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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Monday, September 30, 2013

Prepping for grandchildren aboard.  So the last few days, I've been working the odd peculiarities of my mast brace before a couple of my itty-bitty sailors step aboard Baggy Wrinkles for a test sail.  It's my agenda, not theirs, as the mast brace will go sight-unseen to their big eyes once they step aboard.

As I mentioned earlier, the Cape Dory has a peculiar bit of mast flexing on the top of the cuddy cabin.  Nothing apparent tot he human eye, but more visible on the leeward side when underway, the shrouds will waggle much more than they might if she were stiffened up.  As the last post suggested, I have no idea what the technical terminology is for it beyond the word "flex."

But it's not like she doesn't sail well nonetheless.  And she's not meant for racing, so it's more of a purist concern to stiffen up the rigging than it is a performance glitch.  The photos shown here provide the "cuddy view" inside the Dory.  At left is the bracing bar positioned as it will be when finished.  The bar has a ball joint at the bottom permitting it some ability to move into place and a small amount of variability for positioning and flex.  At right is the work area.  As you can see in

 the photo, keeping the cabin sole intact is important. Not only because of the age of the dory, 1974, but just that no more holes are needed in a boat!  However the only openings to use are the fore opening seen in both pics above and the opening for the keel hook in the following photos:

 Although there is a ring hook on the keel visible through this small 4 inch diameter access hole, I've not heard anyone in my neck of the woods tell me that I could lift the dory with it.  Therefore, we leave it be.

However, in order to stabilize the tension bar in the fore of the cuddy, it is necessary to somehow transfer any pressure from the mast directly to the keel.  That means something must be inserted between the bar and the keel, voila, timber!

I decided to screw together two pieces of fir 2x4 to sit on edge beneath the location of the bracing element.  Any downward pressure should then transfer directly to keel.  However the device had to be customized a bit by shaving its edges in order to pass through the opening. 

Then utilizing my expert abilities as a contortionist, I was able to push the device forward, using another expandable rod already inserted, I pushed the device into place, almost.  It did not want to go all the way forward, after all the grunting and sweat, now pouring from my face, I determined it would be an insert from the foc'sle location opening instead!  In the next view you see it neatly in place, the white tip of my push rod peeks around from the other end:

I had just enough room through the rectangular opening in the foc'sle to hammer the block into place without much forcing.  I did not want to create additional tension with the block so I had made additional alterations using my bitty planer so the blocking device would scoot just into place with a minimum of squeeze, just enough to have a bit of a taut fit as the vessel's cockpit sole might flex just a bit this way or that (not sure about that, but I figured it into my equation anyway).  Funny thing is that working out of the back of the car, an hour from home, doesn't give you much leeway in terms of tools and parts. 

Working on my trailer "work bench" my Ryobi saw and batteries gave up on the project and I set to work with my modeling planer, strapping the block onto the trailer tongue and doing it the old fashioned way, one skinned finger at a time.

I am certain that BMW designed these straps for its roof rack to be used in just this way too!

So, after pushing and shoving and sizing the blocking device, I got it into place and sized up the results measuring the tension bar, seen in the first photos and in the last below, so that I could estimate the design of the support I would fabricate for the top of the cuddy cabin where the tension bar would push up against the cabin.

Have to keep in mind that sailing is a dynamic event too, and anything that looks stable on the hard with perfect conditions is likely to be thrown across the cabin in a tormenting wind.  So, figuring this bracing bar "looks good" in photos does not mean it will work good under pressure.  Therefore, I then fashioned a fitting for the bar into which it would sit so that it could not slip out of its position.  When I take the dory out for a sea trial, if the footing on the sole slips, I will use a heavy duty Velcro tape to insure it remains in place.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our sailing season is getting better, finally.  With autumn, the south becomes delightfully cooler and bracing cold winds up north manage to push their way into our warmer climate with great frontal waves of cool air.

And with that anticipated wind, I am following my fellow Cape Dory blogger Get Kraken by installing a door brace underneath the mast step tabernacle, inside the cuddy cabin, which will connect the pressure of the mast to the keel below once fitted.  I searched and search to find the exact same bracing device and finally found it at a True Value Hardware store of all places! 

I'm certainly not a marine engineer but I can see the difference in shroud tension which occurs under sail in 10 to 15 kts of wind.  The leeward shrouds, both upper and lower, become substantially looser to the extent that I determined these shrouds, taut, but not tight, while at the dock, must have been given this slack by the downward pressure of the mast on the cuddy cabin.  As the wind puts pressure on the mainsail and the genoa, connected about 3/4 up on the mast ( thus a fractional sloop design ) the mast incurs the burden of wind and pushes downward on the vessel.  If the mast base were connected firmly to the keel, as in most larger vessels, the boat would then handle the wind better and would transmit the added wind pressure properly to the shrouds.  I don't know the technical formula for all of this but I see the results every time I sail.  I would be extremely happy if a reader is a marine engineer and can parse this in terms of a formula and insert it in the comments below.

However, in this digital world, one can jump into a sophisticated mathematical set of formulas sufficient to choke even the bravest of sailors.  Try finding the formula necessary in this article I found on Wikipedia: 

Anytime I see diagrams like this I cringe and remember a terrible history of my encounter with Algebra I over several years in school.  But, I am sure there are some smart sailors reading this who can decipher this sort of information and pour it out rather clearly for the rest of us.

Rather than attempt to make this complicated and work toward simple, I think I'll keep my plan at simple and go for the short solution:  extend my mast to the keel in order to stiffen the mast and create a more effective sail plan to handle the winds.  Once the brace is in place, it should remarkably change both the slack in the leeward shrouds, while at the same time, improving speed over ground of the Dory, and providing more responsiveness at the tiller.

After all is said and done, the view of the helm will still be like this one taken earlier this year on the lake.  However, when the wind gains strength against her she should be able to produce a better result under pressure like most things in life, a little tuning helps when the storms arrive.  Sounds like a life lesson!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Veni vidi vici.  Newport was great.  Weather was splendid and we conquered lots of boats during our 48 hours at the Newport Boat Show.

After killing a few spiders in our antiquated motel, we managed to get enough sleep to make our trek to the show.  Kudos to the show coordinators who made the shuttle service from Easton Beach parking to the show a quick ride.  Once in town along America's Cup Avenue, we were able to sour through all the tents and boats several times. 

Here are a few highlights of the adventure:  Shutterfly Pics of the Newport Boat Show 2013

Flags flying from rigging announce the location of your favorite manufacturer.  There were a variety of motor and sailing vessels throughout the harbor, from the prohibitively expensive to the modest editions.  There is a boat for everyone.

We wanted to walk the top yachts and see how those folks lived aboard as well as look at the quality workmanship of makers like Tartan, Swan and Morris.

We also tripped down-town off the beaten track to find the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) which is also a participant in the Veterans Post 911 GI Bill program.  For any sleuthing readers in the services who might be wondering of a career in boat refinishing or building.  1st Mate told me to apply.  I don't think so!  I examined some of the for sale products in the parking lot here.  One Herreshoff motor launch was priced at $92k...makes you think a bit.

However, there is a boat for everyone.  And I was quite interested in designs like the Cape Dory, since, it was designed and built not far away from this location in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, for many years.  And, relative designs could be seen again and again poking out of garages and standing in yards all over town.

Here are a few of those that we saw during a brief walk around town.

Looks like this 40' hull is facing some serious renovation.
This motor launch was completely renovated and looked to be quite a steal for the price of 92K. 

What struck me about these various yards and the wooden hulls that were everywhere around town, was that they were all wooden hulls.  This wasn't a location for fiberglass repair!

We wandered and looked, peeked around corners and into open work areas, it was Sunday morning, so there wasn't a soul around!

After successfully examining these old hulks we made our way out of the past and back to the present world of luxury yachts.  However, as I'm looking and thinking, I'm realizing that the Cape Dory is part of this lineage of older yachts, even though she's in the plastic regime.  She retains the swept curves of the classic designs and the teak and bronze appointments of another era.

I'm not sure I could handle the intensive requirements of a wooden hull.  They are part of another era that these few restoration experts strive to keep alive for another generation of admirers. 

The Cape Dory is a step away from the wooden hulls making the transition to the modern world of plastics but maintaining the classic designs and sailing capability of that earlier epoch.  We made our way back to the show where we were able to walk the decks on a variety of vessels giving us lots of comparisons and impressions from a town which is well known for rich history of Maritime experience. 

We were not let down.  Lots of great vessels, both articulate wooden vessels and the very extreme of elegance.  In the next post a few glimpses of the many vessels...

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's time for a boat show!  Departing this evening for the Newport Boat Show in Newport Rhode Island. It'll be a fast trip, getting in late, up early with chilly temps to find something to eat, and then beginning the daunting task of seeing everything nautical.  Let me make it easy for you to find: as pictured here... 

For those who've never been, it might seem overwhelming.  But, as you might imagine, a boat show draws hordes of people, some looking to buy a yacht, some looking to trade up, some looking to see other yacht people, and then those who have no idea what they're doing but follow the crowd down the wharf. 

Of course our interest is particular.  1st Mate and I know better than to be seduced by gorgeous blues, teak boarding ramps, barefoot aboard yachts that when below you'd swear you're no longer on a yacht, but in a 5 star Hotel in another world altogether.

Our last boat show was in Cannes, France.  We'd already purchased our yacht in the Moorings yacht charter Corporation and were enjoying the benefits of that incredible Beneteau 473....

As you can see, the 473 was quite the vessel.  1st Mate had plenty of room in the Captain's foc'sle, abbreviation for "forecastle" of the ship where the crew is housed.  Foc'sle is the proper pronunciation of this salty area. This first photograph is from the Nice Boat Show some years ago where people are crawling all over yachts from scores of vendors.

Now, most aspiring Captains would prefer to go from small to large when it comes to their yachts.  In our case, we went from large to small.  I think with boats, it is a matter of time, place and money!  And in this time, we had less time and place for a 47 foot yacht.  Time overcame us and we had to sell her on the market as we couldn't take her with us at the time.  Jobs and life got in the way.

Our vessel, Halcyon, pictured in the last photo underway in the British virgin Islands was a premier yacht with all the bells and whistles, including A/C for those hot nights in port!  She was simple to single hand, and easy to sail, almost like that 12 1/2 foot dingy I had learned to sail on in Hawaii in 1968.

So as we board the flight to Newport, we're not looking to purchase another yacht, we're looking to fill our noses with everything nautical, poke around some super yachts barefoot, eat something fresh out of the sea, and perhaps find something for Baggy Wrinkles back home. 

After all, there's a lot of nautical "what-nots" at a Boat Show and Newport will have plenty of Classic little yachts as well.  We might even see a Cape Dory somewhere in the mix, but who knows?  It would be fun if you're a follower of Baggy Wrinkles, to say hi if you notice us in the crowd.  We'll look rather out of place I'm sure, like this shot, taken underway aboard Halcyon by Yacht Shots in the British Virgin Islands, 1st Mate is the only one in compliance with her PFD:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer is departing.  At least in this region of the world, the cooler weather and freshening breezes will make for more enjoyable sailing. 

1st Mate and I were out for a sail the other day and enjoyed 10kts/15gusts for several hours.  Still with no "iron jib," so to speak, as the 3 horsepower assist is in the shop for a little repair of its cam device.  I guess the little Nissan outboard is getting a degree in mechanics, it is taking so long for it to be repaired.

We were delighted that after our sail we were able to return to port under the main sail and arrive, bow first, into the wind at the sailing club without fanfare.  Fanfare would involve drama, and this little yacht needs no drama, nor does its skipper!  Sailing seems to involve a bit of controlled chaos at times but this day was an easy sail.  If only we had had a waiter on board to serve drinks and crudités of some sort.  Oh well, that's another yacht, another day perhaps.

And this video sequence below includes a bit of Go Pro nonsense.  The1st Mate got me a Go Pro some months ago and since then I've been using it for some of my solo sails as you might have noted in this blog.  This entry provides a view of the Skipper and 1st Mate underway after a good day of sailing in the open water.  The winds have calmed a bit in this particular part of the lake.  Since the Nissan is missing in action, we had to insure that with our downwind position to the sailing club, we did not have much sail in the wind.  But no reefing was necessary. 

The action is to flake the Genoa, then jibe, so that the sail is to starboard and I can turn Baggy Wrinkles sharply back into the wind about 20 feet from the loading dock.  Coming and going in a port is the adventurous part of sailing to me.   Take about 3 minutes to watch this episode.  At least the music is fun:

Thought this was pretty entertaining.  Plus, my 1st Mate is a terrific partner aboard!  She finally did discover how to get the Go-Pro off the taff-rail but that was later on while the Go-Pro was still filming us hauling out the Dory.

Watching this arrival at port in a sped-up version illustrates the variety of tasks that must be accomplished even on a little vessel.  The good thing is we made it back to port under sail power!