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, August 26, 2014

A very short video of the Typhoon with a 1st reef in follows at the end of this.  A bit of a breeze on the lake the other day inspired me to do some practice at intentional reefing to explore the Cape Dory's handling in breezy conditions.  I realize that many who read this blog do not sail but are fascinated with classic elements of sailing.  So, for those of more expertise, they may be entertained by this simple explanation of reefing.  But perhaps they'll enjoy the adventure anyway!

As one of my friends said to me while negotiating a coastal sail during a gale off the coast of France one day, shouting a bit to be heard, "if it were easy, everyone would be out here!"  Well, I guess that's right.  At the moment I was a bit more focused on our survivability to be able appreciate the comment.  Wind can be a delightful and deadly thing for a sailor.  But it pays to understand it better if you're going to get blown around by it.

This is Baggy Wrinkles with the 1st reef in place.  Not pictured up-close is the new reefing hook installed at the goose-neck on the tack end of the boom.  It does not appear very windy in this photo because our docks this day are in the lee of the prevailing breeze which was a solid 8 to 10 with gusts to around 16kts.  A slack mainsheet line allows the mainsail to flop with the breeze while tied to the dock and the genoa stands by for hoisting.
Seems every time I go sailing on our lake, the wind is not very good.  And then that results in that I'm not practiced in handling high winds of any sort.  And some techniques require practice, like docking, and tacking, and of course, reefing.  And all of these can deteriorate from infrequent use.

Reefing a sail permits the vessel to sail more effectively without being overcome by gusts, which can come intermittently, or, can arrive as a constant barrage like that day in France many years ago.  Reefing should ideally be done before the gusts arrive like dinner should be made before guests arrive--same idea.  It's easy to reef when arriving at the lake and you see a good blow going on across the water.  That'd be a good time to reef if you're going to reef at all!

Also, it helps to know at what point your vessel might need to reef rather than to simply fear the wind and reef from anxiety!  If you know your rig, you can probably determine from the wind forecast whether you need to reef.  That comes from experience.  This day was an intentional process as I'd not reef unless winds were in excess of 20kts.  Anyway...

The Cape Dory Typhoon is such a simple rig that I only had to secure a reef hook and join it to the goose-neck already on the boom.  And that took some fidgeting and so forth, and getting around to, and ordering, and measuring, and some consternation, and so forth.  It was simply a matter of getting it done and then taking the sailing time to practice with the reefed main, something I'm loathe to do as I stated.

So, once rigged it was out on the water to work the reefed main and see how she pointed with less heel than she'd have with a full mainsail in the wind.  You will probably note that in several previous videos I've posted that winds have been much more aggressive than this particular day.  Part of that is due to the limitations of a GoPro locked into place--you cannot see the rough water to windward.  And part is also due to the fact that with the reef in place, the degree of heel is reduced, and the dory is not overpowered by the sail when turning.  It's a delightful way to engage with the winds and enjoy the art of sailing.

For best viewing of the following 1 minute video, click the "full screen" icon on the lower right of the video box to allow the view enlarged for your entire screen.  Or, you can click and got directly to YouTube too.  Either way it works better larger.  Blogger does not seem to allow for a larger inset.  Or, perhaps I don't know how to do it!

I do highly recommend the site if you are interested in learning much more about all things Cape Dory, regardless of sizes. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Motors can be little "buggers."

Fresh from a doctor's visit, installed on the taff-rail bracket.  Ready for service.
So, after a trip to the doctor, the little Yamaha started up and purred again.  The problem?  Instability of fuel.  And the fuel smelled "bad."  That's what the doctor said, using 2 syllables for the word "smelled" so that when he said it, his eyes bugged out a bit and the expression sounded like,  "it smay-elled bayaad."  I have come to instantly accept these histrionic expressions living in the South of the US.  Even "bad" can be expressed as "bay-ad" rather than simply the one syllable word "bad."  But traditionally, you would not say both of these words in their 2 syllable construction, one said right after the next, except however if you were much much older than this doctor and you sought to employ an extra punch of histrionics "smay-elled bay-ad."  And yes, I have heard that expression too.  But the little bugger only got "smay-elled" bad.

So the verdict was that it had problem been the result of Ethanol.  Carburetor had become sticky and clogged, the result of sitting with this bad smelling gas in its itty bitty tank over the course of 4 to 6 weeks, not running and not getting any fresh gas to help it.  Really so?  And I had been warned that this doctor's visit would not be cheap either.  I can confirm that as true.  But the bad gas thing had me worried.  My lawn mower is using the same stuff.  Well, the doctor said I'd better get an additive and stick it in as a stabilizer.  He said the current cocktail of American fuel is not meant to sit around all year waiting on my seasonal pull at the dock.  I ground my teeth a bit and scratched my goatee and replied with a winsome "yup," another Southern expression that makes you sound as if you knew all this before now but you do certainly concur with the doctor's analysis, a protection reaction you know.  And that your appearance here to pay for the visit is due to some unseen or hidden "instability" rather than your own ignorance, or, in this case, my ignorance.  Yup then, it'd been my lack of maintenance and upkeep, but I preferred to suggest that it might also have been someone or something else.  How could I have been so ignorant?  It happens.

So, it's back to Baggy Wrinkles with the 4 stroke Yamaha and her stable fuel.  Apparently this 2 ounces of  fuel stabilizer will treat one gallon.  I guess I'll have to start a maintenance record on the bugger because there's no way I'm going to keep track of when I last filled up.  Cooler temps are ahead, the tank is less than a liter, and that's not even an Imperial measurement an American understands.  So I'd better do as Otto once said, "when in danger or in doubt, write it out, write it out."

I tucked the Yamaha into the Burb for its ride back to Baggy Wrinkles and consequent duty.  Why, it's not run for more than a "couple of three hours" ( another southern expression which does not mean what it suggests ).  It's not run but perhaps three full hours maximum yet.

I'm expecting great things out of this motor now.  It'd better behave.

Here, the motor hangs on during a lunch and hydration stop.  I was 'hove to' in the lee of a couple of small islands, on our return trip across Lake Murray, with winds from 10 to 16 kts.  The Yamaha cranked right up once arriving in the Cove for retiring the sails and motoring to the dock.  Well done.  I thought I'd posted the "hove-to" video but my retired mind had failed me instead.

Here is the funny, if not comical, video of me in a sped-up 2 minute video of "heaving-to" while getting my lunch down and heading back across the lake for home:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

We're in that time of summer now.  The dead of summer I should say.  Dead due to the degree of heat and the lack of wind.  If there is wind, it's associated with thunderstorm activity.  The last hurrah before the kids go back to school.  It's hot and humid in the Southern USA, and in this part, lots of humidity means loss of water, the need for hydration, and can make for some really uncomfortable sailing, if you can sail at all.

And, in the midst of this, my 4 stroke motor decided the other day to choke and die.

I'd been pretty happy with the Yamaha engine since replacing the old Nissan model from the late 60s.  But recently I must have flooded it and then successfully fouled the spark plug.  The normal process of letting the carburetor drain a bit and then restart was pointless.  Then I goofed, and flooded it again, when I should have left the throttle open for air.  I'm a genius....

This little engine cannot be that hard to get along with I mused.  So I left it for a week, and just went by to get it ready for a courtesy sail with a fellow interested in knowing more about the Typhoon, and voila, the engine refused to start again.  Ok, so troubleshoot this, get the manual, read it, apply it.  Cannot be this hard.  First thing is gas.  Ok well plenty of that because I filled it up.  Second thing is the fuel filter.  Hmm, I think I'll pass on that.  This is a new motor.  Third, and I think most suspect, is the spark plug.  I suspect it got fouled and will not cooperate.  So I trekked off for the proper plug, checked the gap, and inserted the plug in the little motor. And still no luck.  So off to the Yamaha dealer to execute the warranty!

It was a tough day too because I was doing a courtesy sea trial for a Cape Dory enthusiast to whom I had extended the invitation to sail aboard the Baggy Wrinkles.  The winds were slight and things were looking great.  Look at the sails:

Winds were about 4kts and the lake was rather calm.  Temperatures were about 74 degrees, so for the dead of summer, we were fine.  I was giving my ride-along plenty of tiller time so that he could enjoy the distinctive feel of the boat and experience the ease with which it comes about in the water.  He seemed to be right at home in the cockpit as you can see:

However, the lake was looking a bit anemic wind-wise and the tell tales were weakening their happy ride as my guest skipper made his way across Lake Murray.  I requested him to come about so that if winds weakened further we'd not have to paddle that far.  After all, the Yamaha was on vacation at this point, very unkindly refusing to participate in the event today.

So, what I had feared happened.  The winds died completely.  So there we sat, with sails gently asking for a breeze.  Then the cloud cover dumped their liquid and we enjoyed a cool summer rain in hopes that with the  water there might also come wind.  But no wind.  My skipper volunteered to assist at the paddle and did a phenomenal job sitting at the bow-plate bringing Baggy Wrinkles home.

We drug ourselves out of the boat as the sunshine heated everything and we pulled her out dripping wet.  A long day had been made more bearable with plenty of cold liquids aboard, some fruit, and great conversation. 

Summer stillness and quality humidity!

Another arrival at Port on the Road King Trailer

My guest skipper had a pleasant view to the south under gentle breeze.
You don't always have the option of sustaining winds.  However, having a solid contract with Boat US meant that at any moment we could call-in our position and get a great tow back home.  In this case we made our way about 1/2 mile back to our port with little effort as the rain provided some cooling.  The Typhoon glides well in the water.  Our journey provided my new friend with plenty of time for questions and answers about the Typhoon.  Perhaps he will find his dream boat, "America's Littlest Yacht."  Now the get Yamaha to fix that 4 stroke!