Where do I begin? It’s been nearly a year since I wrote about life on LA VITA.
We’re alive and thriving. You probably guessed the ‘alive’ part because I’ve written this post. Thriving is subjective, but I’d say we are.
Over the past months we’ve tackled huge projects, both personal and boat-related. I’ve wanted to describe the details and share my fears and triumphs. But I couldn’t. Why? I set two priorities: improve my writing style and enhance our Website.
I dived into the world HTML code and got lost for several months. After all my fiddling, I hope our blog loads faster and the pages are easier to read.
I’ve been studying the art and craft of storytelling. The hardest lessons: tell one story, make if brief, and make it personal. Apparently, long technical posts are no longer in vogue. This post is my best effort.
Special thanks to our blog followers and my writer friends for your input, suggestions, and encouragement.
I am forever grateful to three special writers that stuck by me as I fought my way along the learning curve.
Marie, Peta, Lynn, Marie
(LCWG: La Cruz Writers’ Group Members)
My retreat is over! I’m back. I’m writing. I’m posting.
~~~~~ _/) ~~~~~ _/) ~~~~~
Lynn Looking Out of Lazarette
To discover what I learn in the lazarette, click
In November 2012 Rick and Chava (Torno Neptuno), collaborated to design and build a stainless steel arch that would be 6-feet high that spans the width of LA VITA, at the stern. It took a few weeks to complete and a fair amount of fortitude.
Rick (white shirt) and Chava (blue shirt) and
Torno Neptuno Team
Arch Ready for Installation
The arch design was multipurpose: support a wind generator and solar panel, and provide tie-off points for the canvas awning. It had to be strong enough to climb so Rick can finish the job by connecting the power cables.
Mounting the Wind Generator
Mounting the Solar Panel
When it was time for Rick to scale the frame, I held my breath as he stepped on the rungs and worked his way to the top of the arch.
Sitting high in the sky Rick connected the wind generator to heavy-duty power cables which carry the power generated by the wind to our battery charging system.
Rick Sitting High In Sky Wiring the Wind Generator
Rick Wiring the Wind Generator
The cables run down inside the stainless steel tubing, through the hull, and connect to the charging system in the lazarette (large storage area below deck).
Charging System in Lazarette (Lynn’s toes!)
My contribution was to pull the cables through the hull and into the lazarette while Rick shoved the cables from above. Here’s what happened next.
Equipped with a camera and flashlight, I open the hatch and ease into the dark storage space below deck.
Lynn Looking Out of Lazarette
Lying on my back, I work my way under the steering cables and over the exhaust hose to the starboard side. I wiggle around some more. I can’t find the lead wire!
A lead wire is thinner and more flexible than the power cables. The lead wire is shoved long the route and into the hull with the cables attached. The idea is to pull the lead wire and the larger cables will follow.
Lynn In The Lazarette
I shout, “Where is the lead wire?”
Rick answers, “Where are you?”
I reply, “I’m not sure, I think I’m under the propane locker.”
Rick said, “You can’t be. The propane locker is too far aft. Take a picture so I can figure it out.”
I take pictures of what I see and pass the camera to Rick.
After examining the images, Rick said, “You’re under the upper muffler and I see a little problem.”
Now it makes sense. In the dark, the lead wire is blocked from my view by the muffler. We decide to ‘deal with the little problem later’ and go ahead with getting the cables into the lazarette.
With my feet braced against the hull, I reach above my head, and grab the lead wire.
From above, Rick pushes cables down the pipes. They moved a few inches. I’m encouraged. I force myself into a better position; ignoring the bruises forming on my back.
My hand is around the lead wire and I pull. I get a few more inches. I’m encouraged. I continue to yank with all my strength. The cables are stuck. They won’t budge.
I’m determined. I tell myself, “I can do this!” Blisters develop on my hands from my persistent pulling. My frustration intensifies. I’m cursing and crying at the same time. Rick remains calm while urging me to stop and come out of there.
I shout, “No, I can do this!”
In time, reality sinks in. I’m disappointed and angry with myself as climb back on deck. Rick goes for a long walk to collect his thoughts.
The ‘little problem’ was a hole in the upper muffler. This explains why recently, we smelled exhaust fumes in the cabin. During the arch installation their calculations were off by 1/2-inch. They accidentally drilled into the edge of fiberglass muffler when they screwed the backing plate to the hull.
Although, I failed to pull the cables, my photo may have saved ourselves from carbon monoxide poisoning. As they say, a picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Rick calls Chava and explains our situation. Chava makes arrangements for a fiberglass expert to fix the small hole in the muffler and paid for the repair.
Hole in the Upper Muffler (in white box)
Hole in Fiberglass Muffler Repaired
The following day, a couple of Salvador’s men arrived. Pablo goes into the lazarette and within thirty minutes, the cables are pulled through the hull and coiled in the bottom of the lazarette. I’m dumbfounded. I ask, “What did you do? How did you pull them through?”
Pablo Entering the Lazarette
Inside the Lazarette
Pablo shrugs and shows me piece of dried rubbery stuff. A thick glob of sealant had oozed around the entry hole between the hull and the backing plate. When it dried, the opening was blocked. Chava cut away the excess sealant.
Backing Plate Bolted to the Hull
With the hole open, it was easy to pull the cables into the lazarette while his partner pushed the cables from outside. The exact same way Rick and I pushed and pulled.
The picture below shows the hole filled with dried sealant. The gray wire is the lead wire the red cable is one of two power cables that needed to be pulled into the lazarette.
Hole Clogged with Dried Sealant
Black and Red Power Cables Pulled Through the Hole
The next day, Rick climbed into the lazarette and connected the power cables to the charging system.
Wind and Solar Energy on LA VITA!
~~ _/) I learned there are times when I need to push beyond my limitations and grow. Other times I need to surrender. The trick is knowing which and when. ~~ _/)
So that’s one event in a nutshell. We’re still on LA VITA in Marina La Cruz. This fall we plan to cast off and go sailing. Our destination is still uncharted. Kinda like life.
~~~~~ _/) ~~~~~ _/) ~~~~~