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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Thursday, November 27, 2014

29 Minute Thanksgiving Adventure

Many people love an adventure.  But life doesn't always permit this, at least, that we take the adventure we wish to take.  All of life seems to be an adventure of some sort.  Looking at the tax bills coming in the mail, I wish that adventure would cease!  Other adventures, like the small ones we can enjoy, despite our limitations, add depth and conversation to our lives and enrich us.  They are worth taking!

Yet, if you're older, and life has limited your adventurous agenda, perhaps "getting away" for an adventure is limited to living parts of your life through others' adventures.  Like the Baggy Wrinkles for example!  And these sorts of shared experiences are even more available than ever with the our global connectedness.  As I see the World Map on this page populate with little red dots, it makes me wonder what the viewer in Madagascar, Indonesia, or Argentina, finds appealing in this little adventure?  Hopefully it adds a brief little repose apart from the hum-drum of life and enables them to "get away" for an adventure reading every few days or watching a video.  The translate feature should help too!

The other day I encountered a delightful adventure that was only 29 minutes long.  I rarely watch a video on YouTube for that long.  But I had an interest in the adventure of single-handed sailing, always have, the pirate in me I suppose.  And so I gave up a half-hour of my time to watch this journey of an older gentleman who sails from Los Angeles to Kaui and back. 

It starts routinely and then, different from other videos, the monologue is filled with humor and reflection, and insights about the routine difficulties at sea, and a great story of a sea passage that many of us would love to to but perhaps never have the resources or the capabilities, or the time, to take.  What makes this Skipper's video so remarkable is that it is so well produced in visual and in the way in which he verbally leads you across the Pacific, that once you complete it, you feel as if you were crewing aboard. 

Enjoy the passage of a skipper aboard a 32 foot Ericson sloop Thelonious, all alone in the vast Pacific, with someone who can articulate it with a well honed sense of expression and good humor.  It will leave you further enchanted with sailing and with a sense of adventure, even if you took your passage looking over his shoulder.  Great views, conversation and music.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A busy week aboard Baggy Wrinkles.  With a brief pre-winter storm on the way, I wanted to make sure I'd completed my waterproofing tasks aboard.  Didn't want all that water to have a chance to seep past my toe-rails and find a home down below.  Plus, I wanted to update my sea-cock tubing.  So, off to the dory for a handful of days of finishing off the sealant and getting the tubes fitted.

Every trip to the dory usually entails a pass by West Marine for something.  And, being that Baggy Wrinkles is in her 40's, she's usually got a parts problem that is hard to remedy.  Ill fitting screws, and then old parts that break, like happened this week with the aft-stay base screws.  While reinstalling one of them, I did what you never want to do, I twisted the screw just a tad too far and "pop!"  The screw head toppled onto the taff-rail and looked back at me as if I should have known it would happen.  I forgot how old it was!

So that meant a trip to the Depot for a tapping screw, since I don't carry that in my regular coterie of gear.  I was fortunate to get that one out.  And I was more fortunate that the Typhoon is so simple a vessel, once it fell into the hold, it was a screw driver's reach from an open seat hatch to stern.  These little victories make me feel great.

 The final strip of sealant went well and blends in nicely with the hull gel coat.  I'd re-varnished the rub rail the other week.  The most critical thing is that this provides just that added security against unwanted water aboard.  I also added sealant on the weather side of the coamings, the taff-rail, and the stern rail above the builder's plate:

Once I'd completed that I was relieved that I hadn't made too much of a mess with my fat fingers.  I also replaced the aging mainsheet line to a 3/8ths diameter.  Often, the aging sheet would fail to respond to a downwind run forcing us to pay out the line by hand.  It was simply old and stiff, like many of us, and didn't want to move.  I know that feeling well.

The maintenance I don't look forward to is down below where I was about to replace my cockpit drain tubes with semi-flexible white tubing.  I'd seen this on another Cape Dory, probably Get Kraken (check out his blog to the right where listed), and I really wanted that below-decks look aboard Baggy Wrinkles.  If you've ever been aboard a ship, everything below decks in the operational part of a vessel is in whites.  Helps with everything, lighting, finding screws on the floor, visibility, etc.  So this was my turn below.

Supporting myself in the cockpit with a rubber fender and a life jacket I worked above the drain area and installed the piping with these gear clamps, doubling them on each end of the connections to buy insurance in the event of possible failure.  I know, this is overkill, but the thought of a boat full of water just makes me shudder.

This isn't hard to do, it's just hard to get to.  One day when one of my grandchildren returns to sail, I'll pay him to crawl under the decks and clean the scum off the bulkheads.  Just under my left hand in the photo is the extent of my cleaning operations below.

After having done this, I was sufficiently proud that I'd stemmed any possible flow of liquid aboard.  And this is the view below with hatches open all around for preventing mildew from forming:

The compression post is taking a break from duties in a modified version of "parade rest" while everything else is napping wherever they can.

So a most profitable week.  Winds are brisk these days so it won't be long before she'll be in the water again to test out the sealant.  Plus, next we'll do some anchoring over lunch and see how that holds us.  Am in search of a simple lighting fitment too.  Want to find a simple but effective light system for those periods of darkness that might creep up on us...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Between episodes of great sailing, maintenance has to be performed.

After a couple of years with my Cape Dory, I finally got around to the arduous task of sealing the suspicious gaps surrounding the toe and rub rails.  A bit of sea water, perhaps less than a quarter cup, would enter into the hull of Baggy Wrinkles after a good splashing around under sail.  But this small amount of liquid still bothered me, wanting to get her ship-shape in all regards.  I just don't like the fact that water came aboard without my permission!  Water should definitely stay out of the boat.

First plan of attack is to do the ground work to seal the obvious points of concern.  Hot southern summer sun had begun to peel back the varnish on the port-side bow rail.  I knew I had precious little time left to protect her before cold winter rains would begin to work further damage on her.  ( I'm still waiting on my full deck cover... )

An obvious point of entry for water splashing up during a hearty beating to port.

The entire rub-rail, junction between the rub and toe-rail, and where the toe-rail meets the deck, all needed preventative treatment and I employed both black and white sealant for the task:

This initial sealant is designed to plug the gaps.  A 2nd strip will blend the rail for a cleaner look from broadside. I repeated this between the toe and rub rail and then again on the joint where deck and toe rail come together.

I began with a light sanding of the joint between the toe and rub rail, then applied Epiphanes varnish to help recover what the sunlight had done all summer to the port forward rail, unprotected from my hillbilly cover.  I never thought of removing the rails because once that is done, one is committed to a longer term of work.  My rails are not that bad.  If I were going to do the deck and the hull, yes, I'd have pulled the rails off.  However, that means probably, that I'd want to reinstall new teak rather than old teak.  But too, one has to wonder about a redo like that, that once done, the boat loses its original flavor and is a cosmetic redo.  She is not taking on significant water at all and her rails have much character as well.  So a bit of assistance rather than a re-do was my approach.

Once applied, I decided to caulk in the sealant between the coamings and decking as water had slipped into the cockpit under seat cushions before.  I wanted to stop that nuisance too!  Everywhere there was a possible gap on Baggy Wrinkles, I caulked that gap.

Using my fat fingers, I blended the strip of sealant to finish the seam.  Some places better than others.  I'll use a razor to fix the poorer places I screwed up with my fat fingers.
View from the broadside.  White sealant applied over black covers the black between the rub rail and hull.  Black strip between toe and rub rails remains black.  Protection is more important than the aesthetics for me.  After all, the black goes with the dark texture of the teak.  In my opinion!  Better than would the white!
 An obvious gap appeared at the foremost part of Baggy Wrinkles, between the hull and the bow plate.  Again, I stuffed it.  In the following photo, see the first sealant line of black which will later be covered with a second run of white. 

If you're wondering about the anchor chain, it is my fail-safe security blanket which holds onto the winch hook.  Having to cleat and uncleat a thick nylon line got too tedious for me.  Most Dories don't arrive with a bow hook.  I remove the chain when sailing of course.

Once I'd plugged up every visible gap I cleaned up some lines and considered my task nearly done.  I want to go below and examine where I may need to employ some additional adhesive plus, I will re-look the cockpit drains and install some white flex tubing which will go better with the interior look.

View from atop the coaming to the deck.  Sealing this natural gap will help to eliminate water dripping into the cockpit while sailing.  Plus, moisture really hinders stowing cushions aboard after a long day on the water.
So there she is once again, getting a bit of work.  Maintenance.  Looking forward to putting a vinyl bottom coat on her and getting a proper boot stripe too!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall sailing season has hit the Southeast USA! Winds are often fierce and temperatures a bit brisky but the sailing is a great opportunity to test one's mettle in conditions otherwise seldom seen during the hot summer days.

Watching the wind predictors and wanting to splash Baggy Wrinkles, I plotted to splash her at the tail end of the front.  It was overcast and not a boat on the lake when I backed her down the ramp.  Winds were laying in heavy from the Northwest and made securing her at launch critical.  Otherwise she'd have blown onto the swim beach at the club!

While rigging her a 2nd reef and securing items aboard, the trailing edge of the front began to tear open a brilliant blue sky.  Frothy waves skipped across the bay as I watched a rainbow appear and arc across the sky planting its feet at both ends.  I managed a quick photo due to the need to keep my hands on tiller and an eye on the wind!

Brisk winds at our stern made taking this at least doable.  The grey trailing edge of the front blows toward the ocean.

The brisk winds were out of the NW as the Dory enjoys a broad reach North into our "Bay" sailing area.

This plan was terrific, as I sailed back and forth across the bay.  The wind predictions included a switch to northerly winds but that would not happen until the next day.

The next morning I headed back to the Dory and found her pulling hard against her mooring lines with an angry north wind bristling to take a bite out of her sails.  Leaving the 2nd reef in, and putting the little motor on forward, I untied the forward line and jumped aboard leaving just enough time to grab the tiller and ease the mainsail into the wind.  Without the motor's assist, and single-handed, it would have been highly improbable to resist the domination of the wind.  I only had about 50 feet to the shallows and shoreline. 

Although hard to capture while single-handed, the whisk of wind blowing the mist of spray from the bow wave indicates the punch of these early morning winds.  The trailing edge of the front continued until about 11am this day.

This photo of wing and wing helps to demonstrate taking advantage of some brisk winds for a down-wind run. 

I had my new whisker pole below.  But that was the problem.  Although it would have come in real handy, it is nearly impossible to secure the tiller and maintain positioning with a brisk 20kts blowing the vessel along and at the same time launch into an effort to pin the genoa and secure it to the ring on the mast. 

I opted to "pass" on the whisker and continue downwind a bit before jibing and heading east as the photo above illustrates.  Gotta be real careful with a jibe at this point.  Hauling in on the mainsheet so that it has less momentum while crossing overhead helped to lessen the stress on the dory and she jibed through nicely biting off on a terrific broad reach.

I could tell the forecasters must have done their homework on the front, the gusts were lessening in velocity and in frequency towards late morning.  While sailing west I determined that a lessening breeze from the North would make return to the Club a tutorial in tacking.  And with lulls, and the effects of the pine-treed shoreline, this would make the tutorial bewitching.  I opted to head for home and managed to pinch just enough wind to make my entrance to the bay. 
And I do have to say, that this is what Retirement should look like!

Pointing from the right foot, crossed over the left, to the horizon you'll see a clump of trees just left of the port shrouds--that's my entry point to the Club.  Made it.  Baggy Wrinkles seemed to be smiling after her performance today...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

After a month away from my Cape Dory, I'm itching to get back to several projects that need attention.  Before I left, I was consulting with the Sailors Tailor about a cover, and now that I'm back I'm not finding anything about a cover completed.  So, that's a due-out.  I hate to think what the Dory looks like since the South is now covered in the first cold storm of the season.

For the past month I've been following the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage trail.  Either a yellow arrow or a shell marks the700 kilometer walk across the Camino Frances of northern Spain.

So, in absence of the cover, back to something which a posting on the CDSOA site caused me to look in vain to find on my postings; that of the repair of a toe-rail on Baggy Wrinkles.

I inherited a vessel with some dubious injuries on the toe and rub rail which the form
er owner had repaired a bit.  Both starboard and port sides had what appeared to be cracked or splitting sections of the railing.  A 3 or 4 foot section on starboard had replaced what must have been a serious deterioration of the rail.  So, upon closer examination, the screw holes were loose, which would seriously permit water into the hull.  And along the top of each side, numerous bungs were missing, screws were rusting, and one could see problems abounding after a while.  Perhaps someone in the past had thought they'd just put any old screw in, or perhaps they just didn't take the time to get any bungs, and used some caulking instead to plug the screw holes.  For whatever reason, the task appeared important, for as one person asked on the CDSOA site that water might be leaking through these holes?  And for me I believe it may have been true.

When I beat to windward, the splashing water could easily seep underneath the toe rail (due to deteriorating caulking) and with uncertainty in the screws and their caulking into the hull cement, water could gain access that way as well.  So I set forth to remedy the obvious.  Fix the bung holes.  Second task to repair the obvious breach on the rail.

 Although I probably should have photographed my method, I did not.  You'll have to use your imagination.
The photo shows the toe rail after I have c-clamped it back into proper alignment.

I used a couple of pieces of metal to help grab the length of the rail and to insure the c-clamps didn't further injure the wood, creating holes as they brought the wood together.

Too, I decided that I would use a firm bonding epoxy resin and build the rail "up."  The inside portion of the teak had been ripped off further making it impossible for two screws to hold the teak in place.  It splayed out.  Yet I knew that if I used a permanent resin along with screws I could probably resolve the problem for the future or until such time that I might entertain a refit of the entire rails--something I'd prefer a ship-builder to accomplish.  After all, I'm not trying to pretend as if I'm one!  I'm just  doing the nit-noid stuff to keep my boat sea-worthy.

It worked.

So in the following photos you will see the results of my efforts on the starboard side.  The port was identical but not as badly damaged.

Top down view showing the way the resin reforms the toe rail.  I had to keep the alignment with the rail so the white trail of the screw hole is evident on the one hole.  I did not bother with trying to build the top since this is underneath the genoa track.  I could sand this down later and rebuild the top too.  Gives me something to do later.

The resin epoxy adhered really well.  At minimum, it is strong and blends with the teak color well.

Next step was to insert the screws with another hard sealing caulk making sure lots of it was already in the hole.  Water seepage was my concern.  So far so good underneath.

 Since this posting, I realized I needed a "finished product" photo.  I found this while sailing the other day, in quite a bit of wind ( over 20kts at times ) and here is the "fix" with the spring block riding atop doing its job.

So, this is an idea, perhaps not the best repair, but it has seemed to hold now for the past 8 months.  I still have to address re-caulking the seam between the deck and the toe rail however.