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, July 25, 2016

"Where does this go?"

So that day, the temperature was in the 100s...

I was sweating profusely while twisted into the engine compartment, peering down, underneath the diesel, into the black abyss known ironically as, "the bilge."  It's a  rather somber location in the grand scheme of things.  You don't really think much about the bilge on a boat.  Well, unless you're the new skipper, and you realize that the bilge is the netherworld of the sailboat and the nexus between survival and sinking.  I had noticed the little bronze threaded plug in the sink by chance as I made my initial assessment of the Berg upon its arrival.  Underneath the rich blue hull, past the boot stripe, there is this dripping, slippery excretion, from the bilge.  Yes, it's messy but it is like your appendix, stuff gets held in suspension down there and if allowed to fester, could become a big issue.  You don't have to encounter the bilge often, but if you do, it is certain to get your attention.

Just past that seacock is the bilge, it's dark down there, and water, and some diesel too...never let go of the flashlight, or my phone, near that gap...will have to install some sort of lighting down below just so I can see it better when trying to find out where wires are traveling to and from.

As I squinted down my flashlight's beam, the bilge stared back at me and showed a bit of diesel floating atop the surface in the bilge.  A couple of large flexible tubes ran down the bilge going to where, I had no idea.  And that was where I began my journey below decks, or in cabinets, between the hull and liner of the Berg, trying to locate and identify the important points of my new old vessel. 
My notepad in the sink with the bag of tools, some leftover water from Nova Scotia (tasted pretty good too), and the odd assortment of that day's work assembly.  And oh by the way, it was over 100 degrees inside.

I'm asking myself this question repeatedly now about where things are and where they're headed.  And, I'm also having to take notes, because the list is growing rapidly.  It was great to get a formal Survey of the Alberg 30, and it was more than a pleasure to meet the sellers and get to know them and ask questions.  But now that all the exchange has taken place and the Berg sits on the hard, I'm looking at so many little things and asking myself, "What in the world is that?" or, "Where does that wire go to?" and, "Why is that in there?"  Too funny.
This is called "a bugger."  It's a leftover from another era.  Appears to be a radio line as the same wiring is atop the mast but the antenna is long gone.  Don't we all use handheld radios these days?  Wow, oh well, it's an old boat.  I've got a copy of Don Casey's "This Old Boat" which the previous owner bequeathed to me, LOL.
 Certainly, previous skippers wanted this or that, and I'm sure there was a reasonable answer for all of these little "buggers."  It's like a puzzle however, and I'm not the best at puzzles.  This process is like when you get a product at Walmart which has been fabricated in China with directions created by a non-english speaking and non-sailor from China.  I've scratched my head and thought, "that bolt can't fit in that hole!"  But the directions indicate it has to?  Even if I had such a sheet of directions I'm not sure I'll be able to sort out some of these mysteries.  And then you realize the directions skip something, and the mystery deepens, as you attempt to read the writer's mind in order to put together this thing which ought not to be too complicated but now has taken several hours of head-scratching and your commentary about the way the directions are written, none of which will help you in the least to figure out where to put the thing, but it feels good to rage against the author just the same.

Everyone in the Alberg Association said, "yank those things and fix 'em..."  Ok, ok, I yanked them.  Today I sent them for rehabilitation.  Chainplates, strong yet meager bolts did not do justice to them. 
So, I'm in a graduate course in shipbuilding here.  I'm being funded by my military pension and my office is aboard.  I am the Skipper and bosun's mate all at once.  I have no one to point at except myself, and it's just fine with me.  I hold the briefings and I execute the Skipper's intent.  It can't get any better than that.  Days are hot but I know that'll pass as I plan to finish my work by Labor Day weekend at least.  I keep thinking about all those uncrowded days on the lake as Fall moves in and me and the Berg get acquainted. 
I'm a philospher theologian, not an electrician, thus, this appears to me to be a very organized mess with some meaning but that meaning eludes me.  I have no idea why these wires are arranged the way they are.  So I will call in a pal from the club who speaks "electricity and wires" and have him tutor me in this stuff.  I have to comprehend it in order to fix it later. 

But the way to that vista is paved with some renovation I've seen before but multiplied by 10 or 15 at least.  The Cape Dory Typhoon was a handful but this is a truck load of complexity.  Just the teak alone has been a herculean task made easier by a pal loaning me his hot air gun which i will probably purchase from him because I've successfully started to melt the scraper.  I still have left the cap rail which is globbed with varnish that has long since peeled away from the teak revealing a poor attachment in the early coats as can be seen here:
Thick molasses colored varnish covered the bolts and sat on the teak revealing a lack of proper sealing.  However, once lifted off and sanded, the teak returned. Pictures are on the way later.
Hours of heat gun and scraping have paid off and the Berg is coming to life again.  I think this journey is going to be full of challenges and many rewards as well.  I just want to know why there is a 4 pin trailer plug coming out of the mast?  
You just never know sometimes what someone was thinking at the time.  It might have been a good idea too!
I kept looking for the mate to this but could find nothing, no holes, no wires, nothing.  I guess it was left on there as perhaps something to "get-to" one day but got "left behind" instead.  I keep reminding myself that it is an "old boat," ...39 years old to be exact.  My challenge is to extend its life by fixing systems, upgrading her specifications, making the corrections advised, and keeping on her with a schedule of maintenance that meets the Skipper's intent.  He's pretty understanding about this but does not like to miss things he should have noticed.