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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Saturday, July 30, 2016

How much does it cost to renovate a sailboat!

During an unusually hot work day this past week, temps in the 100s and heat index in the 110s, I stood in my salon considering the myriad of "to-do's" I had before me while sweat puddled at my feet, running onto the sole boards, they too needing refinishing (photo here of one in process), and thought to myself, "I need to catalogue the man-hours I'm putting into this vessel lest I lose sight of the enormous amount of energy, time, effort and unseen 'cash flow' which occurs in the midst of this process."  

One of the many projects saying, "help, fix me please!"  After working 6 to 8 hours at the yard, I come home and meet my overnight crew of passive fixes in the form of wood, needing cleaning, scraping, sanding, refinishing.

So for the past 3 weeks, time has flown by fast, the Berg has taken my complete focus.  Personal duties have subsided with the final burial of my father, and life has returned to "normal," as normal as life can be with our many personal hurdles, family responsibilities, and the many items needing a human hand and attention.  Even making sure my grass has enough water is a focus, alas, so much to think about, evenings are often summarized in a few drinks and a cigar, something suitable to eat, keeping in mind my own battle with endocrinology matters, and rest, i.e., sleep.  And I thought to myself standing there drenched from my own sweat, how enormous a commitment of time alone, I've invested.  

I thought I must quickly now jot down an estimate of hours spent on this project so far and make a habit of logging in my daily time spent.  For what?  For myself.  Lost in the mystery of the Berg's transition, is the human element, the physically torturous environment conditions and the building monetary deposits which also stealthily creep upward and upward so that the surveyor's estimate of what it would cost to replace "Queen Bea," her former name, would be about $220,000 dollars.  

Hmmm, I suspect I may be on that pathway myself.  If I determine that I alone, rookie ship-refitter that I am, have a doctoral degree in another discipline and have been hired on despite all that to refit a 39 year old classic Alberg 30 all by my sophisticated self, I'd have to charge at least what I'd pay another fellow to do such summary labor--that which I do myself.  If money weren't an option, I'd pay 15 to 20 bucks an hour!  I've got to remember I'm paying myself so with education alone I should merit more but I'll settle for such a payment from my imaginary employer, ha!  If we don't do this, we lose sight of why our vessels refit and renovation are so very expensive!

In another week the diesel mechanic will arrive to do a base-line service on my Yanmar 2QM15 iron jenny.  I will not expect that mechanic to do his service for less than a food-worker in New York City who is getting 15 dollars and hour for taking orders now would I?  I fully expect to pay much more.  I want that diesel to provide the Berg safety and security under sun, night, and torrential rain and storms, to chug relentlessly to port.  That is worth a lot of green backs.

Therefore (you see how I reason this--rational deduction is a blessing) I will now "keep book" on my commitment of time and cash to see what the Berg really costs.  I will see if there is some sort of widget that I can use on this page to illustrate this commitment.  If one of you reading this knows of such a little bugger, please comment so that I can procure it's services.

The port side of the taff rail where a skeen chock had sat, covered with varnish, obscuring its pleasant design, and a piece of the rail now pulled apart and ignored for years, is to be uncovered, re-put, polishing the chock, and revarnishing with the proven Epifanes varnishes I used on Baggy Wrinkles in 2013-2016.  Time to renovate.

Meanwhile, my days at the yard usually end with a cold shower from the old hose that lies in the grass like a snake.  I strip down to my boat shoes and shorts and remember cold waters I've been in from place to place, and feel my body temperature pull downward and recuperate from punishing strain in the sun as I reflect on the final task that day of the removal of varnish from the taff-rail (see photo before) , I continued using my pal's heat gun, scraping the heavy curling fragments of old varnish from beautiful teak, revealing a diamond in the rough here below, even with a crack to fix, looks beautiful.  I think it was worth the heat and suffering...


The same taff rail after mere minutes under the service of a hot-gun and scraper.  The physical demands of this are slight yet made torturous by surface temps over 100 degrees in all directions.  Soon it will transform.

Despite the cold shower, the oppressive heat has worn me out by this time.  I began working this day at 0730, when I drove over to the club, and arriving at 0830 I began my work, albeit light, and some conversation with another club pal who knows electric, I then began reputting dorets I had manufactured overnight onto the stern dorade vents and then moved on to the taff-rail.  By the time it was 1430, I was smoked from heat and sun.  I stood motionless letting the water cool off my body, not as young as I thought I was, but feeling the revival of energy surge a bit.  And even though I consume as much cold water as possible, these infusions are no match for direct sun.  But I find another drink and change, starting my truck, adding the A/C and slowly down another cold drink and think to myself, "Who in the earth could I get to do this work for 15 dollars an hour?"

Gainfully employed, I make my obligatory trip by West Marine and find whatever hardware or item necessary or the next day.  Entering the store for me has become like Norm on Cheers, that sitcom from years ago, they greet me by my first name and welcome me back.  Sure they ought to, I had spent $400 dollars in merely 3 weeks!  I'll surely rank as one of their preferred customers this month.  The A/C works great there and I try to be careful and take my 3x5 card with my supply list so that I am not romanced by attractive things like electronics, rubber coated anchors in blue, red and yellow (which I really like), or the smaller Yeti cup like my neighbor has which costs an alarming 30 dollars.  My bill this day is actually a credit because I had inadvertently purchased screws too short for my taff rail skeen chocks.  That link to skeen chocks is too interesting not to follow right now!


Once home, I check on my final project list, the "after hours" items.  The forward v-berth cabin sole, foc'sle ( yes look this up too ) , has begun transformation.  And after a few days of home-work and about 7 or 8 applications of Epifanes, this renovated piece of the sole will inspire anyone "down below" aboard the Berg.  

All in a day's work and schedule.  Now for sleep.