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, April 29, 2014

1st Year Anniversary for Baggy Wrinkles

Well the Adventures of  Baggy Wrinkles is now a year along, and this is the 50th posting.  I really did not think anyone would be that much interested in an old boat.  Except for a few folks.  I'm very surprised, and glad that it is a story you can follow.  People from the South Pacific to the Northwest Territories to cold Russian places and back.  And some who are nearly punctual about following and come back every week.

Yes, People from all over the world have been peering at the story.  I say peer, because some peer and never return, and yet others are constantly hitting the site from places I now recognize.  Others from remote locations must be sailing vicariously with the Dory.  Good to have you as followers. 

I guess it figures that the majority of those looking are rather habitual devotees from the USA which has over 2000 views now.  But surprisingly Canada, Russia, the UK, Brazil and France, in that order, make up the next tier of viewers and readers.  And the site has just lately gone over 7000 page views with some 2200 visits in all.  It's an old boat.  Really?  Who should care?

This digital world is increasingly boring, at least to me.  There's a lot to be said for something which still functions quite well after 40 years of use.  But there are few of them to find.  Taking a lesson from technology, if the Cape Dory had an i-phone type existence, it would be in its 40th version!  And the beauty of it is that what she is today is nearly identical to what she was then.  Same cleats, same blocks, same worn and weathered toe rail, and a few marks, scrapes and scratches on her hull, but still sound and seaworthy and sails phenomenally although not fast, she's classy.

There are fancy-pants new J-boats and cool clean and shiny sloops with brilliant spinnakers on the lake, but the Dory plies the waters with a standard rig, developed by the Valvolotis brothers who figured her standard rigging and tested her in the waters off Newport, Rhode Island.  Roger Winiarski of Bristol Bronze knew the Valvolotis brothers and continues to manufacture period hardware for the Dory which I highly recommend to fellow owners at: ( ).  So, unlike the i-phone, the Cape Dory gets better by remaining the same over time.  Don't we like it when we return somewhere and it is much as we left it, and we cringe when we return and cannot recognize a place in which we had so many good times and fond memories?  Every time the Dory splashes into the water, she remains what she was 40 years ago.  When I look around at other vessels, I cannot say the same is true!

And she's not won any races lately either!  But as this chronicle of her life continues, she will look to getting together with her Alumni Association at the Typhoon Nationals on the Rappahannock in June.  Check it out:   

Should be an interesting gathering of old boats.  If the boats could talk, what would they be saying?

The Adventure continues....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It happens.  Lots of spring rain and a good idea gone bad.  We're in one of those periods when we can get lots of rain showers in a brief amount of time and without sufficient tarp coverage, the rain can accumulate quickly into the cockpit of the Dory.  Along with the downfall of pine-noodles and other various tree debris, the result is a cockpit full of water which had already overflowed into the Dory's hold burying the haul-out hook with six or eight inches of water. 

So it was the condition the other day when I knew I had to adjust my schedule to get to the Dory for a check.  Weather and schedule had not permitted me time to sail, and she sat alone for too long.  Upon arrival I found an alarming amount of water in the Dory.  Judging from the wet-vac I used, it was about 15 gallons of rainwater in total after I'd finished sucking her dry. 

Getting prepared to trailer her to Virginia for a National Typhoon sailing event on the Rappahannock river and am getting all the small trailering details in order for the trip. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

As the Spring unfolds lots of folks are unwrapping their boats for some time on the water, there are sea stories abounding, and even a few ocean races getting going.  Look at the 10 meter Beneteau Figaro Class racing duos crossing from France to the Caribbean ( ) and observe the small boats crossing the feisty Atlantic.  Some live coverage there as well.  10 meters is about 32 feet overall, about 14 feet longer than BaggyWrinkles....small for that big ocean out there!

Along with this season, come all the routine things like maintenance, discovering things that should have broken before now but just broke, and re-learning old lessons thought already learned.  One of those lessons is common sense about water, wind, and that stuff happens when you least expect it to happen.  I say that of course, because I've become quite friendly with my PFD this past year and don't ever assume, that even though I'm a life-long surfer, sailor, and general water bug, that sometimes stuff can get dynamic real fast and catch us by surprise.

In the first "race" of our Yacht Club this season, I was enjoying my relaxing 3rd place position and you will note in the photo below how I've posted the Emergency Data Card provided by Boat US, just adjacent to the FM Radio.  I didn't use it that day but I did need it that day.  And every day I head out on the water I need it.  Need and use, two different things.  One is a requirement the other is an action.

You know, it's not safe to think that just because you're a small sailboat that only small calamities can occur.  In the Transat Race just the other day, Cercle Vert, (click on those words to read the story), one of the 10 meter racers, was demasted after only 55 miles off the lighthouse at Penmarch ( see photo below ) on their way to Saint Bart.  Stuff happens.  A circumnavigating family had a motor failure and a critical illness of a child occur simultaneously off the Mexican coast and called for rescue.  So, this just urges us to think smart about heading out this season.  Think that it can happen to you and put in place those measures to mitigate the risks.

I recall many years ago sailing solo on Lake Erie in the Fall, brisk 15knot winds whipped across a granite water surface as I solo sailed an 18' Prindle Catamaran.  I was flying across a bay area doing 3 mile runs back and forth with an eye out for gusts that might topple me over, yet the sailing was great.  I was 25 years younger, more durable, in a wetsuit, enjoying the passion of sailing, when suddenly the starboard shroud pulled away with a loud bang, the cat fell to the dark water below and passion gave way to planning.  My mind went into immediate drill mode, "get the mast aboard first, secure it, look for boaters,..." With a cold wind I knew the wind chill would soon eat away at my warmth and the paddle on the trampoline would be my last resort to keep warm and navigate to land.  I wasn't but 600 meters from shore when a couple of gentlemen came near to assist.  Things happen when you least expect them to.  Just be ready with a plan.

On BaggyWrinkles this season, I am using a sort of checklist to make sure that even on a simple sailing plan, that I am ready for the unexpected.  I think it makes for a more relaxed skipper.

Looking South to the village of  Penmarch, land's end for the Concarneau - St Barth Transat Race

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's no April Fools joke!  The weather is terrific!

The temps are definitely rising in the southern USA as ours will reach into the 80 degrees (F) this week.  And with that comes the routine, at least for me, of "racing" as our club calls it.  Racing and a Cape Dory seem mutually exclusive terms.  If I had a J-Boat then I'd be pumped-up about racing.  Thus my lack of deep interest in racing a Dory!

Have done some fixing of small things lately in anticipation of doing some Gentlemans' racing and for an upcoming trip to the Typhoon Nationals event in Virginia in June.  Have to get this rig road ready first off, which means creating some sort of mast support for travel.  Guess I'd better get my brakes done on the car before then too!

Also had a growing crisis on the genoa tracks, pictured below, on both sides of the dory.  The slider kept hanging up on the track.  My first suspicions were that perhaps the installation on the toe rail was not permitting the car to slide.  Second suspicion was that perhaps the track itself was just not the right size, or, that it was irregular and resistant to being able to move freely.  Add winch grease.  No success. 

Then a couple of fellow sailors, racers, came by the dory and suggested that it really was that the track was irregular and needed retooling.  Hmmpf.  So, I recalled that a year or more ago, I'd taken my motorcycle shock absorbers to a machine shop and they'd done a fabulous job of installing new hard nylon bushings.

That was the inspiration. 

After consulting with the machinist I found that day, I left the tracks assured he would figure it out.  Sure enough, got a phone call, the tracks were ready.  The problem was there were a couple of welding bumps underneath which were dragging on the track, causing just enough friction now and then to literally stop the car on the track.  It took a hammer to dislodge the thing.  That's no way to adjust a sail trim!

After carefully remounting with new stainless steel bolts hardware, which in itself is something like Cirque du Soleil, having to  twist and turn in order to get underneath the deck to find the bolts and ratchet them down.  The cars are happy as they can be, sliding to and fro with glee.

Some of these odd-ball things just needed to be fixed on the dory, and this weather is perfect for adjusting.  Although I've sailed all winter, there is something about warm weather that urges me to get these strange things fixed.

There are a couple more things I want to fix, not that they need it, but just because my obsessive - compulsive behavioral disorder requires it!  I want to get the tubing I changed last year replaced with another variety I've found lately--that's my obsession.  One thing I did change was the bow hook.  Well there is no bow hook on the Typhoon, so I took the liberty to replace the thick nylon rope on the foredeck, serving to hold the dory in place on the trailer, to a hefty bit of chain which seems to have the period look a distinguished 40 year old classic needs these days:

It conveniently lies across the bronze bow-plate ready to provide anti-slip in case the little dory gets dislodged on the trailer.

Don't think I will just rely on this for a trip on the road, will affix a backup line from the foredeck, and perhaps a strap over the transom to just give a bit of peace of mind for the journey to Virginia in June.

And as she sits in the yard, this is how she looks.  The chain is shortened from what it looks like in this photo and I don't remove it while underway, as it sits on the bow ready for service.  It doesn't clank or anything, as you might suspect.

The Cape Dory Typhoon is such a heavy keel boat for her size that these small issues are not inconveniences, they are distinguishing characteristics of a classic little boat.  So it's no mind to create a fix that looks the part.

I do think we may be getting closer to the renaming ceremony I spoke of last year in this blog.  Will have to see what I can do to expedite that!