My brother, Tony Lazzara, is VP of our customer support team and the following is a report he did after a recent trip to help an owner.
I received a call at 330pm on Tuesday August 18th from a captain on one of our LSX model vessels. He informed us that he “struck” a submerged object upon entry into the port in Nassau. The captain had already dove the vessel to inspect the damage at which time he assessed the vessel as having damage to props on drives #2,3,4… The owner was scheduled to come in to meet the boat in two days and had several guests planning to accompany him. After asking the captain the appropriate questions, Dick and I decided it would be best to charter a plane the next am and fly over to assess damage and rule out structural damage to the hull and drives.
The biggest problem we faced was getting 2 sets of props from Volvo to Tampa in less than 18hrs. After one call to Doug Gerber at Volvo in Virginia the props were on a plane and expected to be in Tampa by 9am weds morning. The Volvo staff is some of the most dedicated service minded partners we have. They continually amaze us with their ability to meet our sometime outrageous requests with regards to service and parts. Volvo is top notch! Our Staff at our Lauderdale location assembled 2 more sets of props for us to swing by and pick up as well. We brought an extra set just in case! When you go on trips like these you try to pack light but at the same time you want to be sure to bring extra parts because inevitably there will be something wrong that you didn’t expect. It’s better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it. Parts and tools can be hard to come by in some of the more remote parts of the Caribbean, Nassau is like NY City compared to some of the places we have had to visit to repair vessels.
Our team gathered all the tools and parts here at the factory. We decided to take two of Lazzara’s best, Keith Stanley and Alex Cadiz. Keith Stanley is an engineer by trade and is also one of the best propulsion experts I have met in this industry. Alex heads up our mechanical team in production. Alex installed the engines and drives on this particular vessel so with that experience and knowledge no better person for the job. These guys are the best in the business at what they do and were perfect for this mission. Both have traveled abroad and were familiar with what we were up against.
Wednesday August 19th
At 1030 am we boarded a King Air 200. As it turns out the plane we charted was owned by one of our yacht owners. We headed to Lauderdale where we had another 2 sets of propellers waiting for us. Our parts coordinator did an excellent job with some last minute requests for parts and tools! Omar our parts coordinator is excellent and posses unparalleled commitment to the customer! With everything in had it was off to Odyssey Air formerly Millionaire airport. When we landed and proceeded inside, the immigrations lady gave us a difficult time about our intentions and having a work permit. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s always carry lots of cash when you travel abroad, you never know when you’re going to need it and what you’re going to need it for! After getting through Customs we had a van take us to the marina in Atlantis. The captain and mate were anticipating our arrival. The captain had already removed the damaged propellers. He had them on the dock under a blanket. When he lifted up the blanket and we looked at the propellers the damage was severe. We knew we were going to be up against the wall with this project. We suited up in our diving gear and were in the water by 250pm. We had to work quickly! We also used the vessels built in Brownies system. That was such a big help, I can’t even put into words how excellent that system was for this mission.
Our first goal was to assess damage to drives, hull, and ring that the drive sits in. Next was to determine if the shafts were bent and if so how severe. This was difficult under water as visibility was minimal at best. It took an hour or so to check all three drives. Next we put on the new propellers and by 6pm we were ready to sea trial the vessel. We took the vessel out and brought her up gingerly. Alex and Keith were in the engine room and Dick was at the helm. We brought her up to 1850 rpms. She felt good and smooth. Alex recognized an oil leak on the transmission on drive #3. He recommended powering down engine #3, to be safe. When you have 3 other engines it’s not a big deal to lose one. The beauty of our quad design!!!
We agreed vessel was ok to run at 1850 rpms. The owner was coming in tomorrow and probably would never know anything happened had the captain not told him. We were back at the dock about 7pm, jumped in the cab and headed to the airport. We landed back in Tampa at 10pm, another successful customer support job complete.
We believe the vessel struck and underwater Dredge pipe that was unmarked. We heard in the marina that there had been reports of this happening to other vessels. The locals told us they were dredging near the mouth of the port. It’s a real unfortunate event but one that happens from time to time. We have a great team at Lazzara, it never ceases to amaze me the level of dedication our team has to making our customers happy! Thanks Alex, Dick and Keith.