Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Law of Diminishing Returns

Yes it's true... I've been horribly remiss in my postings lately. A small part of this is because we've been taking a slower pace lately, but mainly because there's really nothing to report.

Summer brings about a special set of challenges for our project. Part of the issue is that summertime brings about the opportunity for far more activity. Whether it's a chore such as mowing the lawn, a pleasure such as an afternoon drift down the river, or a picnic with the family, there's a lot more to do during the summer. This, of course, means a little less time to work on the boat.

The next challenge is the heat. We're building this boat in a non-air conditioned garage, and during this time of year, the heat is sometimes unbearable. Add in the fact that we're wearing tyvek suits, dust masks and safety glasses because we're sanding and fairing, and you should completely understand the lack of demonstrable progress on our project. I can only say "still sanding" so many times...

We've been sanding and fairing for about three months, but it seems like three years. Sanding and fairing is widely considered the most tedious, unrewarding phase of building a boat, and I honestly thought we were mentally prepared for this. I was wrong. In fact, I honestly believe that part of our slowed progress is based on burnout.

That said though, Greg is finally to a point where he's ready to say "good enough." To paraphrase a post from Wooden Boat Sailor, at some point the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in. In the early stages, the sanding and fairing is essential, otherwise the boat looks and performs like absolute shit. As the process continues, there's a progressively smaller payoff for the same amount of work. Eventually you come to the point where the amount of work exceeds the amount of satisfaction you get from the work you put in. This is the "good enough" stage. Greg and I still have a little more work to do, but he's to the point where he realizes that any more work on the bottom of the hull is excessive. One of the sides is done, which leaves both transoms and the other side. If we haul ass, we should be ready to lay a coat of primer in about four to six weeks. Thank God! I'm soooooo ready to be finished with the sanding and fairing.