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Old 17-03-2013, 13:25   #1
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Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

1. Our expectations for outfitting Smart Move were unrealistic, both in time to complete and the amount of money to complete.

2. The definition of manana -- something I had to re-learn weekly for the first four months. We did a major re-fit, including but not limited to, new standing rigging, new thru-hulls, new plumbing, new sails, lots of new electronic gadgets (hubby likes them) -- but no aesthetic stuff (a hard thing for two architects!).

3. Every boat project starts by moving everything out of the space you are working in. Then you will, most likely, have to dismantle part of the boat to get to the area you need to work in. Also, that area will not have enough head room and you will not be standing, sitting, or laying on a level surface and the platform will be moving. Finally, all of the stuff that you just took out has to go somewhere that will not be in the way.

4. Every boat project requires two or more trips to West Marine or Home Depot (or both) while in process. I really do not know why hubby cannot plan this better at the start. This does not include finding unforeseen conditions while dismantling things to start the project, that will add additional trips!

5. Our shakedown cruise at the end of December showed me I am way more resourceful that I believed and showed me I am pretty good at problem solving and being able to step back and re-look at a situation when the first solution isn't working. It was very empowering, abet frustrating, but a huge confidence booster.

6. Cats do get seasick.

7. I need to get way more creative about where to store provisions. After storing the staples, I have only really provisioned for two weeks at a time. I love our Bene, but storage is in short supply with a shallow bilge. I think I need to step back and re-look at the situation, but I am in a rut right now.

8. I am embarrassed to admit this one -- being 'Little Miss Organized' -- but I am starting to loose things in the boat. I lost my watch for two weeks. I lost two new temperature probes for the refrigerator, we had to order two more, I still have not found them. I started so well ... I had a spread sheet cross-referenced to a plan of the boat that I was listing what was where -- then we started the boat projects ...

9. Finally, our two cats are slobs! Not in the litter box way, they are very neat there, but with their food. I would swear they were much neater in the house, but then maybe it was because it was bigger and I just didn't see the small stuff.

I love this new life and look confidently to the challenges it will throw at me! I love sharing this with my best friend and the love of my life that shares this dream. I have never worked harder (physically) in my life, most days when I go to bed every muscle in my body aches from the boat projects we are still completing, but I have never been happier in my life.

Life is full of curve balls --instead of heading down island in the Eastern Caribbean as planned, in two weeks we will take the boat back to Puerto Rico and have it hauled out as we head back to Utah for three months while we await the births of two new grandsons. Our twin daughters are both due, about six weeks apart! Our dream will really start on July 1 when we return to Puerto Rico and head down island planning to be in Grenada by September 1. New challenges await as I really see if I am the weather nerd I think I am! Of course we may also see if 'Little Miss Planner's' plans for a hurricane and the contingency plan and contingency plan for the contingency plan work out as expected. If not, I have discovered I can be very resourceful and hubby is too.
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:30   #2
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

As you have mentioned July 1-September 1 is definitely hurricane season. That's a tough time to start out cruising. Be careful!
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:32   #3
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Lolol.... glad your having fun...
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:34   #4
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

Nice post. I look at it as a positive because you don't sound to be really to give it up for something else!
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:48   #5
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

Great post! Helpful for newbie expectations!
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Old 17-03-2013, 14:01   #6
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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
As you have mentioned July 1-September 1 is definitely hurricane season. That's a tough time to start out cruising. Be careful!
Yep, but we are not new to sailing and weather. Like I said, I will have back-up plans for back-up plans for the entire trip. I'm hoping my weather interpretation skills will keep us three steps ahead of any developing situations. I have found, in life, that keeping an eye forward can avoid a lot of unpleasantness.

Thanks, we will be careful. Lets hope it is a calm early season! I give August a 50/50 chance, hopefully it will be north of us!
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Old 17-03-2013, 14:09   #7
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

When working on a project, subdivide it into smaller projects that you can easily complete. If a project cannot be separated from its neighbor (intertwined cabling, for example), then tackle it as one BIG project. To give you an idea...when troubleshooting an electronic gizmo, I start with the power supply from its input to its output...testing under a normal load. If it passes, I go to the next "cubicle" in the gizmo and so on... When you work on small bite size projects, you'll also learn how they were put together, thus increasing your knowledge base. In case you need to go back, it will be that much easier and rewarding. Keep a rough sketch of labeled connections, prior to removing any. As you progress, check-off what was completed. In the end, when you look back...pat yourself on your back...you've done it! Mauritz
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Old 17-03-2013, 14:13   #8
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Lolol.... glad your having fun...
Fun does even begin to describe it -- I am finally alive! Not to say my life in the past was bad, it was just steps leading me to this.

This last week we had one of our daughters, son-in-law, and 20-month old granddaughter aboard. My daughter gets seasick (so kudos to her for coming aboard at 6-1/2 months pregnant), but our granddaughter is a little fish and sailor in the making -- even her parents were amazed how much she took to the boat and the sea/swimming (well not actually swimming). Being able to share this makes it so much more!
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Old 17-03-2013, 14:27   #9
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartMove View Post
1. Our expectations for outfitting Smart Move were unrealistic, both in time to complete and the amount of money to complete.

2. The definition of manana -- something I had to re-learn weekly for the first four months.
Maņana is perhaps my favorite Spanish word. While the literal translation is "tomorrow" in reality it usually means "not now". We have a large extended Mexican family thanks to our Mexican "daughter" who has spent close to a year living with us in Canada. When we visited her in Guadalajara in January I was again struck by the different attitude to time that native Mexicans have. Karlita has adopted a more northerly attitude but the balance of her family clearly has not.

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Old 17-03-2013, 15:05   #10
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Nice post. I look at it as a positive because you don't sound to be really to give it up for something else!
What else is there to give it up for? I am living my dream. Yeah it is not easy (or cheap -- and we didn't buy a project boat!). It has tested us on numerous levels and we haven't even gotten to the weather part yet!

I want to see the South Pacific again, and Oz, and South Africa. I think we will make it, but even if we don't, cruising the Caribbean until we drop over ain't a bad alternative.

My biggest fear when we started this adventure was that we would become hermits! Both of us are really introverts (if you look at the psych tests -- of course that begs the question, how did we create such successful careers). We have made so many new friends that is not a worry any more.

There is a current thread right now 'Pretend You Are A Newbie' something about what you would do differently. I guess I am (we are) newbies, we don't know everything we need to know. My elderly aunt came to visit us in Puerto Rico and in awe asked how I had learned everything, I replied I had not learned everything -- gasp. I told her that if you were to learn everything before boarding a boat you would be too overwhelmed to ever set foot on a boat. I told her I learned on a 'need to know' basis, another gasp! But really, until you can utilize the info how can you process/store it? But, in all fairness, I am in the 'just get out and do it' camp -- not for everyone. And I do (hubby too) have a lot of sailing/water experience coming into it.

Uh, what did you say? Broad reach? What is that? -- Just kidding! Back story later.
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Old 17-03-2013, 15:39   #11
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Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
When working on a project, subdivide it into smaller projects that you can easily complete. If a project cannot be separated from its neighbor (intertwined cabling, for example), then tackle it as one BIG project. To give you an idea...when troubleshooting an electronic gizmo, I start with the power supply from its input to its output...testing under a normal load. If it passes, I go to the next "cubicle" in the gizmo and so on... When you work on small bite size projects, you'll also learn how they were put together, thus increasing your knowledge base. In case you need to go back, it will be that much easier and rewarding. Keep a rough sketch of labeled connections, prior to removing any. As you progress, check-off what was completed. In the end, when you look back...pat yourself on your back...you've done it! Mauritz
That is really good advise. One of the major issues on the shakedown cruise was electrical problems.

In a perfect world you would make one change to a system at a time and then see how it worked. In our case, we were making wholesale changes to multiple systems at one time, then went sailing! When the SHTF we started backing up, finally getting to the point of the first change and moving forward one system at a time. Of course, it didn't help that we had the engine starter fail and the starter battery fail -- but the house battery bank was new!

Tracing the power has been really helpful in troubleshooting problems. And I am really glad I indulged hubby when he wanted to buy all of those (exotic) tools. Sketching is what us architects do best, but it is funny -- we started all of this (in my opinion) with no plan/sketch, it was after I made hubby sit down and sketch how the electronics were going work(together) that things went better (I told him I couldn't understand it/electrically -- subversive technique to make him think through the whole thing -- I understand the basics but am a better plumber!).

Not only are we proud of what we have done, but we are both more confident about our ability to troubleshoot problems after the shakedown cruise. It was a very empowering experience!
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Old 17-03-2013, 15:43   #12
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Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post

Maņana is perhaps my favorite Spanish word. While the literal translation is "tomorrow" in reality it usually means "not now". We have a large extended Mexican family thanks to our Mexican "daughter" who has spent close to a year living with us in Canada. When we visited her in Guadalajara in January I was again struck by the different attitude to time that native Mexicans have. Karlita has adopted a more northerly attitude but the balance of her family clearly has not.
You got it on the 'not now', it took me a long time (four months) to get this, because I understood it as tomorrow!
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:19   #13
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

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4. Every boat project requires two or more trips to West Marine or Home Depot (or both) while in process. I really do not know why hubby cannot plan this better at the start. This does not include finding unforeseen conditions while dismantling things to start the project, that will add additional trips!
I laughed out loud when I read this because for me at least it's a dramatic understatement. If I could get away with just two or three trips to the hardware or marine supply store for any project I undertake I would consider myself the very pinnacle of efficiency.

Then again, point me in the direction of any real marine supply store and I'm like kid with a nickel (showing my age) headed into the candy store. Even if all I can afford in one single Atomic Fireball I can at least revel in the dream.

There is a certain light that shines through your litany of woes. I can sorta tell you're smiling ear to ear all the way through it, in one way or another.
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:28   #14
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

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I started so well ... I had a spread sheet cross-referenced to a plan of the boat that I was listing what was where -- then we started the boat projects ...
We used to write things down like this, but inevitably we arrive back at the boat with a carload of supplies that has to be put away somewhere, which requires we unpack every space and repack it and everything becomes jumbled and then we forget to cross things off the list and then of course we add new things that we forget to put on the list. It's hopeless. Our basic strategy has changed to try to organize things into larger groupings: nuts and bolts are likely to be here with spare parts, pasta goes there, canned goods under there, cleaning supplies stuffed in below this, etc.
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:37   #15
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Re: Six Months In & Here Is What I Have Learned

Kettle...you should really consider having a maid...err...a mermaid! Mauritz
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