January is not working out to be too good for me for boat building. I always think to myself I should get a lot done each January but it never seems to pan out that way. Unfortunately I am my own worst enemy at times. I have spent a lot of time away from home this year (in Melbourne), but that is no different to any other year, but to make matters worse recently I seem to be wasting a lot of time doing nothing when I am at the shed. Well it isn’t nothing but it does not result in tangible work I can take pictures of and show as achievement. I know part of the problem is the heat and the laziness that creeps in with it, and with nice weather comes other activities that distract me, like spending time on other peoples boats (today) but yesterday I spent 6 hours at the boat, it rained all day, was not too hot, and still I got next to nothing done.

Part of it is the feeling of being overwhelmed with so many different tasks that need to be done and not feeling particularly excited by some of them, such as fairing the forebeam (hard work), glassing the insides of the strip planked sections (not so hard but not particularly exciting) or glassing the bulkheads. Another part of it is procrastination. When I cant decide what to do next or I know what I have to do but for whatever reason I don’t want to yet, I usually find other necessary but not critical work like cleaning up which is what I did yesterday. I cut the last of big cockpit furniture panels out (which I wont be using anyway) to get them off the floor under the boat so I could start to lay out the cabin top.

I have been setting out the cockpit furniture and I am ready to start gluing it in but fear of getting it wrong make me find excuses to delay gluing panels in. It is a problem I have had to overcome on many of the tasks in the past and each time I do I think to myself the delay had no basis in logic because the jobs invariably turn out to be easy. Having said all of this, I am now working without pre cut parts, or even a plan as I design and fabricate the parts myself so care and planning (daydreaming of how practical the end result might be) is important and also there are 2 sides of every idea, external and internal so each has to be thought through carefully and this takes mocking up and setting out, measuring, thinking, re doing to see if an alternative is better, etc and all of this takes time. Better to waste a bit of time now than be disappointed with the practicality of a poorly laid out design.

I have been particularly keen to make the cabin top even though logic is telling me to wait a few months when I get a heap more space. I decided to ignore that logic and just start on it only to find that strip planking the foredeck has used up more duracore than I thought and I now don’t have enough to finish a full length roof as planned, so I will need to buy more, but not for a while (when finances allow!). So I think I might start on the daggerboards to inspire me again to work harder.

So all the wasted time lead me to feeling guilty that I have not progressed the boat much over the last few weeks and a little concern at the length of time still to go started to creep in. But I guess these rollercoaster’s of emotion and progress are to be expected on a job this big. I spoke to Warren about these frustrations and delays and he told me you have to roll with them. It is my build and it takes me as long as it does, I don’t have to justify it to anyone but myself and I should not be hard on myself because if I am not enjoying it I don’t have to do it, sooner or later the joy returns and on it goes, we met a guy that took 17 years to finish a 43ft cat and he loved it so instead of worrying that some people get theirs built in 2 years, think of the guys that take 10! I write this stuff down because I think it is important to understand all that you go through on a build like this, there will be ups and downs and I don’t want to just write about the good stuff, there will be times of self doubt, lack of motivation and times of inaction as well as exciting interesting full speed ahead building. The lows generally don’t last long and there is enough variety to keep the work interesting most of the time.

Now the reason I got nothing done today is I volunteered to help Warren (40ft Crowther cat) lower his mast to get under a bridge. His mast is half a meter too tall to get under the Rip Bridge at Ettalong at the entrance to Brisbane Waters. This took us about 4 hours using ropes to replace the stays and to slowly winch it forward a few inches at a time until we had it at about 60 degrees and down low enough to get under the bridge. We had to be sure no fast boats were passing as the mast is vulnerable to side movement without taught stays so wake would be a problem. I went out in the dingy to slow any passing boats as we passed under the bridge. Once we had it winched back up and the stays back on, which took about an hour, we were good as new. Of course I don’t need much persuading to get me onto anyone’s 40ft cat these days especially Warren’s who I would count among my best friends and one of my sources of inspiration.

wazza cat leaning mastwazza cat at our place

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Paul