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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This thread is going to have a very sacrilegious bent for SN...but I thought it was important.

SN, as most forums, is the land of the independent. The throne of the DIYer. Of this there is no question. After all, once you're "out there" - it's all you. No arguing that.

Now, to be clear, I, too, aspire to be that DIYer who can low-buck a purring Yanmar into existence with nothing but a led ingot and McGuivered soldering iron.



I'm smart. And I'm handy. I've done a great deal of relatively "quality low-buck work" on my boat - by myself. Yet, I will confess, there is a line. In fact, there are many of them. Lines that I really can't, or don't want to cross.

For me, "deep electrical" and "deep mechanical" are two of those lines. I can install and maintain with the best of them. But I'm a bit nervous about "going deep". I can change oil, bleed lines, replace alternators...but no way am I going to replace rings. I can install instruments, solar panels and systems, but no way am I going to push into the depths of my AC.

Let's face the true fact: We all own freakin' yachts. We're not "poor". At some point, unless we are the heroic art borne of DC Comics (like MaineSail) - we are gong to hit the end of our expertise-levels.

This thread is for those times. It's kind of the "Anti-Low-Buck" thread.

I needed some work done. It was work that I probably could have done myself with enough time and patience. But I decided to go a different direction...

I paid a dude. And I liked it.

What about you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I had been having trouble with my radar. I discovered that the cable was a freakin' disaster. Several splices as it ran up the mast (aka - lousy low buck work). I bought a new cable and started trying to figure out how to run it. What I discovered was a major pain in the ass. Pulling that cable through very tight conduit, up a deck-stepped mast, with two young boys as my backup?



I picked up the phone and pulled out the checkbook.

While we were at it, I had the dude look at our Isotherm fridge. It ran fine on DC, but was really wonky on shore-power.

I also was having trouble with my aft cabin lights on the starboard side. Obviously a cross-over wire as jacked. But there were tons of them coming across. Which was it? I could have spent a whole weekend playing with the multi-meter. Instead, I called a dude.

I'll let you know what the bill was for this trifecta of payment.
 

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Sooner or later we all pay, or wish we did :laugher We just ordered new teak handrails. When I worked in the boat shop there was all this great equipment, a huge supply of materials available and I could stay late "cause I've got a job to finish". Now I'm reduced to mostly hand tools. But at $18 per loop for hand rails we are getting off light paying a dude with the right equipment.
 

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When you "hit the end of your expertise level"... bust through it.

At one time, I didn't know"deep mechanical" or "deep electrical' either...but i have never had 'deep pockets", so I had to dig "deep" into the library stacks, and the internet, and the brains of other boatyard and shop rats to learn the answers.

Because it was just plain stupid to pay someone else $75-90 an hour when i was earning... less.

Still is. if the shop rate is twice my take home pay, that means that if the job takes me less than twice as long to do it as a pro, i am money, and skills learned, ahead.

Your "true facts' aren't everyone's "true facts'
Some of us, when faced with a challenge, rise to it rather than surrender. : )

The reason might be monetary- after all, contrary to your opinion, owning a "yacht' does not necessarily mean the owner is rich- it means that he/she made the choice and the sacrifices to own a boat, which entails that he/she has to overcome the challenges that others would pay others to overcome.

If i didn't do my own work, i wouldn't be able to sail my "yacht".

I hired a guy...once.

I paid a mechanic $1276 to work on my 1GM10 engine over the course of a season.
I realized, after reviewing the bill, that I was paying "portal to portal"- the meter was running from the moment the mechanic left the shop until the moment he returned to the shop... including every trip from my boat down the dock to his truck top get another tool... and back. He was a great guy, but his time was worth more to him and his bosses than it was to me.
and great guy or not, my engine ran no better, $1276 later.

I ended up rebuilding the top end myself the next season.

The top end rebuild parts cost less than $300. it took less than 6 hours of time, start to finish, and i learned about small diesel engines along the way.


The systems on a sailboat are dead simple. most of the work is dirty, annoying, cramped and frustrating, but on a mechanical difficulty 1-10 scale, all of it runs about a 4-6.

The ONE place where I MIGHT pay someone else is masthead stuff. I'm not scared of heights, but i am wary of unexpected accelerated impacts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
When you "hit the end of your expertise level"... bust through it.
Naaa. I'd rather sail.

Your "true facts' aren't everyone's "true facts'
Some of us, when faced with a challenge, rise to it rather than surrender. : )
I rose to the challenge. I paid. And it was freakin' great.

True fact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Fair enough.
Those who sail, sail.
those who learn the skills... keep sailing.
No, they usually sail a little between the time put into "library stacks, and the internet, and the brains of other boatyard and shop rats to learn the answers"...then actually doing the job. (See hourly rate.)

Again, I have nothing against any of the above - and I'm learning as much as I can as go. But it definitely ain't the only (or smartest) way to "live and let sail". Just my incredibly humble opinion - as usual.
 

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No, they usually sail a little between the time put into "library stacks, and the internet, and the brains of other boatyard and shop rats to learn the answers"...then actually doing the job. (See hourly rate.)

.
I've never missed a season, and i sail longer and deeper into the season than most- first in, last out, even wiht all that damn do it yourself work. And I am not standing around waiting for mechanics and technicians and painters and blasters and riggers to finally get around to my boat.
My time is more valuable than to wait for others...exactly because our season is only 6 or so months long.

YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I've never missed a season, and i sail longer and deeper into the season than most- first in, last out, even wiht all that damn do it yourself work. And I am not standing around waiting for mechanics and technicians and painters and blasters and riggers to finally get around to my boat.
My time is more valuable than to wait for others...exactly because our season is only 6 or so months long.

YMMV.
Actually, that might be a very important differentiator. In the warm climes of Tejas, we can sail year-round. It leaves less time for "studies".

Different totes for different sherpas.

So, again, I understand the advantages of DIY (I too have had a bad experience with hired service). But sometimes, it's really awesome to pay the man and have it done well...then go sailing.

Actually, I recommend it if you can swing it.
 

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Actually, that might be a very important differentiator. In the warm climes of Tejas, we can sail year-round. It leaves less time for "studies".
Not really- at least 4 out of those 6 months it is too cold and snowy to actually work, and, really, this isn't nuclear reactor design- there isn't as much "studying" as there is gruntwork. So, our winter is similar to your "too hot and humid to work' gulf coast summer, which means you and i both are really looking at spring and fall to get everything you want to get done, done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not really- at least 4 out of those 6 months it is too cold and snowy to actually work, and, really, this isn't nuclear reactor design- there isn't as much "studying" as there is gruntwork. So, our winter is similar to your "too hot and humid to work' gulf coast summer, which means you and i both are really looking at spring and fall to get everything you want to get done, done.
"Too hot and humid to work"? I don't think anyone who owns less than four sections of Tejas ever says that. After all, we have AC and iced tea. And no one EVER says it's "too hot and humid to SAIL" - which is the thrust of this thread.

But that's neither here nor there.

Let's just agree that it's ALWAYS nicer to sail than to grunt. No question. If I need to sometimes pay a dude to make that happen, I'm perfectly fine with that. In fact, it's kind of awesome.

That's all I'm saying.
 

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My personal issue is repairing heads. I know how, and have rebuilt them... But I won't do it if there is any other option. Nothing worse than replacing a 40' long plugged tube of excrement. No matter what the bill it's better to pay than do it.

The other job I hate is waxing the boats. I maintain five boats, and as soon as you get done with one worki on days off and nights it's time to start all over again. Better to pay someone than eat up all my sailing time trying to get it done.
 

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We paid a lot this year and are not done. Just after arriving in our winter home in Tunisia i was changing out the anchor rode and ripped a shoulder tendon muscle. Surgery with 2 screws and 2 months later and i can lift a 1 liter bottle of olive oil, maybe. 3 times a week to pt is getting me there but the boat needs a lot of pm as we put a lot of hours and miles on her last year.

And we are sailing starting around May 1 for the eastern Med so my choice is sit and do the work when my arm heals and not get to the eastern Med or pay someone. We paid. Most of the stuff i could myself if i had 2 working arms.

Our goal is get the arm stong enough to sail by May and have the boat ready to go by then. The later will happen the former will still take a lot of pt to get there.

so we pay and sail or not pay and sit. Not much a choice in our minds.
 

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Very few in this world live in a self sufficient vacuum. Do you grow your own food? Write your own operating system? Some things are just not worth doing yourself unless you derive some sort of satisfaction like a hobby.

For me, it is good to know how to fix things when out and about. However, I would never change the oil in my car myself. By the time one gets the oil, the filter, and the pan, $19.99 and 15 minutes at the oil change place have easily gone by.
 

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Relatively speaking, my wife and I spend a lot of time aboard, during the season. However, it is still very regimented. I can never just run to the marina at night, while working. I do spend 3 to 4 day weekends for six month aboard, plus a few weeks of straight cruising, but when I'm working, I'm working. No mixing.

I typically enjoy working on the boat, learning how she's put together and the feeling of accomplishment. However, I will not unduly sacrifice the opportunity to go sailing, which is why we bought the boat in the first place.

I have two primary reasons for hiring a guy. First, the job requires either special skills or tools that I don't have. I can do most jobs, particularly with a little research. However, you may find yourself not knowing, what you don't know!! Little tips and tricks can make a big difference in doing a job correctly. The tools are not always worth accumulating for job you may not do again for years. For routine jobs, they are. Second, I may not have the time. I can fit in a two hour job. A 20 hour job has to be contracted out.

There are times, however, where you just can't afford to pay a guy. The amount of time I have put into varnishing my cockpit table is economically ridiculous. It would have been cheaper to have a new table made, then pay someone to strip and varnish, like I did.

I will also do my own work, when I just don't trust the yard tards to do it correctly. I have thousands of stories of unbelievably stupid work. You get a feel for when it's not worth it.
 

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I paid a dude to replace my standing rigging when I bought my boat - best $3k I ever spent and got to learn from him how to do it myself next time.

Also paid a kid to do the buff, polish, and wax routine on the hull last time Moon was out of the water, and have no regrets about that one either.
 

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The title of this thread could suggest something way....uh..... well never mind.

I have no problem paying for service. We place a huge emphasis on saving -- but we do have lives to live. I guess if I was a single guy it might be different, bit with a wife and kid (who are the center of my world) I'm not gonna spend a whole day (or days) twisted into my engine compartment playing mechanic when I am definetely no mechanic. Heck, I paid a guy to rake my yard last fall because it freed up a weekend to spend with the family.
 
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