Saturday, 24 June 2017


And like that the enthusiasms left along with two of the four hatch surrounds in one piece, it seems the time it took from me releasing them from the coachroof bonded to its shape and giving them a coat of epoxy and cloth they 'relaxed' their shape to the point they dont fit anymore.Tried to clamp them up into their original shape and 'crack' broke one in half and then did it again to another one. Brilliant! more time and money down the drain..........And then the voices start over again.

Do you really want to do this anymore?

I've been mulling the situation over since returning from NZ and my situation is this: i'm 42 years old a jobbing carpenter with no savings in the bank, no pension, a current account thats permanantly in overdraft & a paid work situation thats parlous at best.

So when in my more darker moments i think about how much more money is needed (£10 - 15K) to finish and how much i could realise from selling everything and cutting my losses, (i'm thinking inboard engine £3K, deck hardware £2K, electronics £1 - 2K tools, plant & machinery £2K and all the other items i kept of the original boat - cushions, cooker etc) i wouldn't be far off £8 - 10K.

Admittedly the above figure would still only cover half what i paid for everything but from where i'm sitting at the moment i couldn't half do with that back in the bank. Dont think i'm writing this to ellicit a certain response although that'll probably happen anyway I just can't justify how much this boats fighting me and the resources anymore.

When i started the project back in 2007 i was taking home £4k a month and getting finished each day around early afternoon such was the nature of the contract i was on (job and knock). So i was at a loose end and with the boat sat there in the yard i hit upon the idea of bringing it home to work on as it was a ballache if you forgot something plus i'd save £100 odd quid a month on yard fees. Little did i know what was waiting around the corner: namely an HMRC investigation as well as a recession (thats yet to end) both of which left rather massive holes in my personal finances.

At the time i remember thinking 'come on chin up' and that worked for a while and if i'm honest the boat was a welcome distraction from the depressing reality of my lack of paid work. But in the distance i could see problems such was the rate at which i was burning through what was left of my savings plugging gaps in my earnings. In a way i had my head in the sand thinking something would come up but from that day (2009) to this nothing really has.

My working reality over the intervening years is probably like many of yours that read this: one of temporary (2 week or less) contracts, short term prospects, jumping at a moments notice usually to work weekends and evenings sometimes far from home going hand to mouth month after month year after year. The gig economy i think they call it.

For sure theres plenty of building work out there, i keep reading theres a shortage of skilled trades in the UK and there is if you don't mind working for a third of what you did 10 years ago and i understand why housebuilders are doing this (push costs down & profits up) but its just not enough to sustain both myself  & the boat.

I know i've said in the past its as dumb to carry on as it is to stop but i'm getting older, and leaving the financial aspect to one side its the time too and the fact life feels like its on hold for me a result of the time / money paradox (when you have one you seldom have the other) plus the guilt i feel if the weathers good and i'm not working on the boat, its enough to drive you insane i know i've been living it these past few years.

That said I'm over the embarassment of failure - to be honest i'm past caring and i've got to get realistic now, i think it was sailing antares going public with the failure of his Griffon project after a year or so that put mine in perspective. Mines been in the garden for some 8 years and seems no further down the road than 4 years ago when i last ground to a halt.

Also as alluded to, paid work isn't getting any easier to come by and i'm not getting any younger plus my 'sense of duty' that initially motivated the project has all but evaporated along with most of my savings: it certainly hasn't been a labour of love - not for a long time, that ship sailed after the gel peel which only deepens my sense of bitterness at the time and money expended.

If i do stop it wont be sold as a going concern because it isn't plus: 

a) secondhand boat values are through the floor so i've got no chance &
b) like cars i'll get more money breaking it up and selling it off bit by bit which means
c) the hull and deck are essentially worthless in the present economic climate.

Apologies if i sound abit cold & unemotional about calling it a day but some hard truths must be faced. Don't get me wrong i realised i've completely ballsed up - financially speaking. I mean i've probably (since taking the boat on in 2004) done about £30k and that includes everything, from paying off Elkins Yard bill at the beginning (£4k) right upto the sheets of insulation i bought a couple of weeks ago and everything inbetween.

So there is that and no one else did that - i did - i'm not blaming anyone or anything for where i'm at. Its just a lack of time, money and if i'm being honest - inclination. I'm only too aware with every passing year (coupled with a lack of regular well-paying work) that this boat sits in my garden my options are becoming ever more limited much like my finances.

But unlike 2013 when the emotions i felt were one of embarassment & despair, this time round i genuinely feel nothing so for the moment i need to do some thinking / number crunching.


Colin Bailey said...

So sorry to hear your decision. Your reasoning is beyond dispute but I know I am not alone in having enjoyed and admired your posting on your progress. The only way I can see to have your project completed is to appeal for assistance in some way similar to S/V Seeker. Perhaps by offering Centaur/Westerly owners facilities to complete some of their own upgrades in your style and using your methods in return for labouring under your guidance to at least get your project completed near enough to offer it for sale. Best Wishes to you for what ever the future holds. Cheers Bill

Roger Ball said...

Cheers Colin, theres a couple of options i need to persue over the next couple of weeks that might provide the means to finish it and if they don't pan out its pretty much over. I can't justify the costs & time anymore. Financially speaking i've been running on fumes the last 4 - 5 years and with nothing decently paid or remotely long term coming down the pipe in my world of work its getting harder to justify.

cheers rog

Mark The Skint Sailor said...

It's a shame to hear you've hit the financial wall so to speak Roger, but I do understand. After throwing thousands at a powerboat, selling it at a loss after the banking crisis, I hit the same wall. No job, savings dwindling, it had to go.

Then meeting up with Jim, the chap that introduced me to sailing showed me there was a cheaper way to enjoy boating. By then I was on a lot lower wages and there was never a chance of getting back to where I was.

So the idea of skint sailing was born. Which has given my boating history a new direction and lease of life.

Maybe it's not in your nature to compromise on the construction, but just maybe there is another, cheaper way to complete the task and a way of giving the project a new lease of life?

Or maybe the skills you've gained can be utilised: We may moan about high prices but the Marine sector is one of the few parts of the economy unaffected by the financial crisis. Completing the boat to a high standard may act as a CV and get you work that actually pays well rather than generic building site stuff.

There may be a completely new chapter around the corner.

Roger Ball said...

cheers Mark

DC said...
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