Baggy Wrinkles

Baggy Wrinkles
S/V Nautica, Hull #614, Built at Whitby Boatworks Ltd., Ontario, Canada 1977, one of the most recognizeable Carl Alberg designs. A masthead sloop displacing 9000 lbs, keel hull, Yanmar 15 hp diesel, LOA 30.27 Beam 8.75, Draft 4.29, roller furling headsail, tiller, berths for 4, interior teak bulkheads, teak cap rail and cockpit teak coamings, 12 volt lighting, aluminum mast support, Harken self tailing winches, in its day was designed for customers as a Cruiser-Racer, the Alberg 30 remains a Classic design of the modest Alberg inventory.

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Life on the Hard

Every boat can use some time on the hard.

I just didn't expect my time to be now!  But no matter, life is more important than my boat anyway.  Too, it does afford time to do other things I really enjoy doing!

This period of life is quite handy. I spend my time motorcycling and working on my RC Gliders instead.  And, am studying Italian at the university to improve my life abroad living in a country village.  Sounds idyllic hum?  Well, even this can be a busy place.  But it comes with some much desired "slow it down" moments too.  Nearly every evening we get to watch a great sunset over the hills of northern Italy looking west towards Verona and Milan.  Ok, so that's not a water view but with the sounds of nature and the arrival of dusk, you can almost hear the whisper of St. Francis of Assisi (one of two Italian Conferred Saints) to listen to God's creation and muse on this wonder.  The town of Assisi is just shy of 300 miles south of our house and very near the town of Catherine of Sienna, the other Saint from Italy.

But back to being on the hard.  It is good to know that friends are checking on s/v Nautica while she's covered up and snoozing.  She's got some admirers as well as she sits on a row of boats that haven't moved in years.  She's now joined them. 

This has been providing me lots of time to prioritize my future changes aboard.  In that I'm not a natural engineer or artisan, I've got to take extra measures to forecast my planned work aboard.  I'm certainly giving lots of thought to redoing the joint underneath the cap rail.  In recent posts on the Alberg 30 FB page, I've watched as another Alberger has been doing just that.  It seems that both that and the stainless steel plates underneath the stanchions need to be remanufactured and re-put with new stainless bolts to further insure water does not penetrate those locations as it has in the past.  

In the meantime I study others' work and begin to scheme as to what will take long hours and what has to be done in a "work area" as opposed to what I can achieve where she is currently located.  I also want to redo the bottom paint on her, a tedious but necessary task.  I did this on BaggyWrinkles some years back.  It is a slow and incremental task but brings lots of satisfaction.  I don't think I will mess with her essential hull, other than to do some polishing.  I could put that on the docket but think doing 1/2 of the hull which is necessary is better than doing the entire hull at this time.  I might even reverse my thinking on that after another year abroad.  

I brought my diesel book with me to Italy and have also begun to think of hauling the diesel out of its position in order to clean and apply brightsides to that area and make it more shipshape down in the power room.  We'll see about that adventure.

Yanmar diesel is running in this photo.  I want to remove this little jitney for a makeover and while doing the engine to redo the compartment to further enhance its looks and insert noise blocking material.

I have an eye to do what one of my followers did to his diesel, painting it yellow rather than dull grey.  But to just be able to clean up and paint the bulkhead like is already done under the cockpit will enhance the overall look of that dingy area.

Photo was taken on a rather sunny day as the shadows reveal.  This installation has made getting into this area easy.
As this photo reveals, the area beyond the two cockpit drains is evidently in need of some R&R and enhancement.  Yup, it's cosmetics, and that's the kind of detail we like to see in a boat really.  Makes us go, ohhhh!   And I just enjoy seeing these improvements on my own vessel that I sail.  I want her to look as good as possible.  No crappy boat here!

I'm very happy that s/v Nautica does not appear to have any gross problems with water or leaking.  She's got some areas that need improvement but she's overall in great shape.  I have yet to finish the fresh water tank area, but these days, sailing on a lake, we most often carry fresh water in plastic bottles in a Yeti cooler don't we?  This is the reason I put the batteries in the "ice box" remember?

Selfie on Lake Murray pre-overseas move.  Will be there again.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

How about a brand new boat?

So when friends asked about chartering some months back we thought sure, why not?  The past six months has been much about taking care of the Alberg 30 and not much about sailing.  Plus, we thought having their company on a sail would be a great change of pace from our busy Italian lifestyle and a pre-season sail would not be so crowded.  So we were off to Croatia, again.

Skipper Rich wrapping his head from the cold on this gentle tack.

The Jeanneau 349 uses friction rings instead of tracks for the genoa and mainsheet which makes for easy tacking but less specific control of the rig unless it is balanced just right.  Something to get used to.

We immensely enjoyed our last charter in Croatia. The people are very engaging, kind, and interesting.  The Game of Thrones has made Croatia a go-to place on the map!  The sailing venue is dynamic as winds from various directions cause direct effects of different sorts depending on whether from south, north or west.  One must pay attention to the forecasts and plan their cruise with digital helps for each day on the water.

A part of the old city located near the Pile Gate.

Usually all the boats in a charter organization are relatively new ones.  Ours was a Jeanneau Odyssey 349.  We were pretty pumped about the chine hull, the new finish on the cabinets and the all or nearly new insides that always get a big smile from charterers.  We had our charter days with our Beneteau 473 in the BVI (I think I've stated that somewhere in this blog) and this was identical except for size.  We were quiet impressed with the seaworthiness and capability of the Jeanneau as we made our way around the Croatian waters again after being here exactly, to the month, ten years ago.   The difference was we were sailing a Beneteau then.  Apart from some rigging features, a few I liked and a few I did not, the boat was terrific.  It sailed smartly.

Korcula, home of Marco Polo, is quite a destination for cruisers as the harbor provides a sure location tying to large rings embedded in poured concrete.  Terrific shower facilities at the ACI Location which manages the reservations.  Lots of provisioning available by a short walk. 
Another smaller location, Ston, at its small seawall, but has an adorable village with all the stores you might need to refurbish.  Watch the channel in, as channel markers are the reverse of US markings.  People are very friendly.  The 34 shown here is the Jeanneau we sailed.

Images of Croatia are fascinating and made even more so by the Game of Thrones story-line, the images of Dubrovnik, and the Adriatic waters have drawn even more visitors to this archipelago than they did in those years.   

Chartering can be fun if the crew list is suitably arranged.  We've done this so many times that we figured we could get along with anyone for 7 days.  And these were folks we knew from our sailing club in South Carolina, so we were quite positive our week would be great.  And it was.  We've had some folks come along in our years back that were like having smelly laundry aboard but then no names will be remembered either!  We had great chemistry and all was well.  

The Dubrovnik ACI Marina is well stocked with vessels and now hosts everything needed for a great pre and post-charter experience.  The sailing plan brief was very accurate, accompanied by a digital screen to highlight islands and features we should take note of for our plan.  The briefer was a seasoned Brit who gave sound information and good advice.  We were very well assured that we would have numerous options depending upon wind, waves, storms or perfect conditions.  

First Mate en route to Ston's market area. 
You are never alone in this area. Here, large charter ships are tied to over our lines.  Being flexible and friendly is an asset.

Our experience was pretty typical of charters.  Moorings used to tell us that if we had 2-3 days of sailing we should consider our week a success and if we got 4 days, we were way ahead of the industry's standard as weather prohibits sailing in many charter weeks to a mere couple of days.  We got four days. The others were either awfully windy and stormy or persistent cold rain.  Plus, the southern winds in the Adriatic push up one and two meter swells that make for awful conditions in your insides as we found out on the first day.  I'm not usually sea-sick but I'm not averse to it either!

After visits to Dubrovnik and Korcula and island stops in between, we crawled back into our berth at ACI in Dubrovnik quite satisfied with a week on the water.  

Our skipper Rich and his First Mate are stunned at the presentation of our restaurant, located on the quay, not even 100 meters from our vessel at Trstenik.  Fantastic food and very friendly folks.
Crew is getting the tour of the back of the restaurant where dinner is created. These folks live in an enchanted place and are quite simply kind and friendly.  Everything was splendid. 

But something else struck my attention on this charter.  I really like my boat better than what I saw in the Jeanneau 349.  Sure, the Jeanneau was faster and had clean lines, and bright topsides to boot.  But my Alberg 30 is more classic and warm than her sexy cousin and boasts more experience which come with time and age.  The current monohull in the SunSail fleet is indeed strikingly fast looking and fast on the surface.  But I'm really hooked on the Alberg's looks.  There's more to my sailing than bright shiny new features and speed over ground (SOG).  

The Sunsail 34 on her mooring ball in Sipanska Luca.  This was a phenomenal restaurant we had visited ten years ago and it was as if it were last week.  Fantastic service and meals.

As much as Dubrovnik is the lure of audiences in the Game of Thrones saga, the attraction of the city's ancient characteristics are what make the crowds pour into the Pile Gate by the tens of thousands.  In the same way, an old sailboat with classic lines is more fascinating to me than the flashly new white hulls, bright blue canvass and transom swim decks.  

I came back from this charter really glad we all go along so well and full of images and memories that will certainly draw me back there one day.  But I can't wait to get back to my Alberg 30 who waits patiently on her trailer for my return.

Sometimes the older versions of things are more exciting than the bright and shiny new things!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Putting her away for a while...Alberg on the hard.

Don't say it can't be done.  It has to be done.  First Mate said so.  So here we go.

Nautica in her safe-depth-berth during the lake draw-down before the decision to put her on the hard.

The process is counter-intuitive.  Take everything off the boat, everything.  Remove this, then that, then that other thing, whoops and get that one too.  This mental process took me the best part of a month back in the states, going over everything on Nautica that wasn't glued down or sealed, or bolted down, like the diesel, but the mast yes, that comes down too. 

Detaching boom and lines

Made sense to put new Kiwi Grip on the deck

Lots of connections to remove, photographs will help in the re-rigging process

When all was said and done, only the diesel and a couple of toolboxes remained behind.  I kept getting startled texts on my Instagram about this grounding of the Berg, but I didn't have time to think about the process as I had limited time to get this done.  With the help of friends, I was able to haul out the 10k of hull #614 onto the herculean Triad trailer during a 3 hour adventure of ooops and ahhhs as we inched the old girl up the ramp, transferred from the extension to the trailer hookup and into the gin pole exercise.  Having at least one person who'd done this before with me, the others eyed the mast somewhat perilously dangling above held by the simple block above, wrapped around the spreaders.  Undoing all the rigging, forestay/furler, and removing the two main shoulder bolts holding the mast base in its tabernacle, she was down easily.

Tough to get these deep keels out and why we don't do it every
During the transition of re-attaching truck to trailer from hitch extension.

More work followed to arrange her in her parking space, creating a balanced seat with the trailer and its winches, we were able to nest her in the place she'll recognize as her own by the time I get back.  The following exercise was the wrap-up of and tagging of the rigging, coiling, taping, and transferring of everything loose to my garage, an hour away, in a dry space.  My pal of many years gave me two days of his time to do whatever I told him to do.  I was very grateful to have this linebacker's help in this momentous work.  

I had planned this event for a few weeks and by doing so was able to plan having her hull scraped in the water by another great guy, our West Marine Manager, who moonlights underwater cleaning hulls for his boat money.  Glad to contribute!  He did a terrific job.  Having it cleaned provides potential time for me to spend some time in the next few years taking the hull down and redoing it.  Not something I look forward to doing however.

While I worked against time, my flight was on Sunday the 31st of March, I brought all the inside gear home, stuffed bins and located them in my garage, then hung lines and wires so that I could still use the garage.  With a very high ceiling garage, I had plenty of room for the cushions, rigging, and extra gear.  It's amazing how much stuff we have aboard our boats!  

Chevy Suburban makes a good support vehicle.

Have not used this drifter yet but she looks pretty though a bit of wear at the grommets.  

Every piece is labeled and most to be replaced.

Back at the parking location I also covered the dorade vents with metal screens and duct tape to discourage the squirrels from taking up residence aboard Nautica.  I texted the former skipper for  comments on cover deployment to gain insights on how she faired being on the hard for 15 years in the winters of Nova Scotia.  The photos show the increase in the number of ties used to pull tight the cover.  The cover is a custom design and provides spaces for aft and fore rail.  The dog house provides sufficient height to form a runoff roof for the deck. It's a given, that if the squirrels want to get inside, they're gonna.  But they wont find much of comfort below in this rig.  It's all wood and fiberglass.  I'm sure there will be that exceptional rodent who'll find residence in the Alberg.

New wheels and tires, 80 pounds of pressure, mast below with furler alongside; nothing is perfect but this is home for now.
I read a lot about diesel prep but couldn't align much of it to a fresh water situation.  I did drain the fresh water out of the little beast, but I did not drain any diesel.  I did put fuel stabilizer in the tank previous to hauling her out, and did that when the engine had a chance to run for a while and circulate the stabilizer formula.  I suppose I will run some risks, but am not certain what they might be.  I removed both batteries and gifted my haul-out pal who needed just a couple more things in his already burgeoning garage storage facility.  I suppose I will see how sturdy this little Yanmar is after a few years.

Now that I've stashed my rigging and parked my boat, I have also retained a very valuable purchase.  This boat's got some great bones and a bit of time on the hard will extend her life even more.  It also gives me time for several upgrades I plan to set in place.  That's one of the great things about suspending her "in the water" time.  She needs new cushion coverings in the v-berth and salon.  And she needs a new dodger.  Looking forward I see getting her a modern roller furler to replace the 1990s version she's got now and stays need to be redone as well.  Time on the hard is time for working behind the scenes for some future sailing and time aboard.  This will be part of her renovation and her journey.

All the kit and caboodle is in the garage waiting till next time.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Time to Tack

First Mate called a meeting with the Skipper and announced it was time to change course.  

We'd been on this tack for some time and I thought it was going to work well to be 5k miles away from Nautica, but with the kind of intensity that I provided her, I could not be assured that she'd get enough care.  And, as we waivered between options, the First Mate won out and we decided that either selling her (yikes!  not a good choice) or putting her on the hard (ooops! that's not too good either) had to be our options.  We decided to keep her.

Self-portrait from below in the Salon.  All the removables in the photo are gone now as I stripped her bare inside.  I am already bidding for cushion recovering in the main salon and v-berth.  I have plenty of time for that now.

The thousands of manhours and dollars cannot be walked-away-from easily.  But too, each of the choices remaining, have their own liabilities and challenges.  One potential buyer was not quite ready, and that signaled to us that we'd prefer to keep her.  She's 42 this year.  She'll hold out for us.  

Our decision was confirmed by our Sailing Club Board's decision to permit us to remain members and park Nautica amidst the fleet on the hard.  She may end up on "derelict row" but she's a candidate for some additional refit after some time "on the hard."  The term for being on the ground instead of in the water where she ought to be.

After a long and perilous draw-down of the lake, Nautica now faces life on the hard with its perils.

So, I've engaged in prepping the boat for long term storage.  Fortunately, I was able to find this Alberg from her previous Skipper James, who had both a trailer and a full cover for her. She'd spend winters on the hard and he recently emailed me a response to my questions regarding deployment of that cover etc.  He understood the need to secure her every winter for 15 years of his ownership.  I hope perspective reader-Alberg-searchers will keep this fact in mind when they are looking for a classic design such as this one in the future.  Nautica is getting "kid glove" treatment!

I really did not want to part with this vessel.  She's like the family dog, she fits in, even if sometimes she requires jumping through a few hoops to maintain!

A new application of Kiwi Grip will greet us in a few years.  This stuff is so easy to apply and dries hard as rock.  No fuss.

In the process of the haul-out, I've stripped the interior bare and have also removed the boom and its lines, and next will remove the deck life-lines and stanchions so that she's bare on top too.  Fitment of the cover as proscribed by her previous owner recommends some cover assistances on deck which will provide a taut aspect to repel rain and debris over time.  I will also ask my fellow skippers in the club to keep an eye on her during her sequester on the hard.

Removing the stanchions will give me that needed opportunity to address stanchion base-plate leaks too!

I've wondered about this blogspace too in this transition.  I know there are many who read this and refer to it, so I suppose it will remain tacked to its dubiously suspicious internet wall for some time.  Where the internet is going may not be where I'd prefer and although there are 80k views of this over the past 6 years what really does that mean?  "Don't cry for me Argentina," might be its swan song later.  For now, I will post here periodically, as there is still something happening to Nautica, though not very sensational to others, to us it is.  Sustaining a classic sailboat is important and that's where this blog will sit until it is preempted by internet Lords wherever they may be who might decide otherwise.

Never underestimate this ole girl!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Brisk winds for a headsail trial

This is a fun bit of sailing on Lake Murray to perk up Sailors in the North who might still be huddled by the fireside.

It came after the delivery of my headsail.  Due to the newness of the product it was just getting used to its position on the furler, wrapping correctly, and coming across the foredeck, etc.  The immediate positive reaction, of course, was its evident strength to capture the wind and haul the Aberg forward with confidence.  There was no lolla-gagging with the setup.  Being a heavy vessel and needing that forward sail much, this was a great addition to an already proven design. 

Autumn Sailing on Lake Murray

I've written up more about this headsail, manufactured by Waters Sails, in another post.  This however, is one of those videos that was lost in transit and just put up on my You Tube Channel.  Caveat, I am not the best sailor in the fleet by any imagination but boy I do love the handling of this Alberg 30.  I think that is conveyed by the footage and the music.  You Tube has restricted music use to the point now that you have to purchase quality music nowadays or risk being like me with dorky tunes like this one.  But then they probably fit with my dorky movements in the video too!

This is a short post, no rants, no raves, no drones, no bikinis, no trick pets, just an old guy and an old boat. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Everyone thinks their boat is worth every dollar!

There are so many aphorisms about owning a boat.  They are worth reading and having a chuckle.  Here are a few I grabbed from you might enjoy, especially the commonly definition of the word "boat."  

Sailing-the fine art of slowly going nowhere at great expense while being cold, wet, and miserable.  

Irv Heller

Sailing-the fine are of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense.  

Henry Beard and Roy Mckie

Sailing-the art of slowly going nowhere at great expense.  

Pirate Batey

A ship is always referred to as "she" because it costs so much to keep her in paint and powder.  

Admiral Chester Nimitz

BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand.  

Alex Blackwell

"You have no right to own a yacht if you ask that question."  

J.P. Morgan Sr., in response to a question by Henry Clay Pierce on how much it costs to own and run a yacht.

They are all true too!  But I've got my own rationalization for the cost of my Alberg too.  It's more a metaphor than an aphorism, "A sailboat is like a teenager, you pour tons of work and money into them and when they turn 18 years old you hope for the best!"  It really isn't a "hole into which you pour money" unless you are a fickle skipper who has so many boats you don't know which to work on first!  I never questioned money I had to put towards my kids, only the way they might have squandered money in one way or another.  Sailboats need money, work and a lot of love, just like teenagers!

Located in Brunswick, Georgia, USA.  Sitting alongside a parking lot at the wharf.  Looking a bit of an icon of times past rather than a wooden boat under repair.  Makes one wonder where it has been and how did it fail to get serviced that it ends up here

This generates the ongoing discussion on the cost of maintenance.  Just how much money must you spend on your boat and/or, should I do this job myself and save the money I'd spend on a "pro" to do the job?  I've rubbed my brow furtively numerous times at the cost of particular items aboard.  Some fixes are simply expensive, period.  One rule of thumb I've read is an annual maintenance cost based on the price of your vessel.  So, if you spent 30k for your boat, then expect to put 3k per annum into maintenance and repair.  If spent 300k for yours expect 30k in the same.  

This is my master panel in the cockpit when it arrived.

The renovated panel now has a very new look.

When my Alberg was delivered to its humble lake home in South Carolina, I had already decided to chronicle its renovation in both online via this blog and later on Facebook too, and also to begin an Excel spreadsheet on all things worked on including the prices.  It seemed to me that doing this was the best reliable historical document for me, as skipper, to validate what needed to be fixed, when it was repaired, and the price of that repair.  After a while, these repairs become less clear in my thinking.  Now, I can find the item in a matter of seconds and see when and who fixed that item and the costs.  I did not include "manhours" because I did not think I could stomach that figure over time!

The dissection of coupling, shaft and propeller before delivery to a marine machine shop for fixing.

The spreadsheet I've made validates what I said above.  This is my third year of owning Nautica and I'm pretty much on schedule with my expenditures for her.  The first items were large, the prop shaft replacement and re-tuning of the prop were essential and costly. 

Some of the other things were more time intensive like the thankless reset of the cap rail and checking and tightening of every bolt underneath. 

Tedious and yet with all the time spent on that it still seems to leak on the portside albeit not as much but apparent after hard rains.  I'm already forecasting a new mainsail about a year or so out.  

As I've stated, some things simply have to be done.  The good of this is the boat continues to be refurbished and shows the results as it continues to be nourished with care.

But what of value?  Does the existence of the spreadsheet increase the value of the boat?  I think it does.  But not in a dollar to dollar increase, but in a value increase.  So, how much is it worth then?  That's probably easier determined in seeing the difference between one which has gone untouched and un-sailed and one which is always sailed, always having hands fix this and that, and always appears cared for.  The value is evident in the looks of the vessel.  It is for this reason an old car is worth more than a new one if that car is a particularly loved model and has been continually cared for from decade to decade.  

The one feature I wanted from Nautica's previous owners was more their personal view of the boat, their ideas about what worked and didn't work, and their ideas about what they'd have liked to do, etc.  We had a great visit with owners who'd had this vessel for nearly 15 years!  So we were delighted to travel to Nova Scotia for this personal contact with our vessel's past and feel very good about the now nearly 20 years of this vessel's life.  We feel the cost of maintenance is worth it and adds value to hull #614 and truly "extends the life" of this Alberg design.

I doubt any boat can sustain their asking price, but like all things, those savvy boat shoppers know there is a point at which seller and buyer can agree.  The beauty of caring for our vessels is the skipper's job and the we are also the prime proponent for value, something obviously respected by all buyers.  A quality design and worthy vessel will probably sustain its value with the kind of care that vessel requires.  Whenever I walk away from Nautica, I often turn around and take a look.  No matter how difficult the refit might have been I always take a deep breath and smile at how gorgeous this lady lays in her berth.