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, September 5, 2016

It's tough to be so ignorant on so many topics!

Sure, it's simple.
Needless to say, it requires a great deal of resourcing, conversations, and reading, if directions are not handy.  And even if they are available, like this fabulous book by Don Casey, it's tough to not really have ever done some of these things required aboard yet have to do them to a standard of 80 percent at least.  When it comes to sea-cocks, we'll raise that standard to 100 percent!

As I hit my head on a bulkhead for the umpteenth time, peering into a corner to study wires, and attempt to determine why something is connected the way it is, I have to admit that sometimes, what I see has little to do with "simplified electronics."  
This looks pretty simple I guess.  What's that hole for on the right?  Is that white wire supposed to have a wire nut like that?  Why don't the mast lights work? 
In fact, nothing electric is simple to me, and with some of the disconnected wiring and unfinished places aboard, it is harder to interpret what wire is going to what place.  In the head for example, some work on the bulkhead from what appears to have been a leak, has been partially begun but left for me is to figure out the puzzle of how it goes back together. 
After ignoring this area for weeks, it is time to take a hard look at how to improve on what had begun here. It appears to have been a leak which damaged the bulkhead (and chain plate because of proximity) and yet pieces are not available for reassembly.  Previous owner had closed the sea cock for the head which was not able to be used in the protected waters of inland Nova Scotia.  A portable head was emplaced instead.  
Fortunately, our recent tropical storm did less damage in our region than in others, and provided me the opportunity to check my leak prevention work aboard.  The morning after it passed, I made the commute over to the club and climbed aboard to find the results.  

I had had this passing thought during the night, "...wonder if I opened the sea cocks for the cockpit?"  I decided to disarm that thought as one of those scurrilous sorts of night tremors that periodically keep me from sleeping by bringing up schedules, priorities, deadlines, old file items, and hosts of  unachieved goals and disappointments.  Ugh and sigh, the subconscious mind reminds me of the basement library at the French university, where the smells of a thousand years surround volumes you might associate with a film on the history channel.  Yet, the environment pulls you into the search...  I waited for the morning commute to the boat.

Stepping up the ladder I wondered if the cockpit would be full of water, or if the water might have simply filled the bilge, or maybe the sea cocks were functional and the boat was dry?  Peering over the port coaming, all looked well except that the starboard drain was backed up?  I slowly and cautiously raised the new deck hatch, and to my happy surprise, the diesel was high and dry and the starboard sea cock, although in the closed position, was not leaking from above, and upon releasing, its flow of water spilled to the ground.  The port sea cock had functioned flawlessly, draining all rain water from the cockpit and decks.  

Opening the hatch was not so happy....

Portlights are re-put with acrylic tinted replacement panes, and I had removed the shelving on this port side to check for leaks, and re-seated the stanchion base (the suspect), and  sanded and repainted the salon with Polyurethane Brightsides to make my hunt easier.  A small plastic container placed against the hull where the red case is lying in this photo was two thirds full of water when I arrived after the storm.  From the droplets I observed, I suspect I must do the inevitable, remove the genoa track.  This leak will be problematic every time this rail is buried under sail, probably what happened every summer for the past ten years or more.
My nose was met with the smell of wet fabric.  This meant either in the salon or v-berth, or both.  Inspection revealed the port side repairs in the salon I had previously made still did not address the invisible fracture creating a leak.
Stumbling over equipment and rearranging sail bags and wet cushions, I was very disappointed to discover the port-side near the first and second chain plates appeared to show some moisture, while even more rainwater appeared to stream into the port shelf above the v-berth.  I pulled both cushions out to dry in the cockpit for the weekend and re-engaged with my work light to examine traces of moisture or other indicators of the pathway of this leak.  Whereas I was able to actually see droplets of water hanging on the thru-bolts for the port-side genoa track, here in the v-berth, not so easily seen.  I removed the attractive peg-board, looks original to the Berg, which was wet at the base and has a delightfully musty smell itself.  Glad to see that go anyway.  I threw these items overboard to the ground.  I figured I would give the Berg the dry Labor Day weekend alone to think about her leaks and time to "dry-out" a bit before I climb back aboard and begin poking around again.

The taped-off area is where I had done some probing regarding possible arch problems and/or water issues and had fiberglassed the day before.  It was dry and happy.  Beyond, the collection of cushions, sails and equipment smelled of wet fabric. 

Too, I examined the mast step and the forward hatch emplacement, suspicious that perhaps the naked eye could not see fissures in and around those locations that might have permitted water to seep inside the top of the cabin and run discretely yet underneath the deck and flow downward through a bad seam between the hull and deck connection.  Many possibilities are possible and I have to eliminate them one by one.

On the up-side of all this, I think this Alberg's previous owners may not have had the urgency to discover these things because of the nature of their sailing plans.  After all, if the vessel had only been sailed for 3 months a year and covered up the rest of the year, perhaps this problem was avoided by virtue of not being so exposed to weather.  Nonetheless, there are some leaks.  I must find them and stop them.  This challenge will help for the future, as I will have a thorough knowledge of all the areas of the vessel and have a plan in place to execute if I have not already solved the problems ahead of time.  And that is a good thing.
Afternoon before storm Hermine predicted to arrive in the evening, I cycled over to check stuff and take down the extra plastic so rain is able to fall all over the cockpit and the deck.  It has to be subject to water, much water.

I expected an older vessel to have some issues but just the same I like the lines and look of the Alberg and think that given time she'll do just fine.