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, 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.