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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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Last year's Christmas was a breezy and cold time on the lake!

This photo is a bit enhanced with contrast but not excessively.  It was really dark that day.  The western horizon shows a bit of daylight yet also a squall to the WSW.  Water was warm nonetheless.
Looks like Christmas this year in the USA is somewhat abnormal with the El Nino effect bringing warm temps to a large part of the northeast.  Not sure how long that effect will continue, but makes one wonder if any dories will be splashed on Christmas Day as a result!

As the warm temps hit the northeast, the southeast is being tackled by moderate temps with increasing stormy conditions sweeping from west to east.  Lots of rain and turbulence are making sure we keep our lake levels up and our soil saturated this year.  Up until just a week ago we were enjoying balmy temps and good winds.  Now we're soaked-in, constant rains, but at least no freezing temps!

Looks like that rail's buried!  My winches weren't yet polished this time last year.  The lead from the genoa is pulled across the cockpit to a cleat on the cabin top where it is closer for me to release.

It was just a year ago I had set out for a windy bit of sailing on Lake Murray.  What began as a stiff breeze, built into a strong northwest wind with foreboding ceiling.  But I still remember that day, very grey and menacing, very windy, first reef in the main, and steady waves from the west.

The compass acted as a clinometer.  Baggy Wrinkles did fine, a tribute to a great design of such a sturdy vessel.  

The reef definitely helped reduce weather helm as I headed west, down the lake as we say, toward the famous Bomb Island (used for target practice during the second war).  

That is Bomb Island dead ahead off the bow plate.  Click on the link in the above bold text for some photos of the B-25 Bomber recovered from Lake Murray some years ago.  I'm sure there's more stuff down there but I'm not going to dive down to find out!

 So, while this Christmas weather changes our expectations a bit, we realize that these changes happen, whether it is global warming or whether it is simply the earth going through its phases of life.  It's good to reflect back once in a while and remember a brisk but fun sail last winter.  I'm sure there's much more winter ahead too!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We're about to turn to winter here in the south.  Light has been shifting into the southern hemisphere for weeks and with that shift a new perspective on things brings cooler colors in photos.  Here are some I snapped...

Backing the genoa and parking the dory, I walked forward and spent a few minutes looking here and there at connections, and then at the formidable nose of the dory.  Imagine where this bow has been?  How many docks has she approached?  What sorts of weather has beat upon this age old metal dating back to early civilizations, bronze, the bronze age.  It evokes something historic and yet something a bit too difficult to reach, yet here is the metal, now, in the present...

And this is the view from above the bronze bow plate:
The famous dory bow plate, patina bronze, one of the only pieces aboard like it, as the other ones I polish. 

After a quick re-tie, the sheets on the genoa are secured.  Once we had departed the launch dock I spotted one of the bitter ends seemed to have crept perilously close to the bind of the bowline while the wind pulled on the genoa.  I figured a retie was in order.

The low light illuminates the quiet strength of the knots on the clew:
A couple of bowlines doing their job. Sunlight from the southwest. Cool temps. Soft winter pastel colors.

 Looking back on the dory, parked in the wind, you could imagine kids jumping off to swim here, or a fishing line trolling behind, soft coolers with snacks and drinks, taking time to enjoy being aboard...

More pastels, and shadows, teak on white, bronze deck plate, and quiet water laps her hull...

I think everyone who is infatuated with their little yacht likes to admire its appointments.  The Typhoon isn't very sophisticated however.  But it is quaint, and memorable, of another time and place, and of other owners who also admired her lines and wondered where she'd been before.  

I wrote a short-story on a Cape Dory Typhoon for a doctoral course I have been taking for a couple of years at Wesley Seminary in the subject of narrative discourse.  The little dory in my story features the idea of narrative collapse & restoration.  I may post that story here in the future.  Funny how a little sailboat can inspire such salient themes in us.   And yet, everything about restoring and renovating an old classic says so much about the value of important things, and of people too.  Everyone can re-emerge, even after long periods of neglect and misuse, there can be a resurgence of goodness.  

So many of these boats have seen sunny days and fun, and then periods of neglect and forgotteness,  peeling paint, faded teak, green mold on knotted lines, and mildew spots on sails...  

And then along comes love and affection!
Winter's sun, low in the southwest, dancing spots of light, shiny winch, warm teak, blue specs on taut lines...
 Glimpses of resurgence!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wind!  That's the formula for some good sailing.  But the weather does not care if you're comfortable or not.  And so the sailing goes on, rain or shine.  Baggy Wrinkles had a good window for some late Autumn sailing this past weekend with forecasts suggesting 15 to 25 kts at most.  

Thinking this would involve some reefing, I kept in mind that the forecasts are just that and the real determination would have to be made on the water.  

The sunlight around late morning looked more like late afternoon.  I was glad to have sunshine instead of rain however, and viewing the harbor of the yacht club looked to be a brisk northerly wind whipping across our little cove.   I'd been reading the book Loki and Loon:  A Lifetime Affair with the Sea, by Gifford B. Pinchot, who talked about his penchant to sail without motor assistance and how that became a life-long challenge.  So, consequently thinking of this, I had decided to further challenge our sail this day by removing the little Yamaha 2.5 horse.  I wanted to challenge my skills further.  Sometimes the fact that the motor is on the stern takes from one's attention to performance, so it was just my own little thing this day.  I hoped I was not kidding myself when I left the motor in my truck and headed down onto the rickety rigging dock bouncing from the waves.  It looked like it might be better to put this challenge off to some other day perhaps?  Naw, it was today, I had to do it!

It would make for a decisive launch as well, in that there's only about 120 feet of passage to the northwest by which we'd have to come about in order to get out of the harbor.  The concrete revetment looked hungrily at Baggy Wrinkles as she suited up for the day of sailing.  It was a do it or die situation I placed her in.  If I had the skills, she had the capability.  But she's not good to point but she is steady on the run!  I'd have to handle her decisively and correctly or I'd pay a pretty price for my goof-up!

She was in her element, stiff winds and cold snap blasted her on her beam at the rigging dock.  She remembered some great sailing days, perhaps some of the best we'd had last Winter on the lake with 2 foot waves and a boiling grey sky that tossed the waves over the bow washing out through the cockpit scuppers.  That was some exciting sailing!  Would we have that today? Not sure yet.  I didn't pull out my anemometer because it was down in my carry-on sack.  I wanted to make sure we'd tied on the first reef and readied for our take off.  I acted like I didn't hear the wind shouting in my ears....

It was a fast launch.  I removed the stern line and choked up on the bow line while grabbing her coaming board I shoved her off the end of the dock and leaped into the cockpit as she headed directly toward the revetment wall.  She quickly responded to the mainsail haul in and the genoa bellowed up just as fast pulling her relentlessly toward the wall across from the safety of the dock.  What was I doing?  Was I out of my mind?  Seconds ticked by as I held her course straight-on.  I had to go as far as I dared to push her and as far as I needed in order to make that first critical tack to the East with the N/NE wind on her beam.  Would I make it or would there be some rise on the lake bottom to hang her up?  What if I don't see a sunken tree from our torrential October rains?  What is my course of action if she hangs up?  Will I be able to get into the water safely and steady her from the wind till I'm able to relaunch from across the cove?  You always have to have these ideas resolved in your plan before you launch but of course under the flap of the sheet and the briskness of the cold wind, the questions surface rapidly like screaming objections to your plan!

At just the moment I had determined, I threw the tiller hard a-lee and she gracefully came about as the genny again filled with that beautiful shape when the wind is robust and there's no luff to be found.  Baggy Wrinkles did what she knows how to do with her eyes closed, she headed wind a-beam, laughing and prancing on the once foreboding looking situation, passing the rigging dock to our leeward we ran toward our next tack and repeated this several times, gaining distance from the revetment and opening up plenty of sea space for some delightful sailing.  

It is December, and the winds seem more powerful just because they're cold.  It also feels like we're going just that faster because we're cold.  

After a hour or so, I pulled her up into the wind, backed the genoa, and parked.  I untied the first reef and hauled the main into position.  The wind was consistent but not building.  If I needed I'd park again and re-put the reef but the reef actually makes for some easy tacking as we had to make in the harbor, and for less weather helm on the lake.  But the Typhoon handles 20kts so easily that I usually only put a reef in if we're headed north of 20.  Then again, it all depends on the situation, type of wind if gusty or not, and the waves and who's onboard.  Today I was solo and the wind was very forgiving though at times brisk enough to get your attention.

Even the compass looks cold with hues of blue in the late afternoon sunlight.

Fingers get a bit stiff in the cold too, but after a while with an increased heart rate and the clear sunny skies I was able to get plenty of warmth on our downwind runs.  At one point I snapped this view to stern.  The wind moderated a bit and our tacks became quite enjoyable out on the main lake.  I laid back on the bunk with my head propped on the stern coaming and relaxed as she ran first one way then another in the sun.  Not another sailboat and next to no fishing boats either.  She had the lake to herself.  I'm glad we pushed and got out on the lake this day, it was delightful.

You can almost see Baggy Wrinkles laughing if you look close enough!  She's a happy sailing little gal...

A happy trail of her passage on the surface of the lake is the backdrop for her fancy flag to wave Ahoy!  Notice her Builder's Plate on the inside of the Cockpit looking fore. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The simple is often the most appreciated.  Everything on a Cape Dory is simple!  I think that is why it is such a valuable design and appreciated by so many.   


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Still sailing and more sailing.  

As I mentioned in another post, the fall-winter winds in the Southern USA are perfect for some great sailing.  The winds were pushing a gentle 8/12 kts the other day, overcast a bit, yet provided some pleasant sailing on the lake.  

A fellow itty-bitty cruiser snapped this photo of Baggy Wrinkles and me returning from the "grande large" to the yacht club cove as we exchanged quick pleasantries and tips on the weather...

Baggy Wrinkles on a broad reach with the yacht club in the background skies look threatening and cold but it was delightfully mild with a nice bit of wind to propel us across the lake.

A bit blurry as Baggy Wrinkles heads upwind toward the docks.
The lake wasn't crowded at all of course.  It was a week-day, kids were in school and the parents all working.  A great time to sail.  Single-handing as usual, means I also serve as the photographer aboard.  

These two photographs below reveal a bit about the conditions on the lake, the degree of heel at moments pushed to about 30 degrees but that was the exception not the rule.  Boat speed was being measured by Sail Droid at anywhere from 4.5 to 6.3 as you see below:

I used the handy radio holder for my LG phone here.  I stuck the clinometer to the area just below the hatch doors near the deck sole.  Seems to be a good place to check the angle of heel and is out of the way.  On this day heel was mostly around 15 degrees.  The Typhoon has a niche at which it seems to sail best, and that of course is a balancing act between wind speed, conditions, sheeting, etc.  You can read ad infinitum about this on sailing sites.  I simply try to be reasonable about the heel because I do want to go forward most of the time rather than side-ways.  Too much heel and helm pressure simply becomes a fist-fight with the tiller aboard.

And so this is the result...
Winch is barber-hauling a bit to bring the genoa closer-in, winds are good and waves are minimal.  Conditions were pleasant and temps mild....

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Not much more to say than this....

 Waiting for tomorrow's wind.  Late Autumn and the temps are cooling as is the water, Baggy Wrinkles waiting to chomp some wind.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I am constantly looking at sailboats for sale on the market.  It's a habit of mine.  But not without reason.  

There's always the live-aboard boat dream which seems to dwell within, a sort of Quixotic condition that effects me, I mean us, with that lure of the sea.  And I include "you" because you probably also have this problem if you're following this.  The best remedy for this chronic condition is to shop for a boat that you will not purchase today, or tomorrow, but in a distant time when less wittingly you will cast your cautions like useless deck lines to shore, and drift out onto the pleasant waters of a time and place impervious to the hectic nonsense of today and resistant to the nonsensical digital flotsam.  A place where you can instead breathe easy and be left alone on your yacht, your world.  A place where you are in control and you can say "be-damned" to the urgencies of the digital monolith and respond only to your wishes and the winds' whimsical attitudes.

Your mind has this all worked out of course.  It's putting it to paper that becomes the reality therapy that causes me to shop.  Shopping delays this fantasy while it also lures me to look.  Yet your daily to-do list keeps you tied to shore and your sensibilities have a tendency to kick-in when your fantasies grow monstrously, scrolling through listing photos of bronze and teak, brilliant under-way glimpses of the yacht you will command, one day, or so you imagine... 

The price of used sailboats varies drastically.  It is also remarkably outrageous how much certain folks are asking for what they have as if they are somehow trying to recoup their personal attachment rather than trying to be frank about the value of their vessel.

So, I did a test of this on and decided to look at Hinckleys, a veritable standard of fine vessels.  You can begin at nearly 1 million dollars for an 1980's 60 footer and drop to 100k for a 30 some-footer of the same builder, there were only 17 listings.  Each vessel however, had its ups and downs, as these vessels are a combination of solid manufacturing and the ordinary wear and tear of a life on and near the water.  Some owners care and others are those who couldn't care, and still others are those who might not have the energy left to care and so the boat listings languish over the weeks, months, years!

Makes me smile and be happy that I'm sailing a Cape Dory which doesn't cost me a fortune nor require a fortune to sustain.  However, if you do the same search for Cape Dory Typhoons on that site, you will find the same disparity of pricing of 31 similar Typhoons, from 22k to 2k.  It is interesting that due to their quality of build that these boats are still available.  They do wear in weather.  And some of the Typhoons listed are in pretty dour condition while others are in stellar condition, at least on the outside!  Like their bigger brother, the Hinkley, it is a good idea to look underneath the deck to see the state of affairs and make sure of the seaworthiness of a potential purchase.

Hull #729, circa 1974 photo taken in 2015
Yet in the end, I am happy to own one of these little buggers for its place in history and its lure on the water.  Like more famous and fast designs, it has its niche and appeal to a certain kind of buyer for a certain kind of sailing.  It's not fast, doesn't point well, and requires updating the varnish all the time, and it rewards its owners with classic lines on the water appearing as something which might have time traveled in order to catch your eye.

Nonetheless, I'll keep perusing the used sailboats' market to see how the hulls are doing despite a market in which anyone can find most any sailboat of most any style, length, price, and fantasy.  Meanwhile, this one sails just right!

Monday, November 2, 2015

What do you do when this happens?

Well it just happens.  Sometimes the wind doesn't arrive on the day you arrive to sail.  And you must have a plan or else leave yourself open to disappointment and the loss of expectations which, thankfully, seem to become less of an issue the older one gets, so preparation is easier at least.
Surely your vessel never looks like this.  The bulkheads are looking rather plain--will have to add some safety information or nautical looking paraphernalia to add a bit of sea-worthiness to this environment below in case grand children show up.  But they'd probably want some food stocks and soft-drinks too!
 So it happened to me the other day.  So I had tied the Typhoon to the dock overnight to arrive for a bit of sailing the next day.  The day was beautiful but the wind was 3 to 5 kts with most of it being 0 to 3 kts.  Temperatures were great and with so many little things to do about the boat I decided instead to "mess around" aboard instead of sail.  That's the phrase borrowed from the Wind in the Willows and it kept coming to mind as I spent time aboard simply paying attention to details I'd shelved for a less active time.  That time had come.  It's important to know these times.

Since resurfacing the hull and painting the mono-urethane, I've been quite happy with the condition of things below the waterline.  Aboard topside, I'm noticing the need for some attention to re-varnishing some of the rub-rail as it gets quite a bit of use and little appreciation for its efforts in daily use.  Making mental notes along the way I randomly paid attention to various items needing attention: the cockpit drain piping I want to replace (again), the caulking between the interior fiberglass surrounding each porthole and deck plate, a bit of cleaning on the same fiberglass, attention to the stainless steel nuts which have attracted a bit of soiling from the environment, a bit of Mothers polish needed on the winches, and so my list grew.  I didn't write these things down.  It's a small vessel.  Discipline is light to recall things to-do although I have left my little plastic clinometer at home several times with the thought that I'd apply that to the bulkhead on my next trip over to the lake.  But this time I brought it!
So this is what these sliders on the cockpit are for! 

But too much for the moment so I decided upon a strategy for these problems, ...I'd have a cigar!  This was not a capricious decision.  I'd brought one of my collection aboard.  I had planned this nexus of things I enjoy for their ability to intersect at moments just such as this.

The cigar was just the right answer for the moment.  I opened the forward deck-plate for some draft and settled in for what I would call some strategic thinking aboard Baggy Wrinkles. 

That time went well.  From my berth below I was able to wile away the time quite efficiently with a cigar I'd purchased from my "pal" Carlos, from the Algarva in Portugal who runs a bit of a store and has the nicest demeanor as he displays a footlocker sized humidor of a thousand cigars stacked neatly like munitions in his custom oak and cedar treasure chest.  They're only about $2.50 apiece contrasted to the exorbitant 8 to 10 dollars wanted online.  The smoke drifted through the cabin while I considered what a great deal this cigar was.  
Some strategic planning taking place aboard Baggy Wrinkles.  Why appear to be busy at such a critical time as this?  Part of being a sailor is taking times to chill-out and think about things. 

Cigars are good when otherwise you'd fiddle with something.  At least with a cigar you can enjoy the flavorful leaves grown for just such a purpose, enjoyment, and money of course.  But for us, the clientele, we of the cigar aficionados of the world, it's not about much more than flavorful musing, and strategic thinking, of course, done while appreciating the pleasant aroma.  A good cigar will also be delightfully aromatic in the air while a poorly manufactured one will reek of pneumonia from leaves whose humidity rose too high and were rolled and shipped to the unawares.  Be advised!

Well this messing-about was going real well I thought, and the weather was quietly impressive too.  I did what sailors have to do in times like this, I straightened things up and found good use of my bright orange crate down below as a catch-all for stuff; another technical term for important things you might need one day.  You always will need a knife and a lighter I said to myself as I confidently arranged things below, and a towel, a jacket, some extra line, bracket for the Go-Pro, assorted burgees, some winch grease, and on and on...

I found this time particularly useful and a great stress-relief.  Sometimes when you're not so 'busy' you have time to take a look around and ask yourself why you've not done such and such, or this and that, and you make a to-do list to get those done.  It all makes for good use of time when the weather is taking a break itself.  No mind, it is a good use of time.  
View from below decks through the forward brass deck-plate found at Bristol Bronze. 

The hours drifted by, with an occasional wave to others paddling a scow or flying-Scot towards shore, reputing my flag stanchion on the taff-rail after spraying it a more pleasant gold color, topping-off my outboard-something which means security to me, and feeding a few squatting spiders to the fish in the murky lake waters below.  I was accomplishing some important little tasks left for times just like this. 
So wrapping the mainsail cover over the boom and tying the rudder amidships, I checked the dock-lines again and tidied up a bit before making my way home having felt confident that this bit of strategic pause was just what was needed today.
Fall weather is particularly seductive with its combination of fading summer hues and the intermittent bold arrival of reds.  Here, Baggy Wrinkles looks particularly ready for some action as the day of messing about down below decks comes to an end.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Remember the Rain in South Carolina?

Like the proverbial wolf in the tale of the "Three Pigs," South Carolina got a powerful storm in October that ranked as the most powerful storm on record.  

I was conveniently out of town when the storm raged over the state.  All the while, I wondered if my Cape Dory would survive the deluge of rain?  So, as soon as the highways were open again, I returned to the Club and photographed with my GoPro the discovery aboard Baggy Wrinkles...  I call this the "Cover Inspection" of Baggy Wrinkles:

I have to say, this is a remarkably fine cover and I highly recommend it!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This video is for all those viewers who've pulled their boats for the winter--a fun reminder of the enjoyable summer past when they had the leisure to sail in the sunny days of summer.  Now gone, Fall has swept into the Southeast USA with torrential rains and cooler temps.  But the sailing continues...

 Note:  I had let the GoPro just run one day late this Summer.  It captures the gentle conditions with about 8 kts of wind.  Seemed rather humorous to me, as I adjust my cap, and look around for a wisp of wind on the water, taking advantage of whatever I can find.  The music reflects the same!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Got the "hankerin" to race the other day.  We will have to fix that urge.

Hull 729, Baggy Wrinkles, a Cape Dory Typhoon...

Wind was great that day.  There were 4 of us boats, an Express 27, an Ensign, a San Juan 24, and us, little Baggy Wrinkles.  If you know what you're reading, here you know how it turned out.  I should have known better than to join this run windward/leeward.  

Well I think our Commodore urged me to join, "it'd be great," he said.  Yes it might with 15 to 20kts of wind, I thought to myself, foolishly persuading myself we might have an advantage of some sort.

So, the 1st Mate suggested it'd be a great sailing day, so why not?  Ok, if she's in it, then I'll suffer through.  After all, why do something that is going to cause you pain and suffering, loss of sleep at night, and the urge to spend money on a fast boat?  So many club members own 3 boats!

At the race start we were spot-on to start, then a Flying Scot passing across while waiting for his race start, got in our way, delaying my crossing the start line by 30 seconds, ahh then we got across and there were the sterns of the Express and the Ensign, a mere 100 feet away!  Good wind, perhaps I can stay on their sterns and chase a bit, mused I did, in my sailor's dreamy mind.  But after a run this way, then that way, the sterns became more distant, the San Juan's skipper, new to his boat, was catching the same tacks as the 2 leaders....  It would not be long, I thought to myself, that this fleet of 3 would be long gone when at the windward rounding, we'd be lost off the charts and the race committee would be looking at their watches wondering where was the Cape Dory, sail number 729?

We were actually very close to the San Juan at the windward rounding.  We pushed the Dory as close to the wind as we could and tacked near to shore, pinching every bit of angle advantage we could when the San Juan slipped into its downwind run, a bit off course to the Southeast, while we ran straight downwind thinking we had them easy!  We set the whisker pole to port, let the main to starboard, wing on wing and off she went, happily gulping the 15 to 20 kts with joy.  Baggy Wrinkles was like a puppy in the waves laughing ignorantly at the race.  What uninformed hubris it was!  But for a few moments on deck we were like kids in a fantasy story.

The club radio clocked the Express, again, across the finish line.  Well, he always wins the races anyway, it's a fast boat!  Then the Ensign followed close behind.  We figured that.  And then we watched in horror as the San Juan finally got his whisker up after 10 minutes and began to creep faster away toward the committee boat.  It was over.  We knew it was.  We crossed the line last at 2 hours and 13 minutes.  Did anyone remember that?  Did they figure our PHRF?  Distance was about 10 miles or so.  That put us at about 4.4 kts for over the ground speed.  It was not enough.  We lost another race.

When will we learn?  Baggy Wrinkles looked sad as we passed the committee boat.  She could see the San Juan off to port, now easily sliding toward the cove and home.  She wasn't far behind, close enough to think she might catch the San Juan, and far enough to lose.  Nobody photographed her, nobody cared, it was a Cape Dory.  Everyone tends to tell her how cute she is, and what a darling classic, but she wants to win a race once in a while too.  I guess when we get older we all want to win a race once in a while just to prove we've still got the stuff?

1st Mate and me sailed on into our cove, flaked the sails, hauled her out and put Baggy Wrinkles to bed.  She smiled coyly as we assured her that one day we'd get her to play in the water with some Cape Dories again.  She liked that idea.  She closed her portholes as we tied her cover on and headed for home.  Just another day.  But we won't subject her to such disappointment by racing such fast hulls again!  

But we said that before.... 

Always remember Baggy Wrinkles..., objects appear further than they really are!

Friday, September 18, 2015

This is a great idea for Cape Dory Sailors...

We've never quite seen anything like this for the Alberg Typhoon until the good folks at SeaBags created it!  

First Mate approves of these bags!
A couple of years back, we had some extra  Typhoon sails which were in awful condition and quite old.  Wondering what to do with them, we searched the network and discovered some useless links to a couple of assistance programs in countries where used sails were donated for fishermen and such.  This came to nothing, yet over time I kept looking.  Then I came upon the re-manufacturing industry of used sail cloth.  I did not find anything more than some very high priced businesses that made remarkable profit from used sails.  We've all seen these in high-end stores with other high-end costly products that most sailors might not be able to afford!

Then I found SeaBags, a company which will take your old sails and for the donation of material will allow you to select a bag of your choice as reciprocation for your working capital of material.  Here is the direct link for their site:

Working with them on the profile, we asked for a template of a Cape Dory Typhoon to be placed on a SeaBag we were receiving in turn for our donation of material.  

What resulted is quite a nice design.  And, since they've already gone through the process of getting the sail plan just right, there are quite a few Cape Dories that might enjoy this tote.
Zipper closes the liner.
It has a liner inside, and a large zipper on top.  A tan hemp rope is a useful handle.  The bag has that crackle of a newer sail and serves as a fine complement to your Cape Dory Adventure!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Winds were supposed to be 10 to 15 kts from the west-southwest, skies partly cloudy, temps about 85 degrees.  A typical setting for early September in South Carolina.

I'd approached the day with casual interest.  In fact, I spent quite a bit of time lying on the leeward cushion while under sail as there weren't any other boats to speak of on the lake, and from that vantage point I had a clear view of my tell-tales and advantaged the Dory with a longer waterline and thus a bit more speed.  I hoped!

And I began too to mess with my genoa during this gentle breeze.  

Baggy Wrinkles has only one genoa track which appears just rear of amidships and is about 22 inches in length.  As with everything on this little vessel, there was nothing about competition or speed in the design of the track at that position, but it certainly affords easy single-handling from the cockpit for me. I guess others may have found this fact too, not sure.

Under a brisk late winter breeze with normal block setting on a port-reach.  The sail shape blossoms ( a good word?) to aft providing lots of rounded sail but not much efficiency.  It sails fine just does not point very well upwind due to this shape.  How to move that and get a better shape?
 So to capture a better sail shape I winched in on my genoa to the best shape possible, then I grabbed the sheet which was entering the spring-block, and lapped it around my shiny winch.  Thinking I really needed a longer track was my first reaction, but everytime I start thinking that way it causes gyrations in my mind about the lack of a traveller, the archaic cam cleats holding my mainsheet, etc.  So I refuse to engage at that level.  I lapped it around the winch and watched the sail shape change.

My little shiny Gibb is doing extra duty bringing the inbound sheet alongside the tied-to the cuddy sheet. 
 It went from about 1.5 feet out to about half a foot from the stays, and the shape of the sail seemed to embrace a better more forward capture of the wind, thus I think getting me along a bit better.  This is all subjective however, cause I did not get up to grab my phone and check the speed over ground or whatever.  Just my feeling.  And that was enough.  I didn't want science to interrupt a good time sailing!
This technique pulled in the clew on the genoa a bit.  I looked at the angle from this perspective to line up the sheets for a bit more scientific approach, well just a bit of science.  You'll have to use your scientific sailor eye to determine how much closer to the stays this brought the sail.  

At least this shaped the genoa a bit more.  We'll see if it is useful or not.
 The problem with this arcane method is that I cannot trust this in stronger winds.  But you know I'll try!  We shall see as we're hoping to put the dory into some wind today and try this technique again with more aggressive conditions.

I just don't want to ruin an already beautiful rub-rail with a long track on this gorgeous little boat.  


Friday, September 4, 2015

One feature of the Cape Dory that I especially enjoy are the special bronze appointments that compliment the vessel.

Everyone seems to appreciate either the faded teak look or the revitalized teak, me the latter, and the patina look of bronze or the real look of bronze.  For me I wanted to protect a couple of bronze areas just because I think the newer look has a better effect on the eye, yet on places like the bow-plate, difficult to soak in vinegar, which will clean it like new, it comes across with quite a bit of historical flavor quietly doing its job up front.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I deliberately worked carefully around the scuppers on the hull to remove old sloppy paint.  Then I taped a plastic applesauce cup around the bronze, perfect fit, and put a paper towel soaked in vinegar inside.  After a few hours it restored the bronze to its original metal color.  Then I used Permalac spray to sustain the look.

Another piece I soaked in a bucket and sprayed last year some time.

I used a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket on this motor bracket along with a couple of gallons of white vinegar. Kind of a good look to have the uneven quality look.  I scrubed this with a wire brush as well.  Vinegar did most of the work.

I chose to restore the original color of the bronze winch stands.

Although I could, and might later, use a towel soaked in vinegar to treat this bow-plate, I enjoy the old world look it provides the Dory.

There is something classic about the patina.
There are lots of dories being restored to various degrees of originality.  I think that is the enjoyable part of owning a sailboat like the Cape Dory.  You can always find something to fix on it, yet in the meantime, it always looks great!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Had some good sailing the past few days as a cool front from up north pushed toward the east and brought with it some persistent winds.  The summer is definitely waning as daytime temps moderate away from those searing 100s with no wind to high 80s and breezes.  

Warm summer waters are made pleasant by an overcast sky and moderate temperatures.

Sailing with a friend the other day, put in one reef at the dock but after about 30 minutes we pulled up and parked while I took out the reef and went full mainsail.  An easy procedure using a back-winded jib.

Sometimes it's great to just follow a rhumb-line and enjoy the conversation that follows, something easy to do on this design which seems to lend itself to easy sailing.  This was one of those days.  Most of the projects for Baggy Wrinkles which follow involve fine tuning a few things.    I definitely need to replace the main and jib halyards.  I've put up with them since I've had her but knew I'd one day replace them with the 5/16th line.  Right now they're pretty thick and bulky and don't respond quickly to a tug.  Plus, due to my perception, I'll have each line made with a different color so that when I'm in the midst of a hoist or adjustment I don't have to think "hey, is this the jib or main halyard???"

The trailer fix in the past entry was a success in haul-out the other day too.  Wrapping the galvanized angle iron was a great prevention for a miss at the trailer during haul-out.  Lots of rubber and foam prevents from human error.  Plus, it's really really an inexpensive solution to a frustrating problem when the keel scrapes and the paint comes off!

View from the bow plate up the line of bronze hanks to the top of the head-sail.

Looking forward to some great Fall sailing as temps drop further and the Autumn winds begin to blow.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sometimes the most dangerous part of sailing, for me, is the launch and haul-out.  Some drama in it. 

Being a "dry sailor" I keep Baggy Wrinkles on a trailer safe and sound between her auditions.  With the debris and weather, a tremendous amount of deterioration is avoided by keeping her covered on a trailer. 

Sitting safe and sound on her trailer, cover taut, waiting for her next adventure on the water.  Every day she is out of the water is a day saved on the end of her life-span as deterioration is momentarily slowed and the UV rays are prevented from eating at the fiberglass and teak. 

In my opinion, the adventure of heading to the ramp is more dramatic than when she's 2nd reefed, heeled over in 25+ kts of wind!

After putting the new coating of mono-urethane on her hull, I have taken great care to make sure she gets on and off the trailer without scraping any parts of her hull and leaving that paint on the trailer.  One tendency of the dory hull is that sometimes it seems to miss the keel alignment boards and noses between the upper bunks and the bottom keel opening supports.  This makes for an awkward and inappropriate positioning of the hull.  Call it dangerous for a paintjob.

So some brainstorming for a quick and easy solution.  Rubber?  Foam?  More structures on the trailer? 

Going with the old adage used in the military schools that "less is better" at this juncture, I decided to just increase enough rubber and foam to protect the entrance of the keel board alignment area in order to nose the dory into its cradle, just right.  Some trailers look as if they are overbuilt while others look woefully inadequate.  So, after scratching that gorgeous paint job I took a month to produce, I made a couple of "preventers" at the opening of the keel bed to preclude any false entries at haul out. 

The stiff rubber tubing at the entry point was my first attempt to guide the keel in gently.  As that did not do the trick, I added the foam insulation wrap tied to the galvanized (say dangerous to the keel!) metal uprights so that a missed entry does not become a paint removal event.

If this does not meet the need, I will look to put some sort of preventer which will go from the entrance of the keel bed to the first bunk support or the stiff rubber tubing which will decisively prevent the hull from entering either the left or right of the bed.

Yeah, the hoses extruding from the bunk look rather silly, but meant to guide the keel as the dory enters the keel guide.

It's not a big thing but when you want the underneath to look as pretty as the deck, you've got to take serious measures to protect the keel from nicks and scratches.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The website for Cape Dory enthusiasts, seems to not be functioning properly for some of the membership.  If you're trying to sign onto that site the situation might not prove well.  Our webmasters assure us of a solution in due time.  In the meantime, go sailing!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The heat around this time of year is grueling and tenacious. 

Sometimes it will tease you with a knot or 2 then die when you are a mile from port leaving you to your best planning and preparation.
With little wind to interrupt the southern furnace, our sailing area tends toward becoming a mirror-like surface which broils the crew and pours UV rays with its refracted power the sun bleaching sails, drying lines, and cooking anything in its path.  I have to say there is one time on the water I cannot stand; those times when a windless mirror of silver water and the exhaustive dehydration which comes with the hopeless thought of a breath of wind seers every living creature in its grasp.  I've given up on races when waiting for wind to build.  I've flaked sails and headed proudly for home when others blindly bobbed in the broil while I run for extraction from the grasp of this menacing torture.  These are conditions which are prima for water-skiing but don't give much to the sailor in these hottest of the days of summer.
Osage Starfire Spirt, or Kira, her stage name, contemplating the heat on a summer day.  She's definitely not a southern animal.  She's dreaming of frigid temperatures. 

So, to fend-off temporary acedia, I flip-flop and focus on other things during these unbearable periods when weather patterns give no relief.  Even my collie refuses to go outside for but the most ordinary of reasons, remaining in the a/c and the protection of the cool tile and wood floors.  She's a good indicator for me of when it is unreasonably hot.  But too, I use these times beneficially to do some of that online researching for little items I need to address on Baggy Wrinkles. 

While she is safely hiding from the heat, I browse the online websites, looking at how I can improve her standing rigging, her blocks, tracks, cleats, and appointments and I create my to-do list of improvements.  Another easy task to perform is periodic teak varnishing on some of the high-use areas.  This is easily performed in the early morning cool temperatures.  Plus, the ever-continuing search for oddities like cockpit drain screens, improvements to simple connectors in the rigging, and checking linkages in high stress areas like the shrouds and fore-stay make for good use of time when the thought of sailing is the last thing I'm thinking. 

I also look at boats, other boats, other designs, and then I come back to the 18.5 foot Typhoon and consider myself luckier than that guy on who has a 1985 50 footer on the hard, deteriorating, cannot sell cause they want too much money for what it would actually take for one to get the vessel operational again, and my eyes grow swollen and tired at the small writing which indicates the listing was put many years ago.  That boat, and many others, probably can't even be sold anymore.  And if you have one, you'd best keep it, cause no one is going to offer you what you put into yours to keep it so gorgeous all those years.  It's a grandchild thing, not even your children will want it when you're long gone.  

On days I don't sail, I think about things like this and a few other things, it doesn't matter, one doesn't have to be in a hurry with a boat like this.

A GoPro still snap, while underway on a decisively dory day in the spring.