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, December 30, 2014


So the weather turned foul, sunny skies overhead disappeared, and rain filled squalls began crawling over the horizon one after another, blowing and huffing like it might try to push Baggy Wrinkles over.  But the first reef was working great and we had by now committed to the objective of arriving as close to Bomb Island as possible before running downwind to safe port.

Rain just makes things uncomfortable.  Cold rain makes things miserable.  Hard, cold rain makes you play out conversations in your head.  A whipping wind, with a hard, cold rain, makes you wonder why in the world you ever came out in the stuff.  Well it wasn't really that bad.  Getting a face full of spray every few minutes was actually rather comical and I had to laugh out-loud when it happened even if no one was around to hear.  The GoPro was so overwhelmed with wind noise that it never heard me either.

The forecast on the radio continued to chatter with the same monotonous mantra, "winds ten to twenty miles per hour will continue throughout the day..."  So much of that.  Had to turn off the radio to keep sane.  While I was warm enough, the water was a bit cool and reminded me how nice it was going to be to run with the wind home.  But in this sequence of video below, you can see how the little Cape Dory Typhoon takes the wind as I tack westward into the wind to reach Bomb Island.  As always, click on HD and full screen, for the best video quality.



By the time we'd sailed south, past Bomb Island, the turn-around brought us into her lee and the winds scooted right over our mast creating a small quiet refuge about 100 feet off her shores.  I thought about testing the Danforth anchor down below but remembered how lake winds are often fickle and can die in a few minutes to the unsuspecting, leaving one stranded miles from their port.  Unless you have a trusty motor like mine or Boat US towing, you're out of luck!  However, that I had no crew with which to chat, or to toss an anchor, thoughts of a warmer cruise home made a downwind run more attractive. 

This is undoubtedly my last sail of 2014 and a great way to finish off the year.  The sailing season continues into 2015 even if a bit chilly on some days!




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Balancing between keeping the dory on tack, a GoPro that keeps jumping into the lake, and minding my route, I managed to get a bit of nice footage of a gorgeous sailing day.  Using a GoPro mounted on a pole extending from the flag mount, I chronicled about 2 hours of footage of a 3 hour sail.  There are so many things we don't see since we're not getting the entire view of the vessel underway.  Not saying this is the best photography, but it is an attempt to get a candid view of sail handling and effects of a tack in the dory.

This  partial chart above reveals my approximate tacks and rhumb lines across Lake Murray.  The red straight line is my downwind course.  Once to the finger of land at the top of the chart, I was able to simply "turn the corner" taking the wind on the beam returning to our "cove" area.  In all, probably had about 10 miles of sailing in this sequence.  Measured boat speed was about 4.5 kts at any given time.


Below is the first of two videos I took on the sail in which the conditions changed from windy and gusty to gusty and blustery, rain pouring out of squalls coming across the lake.  Rather than return to the Yacht Club, and intent on getting to "Bomb" Island, I set forth to make my way.  There was no convective activity, so I felt quite confident that the most I would encounter would be cold and wet.  Winds were gusting to 24 kts according to my handheld anemometer and waves were beginning to be quite bossy at about 2 feet or so.


In the map above I give an approximate idea of wind direction from the West and my approximate headings as I made my way slowly to the west beating against the blustery weather.  For an idea of the first hour of sailing, I have pared down a couple hours of GoPro video to about 3 mintues, tossed in some delightful music, and give you an "over-the-shoulder" look at what it must have been like to be aboard the Baggy Wrinkles on the first part of this day of sailing:




  It's take a bit of time to edit the footage on this 3 to 4 hours of sailing.  However, I think these frames will help the observer get a feel for the way the Cape Dory handles in the wind and waves.  This was the most pleasant part of the day.  The next installment will illustrate how weather will change and conditions worsen.  One has to be prepared for that when sailing out in nature's playground!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

So a gentle storm was "a-brewin" from the west, moving onto our lake for one day this week.  The winds were estimated to be all over the map, from 10 to 20, to as much as 17 to 30kts.   All sorts of wind variations were indicated.  It is nearly the end of December and the Yacht Club is deserted but for a few hearty folks who scoff at the wind and set sail anyway.  Like a friend said years ago, "if it were easy, everyone would be out sailing today...!"

I figured there was just this one day of good sailing in the next week or so, then Christmas holidays would require family visiting and travel and demands would keep BaggyWrinkles on her trailer.  So a trip to the club was in order despite the forecast.

Winds were forecast to be out of the West-SouthWest, just perfect conditions for making it back to our cove in safety if it proved more stormy than enjoyable.  However, looking at the photo below, you'd think no one in their right mind would want to be in that weather!  Even the lake was transformed into a dark lava looking surface strafed with lines of white left by heavy gusts.
















Foreboding isn't it?  At least the temps were bearable.  Air was about 50+ degrees with a water temp in the 55 degree range on the surface.  I clocked winds with my handheld anemometer at a peak velocity of 24kts or about 30 mph.  Wind waves were initially about 2 feet and increased to a vigorous 3 feet during the sail.  Inviting?  Hardly, yet I wanted to run reefed again in this wind, and get some GoPro of the adventure into the winds this day.  Plus, I wanted to do the run to "Bomb Island" and back.  Bomb Island, duly named because it was a WWII practice Island for B-25s.  Today a bird sanctuary.  It was a crazy but do-able day of sailing.  You just had to accept that you would be wet most of the day!

Although I have video from this, it will take a while for the production unit (me) to get it assembled in a viewable form.  Plus, the PVC pipe rig bounced out and off the dory several times.  I had it lashed to the stern cleat fortunately.  Talk about hilarious.  Imagine sailing in that wind, grabbing the pole adrift at the stern, and keeping the entire thing headed in the right direction.  Even a little boat, Baggy Wrinkles can test your nerves quickly.

Here is a sequence of photos I grabbed with my handheld Nikon D3100 while hanging on to this wild ride.  I had it on automatic shutter.  I enhanced the photos to show what the frenetic activity really looked like.  Our human eye catches the brilliance of the water but it is hard to recapture.  The fact that the waves are hitting this hard illustrates the impact of waves and wind.  The bow was charging the increasing swell, causing the crashing you see in photos 1,2,3 and 5.  The lean of the boat is vivid in photo 4.




















In the next installment, I will chronicle a bit more of this tempestuous sail.  I will explain the route I was taking and the plan beating to windward and returning wing and wing.  Overall, it was a great sail, very dynamic.  The dory kept pace with the winds and waves.  The only thing it lacked was its capability to "point" very well.  But I've known that.  It could be remedied a bit with a traveler, but I'm a bit reticent to put one on the transom and alter the original design of the vessel.  More follows...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Explore the Cuddy Cabin

Sometimes we overlook the obvious.  After a short sail where the wind did not cooperate as much as I would have liked it to, I found myself putting things away on Baggy Wrinkles and thought, "why not show the real situation on available space down below?"

It seems we spend a great deal of time on deck, looking at rigging, pointing out this and that on the exterior of the vessel, and overlook the convenient storage and appointments of the cabin below.  This video clip is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but provides for those who may not know, the extent of space aboard a Cape Dory Weekender Typhoon.  It's about 5 minutes, no music, little editing, pretty straight-forward look:


I didn't explain everything down below however.  There are some other features, like the access points for the chain plates signaled by the teak covered caps on either side of the bulkheads, the storage shelf forward, the missing cushions which are fitted to the curvature of the fore cabin ( I keep these at home so that humidity will not invade them during longer periods of storage ), and I did not point out the obvious anchor lying between the sea-cocks on the sole underneath the cockpit.

A question might arise if I had repainted down below?  No I have not.  And I do not believe anyone has done so.  All the surface appears to be original and well cared for.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

29 Minute Thanksgiving Adventure

Many people love an adventure.  But life doesn't always permit this, at least, that we take the adventure we wish to take.  All of life seems to be an adventure of some sort.  Looking at the tax bills coming in the mail, I wish that adventure would cease!  Other adventures, like the small ones we can enjoy, despite our limitations, add depth and conversation to our lives and enrich us.  They are worth taking!

Yet, if you're older, and life has limited your adventurous agenda, perhaps "getting away" for an adventure is limited to living parts of your life through others' adventures.  Like the Baggy Wrinkles for example!  And these sorts of shared experiences are even more available than ever with the our global connectedness.  As I see the World Map on this page populate with little red dots, it makes me wonder what the viewer in Madagascar, Indonesia, or Argentina, finds appealing in this little adventure?  Hopefully it adds a brief little repose apart from the hum-drum of life and enables them to "get away" for an adventure reading every few days or watching a video.  The translate feature should help too!

The other day I encountered a delightful adventure that was only 29 minutes long.  I rarely watch a video on YouTube for that long.  But I had an interest in the adventure of single-handed sailing, always have, the pirate in me I suppose.  And so I gave up a half-hour of my time to watch this journey of an older gentleman who sails from Los Angeles to Kaui and back. 

It starts routinely and then, different from other videos, the monologue is filled with humor and reflection, and insights about the routine difficulties at sea, and a great story of a sea passage that many of us would love to to but perhaps never have the resources or the capabilities, or the time, to take.  What makes this Skipper's video so remarkable is that it is so well produced in visual and in the way in which he verbally leads you across the Pacific, that once you complete it, you feel as if you were crewing aboard. 


Enjoy the passage of a skipper aboard a 32 foot Ericson sloop Thelonious, all alone in the vast Pacific, with someone who can articulate it with a well honed sense of expression and good humor.  It will leave you further enchanted with sailing and with a sense of adventure, even if you took your passage looking over his shoulder.  Great views, conversation and music.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A busy week aboard Baggy Wrinkles.  With a brief pre-winter storm on the way, I wanted to make sure I'd completed my waterproofing tasks aboard.  Didn't want all that water to have a chance to seep past my toe-rails and find a home down below.  Plus, I wanted to update my sea-cock tubing.  So, off to the dory for a handful of days of finishing off the sealant and getting the tubes fitted.

Every trip to the dory usually entails a pass by West Marine for something.  And, being that Baggy Wrinkles is in her 40's, she's usually got a parts problem that is hard to remedy.  Ill fitting screws, and then old parts that break, like happened this week with the aft-stay base screws.  While reinstalling one of them, I did what you never want to do, I twisted the screw just a tad too far and "pop!"  The screw head toppled onto the taff-rail and looked back at me as if I should have known it would happen.  I forgot how old it was!

So that meant a trip to the Depot for a tapping screw, since I don't carry that in my regular coterie of gear.  I was fortunate to get that one out.  And I was more fortunate that the Typhoon is so simple a vessel, once it fell into the hold, it was a screw driver's reach from an open seat hatch to stern.  These little victories make me feel great.

 The final strip of sealant went well and blends in nicely with the hull gel coat.  I'd re-varnished the rub rail the other week.  The most critical thing is that this provides just that added security against unwanted water aboard.  I also added sealant on the weather side of the coamings, the taff-rail, and the stern rail above the builder's plate:






Once I'd completed that I was relieved that I hadn't made too much of a mess with my fat fingers.  I also replaced the aging mainsheet line to a 3/8ths diameter.  Often, the aging sheet would fail to respond to a downwind run forcing us to pay out the line by hand.  It was simply old and stiff, like many of us, and didn't want to move.  I know that feeling well.

The maintenance I don't look forward to is down below where I was about to replace my cockpit drain tubes with semi-flexible white tubing.  I'd seen this on another Cape Dory, probably Get Kraken (check out his blog to the right where listed), and I really wanted that below-decks look aboard Baggy Wrinkles.  If you've ever been aboard a ship, everything below decks in the operational part of a vessel is in whites.  Helps with everything, lighting, finding screws on the floor, visibility, etc.  So this was my turn below.




Supporting myself in the cockpit with a rubber fender and a life jacket I worked above the drain area and installed the piping with these gear clamps, doubling them on each end of the connections to buy insurance in the event of possible failure.  I know, this is overkill, but the thought of a boat full of water just makes me shudder.



This isn't hard to do, it's just hard to get to.  One day when one of my grandchildren returns to sail, I'll pay him to crawl under the decks and clean the scum off the bulkheads.  Just under my left hand in the photo is the extent of my cleaning operations below.


After having done this, I was sufficiently proud that I'd stemmed any possible flow of liquid aboard.  And this is the view below with hatches open all around for preventing mildew from forming:

The compression post is taking a break from duties in a modified version of "parade rest" while everything else is napping wherever they can.

So a most profitable week.  Winds are brisk these days so it won't be long before she'll be in the water again to test out the sealant.  Plus, next we'll do some anchoring over lunch and see how that holds us.  Am in search of a simple lighting fitment too.  Want to find a simple but effective light system for those periods of darkness that might creep up on us...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Between episodes of great sailing, maintenance has to be performed.

After a couple of years with my Cape Dory, I finally got around to the arduous task of sealing the suspicious gaps surrounding the toe and rub rails.  A bit of sea water, perhaps less than a quarter cup, would enter into the hull of Baggy Wrinkles after a good splashing around under sail.  But this small amount of liquid still bothered me, wanting to get her ship-shape in all regards.  I just don't like the fact that water came aboard without my permission!  Water should definitely stay out of the boat.

First plan of attack is to do the ground work to seal the obvious points of concern.  Hot southern summer sun had begun to peel back the varnish on the port-side bow rail.  I knew I had precious little time left to protect her before cold winter rains would begin to work further damage on her.  ( I'm still waiting on my full deck cover... )

An obvious point of entry for water splashing up during a hearty beating to port.

The entire rub-rail, junction between the rub and toe-rail, and where the toe-rail meets the deck, all needed preventative treatment and I employed both black and white sealant for the task:

This initial sealant is designed to plug the gaps.  A 2nd strip will blend the rail for a cleaner look from broadside. I repeated this between the toe and rub rail and then again on the joint where deck and toe rail come together.


I began with a light sanding of the joint between the toe and rub rail, then applied Epiphanes varnish to help recover what the sunlight had done all summer to the port forward rail, unprotected from my hillbilly cover.  I never thought of removing the rails because once that is done, one is committed to a longer term of work.  My rails are not that bad.  If I were going to do the deck and the hull, yes, I'd have pulled the rails off.  However, that means probably, that I'd want to reinstall new teak rather than old teak.  But too, one has to wonder about a redo like that, that once done, the boat loses its original flavor and is a cosmetic redo.  She is not taking on significant water at all and her rails have much character as well.  So a bit of assistance rather than a re-do was my approach.


Once applied, I decided to caulk in the sealant between the coamings and decking as water had slipped into the cockpit under seat cushions before.  I wanted to stop that nuisance too!  Everywhere there was a possible gap on Baggy Wrinkles, I caulked that gap.

Using my fat fingers, I blended the strip of sealant to finish the seam.  Some places better than others.  I'll use a razor to fix the poorer places I screwed up with my fat fingers.
View from the broadside.  White sealant applied over black covers the black between the rub rail and hull.  Black strip between toe and rub rails remains black.  Protection is more important than the aesthetics for me.  After all, the black goes with the dark texture of the teak.  In my opinion!  Better than would the white!
 An obvious gap appeared at the foremost part of Baggy Wrinkles, between the hull and the bow plate.  Again, I stuffed it.  In the following photo, see the first sealant line of black which will later be covered with a second run of white. 

If you're wondering about the anchor chain, it is my fail-safe security blanket which holds onto the winch hook.  Having to cleat and uncleat a thick nylon line got too tedious for me.  Most Dories don't arrive with a bow hook.  I remove the chain when sailing of course.


Once I'd plugged up every visible gap I cleaned up some lines and considered my task nearly done.  I want to go below and examine where I may need to employ some additional adhesive plus, I will re-look the cockpit drains and install some white flex tubing which will go better with the interior look.

View from atop the coaming to the deck.  Sealing this natural gap will help to eliminate water dripping into the cockpit while sailing.  Plus, moisture really hinders stowing cushions aboard after a long day on the water.
So there she is once again, getting a bit of work.  Maintenance.  Looking forward to putting a vinyl bottom coat on her and getting a proper boot stripe too!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall sailing season has hit the Southeast USA! Winds are often fierce and temperatures a bit brisky but the sailing is a great opportunity to test one's mettle in conditions otherwise seldom seen during the hot summer days.

Watching the wind predictors and wanting to splash Baggy Wrinkles, I plotted to splash her at the tail end of the front.  It was overcast and not a boat on the lake when I backed her down the ramp.  Winds were laying in heavy from the Northwest and made securing her at launch critical.  Otherwise she'd have blown onto the swim beach at the club!

While rigging her a 2nd reef and securing items aboard, the trailing edge of the front began to tear open a brilliant blue sky.  Frothy waves skipped across the bay as I watched a rainbow appear and arc across the sky planting its feet at both ends.  I managed a quick photo due to the need to keep my hands on tiller and an eye on the wind!

Brisk winds at our stern made taking this at least doable.  The grey trailing edge of the front blows toward the ocean.

The brisk winds were out of the NW as the Dory enjoys a broad reach North into our "Bay" sailing area.























This plan was terrific, as I sailed back and forth across the bay.  The wind predictions included a switch to northerly winds but that would not happen until the next day.

The next morning I headed back to the Dory and found her pulling hard against her mooring lines with an angry north wind bristling to take a bite out of her sails.  Leaving the 2nd reef in, and putting the little motor on forward, I untied the forward line and jumped aboard leaving just enough time to grab the tiller and ease the mainsail into the wind.  Without the motor's assist, and single-handed, it would have been highly improbable to resist the domination of the wind.  I only had about 50 feet to the shallows and shoreline. 

Although hard to capture while single-handed, the whisk of wind blowing the mist of spray from the bow wave indicates the punch of these early morning winds.  The trailing edge of the front continued until about 11am this day.

This photo of wing and wing helps to demonstrate taking advantage of some brisk winds for a down-wind run. 

I had my new whisker pole below.  But that was the problem.  Although it would have come in real handy, it is nearly impossible to secure the tiller and maintain positioning with a brisk 20kts blowing the vessel along and at the same time launch into an effort to pin the genoa and secure it to the ring on the mast. 

I opted to "pass" on the whisker and continue downwind a bit before jibing and heading east as the photo above illustrates.  Gotta be real careful with a jibe at this point.  Hauling in on the mainsheet so that it has less momentum while crossing overhead helped to lessen the stress on the dory and she jibed through nicely biting off on a terrific broad reach.

I could tell the forecasters must have done their homework on the front, the gusts were lessening in velocity and in frequency towards late morning.  While sailing west I determined that a lessening breeze from the North would make return to the Club a tutorial in tacking.  And with lulls, and the effects of the pine-treed shoreline, this would make the tutorial bewitching.  I opted to head for home and managed to pinch just enough wind to make my entrance to the bay. 
And I do have to say, that this is what Retirement should look like!






















Pointing from the right foot, crossed over the left, to the horizon you'll see a clump of trees just left of the port shrouds--that's my entry point to the Club.  Made it.  Baggy Wrinkles seemed to be smiling after her performance today...


Saturday, November 1, 2014

After a month away from my Cape Dory, I'm itching to get back to several projects that need attention.  Before I left, I was consulting with the Sailors Tailor about a cover, and now that I'm back I'm not finding anything about a cover completed.  So, that's a due-out.  I hate to think what the Dory looks like since the South is now covered in the first cold storm of the season.

For the past month I've been following the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage trail.  Either a yellow arrow or a shell marks the700 kilometer walk across the Camino Frances of northern Spain.


So, in absence of the cover, back to something which a posting on the CDSOA site caused me to look in vain to find on my postings; that of the repair of a toe-rail on Baggy Wrinkles.

I inherited a vessel with some dubious injuries on the toe and rub rail which the form
er owner had repaired a bit.  Both starboard and port sides had what appeared to be cracked or splitting sections of the railing.  A 3 or 4 foot section on starboard had replaced what must have been a serious deterioration of the rail.  So, upon closer examination, the screw holes were loose, which would seriously permit water into the hull.  And along the top of each side, numerous bungs were missing, screws were rusting, and one could see problems abounding after a while.  Perhaps someone in the past had thought they'd just put any old screw in, or perhaps they just didn't take the time to get any bungs, and used some caulking instead to plug the screw holes.  For whatever reason, the task appeared important, for as one person asked on the CDSOA site that water might be leaking through these holes?  And for me I believe it may have been true.

When I beat to windward, the splashing water could easily seep underneath the toe rail (due to deteriorating caulking) and with uncertainty in the screws and their caulking into the hull cement, water could gain access that way as well.  So I set forth to remedy the obvious.  Fix the bung holes.  Second task to repair the obvious breach on the rail.

 Although I probably should have photographed my method, I did not.  You'll have to use your imagination.
The photo shows the toe rail after I have c-clamped it back into proper alignment.

I used a couple of pieces of metal to help grab the length of the rail and to insure the c-clamps didn't further injure the wood, creating holes as they brought the wood together.

Too, I decided that I would use a firm bonding epoxy resin and build the rail "up."  The inside portion of the teak had been ripped off further making it impossible for two screws to hold the teak in place.  It splayed out.  Yet I knew that if I used a permanent resin along with screws I could probably resolve the problem for the future or until such time that I might entertain a refit of the entire rails--something I'd prefer a ship-builder to accomplish.  After all, I'm not trying to pretend as if I'm one!  I'm just  doing the nit-noid stuff to keep my boat sea-worthy.

It worked.

So in the following photos you will see the results of my efforts on the starboard side.  The port was identical but not as badly damaged.

Top down view showing the way the resin reforms the toe rail.  I had to keep the alignment with the rail so the white trail of the screw hole is evident on the one hole.  I did not bother with trying to build the top since this is underneath the genoa track.  I could sand this down later and rebuild the top too.  Gives me something to do later.

The resin epoxy adhered really well.  At minimum, it is strong and blends with the teak color well.

Next step was to insert the screws with another hard sealing caulk making sure lots of it was already in the hole.  Water seepage was my concern.  So far so good underneath.

 Since this posting, I realized I needed a "finished product" photo.  I found this while sailing the other day, in quite a bit of wind ( over 20kts at times ) and here is the "fix" with the spring block riding atop doing its job.



So, this is an idea, perhaps not the best repair, but it has seemed to hold now for the past 8 months.  I still have to address re-caulking the seam between the deck and the toe rail however.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


So as I prep to depart for Spain, I've tightened the grey plastic tarp on my Dory for its duty that over the next 2 months it will have to perform.  I hope it survives the autumn winds!  It's really not the optimal cover but its the only thing I can do right now.  The cover completion is not yet at hand, so.  This photo is from the day I fitted the plastic template.  The grey cover is taut but certainly doesn't cover all the vital parts I'd like it to cover, yet.


Baggy Wrinkles was a bit saddened to see me inspecting her.  I walked around yesterday and scooped off bunches of pine needles and inspected everything again, tightening cords here and there.  I couldn't help but notice some spots on the hull I need to clean up and some teak that needs a bit of re-varnishing.  And all the while a cool wind was buffeting the cover and shaking the shrouds as Baggy Wrinkles wanted off the trailer and into the lake.  A bit sad, but I don't have any sailing time left at the moment now.  She'll have to wait until mid-November when I return.  The winds will be good then, and brisk.

I'm going to travel on military air which means on "stand by." If a plane is departing in the general direction of where I need to go, I jump on if allowed by the loading limits.  If not, I wait.  It's one of the life-long benefits of retired military service members.  But many don't ever use it primarily because it requires a vagabond lifestyle, somewhat a time-waster existence in and out of military terminals.  That's the down-side.  The upside is fantastic because if you have the time to travel, you can jump on and be in some rather exotic places in a matter of hours, like time travel, so to speak.

The other day I noticed a flight to the United Kingdom which had nearly one hundred seats available for passengers, and after take-off only 17 lucky souls had managed to jump aboard headed to Mildenhall, England.  Imagine having lunch in Cambridge in the afternoon, nice thought.  One of these days I'll have to jump that route and tour the ports of England and Scotland to look at the various small sailing boats in the harbors.


But for now, time to simply hope for the best, as the cover for Baggy Wrinkles is still in progress and time is short.  The good thing is that the dory is a sturdy gal, and no matter how much wind and rain and debris that falls, she ought to be just fine with some cover and periodic inspection by a couple of pals from the yacht club from time to time. All sailors respond to a bribe of some sort.  And I'm sure I can come up with a possible idea or two!


Monday, September 15, 2014


People like boats.  Even if they never actually own one, they like them.  I think it has as much to do with the spirit of adventure and enjoying the water, as anything else.  Like this tourist boat the First Mate and I saw in Florida, off the balcony of our friends' condo in St. Pete, Florida.  They called it the "Dolphin Boat" cause it gives folks the opportunity to be aboard a large boat looking for the funny sea characters we love so much.


But if you ponder about it, you might not realize, that according to the National Marine Manufacturer's  Association in the USA, one in 26 Americans owns a boat, making 12 million, the approximate number of boat owners in the US.  And that of these boats, 95% of powerboats are made in the USA, as opposed to clothing which is at 3%!  And in one year alone, 89 million of us went boating!  And most of the households who own boats have an aggregate of less than $100,000 income.  I found these statistics mind-boggling.


So with that I guess it doesn't surprise me that stories about boats, like this Cape Dory Typhoon blog, lure the adventurous and inquisitive as much because of its style and character as from their own interest in all things which float on the water and carry us to places.  In many countries, boats are a means to a living, not a recreation.  Just the other day I heard it before I saw it, a gorgeous blue hull cigarette boat with white vinyl cockpit wrapping its pillow texture over the transom, came roaring into our sailing cove.  The driver, or I'll call him the Pilot, was wearing sunglasses and a white shirt as if he was headed to dinner.  I'm not talking fascination with that!  There are plenty of well-to-do folks who can afford to purchase very large boats which will never see a fishing rod aboard or respond to a freshening breeze.  These quarter million dollar boats like the cigarette boat are destined for very little use but lots of impact.  They draw the eye but not like the classics and the smaller, more affectionate boats.  So many people love to walk harbors, and peer at vessels of all sorts, especially the sailboats.  They are the adventurous vessels!

Funny thing happened while visiting sailing friends in Florida.  While having lunch on their porch overlooking their cove, I spotted a familiar hull making its way ever so slowly around the shallows.  I stood up quickly and said, "I think that's a Cape Dory Typhoon!"  They knew the design quite well because they're avid sailors and they read this blog too!  Smiling they asked, "Really, is it?"  Grabbing my Steiners, I looked at a couple of gals making their way carefully around the tricky waters.  They quickly reported their efforts at impressing me had been well rewarded by this coordinated event!  I laughed too!

Yes it was a Cape Dory Typhoon!  A bit tasseled and ragged, missing a winch on the port side, the toe and rub-rail removed, and the genoa looked like someone might have changed their engine oil on it.  No name, no hull number on the sail, like a bit of a ghost ship.  Otherwise, a bit dingy, and pasty white, the two sailors were out for an adventure on a classic boat.  Were they the owners or guests?  Had someone conned them into renting this rig?  There was no engine and little wind.  Would they be able to navigate the cove or return if they managed to get out?  Who could know.  Certainly, after a few minutes, they showed us they could sail.

There wasn't much wind, and the channel provided little room for error.  Yet they threaded the bare-bones dory past the markers with a certain evidence of seamanship we all found rather delightful. And they certainly didn't look the least bit nervous.  I'd be nervous in that channel for sure!




 After what seemed an hour, the little dory finally made its course into the bay and began sailing and sailing.  


We had lost track of the little boat and didn't catch up with her position until after some lunch and then naps.  Later in the afternoon, on the cusp of a belligerent afternoon Florida thunderstorm, the Cape Dory once again appeared, making its way toward land.  The two sailors dutifully paused in the channel nearby, flaked the sails, tossed an anchor, and went below.  We peered and peered as the rain slowly obscured them from our sight. A howling torrent of wind and water, lashes of electricity and rolling booms, like an artillery barrage (and yes I've experienced that in combat myself too), pounded the bay, drenching and pouring fresh water everywhere.  Surely they'd be swept off their anchor in this wind or worse, blown into a revetment and endangered themselves aground.  But no, in the evening light after the storm, there was calm everywhere, and she had survived.



The sailing gals had pulled anchor and made for the safety of their mooring wherever that was.  The nameless dory had weathered a terrific storm.  And to think of all the boats passing in the cove that afternoon, it was a little Cape Dory Typhoon that appeared and caught our eye!  I've read tales of Cape Dories, caught in enormously heavy ocean seas, whose sole method of survival was to take down the sails, batten the hatches, and ride out the fury below.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Winter is just around the corner.   Not that I care much however.  In the southern USA winter means good winds and ideal sailing for the most part.  Some days may get frisky.  But for the most part, the winters here are a good mixture of sun and wind, making sailing great. 

And with the onset of winter, it's time for a suitable cover for Baggy Wrinkles.  So I set out to secure one of the most referred manufacturers of covers here in the US and had a long conversation.  The conclusion of which was that there does not exist a stem to stern cover template for the Cape Dory Typhoon.  Really, no kidding.  Considerations of whether one wishes a cockpit only or a full cover and all sorts of in-between ideas, go towards the unfortunate fact that a template must be created in order for a proper cover to be designed and sewn for this "one design" Typhoon.

As the manufacturer, who will remain nameless until the unveiling, searched the database of vessels, it became apparent that I would have to get over to Baggy Wrinkles for a "fitting."  I set forth to do just that, in hopes that the design we create will appeal to many who have their Typhoons on trailers with standing rigging in place over winter.

The simplest of means at hand was to use a 4 mm clear plastic sheeting, accessible from the local home improvement store.  The one shown here was a grand total of about $10 dollars and was enough to probably cover the complete Typhoon.  However, the directions were to only do 1/2 the hull as the opposite side has no remarkable differences except for the engine mount portion at the taff-rail. 
And duct-tape, the universal adhesion material used everywhere in the world to make sure stuff stays together!  This little role cost about $4 dollars. 

So the project costs at this point are very low.  The one thing I failed to take with me to the boat yard, which you might need, if you perform this yourself, is a permanent marker to write on the plastic, draw points where access points need to be allowed, etc.  It's important to mark stuff everywhere!


So with these tools in hand I proceeded to take my project in hand and define the shape and design of the forthcoming cover:

The tailor advised me to begin with the boom piece.  It presents a square to which you then can achieve the aft and foredeck portions.  The latter will require curves and folding.  This provides you some peace of mind to be able to get the first part of the job done and provides you with some expertise to attack the angles coming next.
Then I taped on the aft section, with its corner, and back-stay, folding the plastic underneath itself at the taff-rail to achieve that bit of curvature of the stern.  Notice I'm already envisioning the tent at the rear, and a possible vent to accommodate essential draft for keeping the boat free of moisture inside. 
There's not much to fit along the toe rail but 2 toggles for the shrouds.  I cut the plastic near the base of both with scissors to and marked their position with a ball-point pen.
I did this for peace of mind.  This helped me to keep the cut consistent along the rub-rail and enabled me to tape the plastic to the boat, keeping the plastic in somewhat of the shape the cover might eventually be.
I failed to mark the stern flag-pole mount but the tailor will see that in this photo I have sent to him.  The duct-tape again helps to keep things in perspective and holds tight while I make my rounds.
This was harder in planning than in execution.  The foredeck is here attached to the join the mid portion of plastic at the mast point.  The remainder of the sheet is folded under to enable wrapping to the foredeck bowplate.  I mark the halyard and fore-stay entry points and then trim the remainder of plastic away.
The tailor was right.  It only took me about 30 minutes to get to this point.  The sun interfered a bit, as it was in the high 90's and sapping my strength while building my frustration.  Nothing about the template is hard.  I think one has to keep in mind that a template is an approximate.  The tailor is a master at creating these covers for boats, so I have to do my due diligence to approximate it for him. 

I came out pretty good I think.  At this point I'm just concerned to get the cover on the dory before departing to Europe at the end of the month:

This photo is just before the foredeck portion is stretched.  Overall, it had a fair amount of tension and provided a glimpse of what a finished cover might look like.