Monday, May 11, 2015

The anatomy of a boat project

The List

Boat Project [n. f*&#%k this!]

  1. specific task, estimated to take 1-3 hours to add, remove, or repair a component on a cruising yacht
  2. something contemplated, devised, or planned
  3. a large or major undertaking, especially one involving considerable money, personnel, or equipment
  4. see also, simple boat project, BoatUS sinking statistics,

Oh to be able to take the words back, "that one should only take me about 2 hours". My job for yesterday was to replace the upholstery on the nav seat, one that we built to replace the really ugly "Jetson" chair, the 60s vinyl captain's chair that was in the boat when we bought it, you know, with the ever-so-popular copper vinyl swoop trims all over it. Tim did a marvelous job building me a new cabinet to store my bakeware in, one that doubled as a nav seat. Unfortunately, the nav seat happens to sit directly next to the engine compartment and ends up being used to set things on, and to hoist yourself up with dirty hands after kneeling next to the engine compartment, and to sit on with dirty work clothes while you research parts and maintenance manuals on the computer. The fabric was showing an immense amount of wear and even washing was not restoring its lustre. Add to that the fact that the fabric was the same used on the settee cushions (which did wash nicely), and it looked even more awful. I decided to recover the seat in something that could be wiped off, some sort of Naugahyde. A trip to Hancock Fabrics with my friend Nancy a few days ago yielded an unexpectedly inexpensive piece of fabric in the discount bin, just big enough to cover the seat not once, but twice, in the event that the sharp edge of some tool finds its way next to the new seat cover.

So anyone with a boat will rapidly recognize how the day went:

  • 8:00 am: Dig out fabric. The fabric has been sitting in the discount bin at Hancock Fabrics for some time, folded, and has pretty defined creases. Unfold the fabric and lay out on deck in the sun to soften the creases.
  • 8:45 am: Sun goes behind clouds. 
  • 8:50 am: Gather a load of laundry to wash and then dry so you can tumble the fabric for a few minutes in the dryer to get the wrinkles out without wasting $1.50 in quarters just for 2 minutes.
  • 8:55 am: Head to the laundry up the hill but then realize you should bring your computer and do a blog post while its washing. Return to boat.
  • 9:00 am: Walk up the hill to the laundry.
  • 9:10 am: Realize you forgot the quarters. Return to boat.
  • 9:20 am: Load of laundry in, computer booting up.
  • 9:55 am: Transfer load to dryer, add fabric.
  • 10:45 am: Fold clothes, loosely roll fabric, return to boat.
  • 11:00 am: No shore power on this dock, so rather than drag the 80# Sailrite up the hill to the laundry, get out extension cord and drag it down the dock to the 110 outlet. Do elaborate cord run through dock cracks so no one trips, wrap around pylons, stretch to boat, plug in additional extension cord, plug into 30a shore power pigtail. Return to outlet and plug in. Climb in boat, plug in Sailrite.
  • 11:10 am: No power at the machine. Climb back out of the boat, go to 110 outlet, check outlet with Tim's shaver. No power. It was working earlier, it's Sunday and I have no idea where the breaker is so I decide to wait till Monday to sew.
  • 11:15 am: Unplug extension cord, coil neatly, unplug pigtail, return all cords to their appropriate storage areas on board. Before stowing Sailrite, walk up hill to talk to Tim and retrieve computer.
  • 11:20 am: Tim tells me where the breaker is. Of course I just stowed the elaborate cord arrangement.
  • 11:30 am: Walk to boat, climb in boat, gather cords, climb out of boat, repeat elaborate cord arrangement.
  • 11:50 am: Stop for lunch.
  • 12:15 pm: Disassemble the nav seat lid, remove old fabric.
  • 12:30 pm: Finally begin to sew.
  • 12:45 pm: Finish sewing, begin installation on seat.
  • 12:50 pm: Begin to locate the staple gun needed to staple the fabric onto the seat base. This involves removing everything in the aft cabin in front of the cabinet door where the staple gun resides. That would be a portable air conditioner and multiple buckets full of cleaning supplies.
  • 1:00 pm: Finish seat installation.
  • 1:05 pm: Begin cleanup.
  • 4:00 pm: Start dinner.
Total time for a 1-1/2 hour sewing project: 8 hours. Sound familiar?


Robert Sapp said...

On the other hand, it does look really good!

Our autopilot install - estimated time, one weekend. Time invested so far, three weeks, with probably at least two more to go... :-)

Robert & Rhonda
S/V Eagle Too

TJ said...

Our auto-helm install: need to attach ST1000 to wind vain, there is a nine inch throw. Can't find a cable with a nine inch throw, so buy a standard cable and see if I can't make my own end to get a nine inch throw. Nothing like custom parts hacked together in the small workshop of a boat. Oh, and I'm not sure it will work yet, and I hope I'm not still hacking away 3 weeks from now. But, who knows?

Mike Boyd said...

Two hour project...and you got it done the same day? You are my hero. Seems all my projects are increased by at least one order of magnitude.

2 hour project = 2 days.
1 day project = 1 week.

...and I don't even want to talk about the bigger projects.