a replacement raft at dealer cost.

An interesting offer and decidedly unexpected considering the start of the call. I am not sure I’ll take them up on it and will probably wait for next month’s practical sailor where they are doing a new set of raft testing. At least this is finally resolved. I don’t think the folks at Givens are bad people by any means, but I do think they are a little overwhelmed.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I am just back from a 10 day trip to Prague, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia. The trip was a part of the Executive MBA I am pursing and I went into the trip with few expectations except to drink some good beer with my classmates. What happened was something totally different.

Communism fell in the country of Czechoslovakia in 1989 with the student led Velvet Revolution. Since then, the countries have experienced extreme growth, but it has been driven by the youth of the countries. Seemingly, the generation that had come to adulthood under the communist rule was not well prepared for a free market economy. Today that means that the average age of a CEO is around 35. There is a real shortage of highly educated people to continue the growth they have seen so far.

As a part of the trip we were introduced to a tight network of people ranging from two U.S. Ambassadors, the CEO of Sky Europe, the author of the Slovakian Tax Reform (a flat tax of 19%), and Jan Bubenik who founded Bubenik Partners recruiting firm and was a key leader of the student group who led the velvet revolution. The experience has me conflicted for several reasons.

Going sailing was a chance for me to reevaluate where I am and what it is I want to accomplish with the time I have. Trudging up the corporate ladder has lost most of its appeal since I started working after graduate school. I simply don’t have the patience to put in 20 years to make it up the ladder to a management role where I could actually have some impact. As a result, I started looking at traveling and fulfilling a personal dream of seeing the world. All of it. Sailing eventually became the logical way to fulfill that dream on a budget. Now enter the Prague network. What if I could move right into a management level position while simultaneously garnering some international experience? Not to mention the economy is rife with entrepreneurial opportunities. From what I have seen so far, I don’t think I could continue to pursue a corporate career in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean all those aspirations are gone. Now that I’ve found a path to continue the pursuit of those aspirations what does that mean relative to the personal goals of traveling the world?

Is it possible to break a circumnavigation up over a lifetime? Say I go for it as planned in 2008, but head east to the Med instead of south to Panama. Work in Prague for a few years and see what happens? The Croatian coast is supposed to be beautiful with over 1000 islands in its cruising grounds. Not to mention easy access to the Suez and down to the Indian Ocean. I feel like an author who’s come to a cross roads in the story he is telling. How do I want this story to read? What should be the title of my next chapter?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

BM Boat Works & Givens

Boot Stripe $900Bottom Job w/ antifoulant $1482Blister Repair $382Boat Lettering removal $100ST 60 Instrument Installation $400Repair of old and install of new through hulls $250Gelcoat Repair for old instrument housing $350Y-valve for macerator plumbing $50Restuff packing gland $75New Zinks on prop shaft, shaft nut, and others $20Misc. Parts $200Yard fees for haul out $400Mizzen chain plate repair $150rudder glass repair $100

Total: $4959

I'd do it again in a heart beat. 5K is no small figure, but the work looks very good and it would have taken me much longer to get the same result. All of these projects had to be done and done right. If you need work done in the Clear Lake area give Ben a call.

I sent this to Lori, the V.P. at Givens on the 1st. Guess what. No response.

Hi Lori,

It's been two and a half weeks since my last request for an update and still nothing. I am really just looking for some idea of when I might see my raft again. Can you tell me what place it is in line? Has it undergone a pressure test yet? I have an offshore trip scheduled for March 30th and really need that raft back by then. Alternatively, can you send me a loaner until your services team gets through processing mine?