When you’ve booked a week-long charter aboard a custom-designed Italian yacht, and are dreaming of sunbathing on its teak deck after a day snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, the last thing you want to hear is, “Sorry, we have to cancel—our engine won’t start.”
“It’s not a cheap holiday,” says Mark Miles, one of the owners of Pacific Wave, a 72-foot (22-meter) sailing yacht powered by a Cat® 3126 marine engine. “I hate the idea of having to phone up guests and say we can’t do a trip. Thankfully, we’ve never had to do it yet.”
But this summer, Miles and co-owner Lynn Griffiths—who make up Pacific Wave’s two-person crew—came close to making that call for the first time since they began chartering in 2008. Normally based in the British Virgin Islands, the pair had moved the yacht south to Grenada for hurricane season and had booked two weeks’ worth of charters in the Grenadines.
“Then we started having intermittent electrical issues, which led to some problems starting the engine,” Miles says. “Like anything electrical, it was difficult to diagnose.”
So Miles and Griffiths contacted Cat Concierge, a global call center available 24/7 to the owners of yachts powered by Cat engines. Bill Livingston fielded the call and immediately went to work trying to get a technician from the nearest Cat dealer—Rimco Barbados—out to the yacht to fix the problem.
Unfortunately, timing wasn’t on the Pacific Wave crew’s side. The annual Carnival celebration, which according to Miles virtually shuts down the island of Grenada, had just begun. Flying in a technician from Barbados would have required a private jet charter costing upwards of $14,000.
Instead, with Rimco Barbados’s help, Livingston found an engineer on Grenada who specialized in electrical issues and could board Pacific Wave the next day. In the meantime, Livingston’s colleague Roy Slaughter studied the vessel’s schematics so he would be ready to troubleshoot remotely with the engineer.
“We ended up spending four hours on the phone together doing tests to try to find out the cause of the issue,” Slaughter says. “Eventually we determined it was just a low-oil-pressure switch that had gone faulty. For the first issue on this engine in 10 years, it was a pretty minor one.”
With the problem solved, Miles and Griffiths breathed a big sigh of relief—and got back to prepping for their guests.
“The service from Roy and Bill was fantastic—we would never have been able to keep our charters going without Cat Concierge,” Miles says. “I’m sure it wasn’t the case, but it seemed like we were the only people they were thinking about.”
That level of personal attention not only kept Pacific Wave’s charter business up and running, but it also could have been a lifesaver. Soon after the electrical issue was fixed, Tropical Storm Danny—which ultimately peaked as a Category 3 hurricane—began bearing down on the Caribbean.
“Complete safety for us is in Trinidad, which is about 10-12 hours from Grenada,” Miles says. “Thanks to Cat Concierge, now we can run away from hurricanes if we need to.”