Unfortunately, the time when the words hardware and hard-wearing had much in
common is in danger of slipping behind us.
Some marine hardware manufacturers have already fallen prey to the greed that
causes goods to be made with built-in obsolescence, so that the customer has to
return and spend more money all the sooner.
One can hardly single out marine businesses, it happens in many spheres of life,
but perhaps not with the same potential danger involved. Before we go any
further, it should be said that a great many yacht chandlers are unaware of the
deteriorating/ poor quality of goods from manufacturers whose goods have been on
sale in their stores for years, until customers start returning goods which have
failed to live up to the claims on the packaging. The reputable chandler is
always as disappointed as his client and replaces faulty goods immediately.
All too often, the presence of the word Yacht, or Marine, on packaging seems to
provide the vendor with an excuse to bump the price of the article up, in spite
of the fact that the same item is sold down the road for the automobile industry
at one third of the price.
No, we're not talking about things which have been 'marinised'
we're talking about identical, unchanged items which are subject to
profiteering, in some regions of the world.
All this would be bad enough, but when the vendor sells an object upon which
ones' life may depend, it ought to be fit for the purpose attributed to it. The
disreputable manufacturers and purveyors of substandard and dangerous goods do a
great disservice to the reputation of the vast majority of companies, whom we
believe to be trying to maintain a high standard and, where possible, improve
There should, perhaps, be a distinction made between goods designed for weekend
and holiday boaters and goods for the serious ocean voyager.
There are certain items which cost far more to purchase than their manufacture
and marketing can possibly justify which, whilst they might last years with only
occasional use, wear out in less time than it takes to get sensibly underway on
an ocean passage. If one were able to tell what to buy in order to avoid the
nuisance, even at a slightly greater cost, it might help.
We will be hoping to hear praises for hardware which is worthy of it, advice for
those uncertain of the best hardware for different purposes, care and
maintenance tips, comparisons and so on. Opinions, comments and experiences can
be shared for the benefit of all. Don't put it off, drop us a line right away!
In the meantime, we would like to make mention of Budget Marine, the Caribbean chandlery
chain for having consistently treated us with total fairness. As cash customers
with their branch in Chaguaramas, Trinidad, we spent a sizeable part of
our total budget, during a refit in 1998/99, and
subsequently spent more on various purchases for Leopard Normand III's parts and
spares stores as well as the usual irresistible items for increasing comfort
Anything in their extensive catalogue which was not available on the day
we asked for it was always brought in from Sint Maarten promptly, no matter how
small the requirement and offers were always made to help us get heavy purchases
to the boat by the cheerful sales team, after we had completed our
not as an inducement to buy. We enjoyed doing business with the store more than
any other in the area and their prices tended to beat the others anyway, as did
the range of goods on offer.
By the time we realised we had a problem with one
of our purchases we were long distant from Trinidad. At their store in Simpson
Bay, Sint Maarten, in the Leeward Islands, the manager was courteous and friendly and
replaced the problem item without any hesitation whatsoever. Since there was no
way he could possibly have known whether we were regular customers
or one-time purchasers, this would appear to be corporate policy and we were impressed with the service.
Having already exchanged the item, he asked whether there was any possibility of
a receipt still being in existence, of which he might be able to make a copy. It
was only then that he discovered we were regular clients of the business. As a
thick stack of Budget Marine receipts was pulled out of our accounting folder
his eyes widened somewhat but, since he had treated us like valued customers
from the start, he had no need, or reason, to alter his attitude towards us.
If you are headed for any island where there is a
Budget Marine, you can get in touch to organise what you need as follows: The
details are taken from their excellent Marine Equipment Catalogue,
available free at every branch we visited, which is all of them with the
exception the one in Jolly Harbour, Antigua.
The main store (absolutely huge by Caribbean standards) is Budget Marine
N.V., Waterfront Road 25b, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles:
Tel: 5995-43134; Fax: 5995-44409 between 8am and 5pm on weekdays and 8am and 1pm
Budget Nautique, Simpson Bay Yacht Club, Sint Maarten, Netherlands
Antilles, deals in all the delightful clothing and lifestyle accessories for the
Tel: 5995-42866; Fax: 5995-44847 between 9am and 6pm on weekdays and 9am and 4pm
on Saturdays. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would find it easier to speak French, or are intending to visit the
French side of the island, you may like to call:
L' Ile Marine S.A.R.L., Rue Lady Fish, Sandy Ground Bridge, Saint Martin, French
Tel: 590-290860; Fax: 590-290896 between 8.30am and 5pm on weekdays and 8.30am
and 12.30pm on Saturdays.
Budget Marine Antigua Ltd., Jolly Harbour Boatyard, Bolans, Antigua, West
Tel: 268-462-8753 or 460-6825; Fax: 268-462-7727 between 8.30am and 12.30pm or
1.30pm and 5pm on weekdays and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays.
Budget Marine Trinidad Ltd., Western Main Road, Chaguaramas, Trinidad
(next to Powerboats):
Tel: 868-634-2006; Fax: 868-634-4382 between 8am and 4.30pm on weekdays and
8.30am and 12pm on Saturdays.
There is also a website at www.budmar.an
which you may like to visit.
Do let them know you read about them here - they deserve a pat on the back
and it is nice to be able to give them one!