Which is more practical to know about: refrigeration, sailmaking or diesel repair? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-16-2011
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Which is more practical to know about: refrigeration, sailmaking or diesel repair?

I have often read that some of the best trades to know as a liveaboard cruiser are diesel engine repair, refrigeration repair and sailmaking. These are three trades in short supply in cruising areas, and one can put some money in the kit and support oneself doing these sorts of jobs for other boaters. Is this really true? If so, which is the best skill to have, as far as finding work goes?
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Old 12-16-2011
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Unlikely you could make any real money.. marinas are going to use their own people and most owners want free to very very cheap help. (my opinion)
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Old 12-16-2011
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Chances are there will be a ready volunteer nearby to help with someone's problem, and besides it's very difficult to legally work in a foreign country (if that's in the cards), esp if there are locals set up to do that work.. It would be a good way to alienate the locals, never a good idea.

I think it would be tough slog as a business/livelihood, however having those kinds of skills and a helpful mindset might keep you in beer and goodies...
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Old 12-16-2011
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None. People with the problems will already know how to order a new sail from a loft, or repair it them selves, if the refrigeration is shot, they will know where to order the parts from, and get a certified tech to install it. If their diesel needs repair, no one with $ would have an uncertified unexperienced individual mess with their motor, if that is what they wanted, they would do it themselves. So go learn all of them, so you can fix your own, or just save the time and $, and put it towards maintenance. IMHO.
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Old 12-16-2011
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I dunno if you could do it but it sounds like something that would work. Kinda like handyman, not every cruiser is loaded some need to do this stuff on a budget. I can see people needing help enough so this would make some money. I wouldn't plan on it becoming prosperous but I think you could offset costs quite a lot.
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I mean, I am assumiing one would get certified in the refrigeration or diesel thing before offering their services.

I have a buddy at my marina who plans on helping supprt himself by diving and cleaning hull bottoms/replacing zincs/etc. He is already an amateur diver and has all the equipment. I'm just not too sure how u break into something like that. If he just shows up in a marina in key west, and starts advertising on craigslist and by word of mouth, I bet he woulld get enough work to support his minimal cruising needs. Maybe not...
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Old 12-19-2011
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Learn to repair outboards. Especially in the islands. I've had fish galore, more fruit then we could possibly eat and made a few friends as well. Sometimes there are things money can't buy you. Learn all the above for your own self sufficiency. You might be able to make a few bucks here and there, but paying your way could be a bit harder...
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Old 12-19-2011
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As a fellow sailor personally I would help some one in need and charge the a rum and coke and a few stories.. Do onto others..
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Old 12-19-2011
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Let's assume you are talking about being somewhat remote. Even a 4 or 5 hr sail to the nearest marina with repair services can be a significant distraction. As for certified? I would love to know how many real service providers in the islands are actually certified.

1. Sail repair.... Not verynhard to hand stitch a patch to get you by for a bit. Many even have a spare sail, so this isn't likely the biggest demand.

2. Diesel repair.... You still have the sails to power the boat. No iron genny is a docking problem for most, but could be dealt with the next time your travels bring you close to services.

3. Refrigeration repair.... What? The ritas and beer are warm!? Emergency.........

I'm going with refrigeration.
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Old 12-19-2011
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Own a boat for long enough and you will become proficient in all forms of boaty things. Then you pass it on as others pass it on to you. Cruisers tend to be self surficient and are always there to help each other out. and payment.... well it seems what goes around comes around plus a shared bottle or two or three.....
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