"Figure out where to get an unbudgeted $4000 from. I have another $3000 of unexpected expenses rolling around as well, in addition to the other multi-thousand planned yard expenses, so I'm in a slightly tight spot. Clearly I need to keep a bigger buffer around for these sorts of things."
On a A 70s something Ericsson 27?
Clearly, your either obsessed with paying for EVERYTHING boat related or you can't/won't/don't know how work on your own boat and do your own repairs.
Get rid of the boat!
I appreciate the advice, even though it seems a little harsh. However, I think there's another perspective.
All of the costs in question are primarily "labor." That means I'm paying an hourly rate for a qualified person to complete the work. Good boatyard rates are high, but I believe that is because their skill, expertise, and experience is very valuable.
I understand this, because I am also have very special, valuable skills, although not in marine work; my personal rate, at which I value my time, is actually not far off from the yard rate. My time isn't free, and it is a huge economic miscalculation to take it to be. In fact, I tend to be so focused on my work that my time scarce free time seems especially valuable. Even though I enjoy working on my boat, I also enjoy sailing the boat, and I enjoy being with my friends and the rest of my life, not all of which is sailing-related. In more concrete financial terms, you call this 'opportunity cost.'
I've done fiberglass work on my boat before, and I know enough to know I don't have nearly the skill in fiberglass to be able to do the repair at even a large fraction of the man-hours that experienced professionals can. In the amount of time that repair would take me, I can earn far more doing something I'm actually especially good at. Therefore I would call this a 'false economy,' and it's a very expensive false economy at that, figuratively throwing money away.
A while back I read this story in print, of which I barely remember the details: (I can't remember the author! Maybe someone will recognize it.) This guy from Sausalito got this sailboat, and very publicly was spending all of this time refinishing it, and the time be put into his boat was admirable. But he never sailed it. Well one day he did, with some friends who took him out, and he hated it, and the ending is sad.
I recognize those people on these forums too. They're the ones engaging in time-consuming and complicated improvements, who advocate aggressive and expansive maintenance schedules. Key topics are removing deck hardware, repainting, revarnishing, teak plugs, and fond recommendations of cabinet scrapers. I'd never want to criticize how someone spends their free time, because that's up to them, and I respect that. I even have a varnish job on my kitchen table right now, and it's not exactly my first one.
But that's not me. I'd rather be sailing.
Give up my boat? Not on my life; go get your own boat!