my problem seems to be taking it from page to hands - on where the mental block kicks in. I don't know how to transition from theoretical to practical. (snip) I need some hands on guidance, and I don't just know where to get it.
Hello Lesley. If you're in a marina or boatyard the best/easiest way is to chat up a fellow who has done similar work on his boat. Ask questions. Nobody knew all this stuff at first. We learn and eventually it will make sense to you too.
First though, wire something simple that you "can't mess up" - it's summertime so I'd suggest a fan. Tell your circle of testosterone (or lady friend) what you want to do and ask what they would do first.
One step at a time, and you can do it.
Two wires, (one positive/hot, one ground/neutral)
From your breaker panel to the object (one of each color wire)
I'm presuming of course you're working with 12-volts.
The rest though comes a bit at a time, and it will make sense, guaranteed.
IF however you're planning on wiring your entire boat and are clueless after reading Calder's, you probably will have to spend some money for help. Or work out a Swap.
What can you do well?
I've hired help for meals and a small bit of $$ (extremely small)
I've swapped my work for theirs
I've traded cruising guides for work
And I've simply done stuff for boaters because they needed help.
A while back I replaced a sheave at the top of a mast for two cookies. Doggone First Mate ate 'em when my back was turned.
Picture of First Mate:
And friends have helped me many times with things that were beyond my scope -- either strength or knowledge. I've been blessed.