Deja Vu in Vinyl


No one in Georgetown will recognize Deja Vu when it arrives this December for the season.  In fact many will comment that “Joe will be pissed to see another Deja Vu in the anchorage,” until they realize that it’s Joe & Helen’s boatDejaVu with an entirely new look they’re seeing.  Their green swoop on a cream colored hull has been replaced with a matte white vinyl wrap and new graphics.  Deja Vu’s cream-colored topsides of Awl-Grip paint has been wrapped with white VViVid Vinyl.

Joe’s always experimented with innovative construction and design techniques, and many of those idea’s are still in service on his 43′ catamaran.  After watching numerous YouTube videos on wrapping boats with vinyl he thought he’d give it a try.  This is where I fit into this post.


IMG_3978The online video’s show a crew wrapping various boats, but Joe figured he only needed a senior citizen with long arms to help, and his wife Helen thought of me rather than herself.

Stanna always quotes that  “The problem with learning by experience is that the exam comes first,” and we tested ourselves all around these 43′ hulls.  Just when we thought we’d learned how to handle a surface, the curves and panels changed, forcing us to re-train after every break.  Spray water before or only after, depending on time of day, humidity, size of the roll or some unknown variable.  Work the roll perpendicularly or in a convex arc depending on roll size and location.


Starting from the middle of a 43′ side or from one end depended on if you could align the roll angle so you didn’t miss the mark at the end.  Fortunately you could always pull back the vinyl’s adhesive grip to stretch out the waves, bubbles and creases.  It definitely took teamwork and lots of bantering to keep the vinyl flat and smooth.

IMG_4002It was surprising how malleable and stretchy the vinyl was with a little heat from a heat gun.  Joe had done his homework learning just what he could do to trim out the windows and thru-IMG_4008hulls.  They even sell a Kevlar string to place down before applying the vinyl to insure clean straight cuts.

IMG_4011Edges were a concern, but the manufacturer provides and number of solutions like seam tape and seam sealer. Lot’s of questions remain on the durability and quality, in Joe’s mind, that will only be answered after several seasons in the Bahamas.  It’s too soon to ask, “Would you do it again?” but he did get a lot of inquiries in the boat yard.

One of the most fascinating things about this Jacksonville boat yard, Reynolds Park, is that they have a surplus Navy travel lift that can walk a cat right on by another cat and park it parallel.


Fast warm week in Florida, where it only rained when we splashed.  Thanks Helen & Joe.

Solar Analysis


Just passed four years of collecting solar energy on the roof of our condo.  23.3 Megawatt hours – which they say is the equivalent of 422 trees, running a refrigerator for 14.2 years, saving 13.7 barrels of oil or running a light bulb for 205 years.  I just like not paying for electricity, although I still have to pay for a base charge.  However the amount of power that I sell back to the power company pays for 7 months base fees.

I use Enphase micro inverters which allows me to track thru their Enlighten online tracking system.  There are several advantages to using micro inverters besides seeing the hourly or lifetime statistics for each of your panels.  You can tell if one panel isn’t performing as well as another and if your array is partially shadowed it only affects that panel.  As you can see below I’m having concerns about a panel on the lower left row. Which has only come to my attention in the last month of statistics. (they are warranted so I’ve contacted the distributor).


I can also look at the hourly production for the lifetime of the array or the yearly by month. Below is a chart that tells me the best month was May of 2012 and that 2015 is shaping up to be the worst years total production to date.

Months chart for four years solar on condo

Months chart for four years solar on condo

DailyAppYou tend to watch the stats and meter run backward in the first few months after installation but neglect to pay attention after the novelty wears off.  I like checking our solar gain and production from afar when we can’t directly experience Durango’s sun. They even have an app for your mobile device so you can see the hourly gains on any date.

LPEAchartOf course with the proliferation of Smart Meters and a progressive Utility company you can now see your daily usage online as well.  The chart on the right is our usage from the power company’s online app. Those days below the line are us selling back power and when it’s above the line we are buying power from the utility provider.  Black line is the daily temperature graph.

First Snows

Version 2

View from Molas Pass 10,900′ of Needle Mountains – click to enlarge and scroll left or right

Indian Summer lasted well into October this year, but the first snows arrived right on schedule.  We’ve had one more dump of snow since this photo last Monday so it’s time to think about going south for the winter.  However, we’re not leaving until after the end of the year this season because the Grandgirls are coming for Christmas in Durango.  First time we’ll dig out the Xmas ornaments since 2001.

IMG_3922We’re literally wrapping up projects, like the solar systems I’ve been helping install.  One solar system has passed inspection and one to go.  Our 4 year anniversary of a solar-powered condo was two weeks ago, so it’s fun to see friends getting to take advantage of the free electricity as well.  These array’s are going in at about $1 a watt, if they don’t have to pay the power company for line upgrades.

TriWe’ve spent quite a bit of time up in Silverton getting units turned over in the Highlander and making a few renovations before winter sets in and the snow birds fly toward the equator. Also got to help Kurt retire his tri back onto the trailer for sale rather than sail. Don’t bother calling the number for Pilot Yachts, Tony hasn’t been seen back in the country since the days of Paracas.

Durango from north end of Raider Ridge

Worth clicking to enlarge and panning left and right

GE Skyline TrackStill managing to exercise daily before projects, and even got a hike in above Durango on a trail I’d never hiked.  Durango really is a special place to live if I’ve never mentioned it before.  We’ve got miles and miles of trails leaving from town for excellent hiking and biking like this one up to Raider Ridge on the north end the the city limits.  Two and a quarter miles including the 800′ up gets you some spectacular views.