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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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Winter Refab Aboard - the Hull Ceiling

Due to the lake draw-down, Nautica is a slip queen for  few months.  Argggggghhhh!

This provides some time to get needed sanding and re-varnishing done aboard.  The stuff nobody wants to do.  But the effects are wonderful, and worth the time crawling around and sanding affected spots and coating them with some fiberglass gel or varnish. 

My seat concept has held up "ok," not great.  The inserts were coated numerous times with surfboard finish gelcoats and have successfully protected the main parts.  Some natural cracks have given way to a bit of gel separation.  But, for the time being that's not a great big problem that a sander, some clear weather and additional gel coating cannot fix in quick order.  We've discussed these lazarette seats on the Alberg FB page over and over again, and until there's an insert solution for them these will have to do.  In the meantime, I'm always thinking ahead to some sort of "next" solution in the form of a hard yet light product which could be glued in place and provide some additional life for these seats with a lower maintenance burden.

Inspection of Nautica went well, the UV rays, even in winter, require additional work to apply Epiphanes UV protectant varnish.  Once done that will extend their life again.  Between rain events and cold weather I managed to get more protection on the wood surfaces.

This old gal needs all the make-up she can get a hold of to keep herself  "dressed-right" for the party.  Once the lake goes down and then returns, she'll be out stretching her sails again in balmy late winter weather.  My return to the states for the month has enabled me to put some additional work into the teak and into the interior as I've finally achieved my goal of removing the "peg board" and giving Nautica a more sea-worthy appearance down below.

In a labor-intensive session over the past couple of weeks, I've removed the peg-board and begun the laborious process of procuring the fir, sealing it against moisture, then aligning, adjusting, drilling and affixing these to the supports.  I've found the supports are prone to jump off their glue if disturbed, so care must be taken to get the work done with the least amount of disturbance possible. 

The most challenging aspect of the refit has been to work without the proper tools.  Most of my tools were shipped overseas to care for my motorcycle, and what was left was my old Ryobi cordless, and a few screw drivers.  The Ryobi died in the fight and a corded hand saw from my father's estate was brought into service instead.  Problem is, when working without a proper table, makes for uncertain cuts.  Patience is not a virtue but a necessity.

Yes that is a wasp nest, behind the pegboard!  Out with it!

This is to show the lap-top method I was using to cut my strips to proper length.  No I did not cut on my leg.  Just for reference lol.

A careful cutting process with angling in the v-berth to accommodate the back-slope of the stringers on the forward anchor locker is required but otherwise rather simple to do.  Once the first piece is laid flat, it leaves a gap below for which special cuts is required to accomplish.  Drill the holes and insert the one inch or half inch number 8 stainless screws and you're off to the races.

A great environment to dry my slats during winter storms.

I worked hard to make myself look as if I knew what I was doing in this photo.  I don't.  I'm guessing. So far, I have not drilled through the exterior hull!

Not bad for guessing.  These have been coated with the polyurethane but appear quite light due to the flash.

I managed to mangle this cut and have had to put a re-do on my calendar.  I'm just not a craftsman, but I work hard to imitate one.  I decided to do the polyurethane satin finish and did not use any stain whatsoever.  My idea was to bring some light into the Berg in these areas and contrast with the teak.  I will rub the teak with oil upon finishing the project to further increase the warmth of the cabinetry.

Working hastily, in-between weather fronts and other obligations I will have completed both the v-berth and salon during this visit.  Yes, I really need to have these cushions redone, but that is for another day.  Once this project is complete and the boat is cleaned up I'll post the nicer photo-shoot.

Cost-wise is not too bad.  Milled lumber for the entire project was about $450 resourced by local entrepreneur.   The salon has brought additional challenges which I will put in the next salvo on this interior upgrade!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Simply Tacking a form of Gymnopedia

Most of my sailing is solo.  

That's probably because I'm retired and while others are working I am sailing or working on my Alberg 30.  The other reason is that having more people aboard means more opinions on which point of sail, what luff someone prefers, or not being able to trim the headsail as I, the skipper prefer, and having to bite my tongue if others are aboard!  Sailing my Alberg is not others sailing my Alberg, unless I invite them aboard.  So to sail with folks, I have to change my persona.  I try to be polite and let general consensus prevail, if it is safe.  All the while I wish I was sailing solo however!

Well, sailing with others is also social, but as an introvert, I quite enjoy my own company and in fact will answer questions I have myself, and out-loud, LOL.  Obsessive and strange, perhaps, but we introverts have our weird ways.  Perhaps I would make a happy solo passage-maker more than someone who needs more people around them to feel safe and happy.  

So in the interest of sailing solo, it is always important to me to be able to be in full control of the vessel under any condition.  Some time back a year ago I chronicled a sudden storm on our lake in which I should have put in a first reef but had to cope with my error and adjust the sail plan to handle the sudden blast.  That 45 minutes of blow came suddenly, blew fiercely, and gently ended with Nautica and me feeling quite happy that despite a "second choice" sail plan, we fared quite well spilling off the main and radically reducing the headsail.

It took me a couple of minutes to get my jacket on to guard against hypothermia, but lost that time I could have fast reefed my main.  Looking back I'd should have rushed forward, loosened the halyard and dropped the main to its first ring and latched that tight, left the excess sail to flog in place.  It needs to be a trained event we perform on days we cannot sail.

Another quite enjoyable experience, if not inherently fraught with challenges itself, is tacking in a limited area with gusty breezes.  Tacking any time can be exciting but the video in this post reveals how maintaining boat balance and a fixed sail plan, can afford a solo skipper immeasurable delight in such flat water.  The Alberg's deep keel requires one to maintain momentum in turns, and a quick and ready winch to trim the headsail.  I kept this video footage just for this posting so that folks who follow this blog and this model of sailboat can see a single-handed set of tackings over the space of a short 5 minute video.  I also did not cover the sounds with music this time but let the sound of the water, the wind, and an occasional utterance from the skipper (unrecognizable however) as we glide on flat cove waters, threading the lulls brought by shoreline trees, and the gusts which made the rigging hum.

It was one of those days I had sailed open waters for a few hours and as the sun began to descend, I thought it might make a great video.  Indeed it did, and it also affords "would be" sailors a bit of instructional tutoring in tacking.  To me it has the same look and feel of Erik Satie's Gymnopedie Number 1 where the music plays again and again with each turn on the keyboard.  So this tacking for me feels the same way:

First Mate is always impressed by the way I can handle the Alberg 30, but for me it is just like a Laser or dinghy of any sort, just bigger.  One just has to adjust for length and weight of the vessel as each design will have its own performance ratio.  With the Alberg, or the Cape Dory (also a keel hull), a mishandling of the tiller can put you in irons if you're not careful.  This often can happen if you get focused on wrapping a winch in a hurry and ignoring that your tiller is at the mercy of the rudder, itself being driven by the hull which is turning into the wind.  And, stop, crisis, flogging sails, drifting, spanking of the rigging on the mast, puts you into helpless crisis mode.  This little video shows the process of how the tacking takes place, and illustrates when a sheet gets hung-up on the foredeck, how to recover in a timely manner, and keep going with momentum.

I'm not pro-sailor at all.  But I try to be  Learning from mistakes by watching my own videos has been very illuminating.  

I watch the luff of the headsail and the position of the main with regard to the direction in which we're headed and this critical eye helps me better my technique for the next time.

Thinking back to the day I set out and had about 5 minutes before that violent storm hit my location, I now want to practice a fast reefing technique so that rather than wondering about a storm's approach, I jump into a "drill" to fast reef within 5 minutes to reduce the mainsail's vulnerability to high winds.  It can be done, we just need to practice it.

Enjoy the video and stay subscribed and read, there's always another posting to help you curb your insomnia!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Salty Dawg Rally and Pegboard Makeover

While many of us are planning for Thanksgiving, raking leaves, and putting yard furniture away.  Others have set sail and are on their way to the Caribbean, again this year, as they did last year!  

Friends Yves and Loulou, from Montreal, are sailing their Beneteau 42 from Lake Champlain to Norfolk, then joining the Salty Dawg Rally heading in the direction of the Lesser Antilles.  Their Facebook page is following them, see ( Que fait Loulou ), and their  vessel positioning is available at another tracking site at this address
If that website address fails to work the current time positioning, put in the acronym for the rally, SDR, in the Group name and all 80 vessels of the fleet will immediately become visible on their tacks.  The real time data is very impressively displayed on that site.

Peregrinos on the Camino!

I met Loulou while walking the Camino de Santiago with a friend some years back.  On their last trip I met up with them during a stop on their return passage via Charleston, South Carolina, to New York.  It's fascinating to follow her ocean adventures with Yves as she works for a television station in Montreal and has a great storyboard ahead of her!

Loulou's videography is terrific and following their passages during the next several months is sure to warm up the coldest of climates.  I definitely recommend watching their travels.

While they head for the islands, I will be taking care of some homework with Nautica in South Carolina.  I am already procuring some lathe  strips for the interior hull where pegboard was put at the manufacturer in Ontario, but has since lost her appeal and needs refinishing in a different manner.  

The following couple of photos were taken in 2016 when the vessel arrived at our yacht club in South Carolina.  Nautica is a liner model, meaning she has a fiberglass liner between the hull and the installations of cabinetry.  For aesthetic reasons, this makes her look a bit nicer when finished off in white paint and freshly oiled teak.  The peg board is the screen covering the wood ribbing which holds the inside structure of cabinetry and hoses etc.  

Portside salon showing the disheveled cushions and the peg board which is part of the storage area in this case.

And here is the beautiful white pegboard in the v-berth covering the ribs of wood and the unsavory hull behind.
As much as I had wanted to do something about this pegboard in 2016, I knew it was really way down the priority list for what lay ahead of me.  Now, jumping forward, the manager of West Marine put me onto someone who had done this at another time and had a source for fir.  I hope to be able to finish most of this in the coming weeks.  

I have put most of my focus on seaworthiness for this vessel rather than on aesthetics.  To me, that's the best money spent on my spreadsheet.  But now, we can shift to more of her appearance

LOL the "scream" I call it, stain on the bulkhead at port has now been most covered up by the insertion of an operational board where sticky notes can be placed, see below:

Now I will turn to enhancing some parts of the interior that will lend a bit more of a finished look as I have worked most of the teak interior and paint of the salon.  If my time permits I will try also to put a fresh coat of brightsides on the salon and v-berth floor areas which are still that dull yellow, or banana, color.

Sticking with simple but functional, this is the view of the galley and the fridge area (now a battery and water bottle area). The nook at the port quarter (at your right) is where water had leaked for years through the bolts in the genoa track.  With an 80% fix now, I'm more enthusiastic to get that rebuilt for minimal storage cabinets.

Looking very presentable now, the salon sole's liner, the banana colored fiberglass part, needs some white painting to bring out the contrast with the wood and to reflect the ceiling and other parts also now white.  
So, my agenda is specific for this trip and I think very achievable during this time.  The temps ought to be very forgiving and cool and the boat is not able to move from her slip due to the continued lake drawdown.  The slip has power, and with some specific tasks outlined, this will increase Nautica's look and feel to get a it of a interior makeover.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Doing the Maintenance

This time last year, our lake was drawing down.  It continues this year, taking some prime sailing months off the table for most deeper draft vessels.  This photo is from last year's drawdown when I had about one foot left under the keel.  It made for some dicey moments getting out and returning and making my 360 degree turn in order to put bow in the exit position just that much more exciting.

My agenda last year this time was to re-do my lazarette seat inserts.  For whatever reason when the Albergs were manufactured, they included teak slats fit into a shallow pan formed in the fiberglass hatch covers located in the cockpit.  Over time, anyone might have realized the problem this would bring.  On Nautica, this was an irritation beyond reason.  The teak would absorb rainwater and give it to whoever's bum was sitting on them. 

This is one of those jobs better done on the hard than on your vessel.  Laying the boards out in a good work environment enables you to get your stuff done at your timetable.  And, when your work area is climate controlled you can help the curation of the product by providing the right temperature and humidity control.

Now,  a year later, the lake is shallowing on schedule and the seats are working to defend against rainwater filling the seats.  It appears to be working thus far.  Like everything aboard, maintenance is not a one and done affair, it is a continual process for the skipper.  I am returning from Italy to South Carolina at this time and will be doing the search and repair work needed for this old gal.  If you follow this blog, you recall I used surfboard gloss hard resin to seal these seats.  I know they will need some work and I may take the lazarettes home to my garage and do some serious resurfacing in order to just further the surface strength I've already built into these two.  
I made a lot of surfboards when I was surfing in Hawaii and Florida over a period of some 6 years.  Wish that had never ended, but adulthood got in the way.  And responsibilities after that occurred.  So I know fiberglass quite well as a result.
This make-up has worked pretty well so far.  Before I departed the country, I had a tiny bit of glass separate but I was able to repair it.  I don't expect a maintenance-free setup but I hope it is less work than before and keeps bottoms dry when underway!

If you're reading this and thinking about owning an Alberg, remember this is not an off-the-shelf boat.  In fact, no sailboat is without its continual demands for fixing things.  Even new sailboats have issues.  I've owned a brand new Beneteau and it had its issues even after delivery and up to the day we sold her.  This gal is older and simpler, so most of the items needing attention are reasonably within your grasp of fixing.  If you're patient and persistent you will be very happy with your progress on these items.  I think that is validated by the FB page of Alberg and Cape Dory owners who are happy to putz along year after year, fixing one thing after another.  Well, it's a sailboat of fixed value but a very well designed boat too, so the investment is certain that you will at least maintain a good looking classic.

All boats will deteriorate on schedule, some just do that faster than others.  Those of us in this renovation of sailboats are aware that we're fighting the inevitable of something rusting out, a stainless steel strand breaking, a thru hull leaking, and on and on it goes.  But it also provides the satisfaction of keeping our boats on the water and looking as good as they can.

November will provide me time to see how Nautica has fared in the 5 months I've been away.  My Chef-Skipper has been a great help through two hurricanes, getting windage down and put away, only to reput it and have to take it all down a second time for the direct hit our club took on he second hurricane blast.  Nautica fared well.  

She is now in boat purgatory, able to float at her slip, but not able to exit her slip due to a shallowing of the channel where she must exit.  It will be another couple months of this forced exile before she will be released.  Time for some work.

It'll be a while before she does this again.  No problem.  Get things fixed that never get attention when actively sailing.