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, 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.