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Old 14-05-2011, 20:20   #1
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Fear and Getting Started

I knew when we bought our boat I was in for some major work. Spending a year getting ready financially for the refit was a long hard pull. All the while I was reading this forum religiously and not really investigating OUR boat. I knew it was coming. When we got started I was sort of shocked. It was hard. So hard, to clip that first wire... To disconnect the first junction. To pull the first bolt. Having never done this before I was scared.

In addition to that, I look at everyone's photos and projects here and I see beautiful white paint. Clean connections. Bristol works. And here my boat looks like its been inhabited by pigs for an age. Its disheartening.

Does anyone else have this fear when they are trying to start? How do you start when you have book knowledge but not practical knowledge?

For me, it was just "do". I'm finally underway with our big project. Hoping to get far enough along that they won't charge me a million dollars to lift the engine out. Tell me where I'm screwing up and what I can do better..

Does anyone else have a boat that looks like this? Do you cry at night?

Sundowner engine room refit project day 2
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Old 14-05-2011, 20:31   #2
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pirate Re: Fear and getting started

Target.... your boat looks great compared to the Waquiez Chance I delivered in April...
The Westerbeake was screwed so fitted an O/B bracket with a Suzuki 8hp for power down the river... the interior was a mess of delaminating ply where rain had been getting in for years while she stood on the hard and the topside teak was disintegrating...
But she floated and rode out some weather on the trip...
You'll get there mate... a lot quicker than the owners of my delivery I'll bet...
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Old 14-05-2011, 20:58   #3
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Re: Fear and getting started

Target...Wish I had some pics from the engine space on my first project... by comparison you are dong great...thought I would never see my way out of that horrible mess but step by step I got it down.
Take your time... think things through a couple of times before puting a wrench on it. I will still often do a step by step flow chart on a project if it's very complicated at all .

You will be building confidence quickly staying at it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of "cruising" ;~>
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Old 14-05-2011, 21:13   #4
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Re: Fear and getting started

The good news is when boats look as ugly to start with as ours do, you can do anything and it will look better ; -)

I take a LOT of consolation in this fact when I am tackling something on ours...

When I finish the task at hand, no matter what I do it will be better than how it was!
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Old 14-05-2011, 21:31   #5
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Re: Fear and getting started

Tearing the old stuff apart is the easy part, now getting it back together....

You'll be glad Dani took so many pictures as they'll help you re-route cables and hoses when you put it all back together.

I personally have completed many wood working projects, inculding cabinet building and built two boats. No matter how many times I've done one, the next project always scares me a bit, but somehow once I get going, they just seem to come together fine.

Just the same, I'm glad I do alot of my own work (stunts?), at least I know where my mistakes are and how serious they are and if anything breaks, I know who to blame.

Keep up the good work and keep blogging...
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Old 14-05-2011, 22:00   #6
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Re: Fear and getting started

Target,
I felt the same fear when I faced some of the projects required on our boat. But then I got some priceless advice from one of Don Casey's books, a mantra that I repeat to myself often: "It's...only...a...boat..." If you screw it up just go back in and fix it, not that big a deal. Glass, epoxy, hardware, paint, it's not the space shuttle.
It became easier to dive into the work and I surprised myself with consistently good results. It turns out the ability was always there, the main obstacle was the fear. Good luck...
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Old 14-05-2011, 22:20   #7
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Re: Fear and getting started

A bazzilion years ago, when I was in college, I took an intro Electronic Engineer course. Even though I was to be a geologist I figured I'd be using electronic equipment and the double E would be useful. It was but what I remembered is that the instructor showed us the inside of a TV set. "Looks awful complicated doesn't it?" But he then went on to explain that although it LOOKED complicated it was basically built of small amplifier blocks that each had only 4 pieces. He said you start at the beginning where the power comes in and measure the output voltages. Just keep going, one block to the next, until the voltage is wrong. Voilla, you found the problem.

Maybe not the best example, albeit its true, most maintenance on a boat consists of starting at a beginning and then moving to the next location. If you look too long at the overall picture, i.e. looking into the back of a TV, it can be overwhelming. Break it down into blocks and it gets a lot easier. Just go from block to block and sooner or later you're done.

I have an overheating problem on my boat. When I get around to fixing it, I'll start at the through hull, and proceed bit by bit to the exhaust. Dull? Yes, but I guarantee I'll find the problem.

Just stay calm and methodical and you'll be fine. If you find yourself getting frustrated, walk away. Perhaps a small tot of ol' thought provoker while you think about the problem. In the old days it would be time to take out the pipe, give my hands something to do and contemplate the problem. (Well, Watson this looks like a two pipe problem.) Usually, after a bit of contemplation I either solved the problem or determined what the problem really was. (According to Robert Heinlein, defining the problem accurately was 90% of the solution.)

Despite my running off at the keyboard, you seem to be doing fine.

I tend to write too much anyway but please forgive me, my pooch had emergency surgery today for paralysis of the rear legs. He survived the surgery, which was a glorious surprise, but there is still only about a 50-50 chance of him ever walking again. I'm taking my nerves out on others, so I'll shut down for a bit. I miss my little buddy.

Rich
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Old 14-05-2011, 22:22   #8
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Re: Fear and getting started

No boat is ever "finished". There is always something thats needs your attention. But as long as youre enjoying each challenge and see each one as step towards magical nights at sea, its all worth it.

It may be worth writing a list and keeping it in a high profile place so you can cross items off to show your progress and watch yourself getting closer and closer. Youre not alone on this one though. Everyone has taken on a job they have never done before. Look at the wright brothers
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Old 15-05-2011, 05:57   #9
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Re: Fear and Getting Started

Quote:
Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
.......Does anyone else have a boat that looks like this? Do you cry at night?
....
Yup, I used to have one that was similar (or worse); at some stage the boat was almost completely pulled apart and partly sanded back to bare wood (inside and out) but was not quite ready to refitting, repainting etc; it was far worse than looking at a set of plans and raw building materials!

Everything was partly pulled apart and covered in sanding dust (and the sanding dust continued for years).

But now (7 years later), it's new white paint, shiny varnished trim (below decks), new rigging, new windows,new engine, new wiring etc etc.

So now I only cry when the seagulls leave their calling cards and the bottom wants to foul up!

Keep up the good work Target and take heart, you are amongst your peers who understand what it is that you are doing
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Old 15-05-2011, 06:07   #10
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Re: Fear and getting started

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
A bazzilion years ago, when I was in college, I took an intro Electronic Engineer course. Even though I was to be a geologist I figured I'd be using electronic equipment and the double E would be useful. It was but what I remembered is that the instructor showed us the inside of a TV set. "Looks awful complicated doesn't it?" But he then went on to explain that although it LOOKED complicated it was basically built of small amplifier blocks that each had only 4 pieces. He said you start at the beginning where the power comes in and measure the output voltages. Just keep going, one block to the next, until the voltage is wrong. Voilla, you found the problem.
Where was your prof when I took EE? Ours tried to convince us everything was P.F.M. (Pure Frickin' Magic)

I've used this approach for almost as long and it has served me well.

I would add that just because something looks bad, doesn't mean it must be replaced. The opposite is also true. I would also submit using a bit of the correct lubricant will prevent many future problems and keeping rust off your fittings in the first place will prevent many problems down the err... channel.
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Old 15-05-2011, 08:14   #11
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Re: Fear and Getting Started

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Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
Having never done this before I was scared.
Does anyone else have this fear when they are trying to start? Tell me where I'm screwing up and what I can do better..
First, respect. The most courageous are those who can admit their fears, set them on the table for public examination, and thereby overcome them.

It helps that you have a supervisor (Dani). With two sets of hands and eyes, two brains, and a mutually supportive life, you have a powerful multiplier. Be sure to keep it fun - the project goal should never supercede the relationship. Priorities, amigo.

Most of the mechanics I know have an IQ several dozen points below mine. This allows them to proceed even when they don't know what they are doing. The lack of awareness means they don't see the danger coming, and hence don't care. Us smart guys want to figure it out up front (not a bad idea, planning) and know how the story ends before we start. We use the scientific method to reduce the variables. And when we reach the point where our forward vision is impaired, we slow down or stop, while Bubba is still yanking wires, pipes, and bolts.

You don't have to embrace your inner Bubba to know that you WILL figure it out, eventually. There will be set-backs - you know that's true. What starts as cable adjustment might wind up as a rudder replacement, for example. Or re-wrapping the exhaust pipe might lead to pipe replacement, which leads to flange bolt drilling, which leads to some creative manifold reinforcement - who knows? Sometimes, you just have to believe.

My best advice to minimize frustration is to make a list of things to be done, put them in order (recognizing overlaps), and make notes as you are removing things - tag your wires AND terminals! And when it gets rough, step back and b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Crack open your favorite beverage and enjoy the day. Maybe do something cosmetic so that it LOOKS better even if the fuel pump is toast and rusted in place.

One day at a time, one step at a time. You have a fine looking boat and seem like a well-suited couple. See you on the water when Sundowner is ready.

And Cabo, I hope your pal recovers quickly and well!

John
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Old 15-05-2011, 08:26   #12
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Re: Fear and Getting Started

Almost forgot - this is Sympatico, before and after. We splashed about 2 weeks ago, after she sat on the hill for nearly 5 years, about 1.5 in my care. Just don't look inside!
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Old 15-05-2011, 08:43   #13
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Re: Fear and Getting Started

Feral has some good advice and it sounds like he has been there. I am two years into a restoration in N.O. as well. Our job didn't look so bad at first, it just looked like some massive cleaning, sanding, painting and polyurethaning.

Two years later I have removed the engine, rebuilt the logs, reinstalled the engine, done tons of plumbing repair and upgrade, replaced termite-damaged wood, and on and on. None of these repairs were apparent when we decided to take on the job. But, we got them all done even though we live 2.5 hours from New Orleans and both have full-time jobs. All that is to say that you'll probably have some unexpected setbacks, but your to-do list is so complete, you won't have the major one's we discovered. Just take your time and quit for the day when it's time to sit in the cockpit, have a few cocktails and watch the sunset.

Looks like you're gonna have a beautiful boat when you finish!

BTW, forgot to mention the fuel tank replacement. The refit looks like hell but is totally secure. Another one of those unexpected jobs.
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Old 15-05-2011, 09:50   #14
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Re: Fear and Getting Started

Thanks to all of you that replied and sympathized or empathized. Its good to hear the words of those that have gone before you and have come out alright. We're on our way back to do some more work this afternoon. Your words will be with me!

Rich,
I sure hope your dog makes a full recovery.

Feral,
I've often wondered myself why some people that don't seem to have any sort of plan are entirely comfortable making major modifications.
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Old 15-05-2011, 18:35   #15
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Re: Fear and Getting Started

The fun continues:
Engine Room Refit Day 3 | SV Sundowner sails again
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