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post #11 of 18 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

+1 on learning to love and care for your engine. Incredible amount of self-satisfaction. Now I'm trying just as hard to embrace the head. But, I'm not feeling as much love.


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post #12 of 18 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

Originally Posted by Lake Superior Sailor View Post
Hey! I spent to much time getting everything right,instead of getting in the water!....Dale

Sail the boat for a season to figure out what is really needed, what can wait, and what will make your sailing more comfortable. Get some enjoyment and "early success" out of the boat, and make sure that frustration with maintenance projects doesn't suck all the joy out of being on the water.

I tried not to get too wrapped up in Calder's and Casey's books. Calder's book in particular is a great reference, but everything he writes is in CAPITAL LETTERS or italics, with an exclamation mark every THIRD SENTENCE!!! You don't know what is truly critical and can wait. My goodness, if had done all the work he says I should have done, I would have never left the dock.
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post #13 of 18 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

Must dos first. One at a time. Plan your work carefully and take your time. Others who have done similar work are invaluable. This forum is too.

DIY boat owners are maintenance junkeys! It should be enjoyable.

Good luck, be safe and enjoy.

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post #14 of 18 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

I have a 1 inch ring clip notebook aboard with several tabs. I keep checklist, winterization list, ships log, etc, in it.

I have one section for Repairs, which are generally those things that must get done soon, if not by the next voyage. Another is for Maintenance, which are routine items or those that can wait. And finally, Upgrades, which are really wish list type things I don't want to forget, but many never get to.

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post #15 of 18 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

+ 1 on the notebook.
I document upgrades/repairs each year and list specs/parts numbers for all from motor to all boat specs like mast clearance,
as well as all boat related phone #'s.
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post #16 of 18 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

First don't overwhelm yourself. What I did right in hind sight was to start with a 22 footer. The systems were simpler and that made the learning curve less steep.

With an older boat, particularly a larger boat, there are as many systems as there are with a house. But unlike a house much of what you're working on is unfamiliar.

Figure out what you have to know and work from there; don't try and absorb everything at once.

Engine - Did a manual come with your boat? If not you can find the owner’s manual for most diesels and outboards online. That manual will include a section on annual maintenance. Assume it hasn't been done on your boat. Change the oil, the impeller and the filters. These are approachable jobs that can be done in a day. They'll do your boat good and will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Did you have a pre-purchase survey done? A good surveyor will usually include a section on maintenance and safety items. If not give your local Coast Guard Auxiliary a call. They'll come out and do a free safety check. They're generally older guys who can give you a ton of good info if you just ask. Don't be afraid to tell them you're a new boater.

Don Casey's Inspecting the Aging Sailboat is $11 on Amazon. Rather than tell you how to fix things it will give you advice on what to look for and how to prioritize. Safety items always get priority over cosmetics.

Once you’re satisfied that she’s safe get her out for a sail on a nice day. Using her will help you figure out what projects need to be done and will let you enjoy her.

Read labels. I’ve seen three page articles on varnishing in glossy magazines that didn’t tell me any more than I could find out by reading the directions on the damn can.

Only buy good tools. Cheap tools will break, damage what your working on and bust up your knuckles.

Once you start doing projects books like “Good Old Boat” will make more sense. Use them as a reference, you need context for what you’re reading.

Above all take your time. If you’re tackling something new or unfamiliar keep a little notebook handy and take notes, write down measurements. The first winter I was laying up the 22 footer I took pictures of all the rigging so I knew I could re-rig her properly in the spring. Also keep sandwich bags on board. As you pull parts off zip them into sandwich bags and label them with a sharpie. Things will go back together a lot easier when you finally get back to the boat three weeks later. Stick to one project at a time for the same reason.

Finally, you’ll make mistakes. We all do. With time the mistakes will become fewer and you’ll become more adept at fixing them when they do happen. Putting sweat and blood into a boat is a big part of what makes her yours and can be satisfying in its own way.

Best of luck,
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post #17 of 18 Old 01-22-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

Wow, great advice. Imagine this: some of us actually learned all this stuff BEFORE the internet!!! Books, books, books and practice. Most maintenance items have been written up so well in both books and the 'net (Google is your friend) that the REAL learning "hump" is getting up the "gall" to tackle it. Don't hurry.

Look at it this way: if WE could do it, so can you!

Good luck, it's ALL doable.

Stu Jackson, Catalina 34, 1986, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#), Maple Bay, BC, Canada
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-22-2013
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Re: Learning to maintain

Originally Posted by HUGOSALT View Post
Asking questions also great, beware of experts with no 1st hand experience.
This could be one of the best warnings written in this thread
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