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  #11  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

Great topic, Jonesy!

I think the right mindset certainly helps. Often times, some folks are waaaaay too hesitant to actually make the leap from contemplation to execution since they probably are a little intimidated and lack enough confidence in their own skills and problem solving abilities.

In my view, that attitude is unfortunate and likely misplaced.

Here are a few tidbits I'd toss out:

1. It ain't brain surgery -- it's a boat. Your patient won't croak on the table if you do something a little wrong.

2. Manage your expectations -- Remember: The perfect is the enemy of the good enough. If you did it so badly the first time that it's really bugging you, you can do it again for likely a lot less than it would have cost to pay someone to do it for you once.

3. The confidence you build will serve you well in other aspects of your life in general.

4. You will likely make new friends in the process.

5. The internet is a great equalizer -- you can see how others have done similar projects, and add their examples to your toolbox. Just remember that there are also inadvertent examples of how NOT to do things, so don't rely on a single source.

6. Be cautious -- this can become more addictive than meth (and just as big a drain on your finances.)
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

Learn by watching and doing. Pay yard first time and watch closely. Keep mouth closed as they are on a clock at $95/hr. Once they leave look it over and go through sequence of job in my mind. Always find out favorite liquid of every yard monkey. At end of day approach with beer/Capt Morgan etc. and sit with them and learn. Still a total newbie but slowly getting it. Also find fellow cruisers very helpful. I get them up the boson's chair then when I need the same they get me up. New area - chat up everyone. Try to offer a drink or a bite with ones who seem skilled and friendly. Very easy to tell. Just look at their boat.
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  #13  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Bubblehead's thread on the three year Albin Vega refit got me thinking.
Snip...
Anybody else picked up a valuable skillset or two that they figured they would never attempt, and now apply on a regular basis?
I've frequently attempted things w/o being sure I could finish them. Tried rebuilding a tractor water pump at 15 years old with no experience, advice, or help. My son even asked me once where I learned all these things. "I just do them," I said.

I will say owning a boat gives me a whole different mindset towards cars and homes. Autos and real estate now look ridiculously simple -- they stand still for maintenance and they don't usually sink.
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  #14  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

My father gave me about the same exact advice on home ownership as Profin. A friend of mine and myself each bought houses at the same time. And we both jumped into working on them. after a few months we were sitting around discussing the trials and tribulations and money spent. My dad said to us, the only difference is attitude/confidence. You may never be an expert at all of it, but you can always try your hand at it. Once in awhile you'll really screw something up, but you can always fix it or pay to get it fixed.

I've approached almost everything this way. Home remodels, Vehicle repair, vehicle restoration, boat repair, boat building, etc. I try to do any of it I can myself. Sometimes I do it for no other reason than to prove its worth paying someone else to do it. (drywall finishing).

Of course I think being given the opportunities as a kid to work with my hands and learn my way around tools and even problem solving helped with my confidence. My dad would tell me in the morning before he left for work that when he got home he expected that I would have the engine out of one of our tractors ready to take to a machine shop. Or, that a water pump in something else had to be done. He never stood over me telling me how to do it, just take lots of notes, draw diagrams, and do it. Then we'd go over it with a critical eye, and point out things that could have been done differently.

I'm trying to pass that along to my daughter, but if you think about it, today's kids don't get as much hands on, doing it yourself sort of thing.

Cheers.
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

Working on boats has definitely helped with my drinking skills!
The more I work on my boat the more I want to drink lol
Maybe that is why sailors and rum go together so well!
Now where did I leave that cork screw thingy.
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  #16  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

After painting the deck and topsides of the last two boats, and building two dinghies, the things I have learned:

1. Sanding
2. Sanding
3. Sanding

Seriously, everything I have done on my boats has been new to me at some point. Some things had a sharp learning curve and others just barely improve.
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  #17  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

This winter we removed the head's holding tank and repaired a crack. Well, John did. I kept my finger on the internet button to buy a new one just in case it didn't work out. But it did. Pressure test was successful. We pressure tested beyond what a pump out would do to it. John has the equipment to do that.

Repeated comments of "You did WHAT?!" by more experienced sailors had me thinking we were, indeed, nuts. Time and smell will tell I guess.
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  #18  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

The Universal Boat Troubleshooting Rules for Any Project.
(Feel free to add your own rules)
  1. Do a little reading first. If you have a manual read it too.
  2. Take your time, you're not on the clock. Everything will take twice as long as you think anyway.
  3. If you're taking apart something complicated take pictures. A little digital camera is your friend.
  4. Put parts into resealable sandwich bags and write what they're for on the bag with a sharpie.
  5. Sometimes drawing diagrams in a notepad is helpful. I keep a little one, maybe 3x4" in the nav desk.
  6. Think before you force anything.
  7. I can absolutely, positively guarantee that you will need the one damned tool you didn't bring and you'll have to run out to the hardware store/marine store/home center to buy one - and it will be a tool that you know you'll probably never use again - and now you'll have two.
  8. You will need one damn screw/nut/bolt to finish a job on a Sunday afternoon. You will learn this five minutes after every store has closed. Always buy extra hardware.
  9. Lube it with Palmolive to slide it on, shoot it with PB Blast to get it off.
  10. When you're really hot, sweaty and frustrated walk away for a few minutes, crack a beer and think. It's amazing what occurs to you when taking a break.
  11. When you're doing one of those jobs that requires a big hammer, curse the sumbitch with every swing. You'll feel better.
  12. Remember the woodworkers mantra. You WILL make mistakes, the difference between an amateur and a pro is how you fix or hide them.
  13. If it's the end of the day and you've just finished some nasty b@ll breaker of a job DO NOT even think about doing one more little project. It WILL blow up in your face. Instead crack a beer, celebrate a project completed and end the day on a win.

Yep, that's 13. If you work on boats you already know all about bad luck.
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Last edited by JimMcGee; 06-05-2013 at 03:48 PM.
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  #19  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

^^^ Brilliance. I am gonna borrow the hell out of that.
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  #20  
Old 06-05-2013
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Re: The Maintenance Learning Curve to Competence Conundrum

Not really a new rule, but an amendment to Jim's #2 - it should say AT LEAST twice as long, not merely twice as long as you think. At least in my case.

I'm an electrical engineer and I had done some woodworking before I bought my boat, but in my case, over the last (almost) two years, I've learned to:
1) How to make a boat move while under sail (sort of)
2) Splice rope
3) Make standing rigging on a small boat
4) Sew and tune up a sewing machine (and, probably more accurately, how to rip seams out without completely destroying your work)
5) Install gromets (though that's harder than it would seem), snaps, and the like
6) Inspect a wide variety of materials
7) Change the impeller on an outboard motor (and, more accurately, the fact that there IS an impeller)
8) Rebed hardware

Almost all of that was learned either here or at the Catalina 25 Owner's site. I owe a lot to the members of both forums!
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