Dec 29

Good vs. Better

Tag: boat work,musingsjonny5waldman @ 3:04 am
Our first day in the work yard, we met a fellow gringo-boat-owner named Richard. He’d just recently bought his 10th boat, a trawler, and was busy painting it. She’s not nearly as elegant as Syzygy, but she’s definitely cleaner and shinier. Richard asked us if Syzygy was our first boat. We told him it was. His reply: “Wow, you guys went big.” You could say that made us proud. Throughout the day, whenever we bumped into Richard, we chatted about repairs and maintenance. We told him our plan: 1) remove and service the seacocks, 2) fix the leaky packing-gland (the waterproof seal around the propeller shaft), 3)remove the leaky water tanks and rebuild new ones, and 4)remove the old, crappy toilet. Richard, obviously familiar with over-eager-boat-repairmen who-just-bought-a-ton- of-new-tools -and-have-big-dreams, took the opportunity to share a wise Italian aphorism with us: “Better is the enemy of good.” We heard him, but not really, and continued with our plans. We were intent on achieving perfection, and spent five days tearing up Syzygy, disassembling and eventually throwing away half a dozen trash bags full of old, unwanted/corroded/cracked hoses and parts. Then Jon got his hands on the jig saw, and decided to have a go at repairing one of the through-hulls. Through-hulls are bronze cylinders that the seacocks screw onto, and you could say that their bomproofness is essential to any sailor’s peace of mind. Seacocks are supposed to be screwed down until flush with the hull, and this through-hull was too long, preventing the flush junction from occurring. Technically, it had been installed incorrectly. It was good, but not perfect. So Jon was just gonna shave off an inch or so. Jon’s attempt didn’t go so well. He was cutting under a tiny cupboard, in the bathroom, and was holding the saw at a crazy angle while all scrunched up, so that he could reach his arms in there. He ended up cutting the through-hull off at a 45-degree angle, leaving it too short to use. The result: yet more work for us. We’d need to 1) remove the now-damanged through-hull, 2) buy a new one and 3) re-bed it in the hull. Also, there’s the bonus result of a bruised ego for having just essentially cut a hole in your $60,000 sailboat. So Matt and I spent 3 hours driving around San Carlos and Guaymas today, seeking out the elusive new through-hull and the appropriate glues and epoxies and tools for setting it in place. Not surprisingly, such materials and parts are hard to find around here. We were left vexed and tired at the end of the day, and empty-handed on some counts. So you could say we’re starting to understand Richard’s advice.

One Response to “Good vs. Better”

  1. North of 49ยบ says:

    Too bad about your enthusiasm and the seacock.
    To correct Richard’s source ( but not well placed advice) the advice comes from Voltaire, who said; “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.”

    Keep up the good work.

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