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Islander Yacht Fan
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60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An Introduction
Some of you have seen previous posts and replies I've submitted. I thought it appropriate to introduce myself as a way of framing this post (or series).
I am a project management professional - in fact its my job. I've always been list and task oriented, and after spending several years as a software engineer it was a natural progression to move into project management from there - I've been managing multi million dollar software development and IT project efforts ever since (over 25 years and counting).
So why does this matter?
The Joy
As many of us have, I bought a project boat. I'd like to say I could have afforded to by a newer nicer boat, but the reality is I bought the boat I thought I could afford, and invested sweat equity to make up the difference. Its a club I'm certain a lot of us are in, given the community of DIY boat restorers on this site.
The joy felt as I piloted my prize home on an unknown engine and with the emergency tiller was nothing compared to what we experienced on her maiden voyage (see previous post with same name). Still, in the nearly 5 hour trip home, I was filled with dreams of all the potential, all the new bits and sailing gear I'd buy, the feel of her helm as she was under sail. As it is often the case, it would be nearly 3 yrs for that potential to be realised.
...and the work begins
The reality sets in - your new (to you) boat sits at the dock or in a yard, or in my case, in my yard. Its likely a mess, as project boats are want to be - elsewise they would not have been so cheap. Some people have a habit of jumping right in, taking off and getting discouraged as the work mounts and progress is hard to find. Some of these boats you'll recognise from Craigslist adds where the price is often equal to "just move it" or "some storage fees may apply". This is in part because some folks see the potential in a project boa, but fail to understand the effort required to realise that potential - this understanding can only come from planning the work, and executing the plan.
I'm not saying you need to be a project manager. I am saying there are some tools I'd like to share to make this project easier to complete, help keep costs in check and help to keep you motivated to get to the joy at the end of the rainbow. In the following posts, I will try to share what I've learned and applied in hopes of helping you reach your goal. Stay tuned for Part II of this series Project Boat - Part II - Plan your work.
Thanks for reading,
Eric
 

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98 Posts
Congratulations on completing your project, you must be elated! I'm pretty much in the same boat (pun intended) but a bit behind where you are. I'm completing a 4 year rebuild of my Alberg 35 and will be finally launching in July (knock wood). I still have a lot to do, but I can see the end of the list.

My project included re-coring 100% of the decks, rebuilding the cockpit, and replacing the wheel steering with a tiller. A ton of structural work and there were times when I was ready to throw in the towel, but I kept at it. Early on in the project I put together a huge list of to-dos and honestly, it made me sick. There was just so much it made my head spin. Around that time I came across a quote from Mark Twain that said:
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting one the first one".
It became my mantra and while I still kept a list, I classified it into categories and then set it aside. As I tackled each project, I broke it down into tasks and then started on task 1. It has worked great for me.

One thing I would also recommend to anyone getting started with a project boat is to photograph absolutely everything you do because there will come a time when you have to come back to it and you won't remember the details without photos and a narrative (I keep a detailed blog). I took hundreds of photos of the boat before I even touched it so I could refer to them after I had torn everything apart and was able to reconstruct based on the photos.
 

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Islander Yacht Fan
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60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just looked at your blog - very impressive and extensive work and a beautiful boat - I have long admired the Alberg 35 -and yours is a great example of the breed - shoot me an email sometime - would love to converse about our projects - I'm originally from New England as well - and like you have rebuilt 2 old homes from the beams up, as well as restored a classic Cape Cod Highlander sail boat.

That said - your project is a complete restoration - something far more involved than the type of work I completed. I know you had a very involved plan to complete in your work. My notes are more targeted at the folks who are somewhere between "bottom feeders" and your efforts at classic boat restoration. My goal is to help more people rescue plastic boats from where they lay, clean, fix, upfit, and enjoy them as they were intended. Thank ou for your comments!
 

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Daniel - Norsea 27
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1,258 Posts
Boats can require a lot of work. I've been working on mine as time and funds come along. I'd like to get a project boat but not having the time, space or funds to put one keep it from happening. I still search craigslist to see the possibilities but still not going to happen for me. My boat is enough of a project for me right now.

I do enjoy seeing the work others put into their boats.
 

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I think the real core issue is what one thinks to oneself getting up on a Saturday morning...
If you think "I get to work on the boat today", then a project boat may be for you.
If you think "Crap, I gotta work on the boat today", then steer clear.

My 3-year refit of a 1968 Hinterhoeller HR28 has absolutely increased my gratification of sailing it and bringing friends aboard by multiples. In every nook they look, they ask "Did you fix that?" or "Did you replace that?". There's not an inch I haven't inspected, upgraded or verified to be sound.

I do not want to undertake another 3-year project, but the one I did tackle will be with me for a very long time; and is a great source of enjoyment and pride.
 

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Senior Moment Member
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I think the real core issue is what one thinks to oneself getting up on a Saturday morning...
If you think "I get to work on the boat today", then a project boat may be for you.
If you think "Crap, I gotta work on the boat today", then steer clear.
Well said! I would just add - If you start to resent the time your family, friends and job take away from the time spent working on your boat, you might be ready to BUILD a boat. :D
 

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372 Posts
Thanks all for giving me a boot in the b-hind! Tore boat apart 4 1/2yrs ago to refit. 1079b Gulfstar 37. 1st in 34 yrs. Had some chain plate issues, etc. Anyway got in real bad accident. Project stopped. anyway 6 months later find out I have a tumor on the brain. 2 surgeries later start recoup. Can't hear right side they took out ear drum to stop spinal fluid leak. The screaching from the accident got worse. Finally got into it again last year. putting interior back together after recoring deck aeras from below, and making drop down panels for under deck inspection. Now doing gel coat repair. Will get her back in next spring, so our son son can deal with this agin in 30 yrs. God I love working on Boats
 

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Well said! I would just add - If you start to resent the time your family, friends and job take away from the time spent working on your boat, you might be ready to BUILD a boat. :D
I just got mine a few months ago, and they all think I'm at that stage. Phrases like "Weren't you JUST there?" and "Again?" are quite commonplace nowadays.

That said, if I had the finances, heck yeah I'd tackle a build!
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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624 Posts
mbowser, I really like your site, I have been slowly restoring a similar Pearson 35 for the last five years, albeit not quite as thorough an "off the frame" restoration as yours. Really nice work, and helpful inspiration for me.
 
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