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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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Time to Sail

With a few projects now complete, the end of 6 months of aggressive re-fitment comes to an end.

The last few weeks has been a mid-winter project time.  Putting on the swim ladder, installing the anchor roller and anchor, affixing the vang, splicing several sheets, and fiddling with the mainsail track.  
A West Marine product, this is probably the longest folding step ladder in their line-up.  This heavy unit pivots off the starboard and does not make contact with the hull at all since the hinges are deliberately designed to create a slanting ascent for the swimmer.  The white plastic-wood creates the mounting through which the four 5/16th shoulder bolts grab both 6 by 6 backing plates below, located inside the salon cockpit cabinets.  For safety of foot traffic, I insert a flat fender underneath the steps to prevent any pedestrian pressure being put on the hinge mount.

The white plastic wood material here creates a leveling support for the anchor which lies primarily on the bow plate. 

The fitment is secure and during sailing, there is no movement of the anchor because it lies perfectly in its position with its chain and as it is also tied-to for additional security.

The vang installation was simple.  It's role is debatable but I want every bit of sail adjust possible.  Got this vang used on Ebay, picked up the mast base bail from Grhauer.  Will run this to the cockpit for control.

Now I turn my attention more to sailing than fixing.  The beauty of the southern USA is that the climate is very moderate.  So I'm now focused on sails, sail trim, handling, and routine maintenance.

It took six months to get to this point, that point being catching up to where I can address routine maintenance issues rather than critical issues.  The big list is finished.  It feels similar to graduating from a masters program in sailboat restoration 101.  There is much more to do for sure, but I think I am ready for restoration 102 now.

Meanwhile, I need "tiller time."  

So seizing a perfect day, temps in the high 60s, winds about 5 to 8 knots, I secured my GoPro on the stern rail and took off.   After several hours on the water my GoPro finally ran out of juice.  I stripped endless footage down to 9 minutes, a long video itself, but ran the footage at 4x speed.  You might like the Chopin Piano sonata I choose to marry up with this perfect day!

Everything aboard worked quite well on this day.  It will take a little more practice setting the anchor in these clay bottom conditions.  But this is true for any anchorage.  The Delta plow worked much better than the Danforth for my conditions.  I found using the diesel to pull it deeper into the mud was important.  I also think the 4 feet of chain needs some work, a swivel and about 2 more feet to extend its pressure on the anchor.  The main anchor line is not chain but line.  Haul-out is a messy affair due to the mud.

But at least I'm sailing more than working on the Berg!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Good Tempo of maintenance despite dropping another tool in the drink!

Our weather has been delightful for the most part for over a week.  And that means stuff gets done!
Winter will toss us some difficult days, very humid, rain, cool temps and brisk winds, not all days when you'd want to be on the water.  This makes for a great tempo as there are some small things that always need to be chased while, for the most part, if the conditions are favorable, there is also great sailing to be had.

I've sorted my urgencies down to a few items I've wanted to fix aboard Nautica.  The anchor roller has been a pre-occupation of mine for a couple of months, but in this mild winter I managed to find a few dry days with sun during which I made the fix up at the bow. I used this white "azek" plastic type material which looks like wood but is actually recycled plastics.  Thus, it does not present another  piece of natural material to protect.  Azek is a brand but the material is recycled plastics, perfect I think for this type of application.
Placement was as good as I could fit given the original deck arrangements of the Alberg.  I don't think the Alberg was designed to stop anywhere and throw down an anchor!
It is worth looking carefully at the "line up" of all items in this photo:  Skene chock moved aft to permit roller placement to starboard, outward edge of roller has downward edge so that it butts against the starboard edge of bow plate with roller's left side, 3 large shoulder bolts secure the roller on the deck supported with the white azek block so that bolts do not drill through bow plate, dock line has options to attach either to port or starboard but chafe could occur with the position it takes in this photo, and the rolling furler "can" misses the anchor when in place plus there is room for removing the fore-stay pin located on bow plate.

My Berg does not lend itself to a polite fitment for the anchor roller, thus, I had to rearrange things up front as best as I could.  I moved the starboard "skene chock" aft about a foot to accommodate a dock line while providing the roller ample room to lay over the sturdy bow plate.  The rolling furlering drum just misses the anchor as the roller is set in at an angle to starboard to accommodate the particular anomalies of the bow plate's configuration.  I also drilled a few more holes of course, and did more yacht yoga to crawl into the anchor roller to apply my Vise Grips for solo tightening on deck.
There's a more noticeable gap between anchor and hull than this photo reveals.  Plus the anchor is pulled tight and secured at this point as if ready to sail.  Otherwise it would move out a bit more.  The A in the Delta sits atop the 2nd roller.
As the photos reveal, the clearance from tip of anchor to hull is about 2 inches, which the photo does not reveal, and I am thinking to adhere a cushion to protect the hull from any tapping which might occur.  I will have to reserve judgement on that clearance until it is sea-tested, yet dropping it in the slip and hauling it in, it performed without a fault.  Guess it is a great design on the part of both roller and anchor.
This shows the distance to  hull.  When hauling aboard, it came up cleanly and went to bed without complaint!

Another item to affix will be my boarding ladder.  I had marked the point on starboard deck where this will affix with plenty of space in the cabinet below to put-in the hefty backing plates.  West Marine's heavy 4 step ladder will extend off the starboard beam just ahead of the genoa track.  

I've included these photos because other Albergers might be interested in this location.  The 1 and 3/4 inch height from deck to cap rail level required building up the attachment.

I used Marine Sealant from West Marine to seal this sandwich with clamps overnight then used BoatLife to seal the Azek to the deck and used varnish on the exterior of the plywood insert where it is exposed.  The bolts are doing the heavy lifting, not the adhesive! 
This photo shows the ladder in closed position. However, it needs a cushion of some sort underneath the folded steps to prevent undo leverage on the base as the folded steps are about 2 inches off the deck.  I think this is easily resolved by a Boat US cushion?  Something such as that is bright blue and is required by the USCG to be aboard and available in the event of an MOB.  So, the solution!  Of course working single-handed, I managed to contribute a small pair of Vise-Grips to underneath my slip.  Hopefully on some scorching hot summer day I will get motivated to dive down and find that little bugger!
I chose to place rubber underneath the supporting steel over the cap rail.  The brute weight of this ladder is not to be confused with flimsy aluminum ladders.  It has a rating for about 250 pounds and itself weighs about 15 pounds.  Due to its weight, the ladder is easily deployed and the hinges are designed so that it has a built-in stop, as the ladder forms a gentle angle away from the hull.  Well designed and well worth the money!

I will employ a small line to the ladder steps since I cannot reach up and deploy the ladder by hand from the water.  The ladder itself is stainless steel and quite heavy, rating it's capability at about 250 pounds, so this gives you an idea of the durability of this product.  Azek will rise from the deck to provide a 90 degree angle or the supports and automotive rubber on the cap rail will protect it from damage when the ladder is deployed.

And too, I've taken to re-varnishing the primary tiller which has some control points on it for holding it in place while underway.  These are not quite "cruise control" ready but help to keep a heading for a few moments when otherwise needing to go forward.  The previous owner had purchased a new tiller, passing that along with the sale to me and which I mounted first. Yet, seeing another available tiller with these additional items already bored and attached, I thought I had might as well expand my inventory.

As always, removing the heavily applied varnish is best done with the heat gun:

This truly is the best and easiest way to do this task!

The previous varnishing had not been properly applied so that there were heavy runs and bumps on the surface and sanding simply took off one coat revealing another.  The tiller had previously had some cool nautical weaving yet someone got the idea to protect it all and varnished the weaving as well.  Probably why the previous owner purchased another tiller because hardened weaving would tear at the hands!  I will employ this tiller for a while to see if I care for the additional extension stick it holds, and to see if the semi-auto tiller provides me any satisfaction.  If not, then it's up for sale!

And finally the bolts for my vang bail arrived.  I affixed the bail to the mast, leaving the mast plate holes available for blocks with which I will employ later to guide lines to the cockpit.  Running the lines aft is a project for a bit later
Now that these items are aboard, I've reached the 6th month plus 1 week of refitment since 11 July when she was delivered. I don't even hesitate to get her underway now, as she is largely ready for the tasks of sailing, sometimes under strong winds and light ones.

There will be more changes ahead, but this is sort of a bench-mark for getting the "must-do" fixes done.  I'm pricing a new dodger, and I've still got my eye on the lazyjack system currently in place but not working to my desired level of performance.  

Today is a sailing day, forecast is for 10 - 20kts.  Single-handing again, with a first reef in main and genny.  Should be a great day as temps are set to be near 70 degrees in the month of January!  We've done that before with ease:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I had to laugh.  

The weather was warmish and sun was bright, a great day to get the anchor roller secured to the deck and complete this one item I'd been hoping to do for some time.

Fortunately, I had not left anything at home as in previous visits to the vessel, when after driving an hour one discovers the very drill and assorted gear were left on the work bench, missed loading in the haste of getting aboard to fix something!  This time, all was aboard, the weather was great, and I relished the Southern Winter's sun as I pulled up on my motorcycle to do this small fix aboard Nautica. 

20 years old this year. 1997 Honda Valkyrie, the legend grows...

It was a great ride through the back country between my home and the club.  Never a direct route, but an uncrowded one, that doesn't stress you out with hazardous non-driving "cagers," a term reserved by cyclists for those who are inside cars, talking, texting, eating, and oblivious to the motorcyclists around them.  So this back route was a pleasure.  The skies were brilliant and I appreciated the relaxed and warm ride this Winter had delivered us.

So aboard, I gathered my assortment of tools in a bag, the anchor roller I'd scuttled away for several months now, having gotten it on sale from Defender Industries.  This was the day my work would come together, the particular support block I'd fashioned from the Azek wood-type material made of plastic, the boat life caulk, the stainless shoulder bolts from West Marine, and the great weather which I had not done anything to create...and then forward on deck I went.

I set my tool bag next to the windless and the starboard rail with the battery powered drill piled on top.  I had wanted to replace this Ryobi with something more durable, but the Ryobi just kept working, so I saved more money by using it, go figure.  Turning my attention to the placement of the Azek and the pre-drilled holes I had so carefully put into the deck I began to apply the boat caulk and was just about to drop the bolts through the Azek into the deck when something moved near me.  At first I thought it was something rattling on the deck like usual.  But then splash!  Surprised, my eyes followed the Ryobi's tumble from the bag into the pea-green lake, bubbles following it's descent into the dubious bottom of mud, rocks, cans and turtles.  I just had to laugh.  At first I thought perhaps I'd jump in and rescue it but then recalled the radio had said the water was a cool 52 degrees just yesterday, and I did not like the idea of diving down several times to find my drill in the murk and mud of the lake.  After all, it wouldn't work after I retrieved it anyway!

So there I sat, a perfect day of work, sidelined by my aging Ryobi drill which haplessly tumbled into the lake thus ending its 5 year contract with me by sidelining me when I needed it most.  How can you feel frustrated with that?  Time to get a new DieWalt cordless!

We tolerate these Winter days in the Southern USA with easy patience. 
Like most of the projects on Nautica now, they are not critical, they are needed but can wait another day, or week, before they have to be done, if that.  I just want to get my Delta anchor on the bow so that I can begin to enjoy some of the delightful anchorages on the lake and to test it for when grandchildren may come aboard to learn to be pirates with me.  We have to be able to anchor for swimming after all!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

A great winter afternoon sail

This video speaks for itself.  

While cold temps envelope some regions, I am fortunate to live in a moderate climate where winter opens its hands to permit some brilliant days on the water.  Here is one of those times on 30 December, as a front pushed over the region.  I had arrived at the club at about 1030am to arrange a few things and straighten out my sail track after some issues after a sail the previous day.  I instinctively turned on my radio for the "rolling" WX (weather) report generated by the National Weather Service, "high winds, 12 to 30 kts predicted over the area, a small craft advisory is in effect for the...."  I looked out over the cove and saw the backside of the fetch and knew the winds were husky, but it didn't look like Armageddon yet.  

As I finished my tasks, I made sure my reef was secure, straightened up below so I wouldn't have my personal effects pouring out onto the sole while heeled-over.  Out of the slip I motored and hoisted the canvas.  The rest is pure enjoyment.

The day was an enjoyable journey, replicated over and over by Alberg owners who know this vessel better than I do.  I admired the way she balanced in the wind, and how she handled the elements with grace.  I kept thinking how the lake reminded me of a protected bay on the coast and how she might head out into the ocean with the slightest hesitation.  One day in the future we may indeed do that!  For now, we will continue to perfect our relationship and refit so that she is even more easily handled by one than she is now.

One of the fixes I continue to study is leading the controlling sheets to the cockpit by removing the winches on the mast and boom and bringing them home.  Plus, will have to design the deck-top fair-leads and locking clamps that go along with this.  A small job but a major transformation to come!

Enjoy the video!