Thursday 25 February 2021

HOW many hours?!

The build manual is always upbeat and encouraging about each project, as indeed it should be.

I have sometimes thought, however, that some selective health warnings could be appropriate.

Such as: 'Before you start building make sure that you have a good counsellor on standby, 'cos you're gonna need therapy at some point'.

Or: 'Make sure that you have plenty of gin in the workshop, because you'll need a stiff drink after this part is done'.

I am not, of course, being serious. Or am I?

The manual casually states "PocketShip will clock in between 500 and 600 hours".

Well, I never believed that for a minute! That may be possible if you're a seasoned boatbuilder, with an enormous workshop which is fully equipped and heated.

My workshop is quite large, but it was still only ever possible to work on one large component of the hull at a time. When the hull was complete, of course, the workshop was full of boat and even less room was available.

And then there is the ambient temperature. Once the maximum daytime temperature falls below 10 or 12 degrees Centigrade it becomes difficult to make any real progress, because the epoxy takes so long to cure. I can use my space heater to warm up the air in the workshop, but that's only making it comfortable for me to work out there. The fabric of the building and everything in it are still stone cold. 

I have kept a daily log since the start of the build, listing each activity and the number of hours spent on it. I did not have the time or indeed the desire to keep a running total, knowing that I would be horrified at how long it took me to do things.

And I knew from the start that the build would take me at least two years, and probably three. And that is how it is working out.

So, during my self imposed break I have taken the opportunity of adding up the hours.

Guess what?

I have so far invested 2000 hours in my PocketShip.

Yes, really.

I am not at all surprised.

I am almost always on a learning curve of a varying gradient, and that adds a lot of time to activities.

And I have spent a lot of time on activities not even called for in the build, such as painting the interior of the lazarette or fitting support blocks inside the seatback lockers for the boom gallows poles.

So what does this mean?

Well, nothing really.

It's what I expected and I am not compromising build quality in any way to get things done quickly.

And I am doing it for my own enjoyment - not because I need a boat.

So, how much longer will I need to complete PocketShip?

That's a good question.

I have recently had time to ponder on how much has been achieved, and have slowly come to realise that the boat is substantially complete.

'All' I have to do now is:

  • Flip the boat and finish and paint the lower hull exterior.
  • Fit the centre board and flip her upright again.
  • Build and fit the tabernacle, spars, rudder and tiller.
  • Paint the upper hull and fit out the boat.

Note that I said 'substantially complete' and not 'nearly finished'.

Because there is still a lot of work to do.

Having said that I can see that we are in the final stages of the build.

I might guesstimate that the boat is, say, 80% complete?

That would mean that I may need to spend another 500 hours to complete it, which probably means several more months.

I can live with that. I might actually get her in the water this year.

But it's definitely time to break out that gin.


  1. Hope to see some more progress soon!

  2. I will be posting soon. I started building again recently and quite a lot has been done. So nice with the warm weather at last!