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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Monday, February 15, 2016

An ah-ha moment occurred during my de-rigging of Baggy Wrinkles the other day.  It caught my attention rather quickly.  It was a pensive moment, worthy of a good cigar too, and I spent a few gestalt moments reflecting over this discovery.  Life is too short to get too excited about every little thing, and this little thing, albeit important, had not failed, but could have.  I thought about this for a while and how fortunate I was and also how careless I'd been to not validate every itty bitty thing in the rigging....   A lesson relearned again.

A convenient cigar holder on the aft deck while piddling around doing some checks on the dory. 

I'd been sailing this rig pretty hard for the past several years and decided to remove the rigging and send it up to the folks at Rigging Only who could redo the small amount of wires the Dory has in a quick fashion, and they did so within one week.  It was great service and figuring about 6 wires done, the cost was about 75 bucks per stay.

But in the de-rigging I discovered something critically wrong which I'd not found in several times of stepping the mast, traveling the road, and re-rigging the dory.  At the top of the forestay, the pin holding the forestay to the tang on the mast was unsecure, that is, there was no cotter pin securing the pin to the tang at all!  Thinking perhaps it might have broken-off recently helped me satisfy my curiosity but didn't truly reconcile my carelessness in failing to comb over every connection in my rig.  Had that pin wriggled lose, the mast would have been free to blow down under power, and crash the deck and me, and perhaps break the tabernacle on the cuddy cabin, tearing it out of its mount.  

What is more bizarre is that I had had this rig up and down a number of times and whether the cotter pin had broken off or never been inserted in the pin is beyond me.  Like we often say, "I thought I had checked that thing!"

Examining old closed turnbuckles which I replaced with open versions that might be a bit easier to adjust. A close look at the rigging is always part of any inspection process.  I'm so glad it's a little bitty yacht.

It was another lesson in redundancy.  As with any machine, one needs to constantly check systems, fluids, contacts, bolts and nuts, wires and lines, cleats and blocks, and ever be attending to some of the same things all the time.  And especially on a sailboat which is constantly under stress and moving.  Metal can break, and wires can deteriorate, and these small things can create big havoc in times when we need a sound rig. 

It's funny too because on a new vehicle or vessel, we'll rush back to the manufacturer at the slightest inconvenient discovery.  I recall when we purchased our Beneteau 473 years ago, it was delivered to the Virgin Islands without some appointments and fixes that we had anticipated.  We were pretty disappointed.  Yet we often fail to be disappointed in ourselves when it is obviously our own fault that our rig is deficient.  But that is the truth of the matter.  So, a great discovery and all my fault!

So, happily discovering my error, I've got a couple of bags of cotter pins and will be replacing all connections on s/v Baggy Wrinkles as soon as the weather clears up and temps moderate.  Plus, I've got some refurbishing of teak to do as well.  I've decided to put some glossy Epiphanes on the dory this season and give her some penache on the water.