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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Friday, February 21, 2014

Becalmed.  And out of gas.  A crisis turned into training in a perfectly harmless environment.  Better that happen here than in a time of turbulence and chaos!  So here's what happened...

A beautifully warm February day in the Southern US, water as smooth as a mirror.
I'd happily yet mindlessly departed across our large lake on a brilliantly delightful day to run my new motor through its break-in procedure.  There was no wind, and that didn't matter to me, I was on a motor break-in.  I'd left my gas container ashore because I figured I would not need it for this little putz of a motor, thinking it drank so little.  A small assumption.  Perhaps this is where we first encounter danger, in our assumptions!

And I figured that wrong.  After an hour at 3000 rpm,  I ran out of gas.  And did this conveniently in the middle of a very large body of water.  In the photo above you can see the dam on the horizon about 2 miles away.  Temperatures were a balmy 70.  Birds bobbed on the water like aimless corks.  The silence was delightful.  So, I really thought what a great day to be stranded!  The sight reminded me of something from the recent "All is Lost" film as the dory sat becalmed amidst a platinum mirror reflecting the warmth of a winter sun.  I thought to take pictures even!

But then I also thought about the fact that I'd left both my jackets in my car, ashore, and that despite the fact that it was mid-afternoon, this balmy retreat would give in to cool temperatures towards dusk.  And it was too deep in this part of the lake to anchor, so that was not an option.  So as I sat there with my new little motor out of gas, I felt a bit of anxiety being excreted into my veins to which I quickly took a deep breath and thought this would resolve itself one way or another.  Hopefully in a positive fashion! 

Being a Corporate certified Master Trainer, I thought to myself, "Now what do I have here with me and how shall I find my way home?  Call a friend?  Get a network of friends all worked up?"  I laughed, out-loud, I think.  I'm not like Robert Redford in the shipwreck film where he hardly speaks during the entire saga.  I did a slow inventory of everything I had; FM Radio (very proud to have this aboard, wasn't I so clever!), a fully charged cell phone with global access even, water and food, flares, and a strobe lamp, just in case it came to that.  That what, I thought to myself, although fully prepared, I lacked a jacket for warmth if my time ran out.  It was about 3:30pm and I had about 3 hours of sunlight left.

I scanned the horizon for any vessel movement.  Not even ripples crossed the lake today.  The dory sat breathlessly still and quiet.  So this is being stranded, I thought to myself.  And I set forth to do first things first.  Hail on channel 16.  But if no one is listening, my hailing proved it.  Useless.  But a great radio.  On to the cell phone.  Who to call?  A fellow yachtie?  No good numbers for that.  Besides, my position was about 4 miles south of our club and 2 miles west of the Dam.  It would take several hours for a rescue to arrive.  Rats.  I looked about the Dory and admired the new coating of textured Epiphanes paint I'd put on the dory several weeks back.  I liked the grey better than the "original" Cape Dory baby blue.  She looked quite a bit smarter with her new deck paint.

So, staying calm, what else was there to do?  No one was within ear-shot.  I fumbled about to find the phone number for Boat US.  Fortunately the Verizon WIFI was working.  Great!  Found the number, called and an operator responded, validated my account and got right to working the situation.  Like many of us who own vessels, we have this insurance but rarely find occasion to test it out.  Not like my Mother-in-Law's call button which she used to press just to say hello to the Nursing staff!  The Boat US folks replied that help had been notified and would contact me.  Have a nice day they said.  I thanked them happily and disconnected thinking what a smart and savvy guy I was to have this insurance.  Yet not so smart to have not carried gas aboard for the break-in period.  Ok, one cancels out the other.  Silly me.

I had no idea however, that the Boat US Rescue platform had just been put into place 2 weeks previous!  And I was the first customer.  As the red rescue boat sliced through the glassy lake, I marveled at how much we all take for granted.  We assume that if we have the insurance that it will work.  Really?

Captain Hamilton called my cell and asked me to go to FM.  On Channel 16 he calls, "Captain Hamilton, Boat US heading to your position, say again location over,..."  As I identify, another "rescue" source steps on our transmission offering rapid response.  "Where were they an hour ago?" I thought.  I'm feeling pretty silly being rescued by the 300 horsepower red-hulled rapid response boat when Captain Hamilton says to me, "Well, you just ran out of wind!"  I thanked him for that rationale which although true did not address my failure to carry extra fuel.  But it is great to have your rescuer provide you a way to re-frame the event!

The insurance worked.  He trailed me to port while I carried the 5 gallon fuel tank aboard, just in case.  I was happy to tie-up as the purple hues of dusk settled on the glassy lake that evening.  I had had to relearn a lesson (gas, gas, gas) and learned about Boat US as well.  In fact, Captain Hamilton reminded me that if I bumped up my plan from $50 to the next level that there would be no charge for towing or gas at all.  In fact, as many tows as I wanted.  I thought that might be a very optimal idea!

I climbed into my car and turned on the heated seat thinking how cold a night aboard might have been.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter of 2014 is giving the Southern USA a few cold waves as per Mr Groundhog who announced 6 more weeks before we'll see warming temps.  Maybe it is warmer where you live!  But the south's temps will rise again, this weekend in fact.  But today it is pouring flakes of stuff called "snow."

Last night, as winds from the approaching cold front were making their way across the lake, I hurried to install 2 bronze portholes on Baggywrinkles ahead of the rain and snow.  It was truly time to refit them with this new product I ordered in from Bristol Bronze in Rhode Island.  The pics below reveal the worn duty of these faithful windows of her soul.  She needed some new "lunettes" that is for sure.  Searching via the internet these little tokens can go for nearly $ 900 US in some cases.  The CD Typhoon simply needed a simple fitment but something that fit the standard factory opening.  I then found Ken Winiarski at Bristol Bronze.

We had a delightful conversation via the telephone in which Ken informed me of his products and his history with the Cape Dory.  I felt like I was talking to an historian, because Ken, had a personal acquaintance with the Valvolotis brothers who first manufactured these sturdy yachts.  Here is a quotation from the Cape Dory website giving the thumbnail history on the Dories:

"Cape Dory Yachts was founded in 1963 by Andrew Vavolotis in East Taunton, Mass.  In the following 28 years, the company built over 2,800 sailboats ranging from 22 to 45 feet, and over 2,000 of the 19' Typhoon and the 22' Typhoon Senior, as well as the Cape Dory 10, which was the original Cape Dory dory. Most of the designs were by Carl Alberg. The boats are known for their sturdiness and ability to handle a wide range of conditions."

To my delight, Ken knew exactly what was on my Typhoon, and made 3 or 4 parts for each item I needed!  I thought this would cost me dearly, knowing that I had to replace two portholes. Their condition shows they really needed help:

 My installation is a semi permanent one.  I figure one day I may remove all the deck hardware and sand down the deck and re-gel and paint her.  However, for now, I'm simply replacing what is worn out, not trying to win a beauty contest.  Function is more important than form at this time.

During this installation, two very competent fellow sailors of the sailing club came to inquire of my efforts on the classic girl.  Rather bavard, the two of them, they began to examine  my rigging and enjoined me in a beneficial conversation about my shroud tensions and fixes, i.e., how one had a friend who could help with this and the other who recommended a different style turnbuckle....  Meanwhile, I fumbled with muttered yes, I know, and yet...sticking the portholes onto the cuddy cabin, white caulking now on my drill and the surface of the portholes.  I'm wondering if I'll get it off before it sticks too well while they are still well engaged in the interesting conversation, at least to them, of how this tension could affect my rig.  "Well, you're right however, this is a champagne vessel, not a racing yacht so...."  That didn't seem to stem the instructional parlance at all!  I managed to get the 6 little bronze screws into cuddy with little problem while wondering why it was that I never get interrupted when I'm having a lull, only during moments of artistic necessity such as this!

Well, I capitulated and agreed that I would do something about my loose rig, wiping my fingers of this sticky mess as they smiled, waved, and walked off.  One of them grinned and said, "we're sure you need all this right now too!"  I had to laugh.  I did need it indeed and appreciated the fact they cared.

Anyway, having challenges is what sailing is all about.  So I installed the $90 dollar portholes on starbard and portsides, adding a touch of elan to this little gal, hull number 729, dated 1974.  Here, before the final fit is what it would look like once set.  Another photo later will reveal the product completed after the impromptu rigging clinic from last evening!  Check out the products at Bristol Bronze.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Very proud to be a part of a Sailing Club in South Carolina with such talent and aspiration as the Lake Murray Sailing Club.

In the Scuttlebut Sailing News is an article by one of our senior leaders at the Club who has fashioned a sailing program for youth.  These kids are all over the club in the summer sailing their training programs.  Their director, Allan, is a seasoned sailor with all sorts of keen advice. 

Check out the article in SailingScuttlebutt

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Have you tried to find a small motor for a sailboat?  There is a huge niche market for small outboards. 

The Cape Dory needs a small outboard motor to  provide that "extra" umph in the event one needs certain power to avoid certain disaster.  A good outboard motor is just that little insurance.  Here she was back in the day, hanging on for dear life....

Yet try to find a used motor!  My limit on the repair of my little jitney was about 200 dollars.  Since the motor had arrived with my Dory, I worked with it repeatedly until we mutually decided that she was not fit for duty aboard my vessel. 

She had failed me in 15/25 kts at dusk when I really needed her.  Well, she ran out of gas, so that's my fault!  But previous to this, as she was a 2 stroke, she needed lots of stroking to feel good, but she'd made my life awfully precarious!  So, I sold her on Craigslist to a couple of fine gents who wanted a little trolling motor to find Bass.  Good marriage.

So after concluding my search I replaced the old Nissan with a Yamaha 4 stroke,  2.5 horsepower.  Ok, one less horse than the Nissan, but newer technology and exponential thrust compared the the older technology. 

So, new technology, no failing parts like the Nissan had provided me, and no gas smell in my car ( yay ).  She is undergoing familiarization training in the garage while I await the rise of waters on the lake.

But pricey indeed.  Yet it seems one of those things you don't want to spend much money on yet comes in handy as a life-saver when you need it.  And, I think way-underestimated in terms of value.

Well, maybe it's just me, but if the Cape Dory were a small sailing skiff or sailing dory which could be rowed to shore, this motor thing would not be an issue.  But it is a heavy keel hull, which if run aground, might stay aground for well past the time I would want to be stranded. 

And to figure the value of the motor I use this mental image of being stranded with a bum motor and run aground on a sand bar in the middle of a turbulent lake, radio in hand calling; "....hello, anyone this net?  Cape Dory Typhoon Baggy Wrinkles, run aground, need rescue....?"  First, there's probably no Coast Guard on the lake, especially at that hour.  Second, if there were, what would they say if they looked at my motor and laughed?  Third, what would my answer be for being a miser, or stupid?

That image made me write the check!  One more step in the adventure.  BaggyWrinkles has a reliable motor for all furture excursions!  Will be mounting her on the bronze bracket when the weather clears up.