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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Monday, February 23, 2015

Sometimes you just have to back away from your work to see the progress and make adjustments to what you're doing. 

I got up early the next morning and was sipping my German coffee.  A friend of ours works overseas and returns every year to see family, stopping by our place, catching up, and bringing all sorts of German, mixes, chocolates, and best of all, kaffee! 

So there I am, coffee in hand, early in the morning peering at the 115 photos the 1st Mate had taken of our cover operation the day before of our newly arrived cover from the Sailor's Tailor, when I realized what we had failed to do the day previous.

But we had to step back to see it.  There, in the final photo from the last post was the apparent mistake, a sagging foredeck cover, and too high a pitch for the aft points, plus, not enough pull-down along the rub-rails to draw the cover snug.  Not a big deal, but big enough to frustrate the cover's ability to protect our little bitty yacht.
Looks pretty good eh? Hmm...
 Trudging back to the club, down one freeway, across town via another, then heading back north on yet another, after an hour I made my way to our parking spot in the yard.  After a few moments of self-congratulations on the project completion, whew, I set to work correcting the fine points.

First, I lowered the end of the boom, and the tent of the cover with it.  I detached the "pig tail" and let the topping lift hold the boom.  Removed the engine and bracket to provide for a good wrap around the stern.  It's light, only takes a second to lift off.   
Second, I attached the main halyard to the reef hook, providing just the right amount of "level" to the tent, and re-tied the mast neck material, thus also increasing the tug on the foredeck material.  Having the reef hook available is a very convenient hook up.

Third, I went to ground and temporarily affixed the front-most part of the cover to the chain which holds the dory on the trailer.  I realize I need a quick hook at that point now.
From there I worked around the gunwales (that's a funny word going back to military terminology) retying each nylon cord to pull down below the rub-rail about 6 inches of cover material which immediately brought the cover into proper placement.  All the corrections brought shape and function back to the sagging cover.  Credit the coffee!

With all these improvements the cover began to take on its functionality.  Foredeck with adequate grade to dispel elements.

Amidships shrouds wrapped, tension over the gunwales, good tent effect.

Looking aft, even tension and overlap, boom flat rather than tipped up.

And my favorite, the stern-

Once accomplished, everything got much, much, tighter and I think suitable for weathering the rain and ice which was ahead in a couple of days.  And this is what she looked like:

Backing away from the dory she looks a bit better now with proper sizing all around, pulled evenly over the rub-rail achieved by lowering the topping lift (not using the pig-tail) and lifting a bit at the goose-neck while pulling downward to drape over the rub-rail for a complete enclosure.  Voila:
Compare this photo with the first photo of Baggy Wrinkles above
 I think I'll sleep better at night with one less thing to worry about...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Cover is finally here!

Baggy Wrinkles is now protected from the elements.  After nearly two years of ownership, and the past six months of measurements, conversations with the manufacturer, and recalculations, and decisions and time, the cover is finally here and on the Dory.  It is the first Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender cover made by the Sailor's Tailor, and the experience and professionalism shows.

So it was off with the blue tarp and dangling bungies as 1st Mate and I jumped into a fitment process the other day.

The beautiful Southern weather in the USA is not to be taken for granted.  Just days after this photo was taken, the storms moved in with their sub zero temps, rain and sleet, and wind.  Just what a cover needs to show off its strengths!  

Leaving the sail flaked on the boom, I rolled up the boom cover, which I will use when she's docked and then hoisted the boom upward with the topping lift to accommodate the cover's peak roof effect.  Due to the weight of the cover, I utilized the main halyard to raise the boom at the tack reef hook, so the cover would have plenty of support from mast to stern points.  This creates a tent off which the debris will tumble.  Whether it will be as effective with snow is to be seen.  However, we don't see much of that in the south!  If it were me, I'd put some sort of flexible reinforcements if I were in a snowy climate. 

Once the tarp was removed and the boat readied, it was time for fitment.  The 1st Mate dragged the cover from the Suburban across the yard getting its first coat of debris!  She was also in charge of photos!  She did quite well I'd say.

This was a wrestling event between me, the 1st Mate, the Dory and the Cover itself.  Having no shape of its own besides the obvious stitching, it slopped one way, then the other, as we tried to wrestle it into position on the boat.  You really don't know the cover and how it is supposed to act at this point, so it's just a matter of slapping it into place.  While I was tugging and wrestling, the 1st Mate took some pics of the quality of the cover for some of my fellow Cape Dory Sailors who are thinking of a cover for their Little Yachts.

 This sequence shows the quality build, the corners, stitching, and the weight and durable character of the item.  It is a poly cover rather than acrylic, somewhat heavier and does well in this climate. 

These two photos are of the tang area at the end of the boom.  The closure includes a leather wrap inside which is shown latched in the next photo.  

So there are 3 closures and once buttoned up, looks quite secure and ready for work.  It was a bit punishing at first but the cover was finding its way into place step by step.

Here is the front of the mast, revealing a similar closure trio of items and the reinforced stitching to go with the closures.
Good thinking to include entry points at the mast and at the starboard quarter deck area.  This permits entry without disturbing the ties if you want to go find something you left down below. 

Some more tugging and pulling as I try to line things up, taking note of what has an effect on what else.  I'm balancing the rig so that when the debris and rain arrive it will best repel the junk and protect the dory.

So here is a close-up of an entry point showing the sewn-in bungies, the multiple layers of protection at the seam, all designed to withstand weather.

So after a couple of hours of tugging, pushing, and pulling, we arrived at what we thought was a good solution.  Yet, after getting home and taking a look at the photos later, it still wasn't quite balanced and looking in the photo below, the untrained eye can see that something isn't quite right fore and aft.
After a good night's sleep I returned to fix what I really could not see until after I'd had time to study the photographs.  Study this photo and you will probably see what I failed to see after a couple of hours of tugging and tying it in.  It really is quite obvious but we were probably so overcome with joy about getting the cover on Baggy Wrinkles we didn't have time to figure out the fine-points of it all!

The next entry will show how it finally turns out....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sailing in the dead of winter!

We're in the dead of winter, so the saying goes, that period between mid January and mid February.  I'm hoping we can manage here to eke through the remainder of this month without that surprise storm that dumps white stuff all over our beautiful sun-drenched climate and paralyzes our infrastructure.  We just don't have the machinery to deal with such a thing in the southern USA.

There is no snow in this photograph!

But in the meantime, the season has been good to our climate and so has the sailing.  This brief posting is a video of Baggy Wrinkles at play on a winter day.  These videos never convey the force of the wind but the trained eye will see that a reefed mainsail is not for show, but for maintaining a vessel's capability to make speed over ground in increasing winds.

I had set sail with full mainsail and regular large headsail not sure that the weather forecast would require the dory to reef that day.  But after about 30 minutes out of our club cove, the lake stood up and blew hard.  No problem.  I back-winded the headsail, parking for a few minutes, and put in the first reef with ease, and that was sufficient.  One of these days I'll have to post that procedure.  Comical sometimes itself as it is one frenetic moment in time! As with all my videos, choose HD on the bottom of the YouTube menu bar, to get the best possible quality playback.

I couldn't find my GoPro attachment that day, so I held the camera in one hand, the tiller in the other, and laid back to enjoy the reach across the lake.  One of my favorite musicians, Brian Culbertson, who began recording professionally from his bedroom in high school, has a terrific album out this year and the music is his. I think it fit this day perfectly!  The music track is from my Rhapsody music service so this makes a great audio and visual trip for those of you who are snowed-in during the dead of winter!

Hope this warms you up and gets you ready to sail again! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

She's Forty-one this Year!

Hull #729, Baggy Wrinkles, is 41 this year.  I think back to 1974, and boy what a time.  A quick scan back over the internet blob of data shows a remarkable tale of events.

After bringing the Cape Dory to her new home at the Lake Murray Yacht Club in South Carolina 2013
1974 Inflation continues to spiral out of control around the world reaching 11.3% in the USA and 17.2% in the UK and the global recession deepens. The famous skeleton "Lucy" is discovered in Ethiopia which lived between 3.9 to 3 million years ago. More and more smaller digital based consumer products appear in the shops and the earliest forms of Word Processors appear which resemble a typewriter more than a computer. After the findings of the Watergate Scandal Richard Nixon becomes the first US president forced to resign from office.  
                                                                                ( from

I was still in college in 1974.  I'd missed the draft by quite a distance as by that time, it had become rather ironically, a lottery about going to war!?  That was an awful play on words.  By this time I'd been sailing for about 7 years but was fascinated with Hobie Cats rather than Cape Dories.  Cats were wet and fast and still are.  I prefer the water to stay out of the cockpit these days.  In the Cape Dory brochure for 1977, the price of an open cockpit typhoon is about $6500 dollars--pricey considering a new car ran about $3,000.  Today, a Weekender model will run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 depending upon condition.  Talk about value!  Of course the dollars aren't the same are they.  And even so, the price point is very attractive today.  
Just for perspective!  And it is amazing to celebrate the 41st birthday of a remarkably well-built sailboat.  That is this year.  I think it's time she got new bottom paint for her birthday!  So am plotting to fit this work into my spring schedule which now is looking extremely tight.  Am planning to put on a vinyl bottom paint.  Baggy Wrinkles sits on a trailer when not dancing on the water.  So a slick hull will do her good.