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 modest 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.