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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Monday, May 1, 2017


It was a matter of time.  I had to get the Lazy-Jack system reconfigured.  It has become a point of contention between Nautica and me.  It had to stop.

For months now I've grumbled about the inefficiency of the system I'd inherited.   The rig appeared to be a factory Harken package yet it did not appear to fit the boom.  Each time we'd flake the sail, the luff would tumble haphazardly and spill onto the deck, partly due to a missing 4 inches of track at the mast, and to the inability of the lines to help corral the sail at the luff end of the boom.  The Harken online materials recommends 3 lines wrapping the boom for a 30 footer. 

This Alberg's mast track ends near the beginning of the goose-necks' track, leaving about 4 inches where the luff's slides can enter or fall out of the mast track.  When attempting to flake the sail, that 4 inches becomes one reason the sail tumbles from the boom and heads for the deck.  However, the sail itself with the initial rig hasn't the lines sufficient to guide the rest of the sail onto the boom.  The leech end is perilous as the roach of the main descends and tumbles off there while the luff tumbles up front.  A mess indeed. 

Solution, as I mentioned in the previous post, a re-configuring was in order.  

Climbing the mast is really a metaphor for ascending the mast.  If we really climbed a mast we'd be like monkeys, going hand over hand up the aluminum column.  That's not going to happen.  After looking over the options, I decided to grab a fellow club member who owned at ATN Mast Climber, he acted as belay-master and safety, and I inched my way up the mast.  That is hot-linked for easy reference.

The only significant difficulty is mental.  I learned long ago in Air Assault school, that trust of equipment and belay is sufficient for a successful belay from a Blackhawk helicopter at 100 feet.  The ATN is simple.  With tension reactive grips for feet and upper-body, one can inch-worm up a taut line and sit quite comfortably in the seat performing whatever work is necessary.  Having an attentive support team below for that occasional tool forgotten upon ascent, is extremely helpful as well.

So began the reconfiguration effort.  Removal of the knotted lines on eye-straps and the re-putting of a couple of mini cheek blocks above, and running of main support control lines with blocks for the rig down below.  The only vertical support is needed to run that main line above.  All the rest of the rig can be accomplished from below. 

This photo illustrates the rig as it had been installed on Nautica with two blocks and two points on the boom below.  It was a recipe for disaster.  The main could not flake and stay, it fell and poured onto the deck.  Efforts to corral it involved multiple red bungies with those black plastic balls which become projectiles if one fails to capture it.  Having been hit a few times in the face, I despise those bungies but had to live with them, until now.

The change was quite simple once the upper situation was revised. I installed a couple of Harken mini cheek blocks above at the same height, 22 feet, 3 feet above the spreader give or take.  I ran my main control lines first.  This is where the ascent came into play.  It was easy with the ATN, just inch up and inch down.  

The bottom section wasn't difficult, just time consuming and doing a bit of mental math, getting the lines sorted out.  I did follow George's rigging map which I will include again here.

The basic setup looks fine, I did fine-tune by trying out the fitment as given and then watching the way the sail played the lines.  With the 3 foot distance from the boom, the main wanted to jump out, so I reduced that distance to 2 feet and then left the next attachment of wrap lines at the 7 foot mark, and the final at 11 feet.  This seems to work fine at the dock but I will further field test her underway and see if it meets conditions on the water where there is more roll and tumble.  The battens do play a major role in the sail being quite a package to handle.  However, in that the lines are spaced beginning 2 feet from the mast, there is more opportunity for them to be corralled than there is without them.

Shows the points of the lazy jack from the aft perspective.

A view of the mini cam cleats on the sides of the mast.  A control bar needs to be added to insure the line doesn't jump out during use.  Otherwise they are out of the way of the business of the winches and yet easy to grab and loosen when needful under sail.

Another view of the setup.  There's a qualitative difference between the 3 foot or 2 foot first loop line around the luff area!  The close examination will cause some to wonder about the line running atop the winch.  I hoisted the boom upward with its jackline because somehow I must afix the boom so that it's normal is to sit in one place rather than fall downward.

The sail needed a bit of cajoling to fit into the new cradle but once in, as you can see here above, it laid into the lazy jack much much better than before.  In fact, once the main halyard is removed, the mast head attachment will lay down on the flat stack.

So the final outcome is pretty remarkably different with the main tucked away flat, and secure at 2', 7' and 11' feet, respectively, the sail is very compact and out of the way.  The cover doesn't even fit the luff anymore.  I won't even work a redesign as the next step is to get a stack pack for the rig to make flaking the main even easier.

In these photos I didn't do any special flaking other than to attempt getting the sail to lie flat.  I'm not too overly obsessed with this affair.  It doesn't bother me if it is not flip/flopped perfectly.  I'm more concerned that it lies down, and stores away somewhat properly.  I'll work out the kinks later.

So I'll definitely have to take another front page photo of Nautica with her new "Doo" soon. It certainly changes the perspective quite a bit.