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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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.


Monday, February 11, 2019

Nautica's Digital Trail

If you're an owner or sailor aboard an Alberg 30, you're probably interested in shared experiences of Alberg sailors and their vessels.  I do not profess to be the "go to" expert on Albergs, rather, I'm a sailor and a student of the Alberg.  It's a design that teaches me things I need to know, and consequently, I share that which I find and learn and fix on this blogsite.

Another Jim Griffith photo capturing Nautica on a fairly brisk day on a port reach to the North.

This "blogsite" is all about my experience with an Alberg 30.  That may sound redundant, of course it's about an Alberg 30, but the blog features the boat, not my life, my family, grandkids or my perspectives on politics, music and art.  It's about a 42 year old sailboat of classic characteristics, a vessel accessible to a wide audience due to it's variable price-point in the aftermarket, and one which is safe for families and sails very well.  And when you see it, it looks gorgeous.  And to have a blog that follows hull #614 is like an historical document for this particular build.

For that reason, this blog is not part of the dying breed of blogs, those that pop up on a Saturday morning and disappear by Tuesday.  Casual web searches I've done reveal nearly 500 million blogs may exist in our world today, and maybe 150 thousand startups a month.  As the writer in the Ecclesiastes says, "...of making many books there is no end."  He'd probably say that of blogs today!  It'd be cool if he were blogging today!

The Extended Life of an Alberg is not a gripe site, or trying to teach life lessons, or taking views on politics, religion, war, race, economics, trends or featuring clickbait of scantily clad young women to attract readership.  It is not a dying digest because it is the digital footprint of hull #614.  Often on purchasing a vessel, we assign the subtly negative acronym of "PO" (previous owner) in reference to whomever decided to do such a thing to fix this or that.  I never made a practice of doing this at all because, what I may find and choose to criticize as a "fix" makes no difference to anyone except my bruised hands and ego.  Just get it done, is the attitude I take for myself.  Aboard #614 there were many owners who sought to fix items and their trail is evident.  It does me little good to grumble about those which were incomplete or hasty fixes. 

Nautica never had a permanent mount for an anchor.  It required moving the starboard skeen chock, seen situated on the teak cap rail at bottom of this photo, and the installation of a metal plate to handle the occasional anchor tip tapping on the hull.

I've always been positive about this blog because it provides a digital trail for this hull number. If you've every shopped for a large item like a car, you're directed to the Car Fax service ( I use the popular service name ) to provide you a history of the vehicle.  For sailboats, that is done, at least, by a survey you pay for dearly.  In the survey of  Nautica, I paid nearly $900 CDN to find out things I could see with my naked eye, and some I could not see, which were somewhat important.  Most things were not revealed because even after a day of crawling over the vessel, the surveyor could not see what was waiting for me.  That's fair.  I don't mind.  We all do our best. So, this trail is helpful for this vessel to provide an illuminated history of this vessel.  I would think others who own and cherish their vessels would start their threads and postings for successive purchasers.  I did this for my Cape Dory Typhoon and it provided the purchaser with a great view of what was done and not done.  And it helped to justify the sale price.  The buyer was very happy to have the information.  I miss BaggyWrinkles and would be hard-pressed not to purchase her if she were on the market again!

Sailors have looked into the sun on a thousand tacks squinting to make out a point of reference, to see the shape of a sail, or to feel the rush of enjoyment over a mercury colored surface and the wind in the face, sailing toward their dreams.

As this blog turns into 2019, I am in about my 30th month of ownership of s/v Nautica.  I've got a lot of information on my YouTube Channel which can be reached by clicking the hotlink.  There are nearly 30 sailing videos, all of which are on my sailing venue of Lake Murray, South Carolina.  These venues have accumulated some 70k views each, of the channel and this blog so far.  So in this next couple of years while abroad, I am blending some different features of how I keep up with Nautica's ownership, maintenance and sailing.  I look forward to some different perspectives on the video level plus following some additional improvements aboard as I return to keep her updated.  

I would hope that readers would comment more than just read and run.  For fellow bloggers, it is assuring when readers comment as it connects us.  The blogs I list on my site I look at and comment on.  If you're reading, please comment, it is interesting to get to know the readership!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Lake is Rising!

It's been a nervous waiting period for our lake and vessels.  But it's over now!

Relying on our Sailing Club smart guys, who did depth readings for every one of the 50 or so cruisers in slips at our club and for the masterminding and moving itineraries for each keel to be able to fit as the lake drew down, many skippers were quite fortunate to have been quite safe during the past few months.  But now, water is rising and better days are ahead.

One of my projects on an upcoming visit is to refurbish the KiwiGrip that has performed marvelously.  My intent is to do a thin application and alter the color just a bit.  My blend had turned out a bit pinkish and I will take it to Sherman Williams for a color match more for a light grey if possible.  KiwiGrip is a water-based product and easy to manipulate.  

In addition, I've decided to retain the unique look of the Alberg and commission the same individual with Broad Reach Marine to redraw and fit my dodger, color matching my mainsail cover.  I'd brought that dodger with me overseas, but after consultation with a seamstress who might have been able to assist except that the machines we have access to are not able to make the seams.   No big problem, this dodger needs to be able to provide good coverage for a next generation.

It's not that requisite to have a dodger on our lake, but the overall look of an Alberg with a bit of cockpit protection is its well-dressed look.  

This quick snap was taken by Jim Griffith aboard a Cal 30 who was sailing abeam.  Quality is not that great but overall impression is great.  The head sail is the one I've had since purchase but has now been converted into commercial products by Sea Bags.  They will give you a credit for sails you donate to them and provide a commensurate product for you as a reimbursement.

There's a lot more sailing to do this year and I've asked Chef-Skipper Tommy to find his friend with the drone and "Drone the Alberg" under sail.  Perhaps we can do that during the windy month of March while I will be back in town attending to issues "stateside."  I am sure Nautica will be engaged with a variety of sailing days this year.  He might even campaign her in a Beer Can race!

The spreadsheet continues as one thing and then another changes and gets replaced and/or improved.  Through all her improvements Nautica continues to profit longevity.  These Albergs may not be the newest or enjoy the most ample digital devices in their fleets but bit by bit they attain a status of some of the most beautiful classic plastics who sail.  And I cannot see that this will ever change but to become even more special as the remaining fleet narrows over the years.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Alberg Detention Almost Over

The long winter is almost over.  And with it, some of the best sailing on Lake Murray.  I have thoroughly enjoyed its 80 square miles of sailing venue and look forward to more winters ahead.

Few vessels get out on the lake during Winter except for anglers.  Most of the sails appear in summer when the sun is hot and the winds are lackluster at best!  But hope is near, we're almost 10 feet below normal lake levels.

This incredible event is chronicled on the below pictured website:

While that photo looks rather benign (now read the depth indicator again), here is a photo taken by one of the cruisers in our club.  It shows "A" dock where Nautica was moved back in October.  

The photo at left is where the water was when I visited in November.  At right is where it was a week or so ago.  The line of the shore intersects with the dock system about another boat length ahead of Nautica.  I am told she's still fine as long as she doesn't move an inch or two!

This drawdown is much more aggressive than those we've seen in the past 5 years.  It's part of the management of our ecosystem on the lake in attempting to stem the overgrowth of weeds that are inclined to gather in the shallows causing overgrowth and impeding traffic and easy access to the water.  I discussed this in an older post.

Looking back on my photos over the past six years on the lake, I have never been successfully blocked from egress or ingress.  This photo was from 2016 when we had a bit of draw down.  As you can see, at that time there was little impact on our main areas.  It was only relevant to returning and avoiding passage near the DNR bouys.

A cold Winter sail is good for the soul!  (This is before I removed the dodger!)

We're getting closer to freedom.  I anticipate that I may be able to get Nautica out of her slip near the end of March when I pass through South Carolina before heading back overseas.  I am sure I will spend some nights aboard too, spending as much time on her as possible.  I will plan some new film angles with my GoPro and hope to get Chef-Skipper Tommy to get us Droned during that time too.  Oh well, gotta keep up with technology to some degree.  If it helps you understand the Alberg 30 better or helps you make a decision to find one of these remaining classics, all the better.  You will not regret this vessel!

I have 28 videos of both my Typhoon and the Alberg on my You Tube Channel; click this link to discover and to be amused.