I'm only five weeks in on my first boat, but here's what I wish I'd known beforehand. I lot of it was just due to the fact that I wanted a boat, the price
was great, and I didn't even bother to give it a thorough inspection
before jumping on the deal.
- No, it won't just take one weekend of scrubbing to get all the mildew and crud out of a boat that sat neglected and occasionally full of rain water
for who knows how many years.
- No, I can't just replace the flooring
. If one bit of wood is rotten, most likely ALL the wood is rotten. Even if the wooden walls are still fairly solid, if one or two layers are separated and rotting, they still make the entire boat smell like mold
and no, I can't get all the carpentry finished in one weekend.
- Synthetic, mildew-treated fabric
can be found for as cheap
as $11.99 a yard. However, there's no way around the fact that new foam is freaking expensive.
- While I was confident in my ability to revive a waterlogged electrical system
and did so with very little trouble, I really should have checked to see if some key components were even on the boat. Didn't realize it was missing four light fixtures and the battery charger
until it was too late. That goes back to my first regret of wishing I'd done a better inspection
- Wish I'd priced Westerbeke parts
before thinking a diesel
would be an easy rebuild
. Most of my Porsche parts
don't cost that much. It looks like we'll be paying almost $300 in filters and various other piddly things just to see if the motor
will start. If it does, the gamble paid off. If not, there's no telling what it may cost.
- Wish I'd been more realistic with my monthly repair budget
. My brother and I both agreed we'd each spend $250 a month of parts and repairs
with the goal of having the interior
refinished, the electrical
working, and the motor
running, and all the running rigging
replaced and working by October. We blew through that budget
in the first two weekends. Do you know how hard it is to stop progress to let the budget catch up? Luckily, there's still plenty of mold
to be scrubbed and deck/window leaks
to be found, but I'd much rather be finding out of that diesel
- Wish I hadn't used the head
that one morning I had just downed a McGriddle on the way to the marina and was having some stomach problems from a bit too much drinking the night before. In ten years of ownership
, the previous owners had never used it. Thankfully, it was at least hooked up to the holding tank
. I was able to flush the mess with a bottle of water
I'd brough on board. But yeah, not the way to test the plumbing
system. The smells also made it quite a rough day to work in the cabin
- Wish I'd had a more realistic view of my patience and work ethic. The first two weekends, I spent all day Saturday and Sunday on the boat and several night during the week working on things at home. The next weekend it was one day. This past weekend it was about four hours, and I haven't lifted a finger this week at home to finish the carpentry.
- Wish I'd known that when girlfriends say they want to help with the boat, they really mean, they're happy to spend an hour or two scrubbing in an attempt to impress you, but after that, the boat better run or they're done with the whole thing. (FYI, I've found it's necessary to bring a different girl down every Saturday because they only work on their first visit. After that they just lay out and complain about the heat. This has started to become a little confusing to the two staff members at West Marine
I undoubtedly see every weekend, but neither has made a comment yet.)
I'm in no way giving up, and I'm still very much enthused and in love with the boat, but working in humid, Texas
heat that makes it about 115-120 degrees in the cabin
wears you out. Friends and family
start getting annoyed that you haven't made any time for them in weeks. Every project
has some "catch" and takes two or three times as long as you had planned. Everything you clean gets dirty again as soon as you start the next project
. All the old equipment
that came with the boat that you find is working whether it be handpumps, bilge
pumps, microwaves or the air-conditioner will probably die after a few minutes of use.
I'll be back out there for a couple hours to charge the batteries and keep cleaning
this weekend, but my glorious dream of actually sailing by October is gone. Maybe December, but sometime in the spring is much more likely.