Saturday, November 08, 2008

Installing Windvane Self Steering Gear Part 2 - 185

Note: If you have been referred here by another site, this is only part of a multipart series.  To see the rest of the story click here and start from the bottom.
Montreal is a pretty city as far as cities go.

In an earlier post I talked about why I decided to trust Yves Gelines.  Once I made that decision, I needed to verify if Yves was full of crap or not.  Fortunately, I was also trying to nail down my route around the Great Lakes and further.  Yves builds the Cape Horn windvane in Oka, Quebec.  Oka is in the backyard of Montreal, which is right on the St. Lawrence seaway route out of the Great Lakes.  So the main thing that pushed me over the edge between taking the Erie Canal out of the Great Lakes or the St. Lawrence seaway was I could visit Yves.  Why not?  When I got near Montreal I called Cape Horn and they happily agreed to pick me up from the train station near Oka.  The embarrassing part of all this is when Yves came to pick me up, I didn't recognize him immediately.  He was very gracious and took me to their factory.  What I found was a minuscule machine shop dedicated to building one product.  Everything was neat and orderly, and everything was geared toward quality.  In talking to Yves it became apparent to me that he and his company are dedicated to taking care of the customer, and building a quality vane.  I put my hand on the actual product, looked at the windvane installed on his boat, inspected the welds on vanes in progress (beautiful work) and put my eyes on the operation.  After 20 years of working in the automotive field and visiting shops all over the continent, I have gotten pretty good at sizing up what is a poorly run low quality and what is top notch.  Yves is upper level.  The next thing that happened was probably the most important.  Yves offered to drive the 45 minutes to my boat and measure it himself.  

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