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It’s interesting for me to see which Blog posts garner the most comments. I think the record holder at this point is the post I made several days ago on creating an electrical budget. Not coincidentally (I knew it was going to happen) that was the subject of last evening’s marine maintenance class. Because I had already done some homework on this, the class exercise was interesting, but not in any way enlightening. I think anyone who has done some research on cruising knows enough to try to limit the excess usage of power. For the record, there will be no 1500W hair dryers onboard Katana!

Shifting gears to the subject of money, one thing I have always found amusing is the people who will spend 5 hours doing XYZ task to save themselves $20.00, without factoring in a cost to their 5 hours of time! This brings me to the bucket project. Although it is going well, if I put a dollar figure on the hours I will have spent completing this thing, that stupid bucket will be worth it’s weight in gold! But the experience? Priceless, which is why I am doing it, as opposed to simply buying a ready-made canvas bucket from the chandlery. The bucket itself is simply the vehicle for my sewing practice, and what fun I am having doing it! πŸ™‚


  1. More blood has been shed. Damn that needle is sharp!

  2. I can’t imagine trying to own a boat and pay other people to do all the work required to keep it going. I’m in the wrong tax bracket to be a “checkbook sailor”!
    Besides the money,there’s the pride in doing it yourself,and the joy that comes when you flip a switch and things happen the way they are supposed to-and you made it happen.
    From a practical standpoint,when things go wrong when you’re underway(and,oh yeah,things do go wrong)you have a much better chance of fixing it yourself if you did the install to begin with.

    • Obviously all those things are true. I’m sure you can understand what I am getting at though. I wasn’t simply referring to “fixing the boat on the high seas” kind of stuff. Some people do certain tasks because they enjoy the process. But don’t try to tell me you are saving money unless you are factoring in a reasonable dollar figure for the hours spent.

      • OTOH, sometimes it seems that there is so much to do that it is impossible to do everything onesself. And I am not so sure that it is even possible to be skilled or expert at everything. However, the more you know about each thing, the better you are able to control costs when you do need to pay a third party for a particular task.
        Mike, you are well on the path to becoming a renaissance man.
        (did I spell renaissance correctly?)

        • My spell checker says Yes. πŸ™‚

          • Agreed on the money saved part. Sometimes it makes no sense to tie up hours of your time,for a short amount of money.
            Some jobs are done just for the joy of doing. I spend hours cleaning,polishing stainless,etc and it’s not about saving money. It’s the Zen thing…wax on…wax off…
            And true enough about skills required for some jobs,although I’m pretty adventurous about that. I’ll attempt most anything(after doing some research)unless it will hurt me ,or break something expensive.
            It’s a matter of finding a balance that makes sense to you.

  3. Nice sewing Mike! Can you help me with a couple of Gi patches?

  4. 1. I see you are using a stitching awl. Try the needle and palm; it is about 3 times faster, once you get the rhythm. I assure you square riggers’ sails were NOT sewn with an awl. I generally use the awl ONLY when the palm will not work (very heavy fabric, many layers). By the time you are finished you will know all you need about handling the needle and thread, I think. Then a simple book on sails will explain the application.

    I find it therapeutic to sit on the deck, sewing something minor, while underway or at the dock. It seems to fit.

    2. I wrote a book on sailing, you know. As an engineering student I scoffed at english, though I could write well enough to get good marks. Once, I figured up the time spent on my sailing book and determined that I had made about $0.33/hour on the project, not counting any of the sailing time. But my writing skill improved many fold, through practice and editing, and that has been a significant benefit to my career. If I include that value, the time was well spent indeed. I also write a few magazine articles now, about 3 per year. They work out to about $50/hour, because I can do them quickly, now that I have learned the market. My most resent was in the February Latitudes and Attitudes, about my bathroom fan. I’m no Hemingway, but I have fun.

    3. The reason to learn skills is, in part, cost control. It is also to be able to repair things when you are “out there.” It is about understanding your boat. I don’t marina hop – I like to go where the map has some blank spots, to see what is there.

    4. Good looking bucket. Mine was old sailcloth, mildewed and rust stained, and I loved it. ” I like the way I look. I’ve come a long way, and I want people to know that not all of the roads were paved.” (Mark Twain)

    5. Yes, I still see blood once in a while, when sewing. Those big needles HURT!

    • I too can see how sewing could be a relaxing (Zen) thing, especially if you don’t HAVE to get something repaired on a time schedule. I don’t yet have a palm but do plan on getting one and trying to learn to use it. As for this bucket, it is going to be beautiful!!!

  5. What impresses me is that these folks find something worthwhile to post nearly EVERY DAY. Wow.

  6. I have always found it puzzling how people fail to factor in their time when considering the cost of anything that involves their involvement. But you are so right, the experience gained can outweigh the time expended.

    And get yourself a leather thimble!!!

  7. The whole purpose of the palm is to keep the needle out of your skin! Cowhide is much thicker than human hide! And since it is no longer attached to a living being, it doesn’t feel the paid of the stabs. πŸ™‚

  8. Shackles?!! What some people will do to get out of some simple sewing! Of course, I learned to sew as a child, so that might make a difference. Once one is proficient, most handwork can be combined with something else. My mother and I used to darn socks while listening to the opera. Preferrably outside, where we could also watch birds and my kids! See, multitasking isn’t new, it’s what mothers have always done! Mike, you have no idea of the things one can do with a needle which DO save money even when one factors in the time! Have you any idea of the number of holes which kids put in perfectly good socks? For which, read sails, line, cushions, clothing, etc. for boat purposes!

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