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 modest Alberg inventory.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Gifts for Christmas and the New Year

A project boat!  This is the gift that just keeps on giving.  Summer into winter, past the seasons and holidays and into the New Year!

The sailing continues however, more sailing than usual because of the season.  Winter fronts provide some dynamic conditions on the lake requiring a bit of reefing.
This photo captures the dynamic of weather over the lake as a front slowly pushes across the SouthEast skies revealing some of the contrasts and shades the human eye remembers but cannot process until we think back on a day of sailing.

And so, back to drawing the plan for details ahead this year.  My list is changing of course, from major fixes, to smaller ones, from critical to advantageous, of the things I have to have to the things I'd like to have.  So, I have to establish a priority and keep in mind that I don't have a corporate budget to achieve them!  That's part of the fun to be able to find the right stuff at the right price and get the boat working to optimal performance just the same.

I don't have a staff working with me that can recommend courses of action or who can go source materials while I fix one thing after another.  I am the customer, the mechanic, the manager, the resource agent and the bewildered sailor.  

Therefore, I have to fall back on my trusted method, draw a diagram. 

Visualizing helps to order the chaos aboard and make mental sense of the deck.  This order is then translated into projects.

I realize it's not very sophisticated but its what I need to keep track of the variety of little nit-noid items that I think the Berg needs.  I think about these many things one at a time, not all of which really are nit-noid, but they are a gaggle of dissimilar things that require categorizing, arranging, as for where they'll come from, how do they fit, when to put them on etc.  After a while, I just have to map it out, else, I'll forget which company's item I'd wanted for this or which size I wanted of something else for that.

In this diagram I'm mapping out the deck fitments that I will need to run my lines to the cabin top, how many lines, how many blocks and what kind of blocks, various fair leads and locking clamps.   This is a great process.  Having previously owned the nicely appointed Beneteau 473, I am well aware of the value of each component which I do not have now nor do I take for granted the smallest component!

A skipper ideally must be able to single-hand their boat.  Most of my sailing is solo.  When folks are aboard, they can pull on lines.  But when alone, in a blow, it is nice to be able to reach over and adjust a sheet, let out the main, and trim one's vessel.  I had looked at the Berg and noticed that it was not quite ready for this.  In order to remedy this I would have to run probably 4 lines to the cockpit:  a main halyard, one or two reefing lines, and possibly one traveller line too.  Of course, that last line is to be proposed as the traveller at this time sits on the stern deck!  I envision getting a curved traveller to run over the cabin top in front of the dodger, whose line is easily worked under the protection from the elements.  Other lines may come later, for the boom vang I am putting on for instance, or for the topping lift.  

These are all preferences.  Yet they all have many requirements and must be fit into the scheme of the deck in a way that doesn't clutter an already busy area of the boat.  Thus, a diagram.  I figured I would run the first set of 4 lines to the starboard cabin top to locking clamps so that the current winch there can be used.  It will have to be reinforced again I think from below to be strong enough though.  I may have to put another winch on the port side of the cabin top for other additional lines. 
Back in July the naked deck appears as an open canvass for the handy yachtsman.  Hope I don't have to do that again!
The boat-math begins; that for every rope there is a block to guide it aft, up the incline of the deck to a fairlead, which in turn angles that rope in the direction of the locking clamps at the cabin bulkhead in the cockpit.  This single route for one line could probably run in an average purchase of about $250 bucks, depending on the brand used and whether you might economize by having two fairleads together or single, and whether also you might want to have an additional bevy of a 4 plex fairlead, which can be nearly $100 while an eyelet is merely $25 or so, but money adds up quickly.  And that is for the port side.  Multiply by two in order to add the starboard, now $500.... and so on and on, it goes.

But we sailors don't like to look at these things in terms of dollars but in efficiencies, for when you have that line within reach and you're able to single-hand that wild pony under any circumstance!

The good thing is there are some lines that don't need to be led aft, the furling headsail, the anchor, and perhaps maybe options on another one or two.  But at this moment, I'll focus on one side, the one with the winch.  That'll be cheaper!

This all led to rapidly prioritizing the need for a boom vang.  Being able to further control the shape of the mainsail will provide an instant increase in benefit.  I didn't want to purchase a new vang! Wanting to keep the costs down, I found an outlet for marine products and found a Harken setup for half the cost with the rope too.  The vendor is from the Great Lakes, so the benefit is the products have not been ordinarily soaked in salt waters.  At least as far as one knows...the rope did feel rather stiff.  But, it showed evidence of being left around in weather so...

Vendor's photograph
Of course you always hope you'll get a great deal on these things but I wasn't real happy when it arrived.  It was rather stiff, dirty and somewhat green.  But, ok, I bought it used and I had to expect that right?   Got over that quick, took it to the garage, disassembled it, tossed the line into a bucket of warm water with some dish soap for an hour before tossing it in a lingerie bag and washing it with a load of bedding. 
Customer's photograph
Looks old but not unserviceable.  I did not photograph the green parts however.  The gentle wash process worked great.  I'm happy.  If I were sailing the ocean and needed one, I'd grab this one!  After taking the rope vang apart and letting it dry out overnight and lubricating the bearings and cam cleat, for good measure, it turns out that although a bit worn it certainly meets my immediate needs.

 There appears to be sun bleaching on sections of the rope as if it might have been lying on a deck for an extended period of time.  I wanted to experiment with a rope before jumping into the abyss of prices for boom vangs with support, which involve a whole lot more expense.  Question is, will this function?  That's my logic.  We shall see if it delivers what is needed for sail shape as it is certainly ready for service now. Even the rope feels better to the touch!

So, this is simply one of the nit-noids that I'm chasing.  Meanwhile our lake continues to be 6 feet lower than normal not leaving me much draft to make my 360 turn...yet so far, so good, no scuffs and no stops.

A deceivingly calm port with Nautica reefed and ready for departure on a very warm December day.

So the post-Christmas blues have set in for the week, as the flurry of that anticipation dissolves into real life again.  The weather report indicates some windows of opportunity, with a warming trend and winds increasing in our sector of the country.  If you've followed this blog for a while, you will know that not many folks sail in the winter here, despite the fact that the winds are good.  Weather was calling for a crazy 10 to 28 kts of wind.  Turned out to be about 12 to 15 max.  That's an estimate cause once again, I'd misplaced my anemometer.

Full genoa is heaving us over in this temporary gust.  Most of today's sailing was with both a reefed main and reefed genoa.
A few days after Christmas and the winds are pushing again.  Since I'm single-handing, most of my photos are captured in awkward positions like this one where I'm standing on the lee cockpit, leaning on the boom trying to grab this moment as the gusts stream across the lake surface.  Compare this photo to the one of the vessel in her slip reminding us all that reefing early is a handy rule!