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 large Alberg inventory.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Messing about in boats."  That phrase from Kenneth Grahame sticks in my head every time I climb aboard the Cape Dory.  Perhaps it is because there is always something to occupy one's time or that because one knows that whatever time invested will be well spent.  And it doesn't have to be something entirely great at all.  It's just the fact that whatever you're doing, you're doing on the boat, and that alone is enough to justify the investment of time, money, and whatever temporary discomfort comes along with the task.  And so, it is a joy to mess about in the boat.  And especially some boats!

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows    

A fishing boat in the small port of Sipanska Luka, Croatia
And for that matter, boats have always been an attraction for me.  Now that might be because I'm an Aquarius by time of birth in the calendar year, and so everything having to do with water is fascinating to me as well, because water too, in any form, gets my attention.   I never feel more alive than when I'm in, or near, the water.  Perhaps too there is a sense of adventure associated with water, the horizon which disappears between sky and sea, or the smell of the ocean, the particular flavors which waft around a port, the sounds, the sense of departures and arrivals. 

Or it could be my fascination with boats came from that little classic, Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures down the River by Gertrude Crampton who in fact also wrote Tootle, both books which were each in their own regard some of the best selling childrens' books in English.  I can recall pouring over the adventure of Scuffy as a small child with rapture and wonderment, something about boats I guess. 

So it is no surprise that anything having to do with boats has my attention.  And especially classic boats.  And in particular the Cape Dory.  It is so classic, it demands attention. 

It is like someone once said about motorcycles, another avid interest of mine, that if you find yourself turning around after a few footsteps, to gaze at your motorcycle, to admire its lines and its lean, you're really hooked!  And I've thought that same thing every time I walk away from the Dory.

Many years ago, when I was a very small child, our family took a trip across Europe.  We ambled across France, then Spain, and found ourselves alongside the Atlantic in some village in Portugal where fishing boats were pulled up on the beach, others bobbed at moorings, and the scent of the tempestuous Atlantic insisted on filling our noses with its curious scents.  The rocks that lined the sea were black and smooth, wet, green seaweed wrapped around them, barnacles dotted their backs.  Those smells and images have never left me.  They make me want to turn around and look back at them. 

Somewhere in that village my father had purchased a model fishing boat for me.  I promptly found my way to the hotel pool to launch my boat.  All of about three, I was not totally unaware that some young men were playing water polo in the pool, but I thought there was plenty of room for my launching.  And of course, the little fishing boat got away from me.  Yet as I watched it bob its way into the deeper waters of the pool one of the players took note of it and guided it back to me.  I recall him pushing it my way and making sure it made its way into my hands.  I've never forgotten that help.  At three, the sea was already calling me.

My father was never much of a mariner at all.  Though he had an interest in fishing, and owned a small runabout for a while, he largely kept his affairs shore-side.  Yet he seemed to know my attraction to the water and I credit him for launching the idea of sailboats in my little mind either by that model fishing boat, or the several trips across the Atlantic, coming to and from America to Europe, or by his announcement one day that my brother and I would be making our own model sailboats out of balsa wood!  For a landlubber, he certainly instilled wonder-lust in my mind!

Today he still has a photograph on his refridgerator of the Beneteau 473, we owned for about five years.  I imagine as soon as Baggy Wrinkles is photographed at sea, she will take a position of honor on that fridge as well.  There is just something about messing around in boats that makes anything about boats a great pastime.  Perhaps for some it is simply looking into a photograph and traveling by imagination, like reading about Scuffy.