Relaunch & Recovery

Staying strong through trials

May 2018 Feature Heather Magda Serrano

Electra Fasching wouldn’t be the first person to break under devastating tragedy. With everything she’s been through over the past year and a half, it would be understandable. But in the face of relentless trials, Fasching never allowed herself to despair as she persevered to honor the memory of her late husband by seeing her houseboat back in the water.

In the March/April 2017 issue of Houseboat magazine, we featured a story about Fasching and her husband AJ working together to renovate their houseboat What’s Next?, a 70-foot 1985 Stardust houseboat. However, one week after they finished making the major renovations on their dream houseboat, AJ tragically passed away.

Despite the incredible pain Electra felt at the loss of her husband, she found the strength to continue adding the finishing touches on the last project she and her husband had worked on together. She toiled on the boat, making it exactly the way both of them had pictured it, seeing it through to completion.

The Impact

But misfortune was not done with Fasching quite yet. On April 18, 2017, her newly finished houseboat was hit by a three-story commercial paddle wheeler named The Desert Princess. The paddle wheeler collided with Fasching’s boat in its slip while she was out at an appointment.

People frantically called Fasching while she was out, telling her that her boat suffered from a crash, but no one could tell her all of the facts she was desperate to know.

“No one could tell me if the boat was sinking or not,” explained Fasching. “They just told me to hurry up and get to the lake.”

As Fasching rushed to the marina, she said all she could think about were her husband’s ashes on the boat because that was the only thing she wouldn’t be able to replace. Luckily, her boat didn’t sink so the ashes were safe, but the boat took substantial damage. The commercial paddle wheeler had bent the back, scraped the hull and did a number on the cabin.

For other people, this could have been the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, but Fasching met the additional disaster with her usual resilience and tenacity. As the last project that she and her husband had worked on together, What’s Next? holds a special place in Fasching’s heart and she could not give up on the houseboat.

So she buckled down and started making the repairs to get her boat back in the water on Lake Mead in Nevada.

Fixing The Boat

Fasching’s extensive experience with houseboat renovations served her well during the entire process. She and her husband were known as expert boat flippers in their community, so she’s no stranger to rolling up her sleeves and making repairs.

It was difficult doing it without her husband though since they had always worked together as a team to repair boats, but somehow she managed to get through it and make the necessary repairs.

Even though she misses her husband terribly, she is comforted by all the wonderful memories they made together. She remembers how he would draw out his plans for boats on paper for her to see before they got started with the renovations. One time she was having trouble picturing what he was saying, so he made her a three-dimensional model out of a cardboard box to help her envision what he was talking about.

“He was so sweet and so smart,” breathed Fasching. “I always thought he was going to invent something because he was so creative.”

Back In

After eight months of fixing [What’s Next?], Fasching finally got to put her boat back in the water this last December after the tedious months of repair. Relaunching the boat in Lake Mead raised quite a bit of excitement in Fasching’s community and it was covered by their local news channel, KSNV News 3 Las Vegas.

The entire relaunch was an emotional experience for her as she watched her boat lowered into the water, and she said she felt as though her husband was there with her that day, standing proudly beside her.

Although the boat is still a work in progress, Fasching is working hard to get the houseboat to what she called “AJ and Electra quality.” It’s obvious that the couple together had a high standard. The impact [What’s Next?] survived is a testament to the quality work they put into the boat when they fixed it up together because the damage could have been a lot worse.

Fasching is glad to be on her boat again since it’s a place filled with fond memories. Regardless of the hardships Electra faced, she’s managed to continue and persevere. She has her houseboat back and she knows her husband would be proud of her and her unquestionable strength.

“It feels comfortable to be back on my boat,” shared Fasching. “This is the closest thing I have to him. I know he’s not here, but we’ve got a lot of memories here, and I feel really close to him because this is where we were the happiest.”


Photos provided by Electra Fasching, Donnie Reed and KSNV News 3 Las Vegas.

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