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Old 02-09-2015, 05:12   #16
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Oh yeah....I noticed no one suggested getting married.

Ouch, sorry dear!
Married!? With my first wife I had to sell my power boat because it took up driveway space needed for her "For2 Smartcar".

When I was in between wives I happily floated around/lived aboard my Grampian 30 without any need for internet or TV (back then I didn't know I was supposed to ask strangers on CF what kind of boat I needed for my basset hound and I to drink beer on).

With my second wife I had to buy a bigger boat because the old Gramps wasn't big enough and now I have a big boat and live in a house like a sucker!

I'm not sure this is the solution the OP needs.

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Old 02-09-2015, 08:59   #17
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I'd like to add a thumbs up to what GILow said. I have an Alberg 35. She's generally in good shape but last spring I had lots of issues with the batteries and the bilge pump. I felt like every time I went to the boat, it was a long, uphill slog. Plus, she's in Baltimore which this year went directly from cold to 90+ deg days. It's about a two and a half hour trip to my boat, which gives me plenty of time to contemplate things and one day on the way there I realized I was actually dreading getting there. The boat had become projects that often defeated me and always exhausted me.

At that point, I did just what GILow said. I put things in "safe but not quite right" order. No electric bilge pump but a manual one; neither is going to overcome a 2" hole, anything that doesn't threaten sinking I can manually pump out. I can manage without power for lights, fans, and the autopilot for daysails.

So I went sailing. For two trips, I did no projects, just basic cleanup stuff on occasion. I fell in love with why I had the boat over again.

Of course, the projects were still there but when I went back to them I knew again WHY I was doing them. And those who have said that doing it yourself is worth it to learn the boat—they're right. I got someone to teach me how to maintain the diesel, including bleeding the injectors, I read and read about DC electrical systems and figured out the batteries and replaced some with units that are now working fine. I installed a new bilge pump.

It's easy to forget why we have boats: how they move us. Go sailing.

Jim Eaton
s/v Pendragon Alberg 35 #175
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:14   #18
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

yeah, get married so you won't be alone. Then you can sit and listen to your wife complain about all the boat projects you have started that you haven't completed yet.
Big improvement there, but you won't be lonely. I'll bet, since two heads are better than one, she can even come up with some more projects for you -- just in case you get out of that overwhelmed state. And this, from a woman's perspective.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:21   #19
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

If you like little short answers - don't read this.

You will hit a nerve with many of the forum here. Me especially. My wife will help if I have something very specific and easy - like hold this wire while I do this. I have semi-knowledgeable friends who will help but sometimes I hate to ask, especially when I am just trying to figure out how something works and I need time to explore. I feel like I am wasting their time. They invariably tell me that would be OK but I am still reluctant to ask sometimes. So mostly I do all the work solo, like you.

It is no problem at all to pay $100/hour for professional help here though. You may have to schedule the time unless it is an emergency. And lots of places to spend lots of money for expensive parts but that is the nature of the boating beast. But we have 466 boats in just this one marina and lots more around town, and thousands more in Puget Sound.

I am a list guy. I still have lists of projects for my last boat that are over 15 years old. Most of the stuff got done, some of it never did. Some of it was (re)done several times (my favorite). Now I have new lists and it is the same old thing. The main reason I sold the last boat was the never-ending cycle of boat projects (and the sucking sound on the bank account). Why I got another boat and started all over again is very much a puzzle. I think it has some medical/psychological/pathological name of some sort. Like why did I spend a couple of weeks solid removing, rebuilding, reinstalling a leaky windlass last winter and now it is leaking again?

But - what helps me many times is to cherry pick my list. I too will have multiple project going many times. That is a recipe for frustration if you let it be. So I will just shut down some of the projects and pick the one that will give me the most satisfaction when I get it done. Sometimes that means only getting one major milestone done on a long project, but something I can step back from and feel satisfied that I got it done. It may literally take months for some projects (like my new radar/chartplotter).

It took me weeks to build new a new wire run across the overhead in the main berth to make it look like it was designed in when the boat was built. But first I got the radome in and felt a sense of pride in how that turned out. Then I pulled the fat cable and got that done and ditto. Then I pulled the wires and cables to interface and power the new goodies. It was literally a nine month project. I would drop that project at the end of the milestones and do something else when I just got too tired of thinking about it. But I would check another box off the list (new holding tank vent, redo bilge plumbing, sort out the outboard engine lift, etc.).

Sometimes I cherry pick out the little things I can get done and get them off the list quickly. I feel good about making the list shorter even though I can't step back and boast about how cool it was. But I feel good about getting it done.

And Boat61 was spot on on how valuable it is to actually do the work yourself - provided - you do a good job of it, i.e. reliable and safe. Not perfect necessarily. Perfection can be the death of a boat owner DIYer. Some things I do as perfect as I can. Most things are very good but not "perfect".

For some boaters, and sometimes I ask if I am one of them, having a boat is the "fun" of working on them. Sailing is an afterthought. For others, sailing is all that matters and the work is just something that has to be slogged through to keep the boat sailing. I am definitely in the middle somewhere. If you like the work you can't complain about finishing your list and having nothing left to do. But boats will never disappoint you in that regard.

Anyway - you are just venting in any case - partially. But you describe the real world. And it is nice to have others around to gab with on the docks. We have a busy marina now but it will die down. I make a point of meeting all the owners and their contractors for about 6 boats either side of me, both sides of the dock and I meet and get to know as many others as I can. I can't remember names so I keep a list in the boat so they think I care enough to remember their names. I ask them questions. They like to help, and they understand what it is like to be working on an endless list of projects and how you can get stuck on something. Some could care less about me and my projects, but most are friendly. It is a big part of why I like boating actually - the community.

But I'll end this endless post. You are not alone. And CF is a great place to get some questions sorted out that your dock buddies (or contractors) can't.

You are putting the pressure on yourself. You can shut the valve off anytime, or just a little. You are in control, not the boat. If the boat becomes that, it is time to rethink having a boat. Which is what I did before!! Good luck and have fun checking your boxes off. I know I am not saying anything you don't already know.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:16   #20
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Here's what I've learned by doing a huge whole-house renovation and now I'm applying to boat projects:

1) Never do a whole house renovation again! In other words, never buy a major project.
2) I write things down as soon as I think of them. That way I don't have to keep reminding myself and my mind is clear to focus on the task at hand. I have one place to store all my ideas and information and to-do lists. See #5
3) I re-Prioritize your projects every time I do some work or add something to the list. The top level of prioritization is splitting the tasks into two groups: "Need to do" and "Want."
4) I keep a record of what I've done. It is a good motivator when looking at a never-ending list to remind myself of how much I've already accomplished.
5) To-do lists don't work well for me when the projects are complex and/or related and inter-connected. I use mind-mapping software that I downloaded for free. It is easier for me to see the relationships of projects and to plan the steps necessary to get them done using a mind map. I always revise my mind map whenever any aspect of a project changes.

6) As others have written, I use my boat for fun. My rule is at least one day of sailing for every day of projects. I keep that ratio in balance as soon as a project is done enough to sail safely. Sailing days in excess of the ratio do not count toward future work.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:20   #21
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Wait till you start voyaging.. you will be so glad you did it yourself and learnt the 'Fixes' to keep you going when something goes while a few hundred miles from land.. and when you get down remind yourself of the money you will save doing it 'Right' the 1st time..
An example is my current boat.. when I went to pick it up in Malta I found the hydraulic system spongy so hired a local yacht service to fix a leaking thread in the pump housing and fit new seals in the ram.. and replace 2 5metre runs of hose.. not cheap.
By the time I got to Sicily the slop was back making steering hard work.. by the time I got to Sardinia it seized and I had to be towed into a Marina.
Wanting to get on the move again quickly I got some guys over from Cagliari who reckoned it was just an air in system problem.. they spent 1/2 hour pissing about, declared it cured (the wheel and rudder turned) charged me 100euro in the hand and buggered off.. next morning we sailed.. inside 5 miles what I had learnt to be warning signs were back so I reversed course, by the time I got into the marina steering had gone and I had to be towed to a berth.
Spoke (ranted) to the 'agent' who had organised the two guys and he came out with 'Its not a simple job.. 7 days at least will be needed.. but the 100euro you have paid will be deducted from the final bill.. I'll call Cagliari..'
I basically said if those assholes appeared in front of me I'd use my emergency tiller on them..
I removed the ram, hoses and pump head.. stripped the ram and cleaned everything, flushed the hoses then the bit that had me nervous.. I stripped down the pump head and found a load of metal filings inside.. when they had re-tapped the leaking thread they had done nothing to stop crap going inside.. and done nothing to clean it afterwards..
The whole process, removal, clean, reassembly and bleeding process took me from Saturday morning to early Sunday afternoon.. and the only cost was 3 litres of fluid.
Professional..? work got me 300 miles and then 5 miles.. my unprofessional work got me from Sardinia to the W coast of Portugal.
Its worth the pain amigo..

Boats break a lot. My job list is between 70 and 100 items plus the cleaning and polishing. I can give many examples of repairs like this. It's the way it is. If you find good help you are very lucky. I do as much as I can myself. It's hugely cheaper, quicker, better quality, less frustrating and often is necessary anyway because there is often no one else able to help, so you might as well get into the habit of it.

Self sufficiency is the only way I will go now. I had a head start, but for a lot of people I can see it is a really big challenge to acquire all the practical skills needed.
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:08   #22
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I'm so glad I moved my boat out of Ca. Always someone with their hand out. One time my friend was unavailable to hoist me up the mast to oversize shroad tangs to convert from metric to inch hole size. Easy job with a unibit. But the Prima Donna rigger I hired to just do it instead used a regular drill and triangulated the hole. When I bitched about it, He waved me off with a huff and was charged $700 w a few bits of hardware.
I've done so much of my own works, often times if too much time goes by I forget how to do it again and have to retrain myself.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:35   #23
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
So anyways, I've learned a lot, but I've also overload myself. How do you make yourself step back when you're in the middle of something and just not getting it and say, I'll do that some other time? I can't do that, I have to finish it, even if it takes all night. It sucks sometimes, but sometimes it works and I get it done, so it's both bad and good.
I'm the same way. Spent a year and a half in a boatyard trying to balance life with having a million boat projects going on at once---and trying to live aboard while in the middle of them.

No answers for you here, but as others have said, only a recognition of the joys that await once the hellfire dies down and you remember why you did it. You're self-sustainable--or trying your best to be--out in the world living the life you truly want to.
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:58   #24
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

ExMaggieDrum. Cap Sante is exactly the type of marina I want to be in. summer anyways.

That's is where the riggers were replacing my standing rigging and dropped the mast and destroyed the boat so.....

Yes. Self sufficiency.
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Old 02-09-2015, 13:42   #25
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Oh buy my boat isnt a project boat. It's in great shape. It just wasn't kept as a cruising boat before and had only a vhf and running lights and a 110 volt system with regular house style
Plug ins throughout.

But it's not a fixer upper. The bowsprit which has since been fixed was the main thing.

The best advice is learn to do it yourself. Do one thing at a time. Don't put unnessary pressure on yourself.

I'm in no hurry. I just always make the mistake of once I get rolling on doing projects see something else that isn't perfect and then something else. until I have too many things going on.

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