How long to tighten a bolt? April 4-5, 2009
How long to tighten a bolt? April 4-5, 2009Report Abuse
April 4-5, 2009
How long to tighten a bolt?
"Guy" Stewart and Sean Stull joined me for a terrific and very busy work weekend! We got a late start leaving Cranberry about 9:45pm on Friday evening, but still got a decent night's sleep on board Kelly IV. We were up for breakfast by 7:30am and worked until 4:30pm making great progress on a variety of jobs. Guy and Sean completely removed the large aft opening port (I had broken it on my last visit to Kelly IV) and replaced it with a brand new opening port which is supposed to leave all the water outside with special self-draining grooves. Like all things "boating", nothing is a simple job. Replacing the port took several hours as Guy had to stop every time Sean and I got in his way as the 2 of us worked on fine tuning the pattern for the dodger. Eventually Sean and I finished with the dodger pattern and Sean helped Guy complete the port replacement.
When Sean reviewed the work list he found an item "Tighten loose bolt on anchor roller". To any non-boaters this may sound like a 1 minute job.Sean owns and skippers his own boat so he knows better. Of course the bolts attaching the anchor roller can only be accessed from the v-berth. But not just the v-berth, but rather by halfway climbing forward into the chain locker below the anchor roller. Sean found himself with only 1 arm able to reach up to the anchor roller with his uper body contorted cruelly into a triangular box smaller than most people's 20 year old TV sets! Sean needed several special items including a headset flashlight as there was no place to hold or place a flashlight to see what to do in that confining space. He needed a length of bolt with a tapered head large washer, vise grips, and large screw driver. All tools and parts were readily available on board as part of the work kits we keep on Kelly IV. Would you care to hazard a guess as to how long a competent and effective boat owner and do-it-yourselfer would need to tighten a loose bolt? If you thought 1 minute, that would make sense except that we're talking a sailboat. If you thought 25 minutes it would be clear that you understand the complexities of working on a bolt that pierced the deck and required moving roughly 60 feet in 3 dimensions each time you moved from under the bolt to over the bolt and anpther 60 feet to get back. If you thought 45 minutes, it would be clear you've tried to wedge yourself into a space so small you cannot fit both arms into the space at the same time. If you thought an hour and 10 minutes, it would be clear that you understand that frequently when bolts need to be tightened, other tasks get in the way, like the bolt is bent and must be removed, except it is bent and resists removal. If you thought an hour and forty minutes, then obviously you respect the challenges of working on another person's boat and wonder if the fact that a bolt doesn't actually run through the backing block of wood, but instead catches the edge as the bolt bends around the old block of wood. In all these cases you'd have the understanding of the task, but you'd still be wrong about the actual time required. Sean did everything right and the task was merely to tighten one loose bolt. The actual time was over 2 hours. Just the nature of the beast. No one I know could have done the job any faster or better, the real life of working on a sailboat means the simplest fo tasks takes much, much longer to accomplish that anyone would reasonably expect.
Another example would be when I saw hydraulic fluid leaking from the backstay adjuster. I asked Guy to wipe it up while he was in the cockpit doing something else. My initial thought was a 1 minute task to prevent us from walking the oil elsewhere on the boat. Well, the one request turned into a consultation with a long-time sailor, yacht broker and boat owner. The consultation led to a discussion of options ranging from repair to replacement to a change of technology to a reduction in technology, to a simple, yet almost permanent fix. The decision was made to simplify the boat (KISS) so Guy completely removed the hydraulic pump and hose, cleaning the cockpit, and helping me readjust the backstay to allow for the now non-functional hydraulic piston. Instead of 1 minute for 1 person, 3 of us spent a total of about 3 man-hours to complete the job. In this case we demonstrated how a simple, yet unforseen, task can expand into a series of very important yet challenging options that are finally resolved over time. You'll recall that if an error was made in this mini project, the mast would fall off the boat! Even little jobs have huge impacts on sailing!
Some of the other tasks taken on this weekend included installing the batteries for the new season, replacing the broken regulator on the propane grill, buying new carpet for the cabin sole, grinding the zinc clean, putting a spare zinc into the boat's inventory, addition of knee pads for working on deck, installing matching handholds in the cabin and head, repairing the primary bilge pump, building and fitting a brace rod to secure the secondary bilge pump, complete removal of the triple boot stripe, and building a new mounting for the ensign on the backstay. We also did the initial sewing of the dodger, attaching the two side panels to the top panel. So far it looks very reasonable, but it is clear that we'll be ripping out a number fo stiches and rebuilding the various parts of the dodger multiple times of the next few weeks. No matter, I am fixed on achieving my goal of a completed dodger by the time we put Kelly IV into the water on May 22.