High price for freedom and happiness

Since Alex ran out of Sicomin the other day (which he normally prefers working with due to its lower viscosity and better controlled working time), he has now went back to West System to finalize work on the grid and bulkheads. Luckily they had an importer for it here in Cartagena, were not exactly counting on it. 

The price is interesting though. I don't know how much exactly you pay for this in the US or elsewhere, but here the price for a kit of 1 gallon resin and 1 quart hardener is priced at $250 USD, 25% import tax included. It's almost the price as in Antigua which is overall super expensive, but St Maarten on the other hand offered this kit for $160 USD before discount.

For non boaters, just to give you an idea of how costly all things for a boat is, this combination of resin and hardener is used as the glue in the building process of structural installations, laminations, joinery and sealing of wood. Pretty expensive glue wouldn't you say? 

I think in the past fourteen months that Alex has spent time working on our boat, we have spent around $2000 USD only in glue, discounts included. Quite an interesting thought. Then there will of course add up with the cost of fiberglass, carbon, kevlar, wood, tools, mixing pots, brushes, tape, gloves and what else is needed - only to install missing bulkheads/walls. 

Number of brushes used in the same fourteen months is around 1000 until today, which each are sold for around $2 USD in the Caribbean islands. Gloves, 20 boxes consumed, cost per box $25 USD. More than 50 rolls of blue tape has been used, costing around $7 USD each. 

Will go through all of the bills of the complete refit one day when we have some peace of mind, but I'd say that there's at least a $20.000 USD spent only in material (no equipment) since we bought the boat. This process would have never been financially feasible if Alex wouldn't be able to do all the work himself of course, as we'd have to add up a minimum of 1000 man-hours to get the boat to the condition we need.

In general, the price for boat and marine material is around 50% higher than the counterpart for a house. The sailing lifestyle might be cheaper in the way that we normally pay no rent or other bills (except for when we stay or have to stay in a marina), but it's the maintenance and refit that's the heaviest part. 

It's a pretty common subject of conversation among boat owners, everyone are annoyed and complains about the ridiculously high costs of keeping their boat in shape and not to mention the hard physical work they put into it, yet we still keep on living this life. I have very much respect for the ones like Alex who sacrifices so much of their time and mental peace to get one boat safe and strong, but sometimes I can't help but think it's a bit perverted. Almost like they have some sort of self-hatred, to be able to go through all that pain.

I guess it will be all worthwhile in the end though. There's an enormous sense of accomplishment and pride that naturally comes with having done things with own hands rather than buying something new. And since one of our larger dreams is to bring Duende to the Mediterranean and get ourself a run down house by the water - a house to renovate and decorate to match our standards, we just gotta keep up with it. I hope we will then appreciate the fact that the material for a house will be at least half the price of the same for a boat.

FYI: Alex grew up with a grandfather who taught him joinery. He built many scale boats and planes, as well as rowing dinghies and a small catamaran when he was younger. During his surfing years he glassed many surfboards, and later on he built his own mastering and recording studios - so it's not like this is anything new to him. He simply loves the building process no matter how hard or daunting it might seem.