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Helms ALee!
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1,245 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious if all of you are really the 24/7 boat maintenance machines it sounds like you are.

Here's my problem.

I like to sail. I like having a ship shape boat. I hate doing maintenance.

Is there anyone else out there like me? What do you do to start and keep inertia?
 

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Helms ALee!
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1,245 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Here's one thing that helps me. I have a rule, every time I go to the boat I have to fix or improve it in some way. Could be as simple as repairing that sail tear or taking off that bracket that isn't used for anything anymore, or removing that annoying sticker from the PO. could be something more involved, but it has to be something. Doesn't really address the big jobs so far, but my boat looks better than when I bought it at least.
 

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STARBOARD!!
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I tend to spread the big projects out a bit; one refit at a time and do as much as is practical while the boat is "out of service". If I'm always doing one job after another the boat would never get sailed. So we do one or two big things and then do some sailing for a month or three then back to the maintenance, etc. The weather is more consistent in the summer months so that's the time when we do less refit work. Fall and Spring are good times to do deck and brightwork as the rain is infrequent and the temperature is warm enough. Winter is good for doing interior work and sail/canvas maintenance.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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Some things I do per schedule, like oil changes. Others I do when needed, as in it breaks or is starting to. While yet others, I do when the spirit moves me, such as detailing. And then there's the stuff that gets done, because I was doing something else...... you know how that goes.

I put structural, seaworthiness issues ahead of cosmetic ones. If the "pretty" stuff doesn't get done as often as I might like, so be it.
 

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Our 24 year old boat was described by someone else as being in 'better than new' condition. I think that was a kind thing to say. I would say that she has been very well maintained with many upgrades.

It's much easier to keep a nice boat that way than it is to bring one back. The 'stitch in time saves nine' is part of the motivation, from both the time and money standpoint. Another is having something that's pretty and wanting to keep it that way.

I admire those who buy a neglected boat and bring it back to good condition. That takes determination that I don't have.
 

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The maintenance thing manifests like this.

You have to do the minor things to fight entropy.. cleaning, polishing waxing. If you let corrosion take hold the battle takes more effort. Bummer.

The you have minor failures which can require a fix or need a replacement. Usually not a time sink, but when the thing which breaks is a biggie it costs lots of time and money. Maintaining your diesel is fine and dandy, but at some point you need some sort of serious work.

Mechancial systems need to be lubed, such as steering.

Upgrades are a whole other ball of wax and are often taken when something fails... or wears too much so it's not functioning optimally, like running rigging, deck hardware, hatches, ports or things like the head, pumps or even electronics.

Brightwork or exposed teak requires constant maintenance and some will have to replaced.

Shiva has had so many things replaced she is almost all "new". The dodger has seen 3 incarnations, the upholstery is on the 3rd set of covers, Nav equipment has been in a continuous upgrade process. 3rd set of batts, 3rd alternator and 3rd charging system. I've changed pumps several times hatches, ports rigging and so forth, 3rd nav station... 3rd set of sails. Lots of 3rd generation stuff for me. But I've had Shiva for 22 yrs.

You try to keep things in good working order and in "balance" with the rest of the boat. Some stuff is very expensive like a suit of sails... or an engine rebuild. What's the alternative?

You either like doing boat stuff... I do. or you pay someone else to do it (you need the money).. or you let the boat go down hill.

I like to sail, but I like to mess about on the boat. They are two different kinds of pleasures. I can't enjoy one without the other.

Some racer crew types only show up, step on the boats to make it sail fast. I have no interest in that. Owning a yacht is a deep and long term commitment.

The very wealthy can purchase a huge house or apartment, hire a decorator to make the empty house comfy and a cleaning service to care for and maintain it and just show up to live in it and entertain. This is common and these people take no joy in creating their house, they just see it as something to live in and their life is OTHER things.

Yachts are different to most who own them. They are the more than just sailing homes, or a means of transport. They are a complete lifestyle type commitment, even if it only part time.

I would feel lost without having a long wish list or maintenance list to work on. It's never done and I like it that way. The older the boat gets, the more maintenance it requires. But the less fitting out needs to be done. Like an empty garden.. at first you need to select and plant it... then you need to tend it. Different types of enjoyment.

If you don't like to cook, but only like to eat, don't go into the kitchen.

jef
sv shiva
 

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I will admit it, I really like working on a boat. Just like I really liked working on an old house or building new ones, both of which I did. I have found that after taking care of the "big" stuff, I feel a little lost. I am not sure what to do next with the "little" things that need doing. Some of the big stuff I tackled this year was removing 17 layers of bottom paint, fiberglassing the bottom third of my keel to add some strength when I hit the bottom, lol.

I will hit the bottom. 4 coats of epoxy applied to the bottom before repainting it. Ripping out my entire galley and building all new cabinets. I did manage to find some old teak cabinet doors that I used on my new cabinets, they really look good. New Formica countertops. For a 30 foot boat I have a lot of countertop, 9.5 Lin. ft. My rudder post had some rot, so I had made a stainless steel plate to fit over it, to add strength. I repaired the rot with epoxy also. Re-bedded most of my deck fittings. My 19 year old son, polished and compounded my hull. He did a nice job. I still want to refinish my sole. I am upgrading my head and installing a new lavin head and a shower bilge pump. I still need a list of the little things as I am not sure what they are. I may use that kiwi stuff on my non skid, so I guess I should add that to the list.
 

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Until I get back to Canada I'm in denial. I think I'll be able to get back to the boat I left three years ago. But then, during a recent visit this past summer I find this:




and this:




and this:



And I realise it will not be a simple maintenance task to get back to this:


I keep reading posts about maintenance, and new gear (thinking led lighting, better batteries, hot water). I also keep reading posts about winterising (what could I still do remotely). And in the meantime make lists, print off relevant material and look at my pics thinking she will be just like I left her...
 

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I can think of only three comments when I read someone has a boat but dislikes maintenance -
1. wrong hobby, or
2. self delusion when it comes to boating, or
3. lots of extra needless available cash with which to pay someone else to do a poor job.
 

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I got my boat in late 2004, motored her down to Marina Del Rey from Ventura, would never have done it if I'd known the terrible state of the coolant system, full of crap the po had used to stop leaks. That was the last time I "sailed" her till this past weekend when I went for a ride around the marina. Spent the time between those two trips replacing and repairing everything, from rebedding everything topside, new non skid (went with sand) and new paint. Below, new plumbing, wiring (dc & ac) hot water heater (two of them as I'd stupidly used an aluminum eating additive when cleaning out the coolant system). Replumbed the engine & new motor mounts, new stove, fridge, faucets, head, plumbing, thru hulls, ball valves and pulpit. Replaced some of the foam upholstery. Rebuilt the starter & alternator, new switches & wiring to engine, new gear and throttle controls, overhauled the steering, new engine gauges, senders etc. The boat is a Challenger 32 sloop, my previous boat was a Challenger 35 ketch, did a lot of the same work to her too, so the learning curve was not that great. Point is I still have to pull the mast, refurbish and rewire it, install new standing & running rigging, can't wait as then I can get a roller furling (and get sails cut to suit). I'm looking at spring of 08 before I can finally really go sailing, but that's ok. I live on my boat, so don't have another home to divert income away from her. Sometimes get scared I'm turning into one of those guys that's always working on the boat but never sails it, only cause it's taking so long, but the end is in sight. Like you guys, I enjoy working on her, knowing her systems intimately, and though the South Pacific dreams have been replaced with long weekends in Catalina, I wouldn't want to live any other way. Sorry if I got off the thread a bit, but was prompted to write after reading your posts. By the way, thanks to you all for the wealth of information you solicit and respond to.
All the best
 

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Is there anyone else out there like me?
Probably. But that wouldn't be me. True, I sometimes am not looking forward to certain maintenance tasks, but I generally find that once I get started I have no problem keeping at it until it's done. And when it's done, I derive great satisfaction from the completion of the task--particularly if it's enhanced/improved the functionality or appearance.

What do you do to start and keep inertia?
Procrastination is your enemy. It sounds trite: But don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. (Unless maybe you've gotten enough done today, you're feeling a bit tired and burned-out, and you know you'll come back tomorrow.)

The other thing is just plain acceptance. If you're going to own a boat (or a house, or... name something), you have to accept the fact that part of the time you're going to spend with her is going to be upkeep. There are things that will Just Have To Be Done. Best just accept it, learn to enjoy doing the work, and be happy :).

Fall haul-out is coming in three weekends. The mast has to be down before then. Plus there's the final pump-out, oil change, and whatever other winterization needs be done. One more sailing weekend after this one, and the following weekend will be spent doing all that. Not really looking forward to all that, per se, but It Must Be Done.

It's more the expense that concerns me. A good pump for the oil change process I understand will cost us about $150. *Ouch*. Gotta buy chain for the jack stands. (I know: Home Depot and it's not expensive. But it all adds up.) The pump for the head sill needs rebuilding. While she's on the hard: Need to upgrade the coolant intake thru-hull to a scupper version and buy and install a strainer. Need to add a seacock for the sink drain. Thinkin' we maybe want to replace the main halyard, cuz the current one has no shackle and I'm told you can't splice a shackle onto old halyard. And...

Well... you get the idea. This doesn't even begin to account for Desired Upgrades - of which I can easily come up with three relatively expen$ive ones right off the bat :).

Jim
 

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Owner, Green Bay Packers
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tenuki and I have differed on some things in the past but on this one I am in complete agreement with him. Here's how I do it (or try to do it):

One large maintenance, or otherwise, project per spring season. "Project creep" must be avoided at all costs. That is how a re-wiring the boat project turned into a stripping and painting the interior project as well. In retrospect, what should have happened is that the boat's interior paint got stripped and we went sailing. The following spring, the wiring could have been done and, since project creep had already caused it to be run in conduit, that would have been enough for that spring. The following spring the interior would have been painted. The boat would have looked the way she does today, afterall-who cares about how she looked yesterday, and much more sailing would have been done. This is the new theory, God help me!

I agree fully with tenuki's theory of doing something little each time on board. I found the easiest way to do this is to be on board more. No wind, no problem. Go to the boat anyway, the wind might come up, and you'll be more likely to slap a coat of varnish on something. You'll just have to trust me that, when the wind comes up, and you've just varnished the companionway coaming, you'll find a way to sail her. Every varnish job has at least one hand print on it and a litle varnish never hurt any sheet I ever met.

Expand your definition of "shipyard job". Thru-hulls are where I draw the line on things that can be done at a mooring. Everything else is possible, maintaining sailability. (is that a new word?) You'll of course recognize my boat at her mooring-she's the one with the step ladder bungied to her mast! I strongly recommend the wooden step ladder as it can be left lashed to the mooring if the wind comes up.

Perhaps the biggest key is to get over appearances. That silicone sealant or varnish run isn't going to hurt a thing. You can clean it up tomorrow or next year. I understand that they were due to polish the brass on the bridge of the Titanic, but never got around to it. If there's sailing to be done and it ain't a seaworthiness issue-it ain't an issue.
 

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Hitchin' a ride
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Owning a yacht is a deep and long term commitment.
I think this should be blazened across the top of every sailnet page. 3/4 of all threads could be answered with "see above".
 

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If you like to sail but are bothered by the commitment of a yacht, don't buy a yacht. All boats require some work, but while the length increases linearly, the work required to keep her in good condition increase geometrically. Think of it in terms of a parabolic curve, with the curve going almost vertical when you get into big yachts.

The wonder about sailing is that you can do it in an 8 foot dink. Or a 14-footer, or a 20 footer and so on. You can sea-camp in a west wight potter.
I used to spend hours on my Hobie Cat and it required a minimal amount of work a year. It would sail in 1 knot of wind, and pass speed boats when it blew hard. Never had so much fun afloat. $1600.00 and no slip required :)
 

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Helms ALee!
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Discussion Starter #15
I can think of only three comments when I read someone has a boat but dislikes maintenance -
1. wrong hobby, or
2. self delusion when it comes to boating, or
3. lots of extra needless available cash with which to pay someone else to do a poor job.
I don't suffer from any of these, just a case of honesty. I own a house, and don't like house maintenance either. I still do it. I also hate doing dishes, but I do them too. If you only do stuff you love in life, well, you have a problem.

I love sailing, I love owning my own boat in the marina 5 minutes from my house. I do not love maintenance, but it's worth doing it anyway to me.

go kick the cat, I'm gonna kick back... ;)
 

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Helms ALee!
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Discussion Starter #16
I generally find that once I get started I have no problem keeping at it until it's done. And when it's done, I derive great satisfaction from the completion of the task--particularly if it's enhanced/improved the functionality or appearance.
Me too. I'm asking abut overcoming inertia to do the big projects instead of just go sailing. :) Your comments were accurate, but not particularly helpful. lol. I've done a lot this first 8 months of ownership, I'm not particularly lazy or delusional and I think it is worth the effort. I just need some tricks. :)
 

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Helms ALee!
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Discussion Starter #17
If you like to sail but are bothered by the commitment of a yacht, don't buy a yacht.
Most moronic comment ever, except for the others on this thread along the same vein.

_Everything_ in life has a downside. Applying this logic to other things results in just sitting there the rest of your life. Don't like arguing? don't get married. Don't like doing dishes? always eat out. Don't like pooping? stop eating. Bad drivers on the road bother you? don't drive. Obviously bad advice IMHO.

The reality is if you like maintenance more than sailing, fine, I'm the other way around so shoot me for being honest about it. ;P
 

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Helms ALee!
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Discussion Starter #18
I put structural, seaworthiness issues ahead of cosmetic ones. If the "pretty" stuff doesn't get done as often as I might like, so be it.
Lol, sounds like me, i have new standing and running rigging, rebuilt winches, rebuilt rollerfurler, etc, but my topsides look like the boat's a derelict. But any 'sailing' parts are completely functional, either new or rebuilt. New sails are on the way this fall during loft discount days. however, next season I may still not have painted the topsides. :D
 

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Most moronic comment ever, except for the others on this thread along the same vein.
I am surprised you said that. Not owning a boat is a valid and reasonable choice if you don’t want the problems of ownership. You can sail with a friend or charter for your vacation. Aren’t those just two of many reasonable choices? Boat ownership isn’t for everybody but that doesn’t prevent you from enjoying sailing.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
 
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