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Old 11-03-2010, 19:57   #31
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#3 The ability to see things multi-dimensionally. Can you look at a waterpump for example and know how to R & RB & R it without ever referring to a manual or parts diagram? This type of innate thinking is great to have. While not totally necessary to do DIY it is great if you want to take things to the next level..
I agree but this thought needs to be coupled with, "Do you know when you need to refer to the manual or parts diagram to establish critical dimensions?"

I have seen lots of money on parts wasted because dimensions weren't adhered to and the unit failed to work, failed early or had less than adequate performance.
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Old 11-03-2010, 20:25   #32
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Old 11-03-2010, 22:13   #33
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I am going to jump in here and cause all kinds of unrest but I see the majority of cruising sailors that don’t have the abilities they really need if the dodo impacts on the rotor blades.

People don’t know how to repair stuff, don’t have spare parts, don’t have tools and seem to rely on luck to get them by. Not all, and there are some really talented people sailing. You can talk to most for a few minutes and get an idea of what group they belong to.

I like to play a little and often ask people what they would do concerning something I am doing on a boat just to see what they know. Often the most vocal have the least knowledge and the biggest opinion.

Advice: Listen, learn, read, read and apply what you read and then read some more. Pray to your god that you have some innate mechanical ability because without that you will always be pounding your head on the bulkhead.

I loved the advice about upbringing. Most kids don’t get to learn from dads anymore. I grew up following a natural born engineer around and when I wasn’t in his wake I was involved in my own projects so it comes pretty natural to me. I got lucky.

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Old 12-03-2010, 01:20   #34
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DYI is important, but...

...sometimes other factors should also be considered.

On the one hand, I realize that I should be able to effect repairs while underway, or when in remote locations where a knowledgeable technician/mechanic is not available. However, it's equally important that I realize my own limitations. From time to time jobs/repairs come up where it's much more cost effective to have a professional do the job than to attempt it myself. I need to know when it's better to have someone else fix/improve my boat.

Let's say, by way of example, that I need to replace a keel bolt. My boat yard, which employs a fellow who has done this a dozen times, tells me that it's going to involve two hours labor plus the cost of a new bolt. Accomplishing the same job might take me four hours of labor, plus an additional hour of tracking down the bolt, plus an additional $100 to purchase a tool I'll need to do the job.

Given the above circumstances, I'll be able to make more than enough money by spending an extra five hours in my office than I'll spend paying for the yard to do the job. Additionally, I'll know have a sense that the job has been done correctly, professionally, as compared to the work I'd have done myself, given my lack of training and experience. Finally, I've eliminated the possibility that after several hours of labor it's going to take the trained professional twice as long to fix my mistakes as if he'd been on the job from the beginning.

The biggest skill regarding boat repair and maintenance is to know when to do the job myself, and when to stand back and let the pros take over.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:34   #35
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...sometimes other factors should also be considered.

However, it's equally important that I realize my own limitations.
, tells me that it's going to involve two hours labor plus the cost of a new bolt. Accomplishing the same job might take me four hours of labor, plus an additional hour of tracking down the bolt, plus an additional $100 to purchase a tool I'll need to do the job.

Given the above circumstances, I'll be able to make more than enough money by spending an extra five hours in my office than I'll spend paying for the yard to do the job. Additionally, I'll know have a sense that the job has been done correctly, professionally, as compared to the work I'd have done myself, given my lack of training and experience.
The biggest skill regarding boat repair and maintenance is to know when to do the job myself, and when to stand back and let the pros take over.

But think of all that learning expirence you just lost out on. And mybe they will do it right, or maybe they won't. Like the thru hulls that a "professional" did on my boat, and now it is next to impossible to put on the correct tail pieces because they didn't do it right, or when the PO had a "professional" install a radar and he then drilled thru the fuel fill hose, but no one knew it till the next fill up....
Seriously, spending the money to get the right tool for the job will then mean that you have the tool the next time you need it.
Many of these guys charge 85 buck per hour and up to do simple jobs. Do you really want to pay that ? And if you do/did, what will you do the next time you need it done and you are in a out of the way place ?
To me, cruising means sulf sufficiency and self reliance. That don't mean don't ask for help, but sure as heck don't pay for something you can do yourself.

As far as the OP question was, I liked many of the answers given.
Being as I am rebulding a older boat, I have found that the ability to think outside the box is very important. The determination to do it, and to learn from it as 2nd, and to take my time. But as chief says, get the best you can. Don't skimp on cheap parts.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:46   #36
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There are two sides to this. None of the above apply once the boat is unfixed from the mooring.
Things WILL go wrong. Doing the right thing first reduces risk immediately.
MOB is a classic. Do you start the engine and reverse hard, drop the sails, radio for help, run up the flag, throw floaty things over the side, press the MOB button on the chart plotter, look it up in the book.
You're on this website, that's a good thing. Go through the challenges, weigh up what might or might not be right for you and your boat. Then maybe, before you untie those knotty bits you'll drag the yellow painted fender that you tied to a rubber bucket and put it close to the cockpit. 1st thing is to: spot the MOB, provide some floatation that won't blow away, and see him respond to your action by swimming towards your float.
2nd action, now that you're thinking? Well, there's a challenge. Say it's just the two of you, and it's you in the water and a novice on the boat. What did you tell him to do? Did you brief him or were you rushing to catch the tide?
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:17   #37
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I agree with most of what has been said and will add a few points:

Don't be afraid of your systems.

Keep the manuals and instructions for everything you buy.

See if you can persuade your mechanic to let you be his helper one day while he is working on your boat.

If possible, find the best people for each profession, and then use them year after year. There is no meaningful difference in expense, you learn, and you get the best possible work.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:42   #38
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If possible, find the best people for each profession, and then use them year after year. There is no meaningful difference in expense, you learn, and you get the best possible work.
While I doubt many would disagree with you here. The real problem is "who are they?" You can ask 15 people who all had success using so and so and when you use them for something a little different it is a complete disaster.

I find this to be virtually impossible in a practical way for boating unless you have been in the same place for a while and have your own personal experience to contribute. But then how many engine repowers or re-rigging are you really going to do? Often even your own experience isn't applicable since you may not be doing the same thing more then once.

At home, if you have lived in the same area, you know who can fix your car, your appliances, etc. As you move with a boat though that same infrastructure familiarity is absent so you often have to just wing it.

This is why I have found that doing it myself regardless of the "cost effectiveness" of it seems to work out best for me because then I never have to get angry at the people I have do things.

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Old 12-03-2010, 08:13   #39
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With boats you really need to be a hands on type of person. Unless you are wealthy enough and your boat is large enough to hire people who are hands on people to run the boat for you.

Whats really valuable is a good tool kit and enough spares and materials to make permanent or temporary repairs while underway, but not so much stuff that there is no place to store it all, slows the boat down or costs you a fortune in spares.

You also want to bring with you the knowledge to know how things work and enough creativity to figure out how to work around any problems or to fix those problems.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:35   #40
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... Keep the manuals and instructions for everything you buy ...
And acquire them for items bought by PO.
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Old 12-03-2010, 14:34   #41
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Old 12-03-2010, 17:36   #42
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Never enough time to do it right, always time to do it over.
Or, as another wise man once queried (actually, on over 13,000 occasions):
"If you didn't have time or money to do it right in the first place, when or where will you get the time or money to fix it?"

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Old 12-03-2010, 20:16   #43
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I have had customers ask me to their boat to evaluate...troubleshoot....on occasion they tell me that they are going to handle the repair themselves....as I leave, I tell them if they have a problem don't hesitate to call. No Problem. Many times they realize their limitations /frustration level and I get the call.

Then there are others who attempt to "mine" your brain...having no intention of having you do any work....just want free stuff....due to the "Jungle Drums of Marine Communications" their names get around and then they wonder why they can't get anybody to their boat when "it hits the fan".

I don't mind customers watching me work...I will advise them to stay clear and if they want to engage me with "sea stories" I jokingly remind them they are paying me by the hour to listen. When they watch me and learn, they become more self sufficient and confident...plus it is fun.
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