T - I hear ya on the KK's. But putting a BB in my boat won't do a thing for it except increase my fuel bill. The hull configuration of a keel boat is such that it has a optimum hull speed. You can force it to go faster, but the power expended will not be proportinal to the speed increase achieved. And power takes fuel. Naaa, another nice smooth-running Ford 351 it will be. If I can find a new one next year, that is.
Capt. T. - See that hasn't been my experience. I find that Freeport Marine is actually LESS on many items than West Marine. It wasn't always that way, for about the first 20 years of my boating experience Freeport was always considered the high-priced alternative to the chains. Good inventory and massive experience, but hi-priced.
But a funny thing started happening about 5 seasons ago, it seems right about the time that West swallowed up EB Marine. (And WAY after they ate up Shanes.) It seemed that the pricing at West started creeping upward until now on many items they are WAY more expensive that Freeport Marine. Example: last season I had to pull my fuel tanks for repair and glass encapsulation. The re-install involved foaming them back in place with that hideously expensive two-part Evercoat foam. So I priced it at West, Boater's World and Freeport Marine. I cannot recall EXACT pricing, but it was at least 20% cheaper at Freeport Marine. Same for Epoxy resin, though not quite 20%.
And as far as tough to find items, NOBODY can beat those guys at FM. Example: last season the heim joint at the rear of the steering hydraulic ram split in half left me without steerage. So I made the rounds of the various chains and nothin'. Not a one had the piece I needed. All could order it, but I'm a working man, time is short and I wanted the boat ready to go the next weekend. So I traipsed over to FM and gues what? In stock and a few bucks LESS than WM asked. Another example: My dock buddy has a Guest spotlight with the flood/spot combo single bulb. We needed it for pulliing our green crab pots that nite and naturally it worked fine all season till the Fall. So Freddy made the rounds of all the chains and no-go, none had it. Again all could have gotten it shipped in, but not in stock. He went to Freeport and guess what, in stock. The light was up and running that afternoon and we did not lose a nite's work.
This kind of inventory mangmt and knowledge is too valuable to lose, so I make it my biz to patronize them whenever possible and if I pay a few percent more once in a while, so be it, FR is too valuable a resource to let slip away. Its really no different than buying your gear at your local tackle sho[ rather than via internet sales or thse big catalog players. Some stuff is just not obtainable locally, so for that stuff, there's not much choice, but really, who would I rather see succeed? Mike at Causeway or Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri? The choice is clear for me with
tackle or boat supplies.