…not even to yourself.
It’s been a very frustrating couple of months. Mostly the frustration of having a job and business and also a boat to rebuild – and a dream that depends on the boat getting finished.
Or does it? Are the two inseparable?
That’s the question that finally presented an answer this week, and the surprising (to me) answer is that, no, our dream of cruising south for a few months – or a couple of years – is not dependent on my finishing the restoration of Renaissance. We could, in fact, find a relatively simple and inexpensive boat that’s already in the water and seaworth to carry out our dream. In fact, in the long run that would certainly be cheaper than rebuilding a 53-year-old sloop that’s seen so much neglect over the years.
But what about Renaissance? We’ve spent a few thousand dollars (a mere pittance in the boating world) to bring this boat home, build a shelter, start gathering gear, and a few hundred hours of labor stripping her down to the point where all that’s left is straight and sound, and it’s time to begin rebuilding. We’ve done the nasty part.
But I suddenly have come face to face with the reality of my life. My financial resources are pretty limited, so to restore a boat, I have to work. Work takes time – and when you’re self-employed, it sometimes takes more hours than a day contains. Rebuilding a boat also takes time. In this case, an inestimable amount of time, certainly thousands and thousands of hours.
Let’s do some math: there are 8760 hours in a year. I sleep for 8 hours a night, or I collapse into a quivering pile of uselessness, so that leaves 5840 hours.
Meals, brushing teeth and all the other things that life demands take up about 3 hours a day-we’re down to 4745.
The job needs the most – something around 9 hours, and sometimes more than 5-days-a-week, so we’ll call it 9.5 hrs in a theoretical 5-day week. We’re down to 2275.
It gets cold in Maine, and our boat shed isn’t heated – or heatable. Paint, fiberglass, varnish etc doesn’t work in the cold, so figure that the period from December 15th through April 15 is pretty much a loss. We might get something done, but chances are, we won’t. Let’s be optimistic, though, and hope that perhaps 1/3 of that time we actually WILL be able to work, or we’ll find projects that can be done in the basement, where it’s warmer.
Our total available hours to work on the boat is looking like about 374 hours a year.
But wait – what about the occasional night out? Or spending time with my lovely wife? Subtract a few more…
The cold, hard truth is that I’m not getting any younger, so I really need to be living this dream in the next 5 years if I’m going to be physically able to accomplish and enjoy it.
So here’s the rub: Assuming that there are 5000 hours of labor in the restoration (and that might be overly optimistic!), I’d need 13.4 years at my current rate of progress. Even if I could do it in 3000 (very unlikely), It’d take me 8 years.
So that was my epiphany on Tuesday – I’m not going to be nautically functional long enough to complete this restoration and still be capable of sailing the boat.
“Well”, says I, “That sucks.”
Then there’s the issue of changing goals. When my wife and I got this boat, I was pretty certain that I wanted to do some ocean crossing. At least as far as the Azores, and perhaps even a circumnavigation of the North Atlantic, maybe the Caribbean Sea…
Now, though, we’re both recognizing that we may not need to do that, we might be happy just following the East Coast and crossing into the Bahamas, maybe the Leeward and Windward Islands… We may never get around to crossing the ocean – so do we really need a boat that’s in many ways optimized for ocean passages? Might we be better off with a boat that has less draft (depth in the water) and a little more space and comfort? The Bahama’s are pretty shallow…
In other words, Renaissance might not be the right boat for us, both in terms of resources AND our cruising plans.
So Renaissance is for sale. If you’re reading this, and were thinking to yourself “Boy, I could do that, especially if someone else did all the nasty tearing apart for me…” this could be your big chance! I’ve got engines and gear and a sound hull that’s ready to start going back together, all in a classic CCA yacht of excellent pedigree. To the right craftsman, she’s ready to be reborn.
Meanwhile, we’re back to looking at used boats again. Looked at a beauty today, in fact. Let me know when you’d like to come look over Renaissance – I’ll cut you a good deal.