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Old 26-01-2018, 14:34   #31
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

Really, it is just because sailors are like house painters. Except instead of drinking beer all day on the job, sailors drink hard liquor, and that means they can't get much work done on the first try.

Everything else is just a cover-up. You know, like "Honey, I'm going fishing" is a way to cover up "I'm going out drinking with guys all weekend" ?
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Old 26-01-2018, 15:05   #32
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

I have single handedly built three houses and converted a stone barn in a fraction of the time it took to gut refit a 38' boat.

Consider ... want a new outlet in your home, 1-2 hrs. tops. Doing the same thing on your boat 2 days.

Want some new shelves in your basement, table saw is right there, not so on a boat.

I once had a leaking shower head on my boat ... 2 weeks and $2000 to repair all the access I had to cut just to get access to the back of the taps.

I have spent a good part of my life waiting for resins to cure before I could get on with the job.

Everything on the boat has to be moved to get to the part you are working on. All of the tools you need are at home.

It helps a lot if you are 3' tall and triple jointed ... everywhere.
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Old 26-01-2018, 15:10   #33
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Yes. What I said plus all this too!!!



Here's one classic example of a really minor, simple boat project.

Wanted to replace the hoses in my fresh water system as some were black, nasty and full of evil looking mold algae or something that was certainly unhealthy. All went well until I got down to the pickup hose inside the water tank.

The tank has a double ended hose barb glassed into the top. A hose fits on the outside barb to the pump, another hose fits on the inside barb down to the bottom of the tank for pickup. Tank has a 6" inspection plate on top right next to the barbs.

Reach in and feel the barb, standard hose clamp on a hose setup. No problem, get a nut driver and by touch loosen the clamp and slide it down. Hose stuck so reach in with a box cutter and by touch slice the hose and the end pops right off. Easy, job, no problem. WRONG.

I pull the hose and it won't come. I pull harder, nothing. Not enough room to hold a light and still get my eye to the hole so rig a flashlight bulb on a wire and drop it in so I can see. Hose goes under a little arch shaped loop glassed onto the bottom of the tank (I guess to hold the hose down and keep it from floating/flopping around) and there's something keeping it from coming under the loop. Learned later it was a bronze check valve on the end of the hose.

Ok if I pull hard enough something will give so let's apply more force. Tied a line to the hose and ran it out the inspection hole and pulled and pulled and pulled. Then yanked and jerked. Nothing. Got a couple of friends and repeated the process. Still nothing.

Next idea, more force will certainly do it. Rigged a block in the cabin, ran the line out of the tank, around the block, out the companionway to a sheet winch. Crank down and NO. Cranked down until the line was tight as a bow string and I was afraid it would let go and still nothing. %$#%##$%^@$!!!!!!!

Next idea. Break the arched loop. Got a king sized crowbar into the tank, laid sideways on the floor with one arm all the way in the tank and by touch and feel started wacking the loop. After a few hours of this over a couple of days I was pretty sure the damn thing was made of titanium and through bolted to the bottom of the keel. At this point I also find that there's a second loop a foot or so back from the first.

Next idea, pull the hose out backwards. Made a loop in a line and after a couple of hours (all by touch and guess since I can't reach in the hole and look in the hole at the same time) I finally lasso the end of the hose around the check valve and pull on that but that won't budge. Couldn't see what was happening due to the angle so got a mirror on a handle and stuck it into the hole (along with my light bulb on a wire) to discover the other loop is about 3" from the aft wall of the tank with a 2 1/2" check valve leaving about 1/2" for the hose/valve to bend up and pull out.

By now I've spent at over 30 hours over several evenings and weekends working on a five minute job. #%^$#%^#$%^!!@!!! Time to let that go and get something done that actually works.

Fast forward to a few weeks later. I'm in Home Depot garden tools department getting a new shovel and I notice an odd looking tree limb trimmer. Looked closer and see it has an articulating head on it and a string actuated jaw. Slowly a light bulb brightens over the top of my head (just like in the cartoons). Maybe, just maybe. Grab the trimmer and headed to the boat. Set the angle of the cutting head, reached it into the hole and (again by touch and feel) got it on the hose behind the second loop but ahead of the check valve and SNIP. Five minutes and I was done.

So, that's why boat rebuilds take so long.
(laughing so hard I"m crying) I totally get it now..
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Old 26-01-2018, 15:21   #34
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

I think housing is also somewhat more predictable because it is often a matter of "done to code" and you can expect things like 16" joist spacing and 2x4 studs. Except. Go to Florida and you may find the studs are folded sheet steel, not wood. The breakers are doubled-up in each panel socket. The GFI breakers for two bathrooms may consist of one breaker, in just one room. Anything that was run in the basement and accessible in the North, is either buried, concreted over, or in the attic in the South. Jobs can still take twice as long as you wonder what itinerant madman kludged the work up.
Which makes it more like boats, where yes there are codes, but most sailors don't know them. Few chandleries bothering stocking for the mass market for them. European and US builders do things differently. Metric and SAE parts in plumbing follow random sequences. Color codes have changed. (No, really, yellow is the new black in DC systems.) Ground and neutral may or may not be connected in AC, as a religious matter. and of course, the local hardware store always carries galvanized, at best, when you wanted real stainless, bronze, or some other metal.
Something that you can't always do, and which just feels wrong to most folks, is that when you go for parts, you need to say "It might be this or it might be this" and buy ALL the possible parts. Yes, you will have to return some, but at least you'll have an array to work with after just one trip, and the returns can be ganged up for a more convenient time.
Then unless you're in a yard with a tarp, things like power and keeping the rain out become an issue. And the trip to the head usually isn't convenient. And the spaces are more cramped. I had to change a simple fuse once, while troubleshooting a bad gauge under way. Which meant crawling about four feet around the corner of a bulkhead to first FIND someone had buried a fuse in there...then back out, find a spare, climb back in....not the same as a home fuse box at all.
An engineer friend of mine had a solution to some of that stuff. He'd literally machine a fitting to put TWO instrumentation type (heavy filament) bulbs into ONE instrument bulb socket, so that we had two redundant bulbs, each with more than 2x the normal life, in each inaccessible position. (Remove gauge panel or crawl into lazarette and work blind.)
Few boaters have the patience or the budget to "fix it once and fix it right."
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Old 28-01-2018, 20:11   #35
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

I too am a professional carpenter. Have been for well over 30 years. I also completely refit a 40 year old 33 foot trimaran top to bottom, stem to stern. I took me a full two years of endless evenings and weekends. I’ve been told by professional boatbuilders that I got it done in about half the time of most.

Everything takes longer. Much longer. There is no such thing as cutting 100 studs at the same length. Every single piece is custom. No to pieces are the same. You have to sweat every detail. Add that to working in very tight difficult to access spaces. Everything you do is going to take longer then anticipated. Much longer. Take your time and do it right. Or you’ll be doing it twice.

If your in a rush, buy a boat that needs nothing. It will probably be cheaper in the long run. But where is the satisfaction in that?
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Old 29-01-2018, 10:08   #36
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

One thing I have learned in boating. It takes all your extra time just to maintain a boat that doesn't need a refit. Think slowly and deeply before taking a refit on. Paying many thousands more for a ready-to-use boat is far cheaper then rebuilding one.
I did finish a new 31 ft boat from hull and deck in about 2.5 years. The main bulkheads and engine were installed and the boat was outside my back door at home. It cost me a marriage though.
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Old 29-01-2018, 10:36   #37
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

Ch--nice work.
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Old 29-01-2018, 10:38   #38
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

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I did finish a new 31 ft boat from hull and deck in about 2.5 years.
Beautiful work
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Old 29-01-2018, 10:43   #39
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

Thanks guys, it was my first one. Big learning curve. :>) I loved the Port Orford cedar strips up on the ceiling... the perfume was so strong cutting those it made my eyes water. This recent picture they look much darker, they were golden when I finished the boat in about '81. Those handrails below the portlites are solid rosewood. You couldn't get those today. Apparently it's for sale now, found these on line.
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Old 29-01-2018, 10:58   #40
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

I had to wait two seasons to paint because life got in the way.
Also, two hurricanes. I'm in year two of my refit.

For most people, it takes a while because fixing a boat isnt' their top priority, and they don't have the experience to be able estmate the job correctly. Also, every interruption requires setting-up the work again that is itself a real time-consumer. Just hauling parts and tools on and off the boat is a day.


Then, there are the surprises. 200 feet of coiled chain, rusted into a solid mass, in a tight, hard to reach spot. Enjoy getting that out with a chisel and hammer. 2 weeks
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Old 29-01-2018, 11:06   #41
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

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tell them I need it by x date. You'll still get it by y date.

And in all likelihood it will have to be redone, so now we're at X-date. But the parts have to be delivered... -X date
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Old 29-01-2018, 11:57   #42
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

I am near the end of an 8 year long rebuild. Total rebuild from the bare hull, not a simple refit.

Most of the good reasons have already been stated, but a few others...

I am learning as I go, I couldn't even change my car's oil before this project now I have rebuilt a diesel engine. Figuring out what I'm doing (or "whats that part"?) takes a while. I don't have a mentor or anyone to bounce things off of other than the internet and my books.

You don't know what you don't know. Sometimes you start one project, and realize you need to get 7 others done just to address it, and 3 others show up because you took something apart and didn't realize there was an issue until then.

I work on it part time. Fulltime job, spouse, other hobbies, etc. get in the way.

I don't live on the boat, those that do can go faster

Sourcing of supplies is much much more difficult than anything from a house. West Marine doesn't always carry it, and most of the time I avoid them anyways due to prices. Everything must be ordered, even most fasteners.

Momentum is real. Sometimes you hit walls and need to reset, sometimes you get on a roll and can knock a bunch of projects out.

Weather is an issue. Paints, epoxies, wood coats all require the right temperatures, humidity and overall environment to work. Sometimes that doesn't always happen on the weekend you are working.

Despite the struggles, I am nearly complete and will have a 40+ year old, brand new boat
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Old 29-01-2018, 18:57   #43
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

Geez...today was another fooking day in paradise kinda day...drove an hour and a half to the nearest area with decent hardware stores, got a bunch of stuff...stainless bolts, but they had no washers, asked for 120' of 5/16" line...discovered they cut 3/8" after driving 1.5 hours back to the boat...cant use it...and so on....
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Old 05-02-2018, 19:23   #44
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

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Geez...today was another fooking day in paradise kinda day...drove an hour and a half to the nearest area with decent hardware stores, got a bunch of stuff...stainless bolts, but they had no washers, asked for 120' of 5/16" line...discovered they cut 3/8" after driving 1.5 hours back to the boat...cant use it...and so on....


One has to ask the question what do these people who spend years refitting prefer to do Sail or work on a boat.
When one refirbishs a house the project is planned and fully funded before you start. You employ the trades necessary and away you go.
I admit to enjoying refurbishing a boat.
I have also built and refurbished some 24 houses and commercial premises. Doing this I don't even get to touch a screw drive or a hammer.
The eight boats I have owned were all wrecks when I bought them. As I am a project manager by profession I plan plan and plan. I can be sailing in a couple of weeks. I like to sail. I do all of the preparation work myself. I prefer to use a marine electrician to do the electrical works. I take out the headlining and run the appropriately sized cables the electrician sets up the charging system the batteries the switching and electronics. Everything works. Rigging is done by a rigger. Engine is done by an engineer.
I am the trade assistant and do all the fiddly work and painting.
I like to trade boats at a profit after I've enjoyed sailing them for several years. A boat with a track record impresses the next owner. A boat where everything works!
I find a lot of people who fiddle with boats for years have little or no sailing experience. Generally they don't like their wife and treat the boat as a mistress without being unfaithful
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Old 05-02-2018, 20:08   #45
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Re: Refit...Why So Slow?

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One thing I have learned in boating. It takes all your extra time just to maintain a boat that doesn't need a refit. Think slowly and deeply before taking a refit on. Paying many thousands more for a ready-to-use boat is far cheaper then rebuilding one.

Yes, that.

And proper maintenance and replacement intervals will teach you most/all the lessons about “knowing your boat inside and out” that many tout as a full refit benefit.
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