Bucking the system one sunset at a time!

Boat Projects: Stupid Is

I knew back when I ginned up Don’t Pay the Ransom that I did not want to write too many articles about boat projects.  Because, really, who wants to read yet another blog about someone working on their boat? Boring. However, considering that projects are our world right now, that is easier said than done. Don’t get me wrong; project blogs have their place. And they have been very helpful to us as we struggle through our own refit. However, most of them get pretty old fairly quickly, and, aside from people like us (me), I’m guessing that not many people are reading them. But, the main reason that I don’t want to write about boat projects is that I’m not an expert. If you want technical, find someone qualified.

I am, however, a certified crackerjack on stupidity. If someone were to actually employ stupid, my resume would quickly rise to the top of the applicant pool. When it comes to stupid, I’m the cream of the crap! I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve done something the wrong stupid way. Wait until you hear what we’re naming our dinghy! Boy, is it ever stupid! Can you imagine what would happen if I tried to write about technical stuff? Someone may actually try to replicate what I’ve done! Why, they might very well saw off their own arm! Or, hit themselves in the face with a hammer! It’s best that I steer well clear of technical articles and focus instead on writing nonsense about nonsense.

Don't let dangle your extensions cords across the exhaust of a diesel heater!

Don’t dangle your extension cords across the exhaust of a diesel heater!

See where that leaves us? We’re not yet doing anything that most people would find remotely interesting. Like traveling to bitchin’ places. Or, eating bugs. Or, manually pumping our bathroom business into a tank hidden beneath our living room. We’re just working on boat projects. Lots of them, in fact. So, you’re stuck with reading my best attempt at boat work nonsense. For your own safety,  I’ll report a handful of things that we’ve been working on without providing any details regarding how we did it.

Cruising sailboats tend to have lots of gear and instruments – radios, navigation equipment, battery monitoring, etc. Unfortunately, our Morgan does not have a lot of space to mount this stuff. Rather than cutting into structural bulkheads to mount this equipment, we decided to construct our own instrument panel. With the help of a few friends, we spent last weekend knocking one out using a scrap piece of plywood.  I still have to install a few more items and then stain it. It will also get some fancy-pants trim around the edges. I ain’t a carpenter, but I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I’m also happy to report that, despite the frequent use of power tools, everybody still has all 10 of their original fingers.

Boat helper, Keith, modeling with the new (and not yet finished) instrument panel.

Boat helper, Keith, modeling with the new (but not yet finished) instrument panel.

Last fall I mentioned that we discovered a few small cracks in our mast. Masts on a sailboat are pretty important. As you might imagine, the situation really bothered me. I lost sleep while struggling with what to do about them; buying a new mast would really jack-up our plans. I received a few different opinions from various riggers – none of them devastating. However, it was difficult to weigh the alternatives when the opinions varied so wildly. Having no experience, I was relying on theirs. Those in the sailing community will probably recognize the name, Brion Toss. He, quite literally, wrote the book on sailboat rigging, The Complete Rigger’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, he is on the other side of the country. He did, however, offer a positive opinion and a recommendation for a local rigger that he trusted. Steve Madden, from M Yacht Services, answered the call and shepherded in piece of mind. The mast will be fine with only a small, inexpensive and minimally invasive procedure!

Rig inspections go on despite an outside temperature of 3 degrees.

Rig inspections go on despite an outside temperature of 3 degrees.

Let’s see… what else to report? Oh, we gave the entire steering system a once over and will soon replace the steering cable…  even installed a new wheel brake, too. Though it worked fine, I sent the autopilot back to the factory for refurbishing – you know, for good measure (and to spend more money, sigh). Lots of work has begun on the electrical system. New wiring on a few things. Some battery bank modifications. We yanked out the old through-hull speed and depth sensors. We removed the broken sensor from the wastewater holding tank and quickly put it right back. Blech. Disgusting! We’ve also sold a bunch of things and are well on our way towards having a lot of nothing! If you know someone that wants to buy a car, I’ve got a deal for you!!

That’s all for now. Until next time… wear your helmet and don’t flush the toilet paper!

No, seriously, come and buy this car!

No, seriously, come and buy this car!

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  1. Allan S's Gravatar Allan S
    March 10, 2015    

    Great article my friend, but I half to disagree with you on two items.

    1) You Sir, are a rank amature on stupidity when compared to me!

    2) your comment on boring DIY blogs; when I get bogged down and shall I say it, depressed, over our progress, DIY blogs boost me up!

    Fantastic job on your instrument panel.


    • March 10, 2015    

      Allan – I officially challenge you to a “stupid off” where we pose our feats of stupidity to a jury of our peers. They can then decide who is, in fact, the most stupid! I should warn you… only the individual stupid enough to propose such a contest has any hope of being named “Stupider than Stupid!”

      Thanks for the compliment on the panel! Let’s see how long it lasts before it falls off of the bulkhead… I mounted it with chewing gum!


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