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Old 01-09-2015, 22:23   #1
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I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I think it's seasonal. Whenever I embark on a lot of projects at once I get overwhelmed and super frustrated. It happened this same time last year and it is happening again now.

What do I do to feel better? I've got too many projects going on at once and am trying to learn too many things at the same time and I'm getting all jammed up and frustrated. But and the same time I can't just quit. I have to see everything to completion, that's just how I am.

It's worse because I do it all myself, I mean, I get help from marina neighbors some, but the rest is all me all the time, which has a whole lot of benefits, but it also means I don't have extra hands and have to figure stuff out alone or online.

I don't stay in a very busy marina, more of a weekend warrior type of place. The shops that work on boats are the most expensive shops I have ever seen, and have so much business they don't want mine. I have tried to even out the load I've got by paying people to do some of the work, but no one wants to help.

And some of them are pretty, um, limited. I needed some electrical help before I broke through the the barrier and figured it out so I saw a van in the marina parking lot with a guy sitting in it marked "whatever" marine electronics. I went to the window and told him what I needed and he didn't do anything.

I said, do you install solar panels?
-nope

Go up the mast and put in a tri anchor light and wind transducer?
-nope

I don't remember what else, but I think I just left it at,
"Ok, well, can you come by now, since it's not late in the day and just kind of look at everything and tell me if I'm installing my electronics right, and kind of take a look at everything and make sure the batteries and all is set up properly and safe?"

Him
"That would take about two hours and I'm just tired now so why don't you give me a call and I'll set something up"

I mean, you're already here and you're throwing away $200? If I was sitting in my car in the lot and someone offered me $200 just to come and look at their electrical system I would jump on it, but no, but no.

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.
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Old 02-09-2015, 00:25   #2
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I have found that I can wait on a professional for a month, or I can spend a week learning to do it myself.

I do try to keep a cap on the projects. I mean, right now I am working on toe rails, interior cushions and refinishing the boom gallows, but I had considered rebuilding the fridge in between there.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:31   #3
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

It's really hard to maintain perspective when one is feeling overwhelmed. You're right: you have little alternative but to see the "it" of the moment through. When you started posting at first, I think you were underestimating what would be involved in seeing your dream actualized. Now you are learning why people tried to put the brakes on you and slow you down. All this stuff takes time. Give yourself a break. Then come back to it (or not) after you have refreshed yourself. Save some of your energy for you.

A suggestion. Invite some of the weekend warriors over for a cuppa (coffee), or a glass of wine. Get some friendliness happening with the folks who show up on weekends. It won't hurt, might help.


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Old 02-09-2015, 03:02   #4
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I didn't mean to insult the. By calling them Weekend warriors, like I'm somehow better than them or more hardcore. I was just trying to describe the marina scene. Some are lively with cruisers coming and going. Friday harbor comes to mind. In summer it's a blast, the docks are full of liveliness and life. People always coming and going, liveaboards, cruisers, big yachts, small yachts. I loved it.

I love the marina I'm at now, and am always friendly to everyone and do drink coffee with them and have friends there, but it's not very lively. It's quiet and peaceful which is good. But it's not full of liveaboards and cruisers. It's more a place that people who use their boat occasionally store their boat.thats all I meant.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:18   #5
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I didn't mean to insult the. By calling the. Weekend warrior, like I'm somehow better than them or more hardcore. I was just trying to describe the marina scene. Some are lively with cruisers coming and going. Friday harbor comes to mind. In summer it's a blast, the docks are full of livelines and life. People always coming and going, love aborts, cruisers, big yachts, small yachts. I loved it.

I love the marina I'm at now, and a, always friendly to everyone and do drink coffe with them and have friends there, but it's not very lively. It's quiet and peaceful which is good. But it's not full of liveaboards and cruisers. It's more a place that people who use their boat occasionally store their boat.mmthats all I meant.
yep, the love aborts do it for me every time..
darned spell checker.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:48   #6
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Boats are complex... lots of systems and technology in play and these require the skills and tools and time to tackle. Some boats are more project boats than others... ALL BOATS HAVE TO DO LISTS which never disappear. Most boats however are usable for the purpose... sailing for example despite the to do list. Some never sail because the to do list has critical items or they want more completed before they get going.

My own experience now 30 years at this was beginning with a new boat that required only maintenance and upgrades. These kept me very busy but I was of course able to use the boat and learn about all these things in the process. The engine was fine... it was new. I did oil changes. Over time... I upgraded the alternator... and to replace pump impellors and eventually engine mounts and so forth. I added an engine drive compressor, had the starter rebuilt... and so forth. I can't even imagine what it would have been like working with a busted engine from the get go.

I went through the same sort of processes on all the "systems". Electrical was fine.. and it's been through several generations of upgrades.... including upgraded alternators, solar panels, 2 smart chargers, 2 different system monitors and several iterations of battery banks, battery switching, main wiring upgrades, and so forth. There is not a thing from the original electrical system on board except a few main heavy wires.

Any of these system upgrades would have taken enormous time and planning if undertaken all at once... weeks or even months? Purchasing and obtaining the new components would have been time consuming AND costly.

All this boat work was enjoyable, and frustrating, and time consuming and expensive and informative. In the end I know my boat way better now than I ever did. And almost very single project... aside from a repairing the injectors and valves was done by me. Had I made a sober assessment going in of the time and the expense I would never have undertaken this boat.

Yet.. I have sailed it for 30 years... 30-40,000 miles... and spread the work out over this period. And this IS part of the "zen" of boats... Unless you have deep pockets you have to "mess around with boats" as well as "sail them". Of course there are people in the different situations with their boat and their finances and their skills and their time. But one thing is for certain.. older boats no matter how well maintained... will demand more messing about time than newer ones.

Some sailors in the marina are somewhat helpful... mostly with suggestions. Learn to rely on yourself... because ultimately in the end it's your deal.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:17   #7
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I was feeling overwhelmed about 5 or 6 weeks ago after a short but particularly bad long week end cruise after my boat p----d out oily bilge water all over a yacht club I was visiting, then refused to start, I actually put a for sale add up on kijiji and very nearly sold her for $22000 more than I paid for her before I can to my senses.

Take some time away from boat maintenance? Get back into it in a few weeks after drinking some beers, eating some brownies or doing whatever it is you do to unwind.
Fresh perspective always helps me.

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Old 02-09-2015, 04:35   #8
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pirate Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

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..
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:53   #9
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post

Take some time away from boat maintenance. Get back into it after drinking some beers.
I felt the rest was superfluous.

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Old 02-09-2015, 04:56   #10
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Quote:
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..
:thumbup:

What Boatman said I only hire help from the yardies if I'm too fat, weak or stupid to do it myself.

Fat was more of a problem on my last boat, my current boat has good engine room access.

Weak, well obviously I'm too weak to deal with my mast or haul out myself, aside from that, I usually make do.

Stupid- this is my main problem, some things are just hard to figure out, like a current battery problem I'm having, but given time, I find I can usually figure it out through trial and error, and for a lot cheaper than a drunk yardy can figure it out through trial and error.

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Old 02-09-2015, 05:05   #11
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Boatman 61 is spot on.!
20 yrs ago, I bought Bluestocking as a near derelict, put her the shed, gutted her to an empty hull, and put her back in the water 4 1/2 yrs later. I did everything myself, as I have done on ALL of my boats for 60 yrs. Last year Gonzalo did some serious damage, which I have just completed repairing/replacing. Many friends commented that only my work and knowledge is what saved her from the breakers yard. Make a prioritized list, and complete one job at a time, planning for some jobs to overlap. You can do it !!
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:09   #12
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pirate Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

With haul outs its not a problem for me.. unless its hull repairs below the w-line..
Living in an area with a good tidal range I just move to the drying slip and bottom her 1hr before high water.. tie her up and then as the water drops scrub the hull.. and anti foul one side.. when she floats again I turn her round and repeat for the other side..
Usually there's more than enough time to deal with most things like anodes, depth/speed logs, props etc.. I find lack of self confidence not ability to be my problem..
We have been so brainwashed into thinking if you aint got that bit of paper you cant do it.. when all anything really boils down to is simple logic..
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:15   #13
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I know the perfect fix for your problem.

Go for a sail.

Seriously, remind yourself what this is all for. It's too easy to lose perspective/hope/purpose on a boat. Get your head down in that bilge for a few hours and you'll HAVE to ask yourself what on earth is the meaning is behind all the work.

Any time I start to doubt myself, lag a little, second guess... I pull in the dock lines and get out there.

And my favourite thing of all is simply to go for a little sail, maybe an hour or two, drop anchor, put the kettle on and deal with just ONE small task. Saturday night it was a persistent leak from a raw water hose. I just made sure I had everything I could anticipate needing to make the repair on board first, then I set out in the afternoon, sailed for an hour or two, dropped anchor, put the kettle on and got to work. An hour later that little niggling leak was fixed, then it was feet up, watch a movie I have seen a thousand times before, read a book and into bed. Wake up with the sun and everything boat-centric suddenly seems worthwhile.

As for the professionals, I don't blame them for being less than enthusiastic about a spontaneous offer of work from a total stranger. There are some pretty insane boats out there, and you have to admit that the probability that a sudden visit in a car park with an offer of work is more likely to come from a less rational boat than otherwise. Ask yourself as a professional if you've ever had a serious doubt about an offer of work and if so I think you'll find it came from someone who just seemed a little too spontaneous. But phone them first, in business hours, describe the needs and discuss a suitable time, the true pros will show their colours. Intelligent questions about your needs, consideration given to suitable times and locations. You'll know.

Meanwhile, try to keep the boat in at least basic sailing condition and get out there and pound some waves.

That'll cure those boat maintenance blues.



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Old 02-09-2015, 05:43   #14
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

I think I recall Beth Leonard writing something like...
"Our biggest learning experience was that you can't pay good money to get good work."

I probably mangled that.

I think you don't really gronk cruising until you sit in the cockpit and cry.

Then again, we ar having some house renovation done so we can rent it out when moving aboard. I just saw what the idiot electrician did in the kitchen. F#%^ing unbelievable. And it took him six weeks to do it.

It ain't boats, or houses, its people. Some of which are me.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:47   #15
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Re: I've got single handed sailors blues. Help!

Oh yeah....I noticed no one suggested getting married.



Ouch, sorry dear!
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