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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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Another Hurricane on the way

Here we go again.

Models indicate Hurricane Michael is enroute.  With recent preparations, Nautica is positioned to ride-out the winds in her temporary slip.  

Standing atop Monte Grappa in Italy wondering if S/V Nautica will be ok this time around.


Winds should be coming from the East and Northeast again yet the eye's direction looks to be heading directly for our location.  There's only so much prep one can do in these situations.  Once she is securely tied-to, we simply have to wait our turn for nature's arrival.  

Just as Skipper Tommy had refitted her with sails, Michael's arrival surfaced, and the sails have to come down again.  One of the constant worries is flying debris, and one has to always wonder if a neighboring slip occupant has done enough for their vessel to keep others around safe and sound.  We'll have to wait and see about that.

Keeping fingers crossed and watching spaghetti models, hoping that we all will manage through another hurricane with minimal disruption and damage to everyone here at the club and all around town.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

They are Draining our Lake

There goes our sailing until late Winter 2019


This photo is from Winter 2018 where a substantial drawdown of about 6 feet occurred as shown by the revetment in the shore across our lagoon.  Water should be at its bottom edge in the nearby view where boat ramp is.


In an effort to kill plant growth along the shallow edges of South Carolina's Lake Murray, the SC Electric Company practices a lowering of the "full pool" of about 360 feet to downward of about 350 feet rather quickly.  It's an interesting practice and probably well worth the annoying shallow waters and many sandbars, but it certainly means that some vessels, like Nautica, will not be playing in the good winds of winter this season.  

The power company describes their efforts:  "The drawdown is designed to aid in curbing the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation, including southern naiad and slender pondweed. (google them to see) These weeds grow in shallow coves and often wrap around boat propellers. Lowering lake levels will expose the plants to dehydration and freezing temperatures. The drawdown will also push unwanted sediments, which help these weeds grow, into deeper levels of the lake."

There's a tremendous amount of scurrying that has to take place at our club in order to protect some vessels whose keel places them in jeopardy of becoming stranded.  The Alberg is one of those most at risk.  During a previous year of some drawdown (not all drawdowns are this aggressive) We calculated that Nautica had about one foot of water under the keel.  This year she will be stranded and at risk of toppling, so one of our savvy planners developed a scheme of swapping out places for some vessels which had no draft for those who need more draft.  

These folks developed a great plan with one caveat, "you won't be able to get out of your position once you are tied-to as the exit channel has a rise on the bottom and bottlenecks your keel from passing through."  Uggh.  No sailing till about February!  Water will begin to refill after 1 January they say.

Well, better safe than sorry.  

Thanks to Skipper Tommy's work he's found Nautica her temporary slip on the other side of the club peninsula.  She's going to be hanging here until the pondweed is eradicated I suppose. 


...Looking a bit forlorn in her holding area...


One good aspect of all this unfortunately sad state of affairs is that while home in November, I will be able to do maintenance on Nautica, refurbish the toe-rails with Epiphanes, do some interior work I had wanted to accomplish this year but failed to be able to find the wood I preferred and with the onset of summer and our move to Italy, I gave up on the interior hull work.  I will attempt to schedule the wood with a supplier soon so I can work expeditiously.  Another good thing about my bottle-necked position is there will be plenty of electricity on the dock where the boat will be tied-to.

About 90 days of shallow waters is ahead.  One has to look on the bight side of things during these times.  Get things done now which will not be required in the heat of summer.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Not to be Confused with Sailing!

Regatta of Venice


The Grand Canal Procession of the Regatta


There were no happier oarsmen and band as the lead vessel makes its way around the Grand Canal of Venice--a festive opening celebration with people lining the shoreline terraces, balconies and bridges as well as in some gondolas.

I had no idea the gondoliers of Venice competed in an annual Regatta of this sort.  We were invited by friends of a friend whom we had met for cafĂ© in the Palazzio in Vicenza a month or so back.  
The usual suspects our hosts for the Regatta, making sure we find the right vantage point for viewing.  Yes, they are right there, there....


Andrea and Maria Grazia are perfectly warm Italians, full of pleasant hospitality and cultural sincerity, undefiled by modern pressure, living la dolce vita.  It was a pleasure to meet their acquaintance in July while we were just arriving and settling in Italy.  They had invited us to their home near Venice for lunch and then a Regatta in the evening.  When he said Regatta, I thought we were going to be sailing.  I was happily mistaken! We tanked up on delicious things Maria Grazia had made at their exquisitely historic home near Venice.  Sorry, no photos, we were so consumed with our meal!

Looking very much like a postcard people crowd the Grand Canal to watch the competition

We arrived in a thoroughly bustling and crowded Venice observing the Annual Regatta in a city already full with tourists, now swelled near capacity with even more interested people on a late Sunday afternoon.  It had rained for two days previous, and now the weather was splendidly cool and clear, soft late summer light bathed the intriguing Venetian alleys, stones, and waterways, as we followed our friends through the "other alleys" of Venice.  These off-the-beaten pathways of a city built like a Kasbah, where you can truly get bewildered and lost and walk in circles without exit, wind left and right, sometimes shrouded in darkness where bending over is advisable to save from hitting your head on stonework.  



I felt like I was vicariously living on a page of the Merchant of Venice I had read in Junior High school.  So this was that city of infamy and intrigue, this ancient, self contained island, built with multiple entries designed to fluster and disorient attackers, gaining the advantage by secretive device over undesirable entrants.  And there we were, walking on ancient pathways and suddenly appearing at this vantage point and then that one.  The Rialto bridge was elegantly in view at the main part of the Regatta area.  People hung from windows, perched on makeshift platforms high atop rooftops, while on the waterway, oarsmen of all ages raced at alarming velocity on the aqua colored water.

Along the Grand Canal, gondola oarsmen threw themselves into their stand-up rowing with vigor, alongside the banks of the canal the crowds applauded with fervor.  The competition ferrets through candidates and these are those selected to row in the final race.  Note the posture of the steersmen who lunge with their bodies to throw the vessel forward and on track.  Examine the grimaces on the crews' faces as they head toward the Rialto Bridge and the finish!














 A stop for some cold beer and water assisted in making this trek quite enjoyable, even the sound of a twelve bar blues progression coming from this corner merchant lent a sense of home to the place.  We had managed to dodge the crowd due to our sentry's able scouting.  He would motion casually to fade this way or that, peeling off from the crowd's hurry in another direction.  When we finally emerged from a tunnel, we saw St Marks spreading out in front of us, thousands milled about snapping selfies, heads angled upward viewing the clock tower, and the fine sculpture which was Venice.  I thought of having been here when I was five years old with my family, we were fascinated with the pigeons and the clanging of the bell atop the building at that time.  Now I was old enough to truly enjoy standing here again.  I looked at a nearby island where my guide told me the Film Festival was taking place.  I had not received my invitation this year but I wasn't bothered to miss it.

As we exfiltrated the ancient island city, we were fortunate to be riding in a car rather than packed in a heavily loaded evening return train, the lights of the mainland sparkled, we said our "grazies" to our hosts and embraced the ladies, found our car and made for home in the darkness of the Autostrada, still numb we had just attended a fascinating Regatta in one of the Worlds most interesting cities.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Another September Hurricane

Like clockwork the storms are stacking up this season bringing trepidation to many sailors along the coast and inland who have boats in the water.  


When this occurred last September 2017, I struck all windage aboard Nautica, reducing her liability to the constant barrage that comes along with these tropical storms.  I have full confidence that as "Florence" brings its energy that barring unforeseen issues like the object which struck my stern somehow last time, will be limited to minimal.  We've got plenty of lines aboard and a bevy of fenders, if the dock posts don't hold it could be pretty chaotic!  


Last time, we reconfigured some of these big vessels where Nautica's slip is, so that they met the wind head-on, thus reducing the drag on this weakened structure, not yet repaired.  Some smart folks at the club are doing the planning for this storm and my Chef-Skipper knows what right looks like for this event.

FFWD to post Hurricane.  Looks as if we've been spared that ominous critical blow this time.  Reports back via FB indicate the winds did blow but no reports of the sort of vicious engagement Irma delivered last year, same time.

I suppose many of the club folks learned a lesson and heeded the Commodore's recommendations for pre-storm prep.  My Skipper was all over Nautica pre-storm and managed to pull about every sheet from the closet down below decks to lay over and snug her well.  I am very grateful for his attentiveness to details and his checks.  He has a growing fleet at the same location, an MC Scow he just snagged and a Beetle Cat as well, cute!  

Using Wind Alert APP on my iPhone, I was able to check on winds during the heavy period, they were forecasted to be 20 to 40 kts, a good bit of pressure but not necessarily a blow-out.  The day before and the day after they appeared to be normally about 10 kts.  Messaging me during the pre-storm, the Skipper shot a 30 second video showing the dock steady and ready.  From most reports, the club fared well overall and many folks prudently removed windage from their boats--a most critical problem in a heavy wind.










Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sale or Sail?


Life is not static, it is dynamic.  We knew changing continents would be difficult.  We’ve done it before, many times in fact.


First Mate was the priority this time, not the Skipper.  So we moved overseas and left s/v Nautica in her berth at our Sailing Club in South Carolina under the careful supervision of Chef-Skipper.  He and his family continue to enjoy sailing this classic.


Funny how there are so many boats and skippers in the world.  They are everywhere. Just the other weekend we drove over to Lake Garda, this Pleistocene, i.e. “ice age,” type of lake with steep mountain walls falling down into icy dark waters, and found there, boats.  Many boats, of all sizes and ages and conditions in all sorts of berths and harbors.  And it was so funny to see the nice ones, the cute colored ones and the really ugly ones nestled in together, some wasting their lives away in an aquatically gorgeous environment without any hope of being part of it.  Life, like lakes, is dynamic and in between life’s movement are those other parts of life which are stuck.  Boats that rarely move. Boats that simply clink and clank in the breeze waiting patiently for their owners to show up!









We’re not stuck, we’re very engaged and active.  And our Nautica is not a static part of life either, she was designed to be in and on, lapping and dancing on the water.  We were so glad to have found her up in Nova Scotia as early as we did as she had come to the end of her sailing days in that region.  The past couple of years of intense work and revitalizing has made her a star on the water.  One yacht club member told me, “whenever I bring someone to the club I show them your boat first, because it is the most beautiful boat in the club.”  He told me this before I departed for Italy.  I knew looking at her graceful lines did something to me when I showed up too, but had no idea she was flirting with others!






Our situation has turned in another direction and the First Mate and I realize she deserves more play-time than we thought.  Or, maybe it’s that we’re too concerned about not being around to fiddle with her.  Oh well, not too sure.  We’ve got a great stand-in skipper caring for her, but we know that when you don’t have enough time, you miss getting things done aboard you want done. And when you don’t have any time you miss getting anything done.  We don’t have time at all for Nautica.  It wakes me up at night. 

I thought I could do it.  I’d not think about her.  Keep busy enough and it won’t bother you…well, that’s not working.  How do I forget about how she slides through the water on a near windless day at 4 knots and how she leans over and runs in 25 knot gusts and a beating hail of rain.  And in the end, she trots back to her berth like a race horse full of herself for a fast run in muddy track.


So, she’s on the market.  I had hinted at this some months back, but this time it’s true. 


And, like the original “BaggyWrinkles,” my Cape Dory Typhoon which started the blog, Nautica is a thoroughbred Alberg design.  All Alberg, from the original pegboard on the bulkhead, to the faithful little Yanmar diesel with her new stainless steel shaft and high tech PSS shaft seal and her vintage brass 3 blade prop.  I did not rebuild or completely refurbish this Alberg, I improved upon what I had.  I wanted to keep that “period” look she had.  Oh sure, I had fully intended to replace the pegboards with fir slats, but life is dynamic, and I had to relent on that.  The head I did refurbish with its portable that was cobbled together by a previous owner, and I added some accoutrements to accent her nicely.  I did the reinforcement work on the chain plates but did not improve when something was working.  Hers were all fine, just need better bolts and new metal.  Everywhere, things were redone without trying to make her look like a new boat, rather, she looks her age but has great bones!


When I had West Marine remanufacture her lifelines I insisted that if the pelican clamps were structurally sound that I preferred the originals to a bright shiny new device.  Keeps her looking her age.  I’m very proud that when I’m on the water people look over, wave and nod their heads out of respect for her design knowing she came from another time, another idea, and lines that never tire the eyes.  I realize there are other people like me, probably worse than me, who love their boats more than they like sleep, and those who never hesitate to spend more money on their boats than eating.  It’s love.  That’s all.  And a bit of obsession along with it.  They go well together.






It’s because of that it’s never a good idea to ask someone how much they want for their boat!  Well, they’ll tell you, “Well I can’t put a price on her…,” or “She’s worth a million to me!” or “Well I bought her for 10k and I’ve put about 10k into her, so I’d say about 30k, what do you think?” It’s monkey math but there’s something to it.  I know that when I sold my Typhoon, I did not recoup what I had put into her.  First Mate and I talked about this silly tendency to want to recoup upgrades and maintenance monies, it’s just silly.  If I were to tally up all the visits I’ve made to BMW over the past ten years to the price of a used car, it’d make sense to just go get a new one!  They’re used because they’re cheaper in price!


So, we know pricing is more an estimation of how much you want to put into the dowry, not how much something is worth by way of cumulative maintenance.  It doesn’t work in that way.  But we all who treasure our rigs do honestly think that way.


All sailors look at boat pricings.  

Have you seen the sellers who list their items on fore sale pages?  Alongside the shrouds, or sails or whatever part they put NEW in capital letters but that was in 1998 when it was NEW.  I laugh at those lists.  Nothing is new if you’ve sailed it and had it for 30 days.  It’s not about the stuff you put in it unless it’s brand new from the factory. We bought a new Beneteau years ago and walked the factory floor and saw it before it was put in the dunk tank to check for leaks.  It was NEW.  That’s the NEW part.  Most of our old boats may have some NEW parts but they’re just recent additions to the boat which is, not NEW.


Well, as I said, she’s on the market to the degree that if the right suitor comes along, I would entertain the discussion.  In the meantime I have my eyes on a plane ticket for home during which time Nautica and I will get out on the water together and stretch our legs again.  And we just won’t talk about how long it’s been!




Thursday, July 26, 2018

Artistic Endeavor



Almost out of the hotel!  A couple more weeks.  But it hasn’t been easy living in the same room day after day. In fact, it’s like a very nice prison from which you can exit and return but apart from that, no activity except final escape will reward you. 

And it’s tiring too.  How can you go so sleep for six to eight hours and wake up more fatigued than when you went to bed the night before?  Boredom and endless routine is taking its toll.  Right now, I’m lying on the makeshift sofa with the First Mate’s suitcase at one end, my head propped on the one arm and laptop balanced on my stomach, leaning against my legs.  I can see good enough like his without my glasses so I’ll proceed to describe a bit of an attempt to stave-off going completely nuts in this somewhat luxurious prison. 

It goes back to a posting made by an acquaintance I bumped into during my days on the Cape Dory website.  Her and her husband live on the California coast and they have had in the past some postings about their sailing there.  However, Belinda DelPesco is quite an artist in her own right and has about 1200 followers of which I am one.  Well, I would like to think I’m somewhat artistic, at least I try.  And her most recent posting reminded me to get with the program!  She had had a posting of this sort back a year or so, at which time, I thought to myself, “yes, that is correct and I will begin right now, today, to draw….”  Crickets.  I did not do it then, although I did get the pencils and the art paper from my office closet.  The First Mate had given them to me for such distraction, and I put them on my desk.  But, since we moved to Italy they are now stuck in Genoa, due to a longshoreman strike, and it remains to be seen when those items will make it to our new abode; which by the way we will enter in a couple more weeks.  

The envelope was so accessible and random it made sense to give it some existence.  Now it will remain with me. Oh, by the way do you see the sea state?  Some current, but enough wind to push forward too.


But back to Belinda.  She had said a year ago, the greatest problem with artists is they just don’t get going.  And then in her latest posting she gently reprimanded this artist by urging us not to put ourselves down.  Well, with this sort of urging, it’s quite difficult to bring forth a suitable or even reasonable defense.  She makes perfect sense too, which makes anything I might decide to the contrary to be patently a waste of thought, and energy.  This time, I read her well crafted blog and admired her use of colors and thought, “…well I guess it’s time to bring on the effort, as much as I feel like I may not be ‘dressed right for the party’ I must put pen to paper.  I also thought, this torturous hotel stay might serve me well to begin scribbling my mental images of, what else,…but sailing.

I had this epiphany yesterday, yes yesterday.  And, so I decided at about 2:30 in the afternoon, after a well deserved and needed exercise of swimming laps in a training facility, I closed the laptop, plugged in my phone, and grabbed the nearest piece of paper, an envelope, and began to draw. 

Of course they are Albergs.  The drawing gives you permission to think what you wish about the situation and the feel.

There’s never a question in my mind how to start drawing sailing vessels, I always begin with the shape of the hull at a point of sail I prefer to see, usually the aft quarters, the rise of the deck to a point ahead where you can sense the need for a bit of distortion to make the boat flex in the wind.  After the hull is set I build the boat, and after the boat is built I put the sailors aboard.  I know, it’s strange.  But in my black and white mental drawing room, it’s fascinating to see the creation of my stick sailors come to life.

The only reason I’m using black pen is because I have not done what Belinda said already.  If I had done this a year ago, I might be using color by now.  But, I’m the only one to blame on that score.  After all, we had black and white TV before we had color, so I’m on track I think.

So then, I completed my little scribbled masterpiece on a piece of bank stationery (fitting) and tossed it on the couch with other assorted papers and left it on its own to survive the contest.  The big test would be to see if the First Mate might see this and might give me some commentary.  It was a test for my own negative self-talk (Belinda) but I decided that I was going to draw because now, I have time, and I have more of that than I do of sailing, so I am constrained to sail, whether in the sea or in my images.
 
I think I may have surprised myself by just starting this drawing on a piece of room trash.

She arrived to the “room” (You must read The Enormous Room by E. E. Cummings, to understand the quotation marks around such a common word) and after a few moments of setting her things down she looked at the papers on the bed and burst with excitement saying, “What is this?”  I responded phlegmatically, “oh that’s something I drew, do you like it?”  “Like it? I think it’s really good!  That’s amazing!”  This burst of energy was like getting paid for your work as you might imagine.  I realized again, as this was not the first time she’s seen my scribbles, that this time in the hotel has brought out my dark side, the mentally creative side, the side we don’t touch unless constrained to do so.  It’s so much easier to plop down and watch some TV, or YouTube, or drink, well, sometimes drink, or smoke, or whatever you do because you don’t do anything from the creative well of your human being-ness. 



I am the chief sinner of this tendency, that of being active yet not creative.  So, turning a leaf I have decided to use this blog as an extension of the Alberg’s existence because much of what I am fascinated with is the elegance of old boats.  So there is this akin of one love to another.  From boats to drawings of boats and back.  My site is not an artist’s lair at all but a place to share the fascination of the love of sailing with those also who may never be able to sail, and who can share the love vicariously through the venue of words, photos, and drawings too.  I am surprised at how many people engage with this site to be part of the journey, the "extended life" of this boat and its skipper!

Let’s see where this goes!