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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Thursday, May 16, 2019

How about a brand new boat?

So when friends asked about chartering some months back we thought sure, why not?  The past six months has been much about taking care of the Alberg 30 and not much about sailing.  Plus, we thought having their company on a sail would be a great change of pace from our busy Italian lifestyle and a pre-season sail would not be so crowded.  So we were off to Croatia, again.

Skipper Rich wrapping his head from the cold on this gentle tack.

The Jeanneau 349 uses friction rings instead of tracks for the genoa and mainsheet which makes for easy tacking but less specific control of the rig unless it is balanced just right.  Something to get used to.

We immensely enjoyed our last charter in Croatia. The people are very engaging, kind, and interesting.  The Game of Thrones has made Croatia a go-to place on the map!  The sailing venue is dynamic as winds from various directions cause direct effects of different sorts depending on whether from south, north or west.  One must pay attention to the forecasts and plan their cruise with digital helps for each day on the water.

A part of the old city located near the Pile Gate.

Usually all the boats in a charter organization are relatively new ones.  Ours was a Jeanneau Odyssey 349.  We were pretty pumped about the chine hull, the new finish on the cabinets and the all or nearly new insides that always get a big smile from charterers.  We had our charter days with our Beneteau 473 in the BVI (I think I've stated that somewhere in this blog) and this was identical except for size.  We were quiet impressed with the seaworthiness and capability of the Jeanneau as we made our way around the Croatian waters again after being here exactly, to the month, ten years ago.   The difference was we were sailing a Beneteau then.  Apart from some rigging features, a few I liked and a few I did not, the boat was terrific.  It sailed smartly.

Korcula, home of Marco Polo, is quite a destination for cruisers as the harbor provides a sure location tying to large rings embedded in poured concrete.  Terrific shower facilities at the ACI Location which manages the reservations.  Lots of provisioning available by a short walk. 
Another smaller location, Ston, at its small seawall, but has an adorable village with all the stores you might need to refurbish.  Watch the channel in, as channel markers are the reverse of US markings.  People are very friendly.  The 34 shown here is the Jeanneau we sailed.

Images of Croatia are fascinating and made even more so by the Game of Thrones story-line, the images of Dubrovnik, and the Adriatic waters have drawn even more visitors to this archipelago than they did in those years.   

Chartering can be fun if the crew list is suitably arranged.  We've done this so many times that we figured we could get along with anyone for 7 days.  And these were folks we knew from our sailing club in South Carolina, so we were quite positive our week would be great.  And it was.  We've had some folks come along in our years back that were like having smelly laundry aboard but then no names will be remembered either!  We had great chemistry and all was well.  

The Dubrovnik ACI Marina is well stocked with vessels and now hosts everything needed for a great pre and post-charter experience.  The sailing plan brief was very accurate, accompanied by a digital screen to highlight islands and features we should take note of for our plan.  The briefer was a seasoned Brit who gave sound information and good advice.  We were very well assured that we would have numerous options depending upon wind, waves, storms or perfect conditions.  

First Mate en route to Ston's market area. 
You are never alone in this area. Here, large charter ships are tied to over our lines.  Being flexible and friendly is an asset.

Our experience was pretty typical of charters.  Moorings used to tell us that if we had 2-3 days of sailing we should consider our week a success and if we got 4 days, we were way ahead of the industry's standard as weather prohibits sailing in many charter weeks to a mere couple of days.  We got four days. The others were either awfully windy and stormy or persistent cold rain.  Plus, the southern winds in the Adriatic push up one and two meter swells that make for awful conditions in your insides as we found out on the first day.  I'm not usually sea-sick but I'm not averse to it either!

After visits to Dubrovnik and Korcula and island stops in between, we crawled back into our berth at ACI in Dubrovnik quite satisfied with a week on the water.  

Our skipper Rich and his First Mate are stunned at the presentation of our restaurant, located on the quay, not even 100 meters from our vessel at Trstenik.  Fantastic food and very friendly folks.
Crew is getting the tour of the back of the restaurant where dinner is created. These folks live in an enchanted place and are quite simply kind and friendly.  Everything was splendid. 

But something else struck my attention on this charter.  I really like my boat better than what I saw in the Jeanneau 349.  Sure, the Jeanneau was faster and had clean lines, and bright topsides to boot.  But my Alberg 30 is more classic and warm than her sexy cousin and boasts more experience which come with time and age.  The current monohull in the SunSail fleet is indeed strikingly fast looking and fast on the surface.  But I'm really hooked on the Alberg's looks.  There's more to my sailing than bright shiny new features and speed over ground (SOG).  

The Sunsail 34 on her mooring ball in Sipanska Luca.  This was a phenomenal restaurant we had visited ten years ago and it was as if it were last week.  Fantastic service and meals.

As much as Dubrovnik is the lure of audiences in the Game of Thrones saga, the attraction of the city's ancient characteristics are what make the crowds pour into the Pile Gate by the tens of thousands.  In the same way, an old sailboat with classic lines is more fascinating to me than the flashly new white hulls, bright blue canvass and transom swim decks.  

I came back from this charter really glad we all go along so well and full of images and memories that will certainly draw me back there one day.  But I can't wait to get back to my Alberg 30 who waits patiently on her trailer for my return.

Sometimes the older versions of things are more exciting than the bright and shiny new things!

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