Saturday, December 14, 2013

Boat Math

I once came up with a rule of thumb for estimating the amount of time it takes a complete a repair or installation task on a boat.  First, think the task through, step by step, and by conservatively estimating the amount of time required for each step, estimate the total amount of time required to complete the task.  Second, double that.  Third, add four hours.

Why would a  repair take so much longer on a boat than in a house?  The short answer is that, on a boat, everything that could go wrong goes wrong.  The longer answer is that, on a boat, you are working in tight spaces, the construction is much more robust (and thus more difficult to dissect), and you never really know what is lurking beneath the surface, waiting to cause problems once discovered.

Foolishly, after a few recent projects went more smoothly than expected, I ignored that rule when I estimated how much time it would take to tear our old freezer box out of the cabinetry so that the new freezer, which had been on the floor of the salon since we bought it, could be dropped into place and wired in.  I gave myself three hours.  Krissy took Helina to run some errands to keep her away from fiberglass dust, etc., and I asked her to return three hours later.

When she returned, 4 hours had passed (I begged for more time due to an unanticipated trip to the hardware store), and I wasn't even half done.

So how long did it take to finish the job?  3 hours times two plus four equals ten hours.  And, sure enough, it took ten hours.  Ten hard, painful hours.  But that was only the beginning.

The remaining steps, dropping in the new freezer and installing the wiring, I did not think would even take one hour, total.  But, I should have known that 1 times two plus four equals six hours.  And, yes, it took six hours.

The wiring was no more difficult than I anticipated, but dropping the freezer into place was grueling.  The freezer was a much tighter fit than expected, and it had to be finessed into place, pausing only to strip off as many obstructions from the freezer and surrounding cabinetry as possible.  In the end, I did not have one millimeter to spare. 

Tight Fit
One more millimeter in height or width, and the freezer would not have fit.  But, after 16 total hours of awful labor, it did. 

6 Inches Under
Mission accomplished.

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