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They didn’t tell me it rains in Palma!

My Friday in Palma constituted what the journos would describe as a ‘slow news day’. For most of the daylight hours it was drizzling and then, from about 5.00pm, the mist rolled in and it really began to rain quite hard. Not something one normally associates with Mallorca because most of us visit it only for our summer holidays when it is baking hot and steamy.

With my son Barry necessarily engaged upon buzzing around and about on urgent business I was being left to my own devices. In the event I faced an official programme involving little more than checking out of my hotel in the morning and hanging around all day until my flight out at 9.00pm last night. This I accomplished by strolling down to the main drag and walking past the marinas to the Club de Mar, where I secured a base camp on a long sofa looking back towards the cathedral a couple of miles away in the distance, a comfortable vantage point for people-watching of every variety but also (very important, this) for securing food and drink, not to mention taking comfort breaks as and whenever they might be needed.

plama5And so my day passed until 5.30pm, when (in the rain) Barry arrived with two workmen to examine a yacht in the marina in order to prepare a quotation for a significant amount of work, i.e. replacing the deck.

Some of the oddities of the industry were explained to me over a drink or three afterwards in the bar. In all honesty, the job being quoted for was a complicated and therefore very expensive one in relation to the residual value of the thirty year old yacht involved.

I asked how they would deal with this situation – it seemed to me little different from owning a treasured but ancient motor car involved in a minor accident and discovering that the cost of repairs is going to exceed the value of the car: time for a ‘write-off’?

However, it’s not quite like that in yachting. Yacht owners tend to have a sentimental attachment to their boats that exceeds all normal human understanding. Many would happily spend more to restore ‘her’ to her former best [it’s always referred to as a female, like a long-lost long favourite girlfriend or mistress from the past] than she’d be worth after the work is done or even than a modern equivalent would cost brand new.

Apart from the simple joys of spending time with my male offspring, whom I normally do not see more than two or three times a year (though we’re usually in fortnightly contact by one means or another), my purpose in travelling down to Mallorca had been to gain greater understanding of how his business is going. The good part is that he’s always flat out – there is more going on than one might think a small team like his could cope with – but when you take into account the strains and stresses of dealing with sometimes difficult high net worth individuals used to getting their own way – and, of course, the late or non-paying clients who abound in every industry and thereby place the ‘little man’ under intense pressure – it’s not an industry for the faint-hearted.

I couldn’t work in it myself.



About William Byford

A partner in an international firm of loss adjusters, William is a keen blogger and member of the internet community. More Posts