Raptor UK canoe sailing

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June 2012



My Raptor's foil shaft flanges were damaged during my outing on the Forth estuary at the end of April. The bracing on the outer shaft flange tore away from the iako allowing the flange to bend inwards until it hit the foil flange, which prevented further bending. At the other (inner) end of the foil shaft the flange is mounted on a sleeve, which is secured to the forward iako by a bolt and nut. This inner foil shaft flange had also bent somewhat, so that the sleeve was tilted a little on the iako.

I took my damaged forward iako around to Metaplas at the beginning of May, having first phoned and talked to BobG, Metaplas' workshop manager. Unfortunately, although I know he would have been happy helping me out again, he no longer had such a free hand and more restrictions had been placed on him accepting small one-off jobs such as mine. When I arrived at Metaplas (about 42 km/26 miles away) I was duly scolded by the receptionist/office manager, who informed me that she was in charge of quotations, not Bob, and that they were much too busy to take on my project. When I spoke to Bob, he looked embarrassed and suggested I talk to ChrisS, production manager at the nearby Pentland Precision Engineering.

Chris was helpful and said that he'd arrange for a quote to be sent to me by email as soon as possible but when I received it a couple of days later I was dismayed to see that it was for GBP267 (over USD400), excluding 20% tax. The quote was sent by GordonH, PPE's MD, so there was little that Chris could do. He did confirm that PPE's hourly rates were the same as Metaplas' (GBP40), so evidently Gordon had estimated the repair job would take about 6 hours (since material costs would have been quite low). I emailed Gordon, asking if he could reduce the quote at all and promising him a favourable write-up on my web site if he could. I didn't hear anything further for a couple of weeks, so was hopeful that PPE could show some flexibility but when I finally phoned and talked to Gordon I found that this was not the case. I duly collected my iako from Chris, who apologised for not being able to help me further. A colleague of his at PPE recommended that I talk to Eddie Rankin at Pentland Tech, a company in Dalkeith, about a further 4 miles east.

This turned out to be a father (Eddie) and son (Evan) metal fabrication company, with smaller premises than Metaplas and PPE. I explained to them the saga that I'd been through trying to have my iako repaired for a reasonable price; when I told them the quote I'd received from PPE they both laughed. Engineering companies in the Edinburgh area seem to be a fairly close-knit community. Eddie told me that he had actually founded Metaplas himself (in the 80s) and he showed me some old photos of the company from that time. They both knew many of the personalities at both Metaplas and PPE. I left the iako with them, confident that their quote would be much more reasonable and this turned out to be the case. Evan phoned me later the same day with a quote of less than half PPE's (GBP120) and he promised to have my iako ready to collect within a couple of days. I gave him the go-ahead and in the event he completed the job the very next morning.





When I collected my iako the next day, Evan told me that someone had been round from PPE that same morning, to borrow some machining dies, so these companies are obviously prepared to help each other out at times, even though they are competitors. Evan had added a much longer brace to the outside of the outer foil shaft flange (to spread the load) and also (at my request) added small inner braces to both outer and inner foil shaft flanges (there's no room for anything larger). He was confident that these modifications should prevent the problem from reoccurring. Chris at PPE proposed a slightly different approach. He'd suggested welding a sleeve over the damaged section of iako, and then welding the outer foil shaft flange to this sleeve. This slightly more complex solution might have accounted for some (but not all) of the difference between the two quotes.

Needless to say, Pentland Tech is highly recommended by me (and I didn't need to offer them the inducement of a favourable mention here to receive a reasonable quote). They are fast, friendly and reasonably priced and their work appears to be of a high standard. Everything a canoe-sailor could wish for (or biker - another market they cater for). If I include my travel costs (about GBP40), the total iako repair bill was GBP160 (about USD250).

It turns out that BobG left Metaplas shortly after I saw him there at the beginning of May. I was worried that I might have been responsible in some way for this move but was assured that this wasn't the case and that, in any event, Bob had gone straight into another job. Good news and I

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