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  #21  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Hey Jones;
One can always count on you to ask a thoughtful question, and then shut the hell up and listen to the answers. Thanks - this is a good read.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle on this one. You've seen my boat(s)...far from perfect, but continuously 'under the knife' working towards improvements.

I think it would benefit from some clarification on 'working on your boat'. In my mind, there are 3 types.
1. Necessary maintenance (fixing something broken)
2. Preventive maintenance (scheduling a regular task like oil changes, filters, etc., or identifying something that is ABOUT to become a problem)
3. Improvement items (tweaking block locations, adding 'low-buck projects' - a shameless plug for you! - etc...)

I enjoy #2 and #3 - because they get done on my time, at my schedule, the way I want. They never interfere with my sailing, or with my life. They add to my enjoyment of the boat, because now I know how something else works, fits, or whatever, and presumably, I can feel proud that the boat is now a little bit more functional. (otherwise, why would I have done it?!?)

#1 never happens when you want it to, and usually at a time when you want to be doing something else. Therefore, I resent this maintenance, and detest handing over money to fix whatever failed...

Not sure it that clarifies or muddies, but I had fun thinking about and answering this question.

Andy
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  #22  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

There is no such thing as a ridiculous question. Answers sometimes are ;-)

However, I'm in Mark's camp. Maintenance is a requirement to get me somewhere. Not a passion. But a discipline... they call it work, not play :-)

I met a guy in Indiantown boat yard, who had been working on his boat for over 8 years. I got the feeling he was never really interested in going out. He just loved working on the boat. I found it depressing. He found it gave him purpose.

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  #23  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Some maintenance tasks are very rewarding. The thing you need to fix is accessible, you have the part, it takes minutes not hours, and you are on your way. When this happens, I feel great, and I admit to even enjoying performing an occasional quick fix for friends on their boats.

Some maintenance tasks are awful. You cannot access the system that broke because when they built your boat they put the system in before they put the deck on, and no one thought about it. You don't have the part. You are out of the country and customs is delaying shipments. You get the part, and they sent the wrong one. Weeks later you are on your way.

I like the feeling of being independent and self sufficient. I like to understand how everything on the boat works and know how to fix it myself. I like not having my trip held up waiting on a repair or boat yard. I like a simple enough boat that I can fix almost anything myself in a pinch. I carry spares for things I've learned like to break. I like it when everything works. I believe in sailing in the smallest, simplest boat you can stand to live on so this is all possible.

Good thread, so I guess my answer is sometimes I enjoy maintenance, and sometimes I don't
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  #24  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Bingo. I mean, who the hell wants to do maintenance? Really. That's just sad.

You either own a sailboat to sail it. Or you own a sailboat to show off your ability to maintain a sailboat. I totally don't understand the latter group.
I don't understand why the divide has to be so binary, or the response so Either/Or... And, I feel a bit sorry for those who view their boats as 'vehicles', and nothing more... Some of you guys should read some more E.B White...

Especially the final word :-)

Quote:

If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man--a home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than like a fish or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs as far from shore as he has the nerve to take them, close hauled or running free--parlor, bedroom, and bath, suspended and alive...
Arthur Bieser puts it nicely, as well:

Quote:

I start from the premise that no object created by man is as satisfying to his body and soul as a proper sailing yacht.

-Arthur Beiser 1978, The Proper Yacht
I'm always a bit surprised how some can be so taken by a pursuit as pure and magical as sailing, and yet seem to miss that 'connection' that can be forged between a sailor, and a lovingly 'maintained' boat... I'm a big believer in the application of John Vigor's Black Box Theory of Seamanship to maintenance - hell, in so many instances, proper seamanship IS largely little more than preventive or necessary maintenance...

When I deliver a boat I've never seen before, I generally have a pretty good idea how the trip will play out at the first glance from the dock, or after the most cursory inspection... I've heard it's possible that boats can suffer from cosmetic exterior neglect, and yet have immaculately maintained mechanical systems... However, after 35 years in the delivery business, I have yet to see one :-) And, why am I never surprised, when the boat that's been sitting for 2 weeks in some Bahamian harbor, waiting for a new exhaust elbow to be shipped in at astronomical expense, is the same one on which the 'Waterway Brow' stain still remains at the bow, and the transom is STILL stained from the exhaust from over 1,000 miles of motoring?

I met an older couple up in Newfoundland a few years ago, who had been cruising aboard their beloved Concordia yawl for over 40 years... Obviously, a high-maintenance boat, but I don't think I've ever met a pair of more contented sailors, who felt more at one with their boat, and trusted her to take care of them, because they had always taken care of her...

One of the great pleasures of cruising New England, and particularly Maine, is in seeing so many sailing yachts being sailed by people who fully appreciate that a boat can be far, FAR more than an inanimate object that gets traded in every few years for a new model, after the gelcoat begins to fade...





Perhaps TomMaine will weigh in here, his beautiful Alden Challenger is emblematic of how close a boat can come to being, literally, a member of the family... Those who lack that sort of connection with their boats, are missing an awful lot of the rewards of 'yacht ownership', in my view :-)

Tom and Vicky Jackson are but one of many examples out there, that disprove the notion that one must choose between sailing and maintenance, or that ownership of a 'high-maintenance' boat will necessarily keep you from going places...

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Last edited by JonEisberg; 09-02-2013 at 10:36 AM.
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  #25  
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Great post Jon. I couldn't agree more. I will say, though, that I don't like all boat chores (especially engine stuff), but I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction in seeing my boat in perfect condition. I especially enjoy the "improvement" projects. I also don't want to be a slave to my boat and, for this reason, I've kept the boat as simple as possible and with few "systems" to reduce maintenance. I'm getting to the point where I've got almost everything crossed off my "to-do" list and now I can enjoy some small projects like building a new spice rack for the galley. Nothing drives me more crazy than having something not working right aboard ...
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Last edited by copacabana; 09-02-2013 at 11:37 AM.
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  #26  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by downeast450 View Post
I guess I have done a lot of "maintenance" over the years. I have done a lot of sailing, too. Some of the maintenance is tedious stuff. I don't enjoy that stuff. My current boat needs to be re gelcoated. I don't varnish the teak. I like it natural (less maintenance). I installed the current engine and am comfortable knowing I can take care of any problems it might have (important maintenance). I installed the electronics and enjoy the same comfort there. I could go on... To suggest I do that to show off my abilities is pure "Smack Talk"! If that were true, everything I do would be motivated by ego and not personal enjoyment.

I fly fish. I tie my own flies because I enjoy doing it. I race canoes. I build my own canoes to race because I enjoy doing it. ..........!

I don't give a **** what anyone thinks about my talents or abilities. I have won some sailboat races, too. I enjoy it. I enjoy setting the anchor correctly. I enjoy accurately plotting a course. I enjoy trimming the sails well. Etc. I sure as hell don't do any of it to impress some less competent , or more competent fellow anywhere, with my skill level. I enjoy "problem solving". A successful cruise is successful problem solving. Lots of it and I enjoy it. Owning a sailboat is all of that for me.

I crew from time to time on one of the IODs here on Mt. Desert Island. It is fun but not as much fun as my own boat with all its "maintenance". It is just sailing. Fun sailing for sure but after crossing the finish line and putting the boat back on its mooring it is over. No connection beyond the very limited experience of doing it a little better tomorrow. I guess that is why I don't spend time playing golf.

Down
I think you nailed it Down. Like you, I enjoy doing a task, whatever it may be, very well. And I'll put in the effort, research and sweat to make sure it's the best I can possibly do. I guess that's why I don't like doing it all that often.

And, like you, I love the problem solving nature of sailing. There's a lot of it. And it's pretty fascinating stuff.

Finally, I certainly wasn't implying that you were in the "need to impress" group. It was just a general statement. I mean, I'm the one that's leading that particular group...obviously.
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  #27  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aelkin View Post
Hey Jones;
One can always count on you to ask a thoughtful question, and then shut the hell up and listen to the answers. Thanks - this is a good read.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle on this one. You've seen my boat(s)...far from perfect, but continuously 'under the knife' working towards improvements.

I think it would benefit from some clarification on 'working on your boat'. In my mind, there are 3 types.
1. Necessary maintenance (fixing something broken)
2. Preventive maintenance (scheduling a regular task like oil changes, filters, etc., or identifying something that is ABOUT to become a problem)
3. Improvement items (tweaking block locations, adding 'low-buck projects' - a shameless plug for you! - etc...)

I enjoy #2 and #3 - because they get done on my time, at my schedule, the way I want. They never interfere with my sailing, or with my life. They add to my enjoyment of the boat, because now I know how something else works, fits, or whatever, and presumably, I can feel proud that the boat is now a little bit more functional. (otherwise, why would I have done it?!?)

#1 never happens when you want it to, and usually at a time when you want to be doing something else. Therefore, I resent this maintenance, and detest handing over money to fix whatever failed...

Not sure it that clarifies or muddies, but I had fun thinking about and answering this question.

Andy
Actually, I think you nailed it too ael. I always hate the inevitable #1. I'm in the middle of one of those now. Sure it's satisfying when you get it fixed - but never satisfying enough to be "enjoyable".

Like you, I'd much rather focus on #2 and #3 when I'm not sailing. That's a bit more enjoyable.
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  #28  
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Re: A philosophical divide?

I think we can also make a choice, to enjoy, or not, the necessary maintenance.
Changing the oil or coolant in your engine is not really a "fun thing to do", however it is preferable to have a well running engine when you need it most, so you can either hate every second of the job or not. Your choice.
I choose to enjoy those jobs as much as possible because why waste my time hating what I am doing? And the end result of all of the "necessary maintenance" tasks is that you can take pride in a boat that works well and looks good. For me that increases my enjoyment of sailing the boat. So while I don't love the tedious jobs I enjoy the results very much! And therefore I am quite happy to do the work.
Although stinky head jobs are much harder to enjoy......I don't think my attitude will evolve that much!
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  #29  
Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjvanginkel View Post
I think we can also make a choice, to enjoy, or not, the necessary maintenance.

Although stinky head jobs are much harder to enjoy......I don't think my attitude will evolve that much!
I tackled a big maintenance job to reduce that potential. It took some doing but I replaced the head on my I-28 with a Lavac! Problem solved! Have never had a problem since. It was quite a chore fitting it into the space but the result pays off every day. I guess that is maintenance. I prefer to consider it planning ahead..

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Old 09-02-2013
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Re: A philosophical divide?

Through the years I've learned as most have that the more time spent maintaining all systems only adds to peace of mind when they are needed.
I am wrapping up a month offshore cruising the channel islands and despite all of the prep work done I've had to repair both heads, re-wire the starter on the Perkins, replace a circuit breaker and associated wiring from the inverter/charger and re-string the traveler.

Most of these repairs were probably brought on because of neglect and lack of use, the last two years were spent replacing worn out body parts (mine), which meant only a few day sails here and there.

Use it or lose it comes to mind.......
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