Some Lessons about Preparing for Extended Boat Work

We ended up only spending about two hours on the boat today. We got there fairly early, excited to replace all the hose and fittings in our non-engine raw water system, which feeds our wash-down pumps, refrigerator, head, and saltwater galley pump. It was really cold, in the mid-30s, so we thought this would be the perfect in-cabin project to get us out of the weather. We even bought a small space heater to provide a little warmth. Once on the boat, we dove right into the project but quickly ran into a few obstacles, which are detailed in today’s video. Since it proved to be a lot colder than we imagined and we could not finish the job without purchasing some additional fittings and replacing our two deck fittings for the wash-down pumps, we ended up calling it a day earlier than expected. Back at our hotel room, we ordered all the materials we needed to complete the project and should have the items in time to finish that project before we leave.

Being that it is now Thursday evening, we only have one week of time left here in Georgia to complete all the work we have begun and tackle everything else we hope to finish. Realizing that our time is coming to an end, Margaret and I started reflecting on what we have learned over our first ten days that will help us prepare to accomplish more next time we have an extended work period like this. I am sure we will have a lot more to say about all this in the future as we process everything, but a few lessons stand out initially.

First, we should have prioritized all the projects we wanted to get done. We thought we were on top of things by coming with a comprehensive list of things we wanted to undertake. But ranking those projects would have allowed us to recognize what was most important and tackle those first. I do not think we spent too much time on frivolous stuff, but we could have been even more focused on the most critical things.

Second, while ranking the list, it would have benefited us to also make note of the weather constraints on each project. Obviously rain limits outside jobs and things like staining, but temperature also plays a big role in epoxy work. Had we thought about these things in a more organized fashion, we could have planned our time much better, taking advantage of every warm sunny day for projects that can only be undertaken in those types of conditions. Of course, we were conscious of the importance of weather, but we had not thought about it that systematically.

Third, we could have ordered the materials that we needed farther in advance. As we were reminded on this trip, promised shipping and delivery dates do not always get met. We were definitely stymied by our first big order arriving later than we had anticipated. Along these same lines, far in advance, we need to start planning what we will need for various projects. I was in quite a hurry while putting Bear away back in September, but I could have taken a few measurements, got some part numbers, and inspected a few jobs that I already knew we were going to undertake this winter. While I surely would not have been able to anticipate every item we would have needed – as our work today proved – we could have at least started out with more of the materials that we did not order until after we arrived back at Bear.

Obviously, we also need to avoid coming down with the flu to really take full advantage of our time. But, more seriously, just doing these three simple things, we could have accomplished a good deal more and been a lot less frustrated while doing so. Over the coming days, Margaret and I are going to talk more about what we still need to get completed – that we will not be able to do in the coming week – before we splash in May. Along with that conversation will surely come another about when we will be able to tackle those last items on our list. I am sure we will share all that with you after we come to some conclusions ourselves.

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