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, July 6, 2013

Any time I think I'm clever, I'm not.

I had had my eye on the cockpit drains for months.  Being a small sailboat, the Typhoon employs cockpit drains in the event water splashes into the seating area, it can easily drain out.  Very little water jumps into the Typhoon, but if it does, it has a place to run back to the sea.

But I didn't like the look of these black hoses underneath the cockpit.  I suppose that's my problem, not the Cape Dory's.  Black automotive grade hoses underneath the cockpit just didn't fit my idea of color coordination underneath in the berthing area.  Well, ok, so the berthing area is small, and I probably will rarely lie down in there, but in the event I do, or my friends, it will look right.  Why do we think these things?  Why didn't I just leave them alone?

Underneath a deck you find many curious things that need lots of makeup.  But it's a functional area so it doesn't matter if it is all that clean or all that nice to view.  Below is the view aft in the Dory.  You can see the shaft from the tiller in between the two cockpit supports, with concrete looking fiberglass oozing out like dentures paste or something...   In the foreground at left and right you see the ugly black automotive hose going into the bronze seacock valves, which drain any surprise water from the cockpit.  Why didn't I just leave this alone?

Perhaps it was obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) that drove me to want to replace the hoses with bright white plastic hoses from the West Marine store.  It seemed a great idea.  It would clean things up below decks.  In a previous post you might recall my 1st Mate crawled beneath decks to assist with the genoa tracks.  I wanted beneath decks to be smart looking.  In the next photo you see the stylish white hosing I had put aboard some weeks previous.  It is lying atop the anchor line.  I had had this project in mind for several months.  It was a good idea.  No, it was a great idea. 


Cluttered beneath decks, an area to get right.  After all, I'm the Skipper, that's my standing order to "make things ship shape."  However, I should have remembered the old rule, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it...."

So I finally had a bit of time to do something nit-noid ( a word or phrase not in the English dictionary, but means something inconsequential, and perhaps something we feel strongly about, at least strongly enough to get around to it whenever...), I was to  go sailing in a couple of days, so I set out to replace the black hoses.  Yay.

Good thing we'd gone to see the Cirque du Soleil just weeks before, I felt like it was a performance for them as I squirmed and turned my body around beneath decks, twisted my arms and neck to see well enough to remove the bands on the hoses and begin pulling on them to release their grip on the cockpit above.  They were very tight.  I should have thought more about that fact.

As sweat poured down my face I turned and twisted.  Even mosquitos had joined me in the hull for this project.  I closed the seacocks and dumped the excess water into the hull.  With a sense of cleverness I ratcheted both of the hoses off and replaced them with the new classy looking white tubing purchased months before just for this purpose.  I put the hoses in place and admired my work with a sense of cleverness that I had so deftly changed these hoses and made such an improvement to the Cape Dory.

The heat was amplified by the 100 percent humidity that made my clothing sag from sweat.  I crawled out from the hold and stretched like my Collie does when she wakes up.  I was looking forward to being able to make sure my drains were clear of debris with my new hoses.  I know it sounds silly, but I was a bit exuberant over this little repair.  It's the small things right?  I keep the Dory on a trailer in the yacht yard so I tested the drains with a bit of water, everything ran through, and it seemed a perfect installation.

Sailing day had arrived.  I had splashed La Belle Vie about half an hour previous and was doing my final preparations, a bag with my frozen plastic water bottles, my knife, binoculars, hand-held radio, life jacket, fruit bars and crunchy things....I heard a drip...really not sure if I heard it or sensed it.  Any dripping noise on a boat is serious, or could be.  I looked quickly at the hold from where I'd just unwrapped my body.  Water was entering the hull!

The plastic hoses I installed were hard plastic, not thick and meaty like the automotive hoses.  I had brilliantly thrown those away several days before.  I had nothing at hand to prevent the water from entering the hull due to this decision!  I had no idea where a store was but needed to find it quickly, the water was dripping and accumulating in the hold.  Since the seacocks and drains are below the water line of the dory (see above schematic); if the water entered to the level of the drains, I'd have to find a bilge pump to clean her out. 

A frantic search ensued, and a couple of substandard pieces of inflexible thick rubber found at a hardware store served to stave off an emergency.  I felt rather clever again!