C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happiest thanksgivings to all!

Happy Thanksgiving all around.  I am thankful for C’est La Vie’s hull, her mast and boom. I am thankful for the tiller and rudder and most of all her engine.  I am thankful for the fridge and the compressor that runs it, the batteries and the regulator and alternator. I am thankful for the propane and the stove. I am thankful for the fresh water pump and the filters. Most of all I am thankful for the amazing crew with whom I sail.  I am grateful and thankful for all the goodness that surrounds me. Now, let me tell you a few of the things for which I am not thankful….
The turkey day started out on lumpy seas which is not nice when you are sea sick. The winds continued to increase and then the water became confused and rough.  Again, not nice when you are sea sick.  As Thursday gave way to black Friday all the little things built up to really BIG things….

We sheared the top track slide off the head of the main sail, which could have been disastrous. One of the wires on the shroud began to unravel, again could have been disastrous.  The bilge pump would automatically come on but not turn itself off, we thought that was disastrous as the high water alarm sounded. The Fridge was no longer regulating and cycling on and off constantly. The fresh drinking water was inundated with salt via the tank vent in the bow, potentially disastrous.  The boat ran out of fuel, consuming twice as much diesel as it ever had before due to struggling windward in rough seas- 1 gallon an hour. And the worst offense- the head stopped working.  The learning?  When in such conditions as we were in it is better to double reef the mainsail  and put up the storm jib.
On my Friday evening watch that I took over from Jeff The winds began to build. We had double reefed the mainsail and were flying the working jib.  Right before Jeff went to rest he asked I wanted to shake the second reef. No way Jose!  I was just find, neutral helm and with the sundown and the moon not up for another 3 hours I’d rather be slower in the darkness.  So much for may wants.  The wind was changing direction and building as we glided along.  C'est la Vie's heal was also increasing.  I’d ease the mainsheet or head up to stall but nothing was really working I had to deal with the toe rail in the water, pounding through the waves.  I started to see 2 gps’s and my vision was blurry. I was really getting a bit scared, tears streamed down my salt scrubbed face.
Trish called up from her berth asking if I was ok.  I asked for help tacking and with that simple gesture, C’est la Vie stopped bucking and rode the waves and we were so much closer to the rhumb line. A bit of anxiety relieved. That act lead to a discovery as Jeff who was in the V-berth did not know that we had tacked thus he rolled to the low side which was pretty darn wet. 
To back track if I may, right before I took the helm I too had discovered standing water. Not something that is appreciated inside the boat.  I was sleeping in the Saloon on the settee cushion and Jeff and Trish called to me to let me know they were tacking.  So, I put my foot down to steady the roll and my foot was submerged in water.  WTF?  I began to sop up the mess with a dish towel and decided to use my Trader Joe Shamwow. At this point Trish woke up and came over to help me.  We mopped up most of the water and it looked as if it were coming out of the compartments below the cushion.  Darn, I thought, must be the chain plates. I was worried that my fruits and veggies stored directly above that would be ruined.  We took off the cushion and opened the cabinet and to our dismay it was full of water. We bailed out the cabinet and soaked up as much water as we could and waited for more to drain down the walls. No water was seen. Our attention was then directed to the floor and seeing that the water was actually coming in from under the wall.  Hmmm, that’s curious. Behind the wall is the head.
Earlier in the day we all had used the head and the last one to go got a not so nice surprise. Instead of pumping into the tank the suction was no longer there so we just pumped in more and more seawater which elevated the contents of the bowl.  On land, an overflowing toilet is gross but on a shifting rocking heeling boat it is devastating.  Enough said.
Back to Jeff’s discovery in the V-berth…He opened the anchor locker at the foot of the berth and got a snoot full of sea water from the wave that the bow just broke. He realized that the chips that we had stowed in the locker had shifted and blocked the water from going down to the bilge and funneled it into the boat. That was the most simple fix of all the problems we had that day.  We all had a laugh at lunch the next day chomping on those dang chips that tried to sink C’est la Vie!
Many other things happened that day and I would love to tell you them all over a nice cup of tea in a cozy warm chair but for now I think I have painted a pretty good picture as to why we were so overjoyed on Sunday early in the morning to yell, “Land, HO!”  Looking forward to Green Turtle Cay and a HOT shower!

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