IF YOU DO BOAT WORK IN THAILAND
DO NOT HIRE THIS MAN!
WARAROB PUNPUECH (GIG) IS NOT HONEST
His Name is Wararob Punpuech and he is known as Gig or Mr. Gig.
He does business as
Mr. Gig Repair
Boat Work Service Ltd., part
(Yacht Management Painting& Woodworks)
20/58Moo2Thepsasattri R. A Muang Phuket Thailand 83000
Email: info@Boatworkservice.com or Boatworkservice@hotmail.com
Tell: +66 (0)81 788 8951 +66 (0)86 268 3714
Company Registration No.3-0335-5425-0
As far as I know, Gig is no longer at the address above, which is in Boat Lagoon in Phuket. Last I heard he was in Bangkok. Regardless of where you find him, do not hire him.
Gig is not to be trusted. The short story behind our vehement warning is that he did poor work and he stole (yes, stole) US$9,000 worth of Awlgrip and Awlcraft paint from us. Continue reading for more of the story and to see examples of his work.
We interviewed and got quotes from 6 contractors in Phuket. Gig was not the most expensive, nor was he the cheapest. He came with a good recommendation from some cruisers we knew who were having work done by him.
We signed a contract with Gig in March of 2013.
Here is Gig signing that contract. And here are the details of the contract:
And now to the work that Gig and his workers did:
This is a piece of plywood all epoxied up and ready to replace a piece of delaminated hull.
Thank goodness I had stopped my project to check on the worker at that moment... the wood is completely delaminated and the carpenter was going to use it! No problem, Boss, he said. Just use more epoxy.
Here is another piece of wood I stopped them from using. After this, I did not let Gig's crew do any carpentry repairs.
Though Gig said they were experienced at fiberglassing, we had to show his crew the correct way to do it. And unless we were working alongside, they would leave dozens of bubbles under the glass.
Before we began to fill and fair, we had to rough up the fiberglass.
There were quite a few spots where the workers sanded right through the newly-laid glass.
The crew began slathering on the filler. The filler was often where it shouldn't be... like on the bottom paint (which we had suggested they remove before working on the topsides though we were unsuccessful in getting this to happen).
Each day we said we did not want too much filler. And every day they said,
No problem. We sand off.
But that is not what happened.
Migration is an old glass-over-ply trimaran and she will never have the perfectly smooth look of a boat that came out of a mold. It is very common for Thai workers to want a boat to look smooth and shiny because that is what they think is important -- as opposed to strength and durability.
The filler was getting thicker and thicker (and heavier and heavier) and every day we said the same thing: No More Filler. Finally we had a Thai friend who is much respected in the marine business come to help us. She explained in Thai that we were not happy with what was happening. Gig asked what we wanted to do. We said we wanted the filler removed.
So that is what they did.
It took a week to sand most of it off. So much wasted time and materials!
The work was delayed for many reasons -- some of the fault lay with Gig's crew and some lay in the fact that we found additional problems with the boat that needed to be addressed before we could finish painting.
Finally, in September, the boat was primed and ready for top coat. However, though we had paid Gig for the paint, he had not ordered it. It would be weeks before it arrived.
For some reason, Gig's crew decided this is how to paint a boat with non-skid: vinyl flooring taped to the deck where the non-skid would be. We didn't understand as we have previously painted the non-skid ourselves and had never seen or heard of this process. But they insisted this worked well. However, since the paint hadn't arrived, they couldn't do any work and had to remove all of the tape and vinyl -- another two weeks of wasted work.
We were due to fly to the USA to visit family and we were not going to allow any work to go forward without us being present. So we told Gig he would have to wait until we returned. He was not happy about it but, having seen the type of mistakes his crew made, we were not going to relent on this point.
We covered Migration with tarps (she was under a tent as well) and left. The paint, ironically, arrived a few days before we left.
While we were in the US, I called Awlgrip and had several discussions with their technical support people. I wanted to know how we should treat the primer since it would end up sitting for several months before the topcoat was applied. During these talks I realized that Gig had sanded the primer far too much. He had used 600 grit when the manufacturer recommends 320-400. I finally realized (took me long enough!) that Gig and his crew really had no clue what they were doing. (Later, when I told Gig that Awlgrip recommended 320-400 grit on the primer, he said "If you wanted me to follow all of the instructions from the paint company, I would have charged you more."). Alene and I made the decision to fire him and hire someone else to finish the topcoat.
Unfortunately, we had broken one of the cardinal rules of boat work in Thailand: NEVER PAY FOR MORE WORK THAN HAS BEEN COMPLETED (except initially when most contractors need money up front for materials). Gig had asked for an advance because he told us his ex-wife had beaten up his son and daughter. He even sent us photos of his son in the hospital. So we had paid for about 90% of the contract though he had only completed about 75% of the work.
We felt we would just absorb the loss. We also thought he would be happy to be out of the contract as he clearly wasn't going to make any money on this job. However, he was not happy. Worse, he refused to return all the paint we had paid for. Gig had overextended himself, was out of cash and was hoping to use the final 10% from our project to keep himself solvent. He said he could not give us the paint because he hadn't paid the chandlery for it.
Well, we learned that lesson the hard way.
We fired him, hired Mr. Oh of Oh Coatings (who we should have hired in the first place but we thought his quote was way too expensive), and had to buy the expensive paint all over again. The job ending up taking many more months and many more thousands of dollars than planned. (A note: Awlgrip products are ridiculously expensive in Thailand.)
But the ghost of Gig remained...
Some of the primer peeled off. His crew had used silicone to fill the hardware holes in the deck and not cleaned up properly. Applying primer over silicone is not a good idea. Not only that, the deck had not even been cleaned well. We can only hope the rest of the deck was not in such terrible condition and the primer will last.
Enough. If you still hire Gig after reading this... well, I guess you have your own lessons to learn.
Gig and his foreman, Goi.
Not everything Gig did was of poor quality. He did some excellent teak and inlay work on our engine room hatches; he is a carpenter by trade, not a painter or fiberglasser. This is an example of one of the big problems in Phuket -- anyone who speaks English can decide they are a contractor and go into the business, offering all services. The language barrier should not be dismissed.
Gig also did a very nice small repair of the bunk in the aft cabin. There was only one problem. He had to remove a piece of wood that had been screwed in from below. Instead of removing the screws, he just pounded them down.
What was below the bunk? The wing deck... all primed and ready to be painted....
As for Gig's workers, we liked his foreman, Goi, very much. But he, like Gig, thought he was an expert at fiberglass and LPU systems but really lacked the proper knowledge. Thais are very proud and it is difficult to make them believe that a boat owner, despite having decades of experience, could possibly know more than they.
The hard workers on Gig's crew certainly outnumbered the layabouts. They were not lazy. They just did not have the proper skills to do this kind of job -- though they thought they did. Unfortunately, even when we showed them how we wanted something done, they would only do it that way when we were watching.
As we have said in other places on this web site and on Noonsite.com, we love Thailand. But we detest the yacht service and repair industry in Phuket. Though there are some good craftsmen to be found, generally it is overpriced, riddled with dishonest contractors, and the reputation it once had for good quality is undeserved.
ONE FINAL NOTE: If you have honest questions about Gig or our experience in Phuket, feel free to write. However, if you just want to tell me what an idiot I am or how I have it all wrong, please save your time (and mine) and use the energy saved to repair something on your boat. Thanks.