S/V Uhuru

The excellent adventures of S/V Uhuru.

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The Waterborne Ikea Effect

01 March 2016
There are a few programming glitches in the standard human operating system that cause people to buy, live on and travel in boats. It is no use to resist these bugs if you have them. It is much more useful to embrace them as features and plan around them. Anyone who has suffered a software salesman or project manager in person is familiar with the process.

The Ikea Effect is well described by Daniel Ariely and indeed many others quite elegantly in other places. As an engineer I express it as simply the affection we gain for an object increases the more involved we are in its creation. I feel like writing an equation, but I can't remember the proper units for affection. (If you are not familiar with this particular bug, you can find it described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKEA_effect)

Boats tend to be places where the universe chooses to concentrate entropy. I'm not sure why, but anyone who owns a boat knows it is true. The relevance of this is that it doesn't matter if you buy a brand new boat or stray pieces of hull, there are going to be repairs, maintenance and modifications required. It never ends. Embrace it.

Do all that you can yourself. You will find that delays and cost overruns are perfectly understandable. In contrast to when professional contractors fail to meet budget and schedule goals it is invariably due to their fundamental character flaws. When you do the project yourself, at the end hopefully the Ikea Effect will have increased your satisfaction with your boat. (It is possible you will save some money by doing the work yourself, but this is by no means a regular occurrence.)

This last week, and at least next week are occupied with varnish and paint. Short of design and assembly of a new system, nothing seems to increase my affection for this old boat as much.

*Debra will be the one who will post useful information on this blog. I plan to mostly stick to random thoughts from the mid watch.
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Vessel Name: Uhuru
Vessel Make/Model: CT-41
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Crew: Brian
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Created 25 February 2016