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, October 15, 2016

It's difficult working alone.  And conversation seems to be one-sided.

Just about the time you think, "ok, now I'm on the boat, all my tools are here, and I have all the time I need...." you can't find the tool you just brought up the ladder.  So there you stand, looking like someone just diagnosed you with "a little bit of dementia" as you stare directly at our stuff and cannot see it.  So, the problem with working solo.  Two heads are better than one.  Three becomes a political problem, so two are satisfactory.  

Having another person who is not as blind as you helps when looking for those needle nose pliers or as I did the other day, my small Vise Grips for holding onto a chain plate in a small space requiring small tools.  I simply lost it somewhere in front of me.  And I still haven't found that bugger.  It must be camouflaged.

I hope some of this disorientation and temporary blindness will not interfere with a splash some time near All Saints Day.  That'd be a fitting day to do so!  We shall see about that schedule after I get the mast sorted out.

Untying the mast from its perilous attachment to the trailer has been over 100 days in coming.  With some joy I began to cut away the sad lines that hoisted and held this piece in its transit from Nova Scotia, and I laid out the stays to see the true condition and position of everything.  Like everything else aboard, there will be no accept "as-is" for any part of the mechanics.  I'd be accepting decisions of someone for whom I cannot vouchsafe for a machine which relies upon integrity of components.  It's always best to go over all of it personally so that by the time I take the tiller, I know what I have.

The transporter grabbed this 35 foot long Bohemoth and lashed it to the trailer for its 2 thousand mile journey, across international borders, the forests of Maine and the hazards of the American Interstate road system.  I have put off unwrapping this until now.

This Alberg is the gift that keeps on giving.  Partly because of its short sailing seasons in Nova Scotia and partly due to the scarcity of parts, I think the Berg suffered from garage fixes that simply had to make do.  So, as I unwrapped the lines tied about the mast, I began to unveil a number of vagaries that needed attention. 


The masthead is suffering from a lack of proper fitment in this homemade tang which holds the jib sheet block.  If its edges become habitually in contact with other components in that area, it could cause serious problems with the integrity of the furler and/or the mast crane itself.  Better to replace.  Rationale for its being there is easy to assume but keeping it is not.

The placement of the furler on the second hole on the crane is also interesting and I'm sending out queries to the Alberg Association as to the best angle of fitment for the roller furling device.  As you see, the equipment for the FM antenna and the cable, here hanging out of its exit point, are long past functional.  In that we will engage in mostly lake sailing for now, we will continue to use our handheld radios and not worry with the big FM antenna aboard at this time. I will work a threaded component  to provide future capability of installing a wired FM.

The other section of the masthead reveals a legacy anchor light with its power and ground (to the mast).  The blocks are a tangle underneath this crane in my opinion.  The block in the photo below  nearest the orange cone, appears to be the topping lift and the tang supporting the second block to its left appears to be the blue and white mainsheet.  Simple enough, if not crowded at the top of the mast.


 Nonetheless, it is a bit worn but not excessively so for her age of 39.  I unwrapped the spreaders to see what was awaiting me here and was surprised not to see some sort of bailing wire holding the spreader in place on the shrouds.  I assumed there would be something, but here again, perhaps I have wrongly assumed this.  But by sheer reason of the way sailboats work, this device has to hold at a certain mathematical point along the shrouds to be effective.  Another "due - out" for me to check with my Association of Alberg owners.  Checking in Don Casey's excellent books, this needs attention nonetheless.  Could it have been sailed without this? Everything is possible.
The 1st Mate provided some of her time to come to the yard and hold the ratchet on the chain plates and finish off some fastening that I had not been able to achieve alone.  This was especially helpful and so I asked her if she'd also climb into the chain locker to check no a couple of bolts up there too.  No problem.  We finished tightening up a loose bolt on a cleat portside bow and checked on the viability of removing another cleat on the bow plate which is necessary in order to fit the anchor roller.  

There is a lot of conversation amongst the Albergers about these old pieces of metal, judged by many, to be insufficiently capable of taking the strains of this size yacht.  Aspersions to Whitby's Boat Works not using large enough bolts also adds to the mystique of a critical refitment.  I had no reason to dispute this, but as I entered into the bulkhead, I realized my vessel was pretty hearty down below despite these comments.  Putting in new stainless steel and larger bolts at least made me "feel" better about my Alberg's condition.
The chain plates are all newly manufactured.  I did not enlarge the slots in the deck, that was far too invasive for this refitment.  Rather, I increased the size of the bolts from 1/4 inch to 15/16ths shoulder bolts instead of fully threaded bolts.  This enables the bolts a close fit without damaging the plates and the increased diameter will provide that assurance the rigging needs to power up.  I also did not see the need below decks to enhance the bulkhead as it was in good condition.  

Hopefully this older Harken will make its debut on the Alberg in a couple of weeks with or without a sail.  I've left the genoa at a loft to add a sacrificial on the sail to protect it from the UV rays.  

No matter, there's always a half-dozen things to do on an Alberg of this age and I will not be bored soon.  The mast is already testing my capabilities.  But I will begin to retrograde some of my equipment back home and open up the inside of the Berg for humans again.  It's a bit crowded with work tools down below still yet.