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Old 18-11-2014, 14:49   #1
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So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

When I decided I wanted to live on a sailboat, my dream was to find a boat mostly put together so I could immediately move aboard and start the glorious life away from the shore.

Of course, a dream has to start somewhere and when you're poor it starts with a dirt cheap project boat. In my case, a 1979 Neptune 24' "pop-up" model that I can't even stand up in unless the top is popped up.

I have a list of stuff I need to do to it a mile long and I am so overwhelmed. It needs rotten wood replaced, it needs cushions, it needs leaks repaired, it needs work done to the front hatch, it needs a new companionway built, there's no cabinets for storage, there's no fridge or heat or a/c or cooking appliances. I can't safely sail her b/c the motor is mounted wrong and it's too smile for my boat

I feel like I made a huge mistake and there's no going back. I can start putting some money into her but no clue where to start. How do you guys prioritize your list?

#1 I want to sail her so I'm going to go by this weekend and get all the specs on the 2.5 hp outboard and see about selling it or trading it for something with a 20-25" shaft.

#2 I want to live on her but it needs so much work to live on. This is my most current "list" and it's not even everything I want to do

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resi...int=file%2cxls
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Old 18-11-2014, 18:08   #2
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Leaks first, unless they are the result of the rotten wood, then the wood first. Keeping the water on the outside is really important, especially if you want to live aboard.

Throw away smelly cushions after "harvesting" their zippers (if any), which you will wash carefully, and then making a scale drawing of them on quadrille paper, so you can make covers eventually, but you will want to buy new foam, and cover it with a fabric that will do for short term. (Bedspreads & sheets from thrift shops can be sources of cheap fabric, if you can't afford new right now.)

Thrift shops may also have camp stoves in season, and sleeping bags, if you need 'em, and a card table.

It will be spatially difficult to live aboard and fix it up at the same time, because all the jobs make dirt, that you want to keep out of your bedding.

Maybe if you tell us more about your project, we can help better.

In the meantime, if you truly believe you have bitten off more than anyone can reasonably chew, perhaps you'll have to just take the loss and choose a different project boat. Throughout life we make some decisions that work, and some that don't work for us. There is no dishonor is facing up to it if you made one that didn't work for you, you just have to suck up the ego damage and cut your losses and move on.

Good luck with it, mate. I won't say "hang in there", 'cause it might be better to let go of it, and only you can make that decision.

Ann
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Old 18-11-2014, 18:39   #3
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Yes it can be overwhelming for sure. As you are learning... there are no "free" boats. You need to start from a safety/seaworthy standpoint and include live aboard things too if that is a must:
*Thru hull valves and fittings as well as hoses.
*Engine/bracket and controls
*Rigging and running rigging/sails
*Rudder and keel (if bolted on)
*Keep your covers or foam as patterns for your new upholstery. In a pinch watch for give away couches and chairs for new foam or even cushions that may fit for a while! I've seen matching couches and chairs for free or nearly free when people move. Just take the cushions!
*Water tankage and system.
* toilet facilities
* don't spend too much on your first boat! You cant get the money back....
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Old 18-11-2014, 18:54   #4
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

How, literally? Old fashioned 3x5 cards are still a very good way to make a ToDo list.


One card, one project. Use pencil so you can revise categories and priorities, and assign those to each job.


Priority One might be "stop more damage" like finding leaks, and as a second project, fixing them.


Priority 2 and 3 might be making it liveable in various ways, or, making it safe to move in the water. Your choice, whatever is more important to you.


All the way down to the electrics and engine and rigging, and the lowest priority should be cosmetics, i.e. sanding and painting and brightwork. For most of us.


In terms of categories (as opposed to priorities) you might split that into "one man jobs" "needs help" "needs hired professional help" or "under $50" "over $100".


The beauty of index cards and a pencil is that it is so easy to just move cards into different stacks if you want to change things around. Working alone this week? Pull out the "one man" stack. Won an extra $50 in a poker game? Pull out the "one man, $100 jobs" stack.


But while you're building the list of jobs, after you've got them all listed, go back and price them all out before you start on any work. How much time, how much money, each will cost you. Total it up, and make sure you're willing to put that much into the boat. And assume it will cost somewhat more. (A whole other discussion, but double isn't unusual.)
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Old 18-11-2014, 19:01   #5
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
How, literally? Old fashioned 3x5 cards are still a very good way to make a ToDo list.


One card, one project. Use pencil so you can revise categories and priorities, and assign those to each job.


Priority One might be "stop more damage" like finding leaks, and as a second project, fixing them.


Priority 2 and 3 might be making it liveable in various ways, or, making it safe to move in the water. Your choice, whatever is more important to you.


All the way down to the electrics and engine and rigging, and the lowest priority should be cosmetics, i.e. sanding and painting and brightwork. For most of us.


In terms of categories (as opposed to priorities) you might split that into "one man jobs" "needs help" "needs hired professional help" or "under $50" "over $100".


The beauty of index cards and a pencil is that it is so easy to just move cards into different stacks if you want to change things around. Working alone this week? Pull out the "one man" stack. Won an extra $50 in a poker game? Pull out the "one man, $100 jobs" stack.


But while you're building the list of jobs, after you've got them all listed, go back and price them all out before you start on any work. How much time, how much money, each will cost you. Total it up, and make sure you're willing to put that much into the boat. And assume it will cost somewhat more. (A whole other discussion, but double isn't unusual.)
These last two sentences are very important... read them twice! Not sure about the need for index cards for most of us... but a good pad is required for al those measurements and lists. You will spend at least as much time trying to find materials as working on the boat.... you need the measurements and lists with you!
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Old 18-11-2014, 19:36   #6
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

I have done (am doing) ours as follows:
1. Through hulls all replaced or blanked off
2. Plumbing stripped out and simplified. Mostly original parts.
3. Electrics stripped out and simplified. New batteries, cables and solar.

Somewhere in there I took a break to attend to some anomalies in the cabin sole but that was mostly to make the boat nicer to walk around. I also bought the boat a new sail wardrobe as a morale booster early this year which helped my enthusiasm.

Now I am about to attend to decks to deal with very minor leaks before I do anything cosmetic down below. If the leaks had been significant I would have done the deck first.

After the decks it will be engine/transmission then finally the rigging before we go anywhere far from home.

I get a bit despondent about the work from time to time but I find it helps if I try to keep the boat sailable as much as possible and get out for even an hour or so at a time.

Good luck. With time and perseverance you will get there.

Matt


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Old 18-11-2014, 19:54   #7
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

A pad works, but the nice thing about index cards (and you can also buy a "pad" of index cards, perforated on a wire binding) is that once a job is done, you can toss it, file it, never have to rifle through a pad full of things you haven't gotten around to this year. Or two.(G)
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Old 18-11-2014, 23:04   #8
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainHooks View Post
How do you guys prioritize your list?
Evernote.

And the " getting things done" system. http://gettingthingsdone.com

Then it so much easier to focus on each task instead of getting overwhelmed by the big picture. I'm normally not a big fan of airport type change your life books but this one is well worth a read.
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Old 19-11-2014, 07:53   #9
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Thanks everyone

Helps quite a bit
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Old 19-11-2014, 08:11   #10
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

emergent stuff

everything else (function related)

appearance group

improvements, nonemergent, and wish list items
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Old 19-11-2014, 08:34   #11
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

I did exactly the same thing as you 8 years ago. Bought a cheap boat, made a list and immediately became overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that needed to be done. I stuck with it and am glad to have done so despite the fact that i could have saved a ton of money overall by just waiting, saving up and then buying a boat that was already in good shape.

When deciding what to do, my rule has been to work on things in this order:

1) Things that need to be done to prevent catastrophic loss - things like replacing seized, leaky through-hull fittings would fall into this category because if they go (which they will eventually if not seen to) you will lose everything. Things in this category are mostly below the waterline, but also include things like deck cleats (if you're on a mooring or at anchor), anchor line (if you're primarily anchored) and so on.

2) Things that need to be done to prevent further damage - things like fixing portlight leaks, or sealing up deck fittings (if you have a cored deck) fall into this category. Basically, anything that while left un-checked will cause further problems down the line.

3) Things that allow you to use the boat - rigging, sails etc.

4) Things for convenience - building a proper water system. Sorting out electrics etc.

5) Things for aesthetics.

Following this system of categorising jobs religiously has served me well. It makes the to-do list much more manageable as it breaks it down into chunks.
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Old 19-11-2014, 09:03   #12
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

First off... FUN!

Remember how excellent this project, and the outcome, is and you will have less time to be overwhelmed.

There are often exceptions... times where doing something 'out of order' makes a lot of sense.

For example, if you remove a bulkhead while repairing a leak, run wires and plumbing before re-installing it etc.

gl.

-steve
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Old 19-11-2014, 10:07   #13
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

I looked at your list... not too surprised! Been there done that myself with a 28' O'Day dying in a corn field. You have a BIG fundamental decision to make before you start... Is this really the right boat? Can you do better/ much better in a 'starter' sailboat? I think so.

I live up in Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has an annual Boat Auction every Fall that you should consider attending. Every year the CBMM auctions off 15-20 nice condition sailboats that have been donated to the Museum for this annual event by owners that have for various reasons decided to donate their beloved boat (for tax write-off) rather than go though all the issues/ time/ hassle of selling their boat.

These 26' to 38' sailboats auction for typically $1,500 to $3,500 and are already on a par with my 28' O'Day after I've spent several years bringing her back to life and a lot more $$. The CBMM will not accept 'junk' donations boats. These boats are on sail away condition... Usually have full sail inventory/ sail covers, dodgers, running inboards or outboards, cushions, with usual safety equipment, and often with pots/ pans, and silverware still in the drawer.

OK so you're not up in this area, but any big sailing area has museums, colleges, and boat donation charity programs that benefits Sea Scouts or other groups that you can find similar loved/ ready to sail boats. I believe it would really be worth your while to take some time and check out these 'ready to go' options.

And if you can't find the equivalent to our CBMM auction in your area, take a trip up here in early September. You'll likely only need a one-way ticket since you can (actually must) sail/ motor them away immediately (back home) after the auction when you pay (in cash) and are given the title. (A 28' Alden w/ Universal diesel, full set of sails/ cover, no leaks, beautiful teak below, safety equipment, good batteries, everything working (galley alcohol stove, 12v fans, head, shower, hot water tank (120v & engine heated), anchor, roller headsail, pressure freshwater, ... $2,300 as I recall as a specific example).

Also CBMM gets donation boats, even in the Winter/ early Spring when health or other issues suddenly have changed for their owners and the museum doesn't like keeping boats that long in their care until the Fall auction, so they will 'list it' on their web site and sell it at near auction $$s (Google: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum).

I honestly think you will get further along/ faster/ and end up with a bigger better boat for less $$, if you start off with better 'bones' and a better loved 'starter boat' even if you have to take more time finding it. Good luck.



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Old 19-11-2014, 10:18   #14
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Welcome CaptainHooks

The most import things are making the boat safe to live aboard, and then seeing if you can make it comfortable enough.

All the rest is just another adventure, or a walk through hell.

It's up to you to decide.
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Old 19-11-2014, 10:46   #15
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Re: So much to do to my little boat, how do you prioritize?

Its easy to prioritize, the hardest and nastiest jobs should be done first! Why, because your fresh and if you hold off and do the really rotten jobs later, you may loose your desire and never finish. If you do them first, you have an investment of blood, sweat and tears that you won't want to lose.
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