The 'nearest' boatyard can easily be several days' sail away.
In terms of making money
, I know a couple who made a reasonable living doing sail repair and welding. Welding is a big one as not that many people can do it or have the equipment
The 'cruisers' that you find pootling about Florida
are likely to be far more in need of outside assistance than the 'cruisers' you find at Pitcairn.
I've never done an engine
'rebuild', but wouldn't let that stop me from having a go if I needed to. The difficulty would be getting the parts
(gasket set, piston rings, valve seals
, bearing shells etc..) rather than lack of willingness to have a go.
IMHO the most important skill a cruiser can have for keeping going is being jack of all trades. To be able to get on in the back of beyond you really need to be the kind of person who can repair the rigging
at the masthead in the morning, diagnose and fix an engine starter problem at lunchtime, catch and gut a dorado and make a delicious fish
curry for dinner, and stitch the genoa
back together before bed
, all underway
I'm stuck in an office in Edinburgh right now and remembering all these things so fondly, man I miss that life in the South Pacific!