Long term boat project and family life, What (not) to do?

SvenH

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I/We are contemplating a large and thus long term boat project*.

The last time I did something of this scale I was unattached but now I have a family.
As I will need to dedicate serious time to the project, my wife would need to stay at home, to provide a base for our daughter who is 9.

Do any of you have tips on what and how?
For instance, find a yard as close to home as possible, or instead, one further away where you can work whenever you want?
Have storage at the yard for tools and materials?

* Project would be increasing height and length of cabin top on a cmp boat.
 

johnalison

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I have always been envious of people who live at what I call screwdriver distance from their boat. This is the distance at which it becomes desirable to go home for the screwdriver you’ve forgotten rather than go to the chandlers to buy another one. Obviously, involving the 9 yr old would be ideal but eight hours standing around watching daddy practice his Anglo-Saxon may not be a good idea.
 

justanothersailboat

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Some work is much easier to involve a child in than others and if you catch them at the right age they can love to help. It was a very happy moment when I discovered my then-ten-year-old could manage the big crimper used to put tube crimps on 50mm2 battery cables. Unfortunately much boat work requires too much hand strength for a kid or is just too filthy.

It's hard to say about choice of yard as not many people have much choice of yard! Assuming you're working, I think family acceptance of you spending your leave time on the project is key. Weekends alone doesn't quite cut it - either you do both weekend days and end up exhausted at work and leaving your family to fend for themselves, or you do one day and make frustratingly slow progress.
 

scozzy

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Luckily for me,I'm definitely in "screwdriver range"
So my boat ,like all others being an ongoing "project " is a joy and has little if any impact on family life in terms of being absent doing "boat jobs" as referred to around my table...
I'd maybe ask the good lady what she's prepared to put up with before us lot have our say particularly with phrases like "serious time" and " further away so you can work whenever you want"
Whatever keeps the boss happy is the answer you're looking for IMHO good luck!
 

rogerthebodger

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My first boat renovation job I was 600 Km from home, but I then moved the boat closer to home so I could go home at night and help with domestic chores.

My second boat I also moved close to home to do the same iy also helped that I could use my home workshop and the tools and equipment much more efficient and allowa the jobs to be dome quicker
 

ChromeDome

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I don't want to spoil your dream, but this kind of undertaking tends to either bond family members - or split them.

Apart from the practicalities and your not being around a lot, the question about support from the family needs consideration.

Is it going to be your project or a project that the family together owns and actively takes part in?
How long do you plan for? A 9 year old before long will turn into a teenager, to whom "long term" commitments can be up to 45 minutes.

To me, if there is any doubt there is no doubt - it is a no go.
 
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Concerto

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Take a walk round a lot of local boatyards and you will see plenty of boats in various stages of decay. Many are owned by dreamers who come with household DIY skills and cause more damage to their boat which devalues the boat. Then you have to remember being in a yard is going to be a monthly cost that rapidly adds up, especially if you take years. In my marina there are 7 boats that currently are 3 months overdue in fees, so have been seized and will shortly be auctioned off. You may find a local club would be a better bet as other members can advise on jobs and the costs would be far lower.

Try to find somewhere close to home, possibly a local farm or open storage area. If there is no power, then buy a generator or have battery tools you can charge at home. Being close to home will mean you can pop home for family events and allow you to pop out in an evening to do a small job. Storing materials will be better and more secure at home, also you may be able to do some work at home.
 

jlavery

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Don't ask us. Ask your wife and daughter.

Also (as others have said), assess whether you have the skill and patience to do the job well! Boat work is  always harder, more expensive and longer than non boat work.
 

AntarcticPilot

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Perhaps bear in mind that family emergencies happen, and can seriously disrupt any work plan. Just for example, I recently had to have an operation at short notice (I had pain on Thursday and was operated on on the following Monday!). I can't do lifting for a couple of months after the operation. My grandson has also just had a major operation, and needs constant adult presence for the next few months.

These things happen; and of course your family responsibilities will take precedence over boat work.

The real bottom line is that family life will mean that you can't devote as much time to restoration work as you think. Being a family is a different world to being single, with very different priorities.

I wouldn't even think of such a project without discussing it with my wife (but sadly I am a widower), and accepting that you may have to accept long hiatuses in your restoration. It isn't at all practical unless your workplace is free, so gaps in the work don't cost you anything.
 

pandos

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I. Still being accused of resorting to child labour when I sought help from my teenagers...

The important thing is that you are sent to get the boat finished...this may involve fixing the dishwasher so it doesn't work and the washing machine, the roller garage gate and if all else fails her car...always be enthusiastic and appear happy to fix anything that needs improvement..eventually she will consider the boat to be a great place for her to send you to...if you play your cards well she'll even feel guilty about banishing you..

Even with full support from home and at times plenty of cash, my boat took years to do work. Closer to home is just more efficient but also if it is far from home you may stay on board and do 10 hour days over a weekend..it will cost you more than you are willing to admit.

Most importantly do not put the boat out of usable/salable condition until you know you have the resources and time to get it back into some saleable condition or be able to pay someone to do so...to do otherwise is to risk catastrophy.

Remember the boat is a hobby. It may be that you like tinkering more than sailing...many do...
 
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Seastoke

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Do you want a boat or a project , if it’s a boat to use then. Work over time at work if you can’t then find a part time job . Save up and buy a boat what you all can enjoy .
 
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merjan

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We bought a 40+ y/o boat with a lot of work to do when my partner was pregnant. It has been tough (but well worth it). Here's what I think looking back: Triple the time estimates (as well as money). If you have already tripled, do it again. Having the boat near home helped tremendously. I could see my family for lunch breaks which made it more pleasant. If our daughter was older, I can imagine her helping, too. Getting family involved is not just good for making the job easier. It is important that everyone "affected" owns the projects in some way. Best of luck!
 

jac

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Do not expect to be able to work both days at weekends and with your annual leave. I assume you have just one child but one parent will need to be at home with your child during weekends and when off school and i expect your wife will expect you to do your fair share of family duties rather than leave everything to her whilst you pursue your hobby. When does she get to do hers?

At 9 do not expect your daughter to be able to assist in any way yet. - Putting that together implies this project will take a long time, yard fees will cost, SWMBO will get frustrated you are " never there" and all the money going on the boat.

I think realistically you need to choose between your project and your family.
 

StefanSG

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Take a walk round a lot of local boatyards and you will see plenty of boats in various stages of decay. Many are owned by dreamers who come with household DIY skills and cause more damage to their boat which devalues the boat. Then you have to remember being in a yard is going to be a monthly cost that rapidly adds up, especially if you take years. In my marina there are 7 boats that currently are 3 months overdue in fees, so have been seized and will shortly be auctioned off. You may find a local club would be a better bet as other members can advise on jobs and the costs would be far lower.

Try to find somewhere close to home, possibly a local farm or open storage area. If there is no power, then buy a generator or have battery tools you can charge at home. Being close to home will mean you can pop home for family events and allow you to pop out in an evening to do a small job. Storing materials will be better and more secure at home, also you may be able to do some work at home.
What he said. When you triple (or at least double) the estimated time for completion, bear in mind your yard fees have tripled too. I paid £10 a day for over two years during refurbishment and spent a fortune on fuel getting back and forth. If the boat had been 10 minutes down the road I would probably have finished quicker too.

SSG
 

justanothersailboat

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Most things in this thread are true but too pessimistic. I managed a big overhaul without serious family problems. Taking a Friday off, two days on the boat and one taking kid/s out worked well for me, though I couldn't do it as often as I'd have liked. Making time for my wife to do her things too, and doing a lot of housework in the week. I used a cheap enough yard that the cost of occasionally missing a couple of weeks wasn't awful.

9-10 year olds must keep clear of heavy fibreglass work but they can do quite a lot to help put the interior back afterwards - accept less progress on those days and take them for a nice walk and a treat of a supper afterwards. And they're so proud. It's just the right age, younger and they can't help, older and there are different challenges.

SvenH sounds like he's done this before and that removes a lot of the biggest risks - of having a poor idea what you're in for. If he finished the job last time then that also means he knows how ruthlessly you have to get on with it when at the yard. I met several men whose skills and workmanship were fine, but who turn up late, leave early, make tea and decide they want one more thing to be a little better... I don't think any of them are much further along now than when I first saw them.

I'm curious as to what boat Sven envisages doing this to and why this one. I can think of ones where amending the cabin (coachroof?) would be rather difficult and ones where it might not be too hard. And if it's wood, ply, GRP, metal...
 

jlavery

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Most things in this thread are true but too pessimistic. I managed a big overhaul without serious family problems. Taking a Friday off, two days on the boat and one taking kid/s out worked well for me, though I couldn't do it as often as I'd have liked. Making time for my wife to do her things too, and doing a lot of housework in the week. I used a cheap enough yard that the cost of occasionally missing a couple of weeks wasn't awful.

9-10 year olds must keep clear of heavy fibreglass work but they can do quite a lot to help put the interior back afterwards - accept less progress on those days and take them for a nice walk and a treat of a supper afterwards. And they're so proud. It's just the right age, younger and they can't help, older and there are different challenges.

SvenH sounds like he's done this before and that removes a lot of the biggest risks - of having a poor idea what you're in for. If he finished the job last time then that also means he knows how ruthlessly you have to get on with it when at the yard. I met several men whose skills and workmanship were fine, but who turn up late, leave early, make tea and decide they want one more thing to be a little better... I don't think any of them are much further along now than when I first saw them.

I'm curious as to what boat Sven envisages doing this to and why this one. I can think of ones where amending the cabin (coachroof?) would be rather difficult and ones where it might not be too hard. And if it's wood, ply, GRP, metal...
Good points. Retuning to one of original questions, definitely have the boat as close as possible. Too far away has the extra "I've forgotten this tool and it's easier to buy a new one than go home" problem.

@SvenH - hope we haven't been too harsh! What are your thoughts now? Also curious as to the boat and details of the project.
 

oldgit

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Some time ago purchased a motorboat that was bought as "kit" in the 1970s it was finally launched in the early 2000s, the owner took several decades to nearly finish it .
It was kept close to home, ie. in his back/front garden, boat was moved every time he moved house.
A heart attack meant the end for the owner and his son had to complete the job.
Son promptly flogged it off to buy something more useable and up to date.

The boat cost 3 or 4 times its final value and no counting the number of family hours "lost" over the decades
Do you want to boat or to simply spend shed loads of money you will never ever get back.
As others have said boatyards are jammed full of abandoned project boats .
On the next sunny day, a choice ,wander down the pontoon feeling the warmth of the sun on your back with the anticipation of good days sailing ahead
Or feeling the heat of the sun as you once again remove the tarpaulin covering your project ?
 

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Bouba

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Some men need a project.....if we dissuade the OP from getting a boat..will he buy a classic car ?...
 

justanothersailboat

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Some serious selection bias on this thread. You see the boat projects people didn't finish. You don't see the ones people finished, because they look much like all the other wellfound boats out there.

Also, some people here are weird and don't enjoy handiwork. On the other hand there is such a thing as enjoying it too much. I got to a certain point near the end of my big refurb job where I realised I was going to do this all again someday on another boat. I have a friend who is on his fifth rebuild.
 
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