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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Friday, September 27, 2019

First Things First--Once Again

You have your boat, and you want to go sailing, now!  But you can't.

First afternoon of work it is close to 100 degrees and that hull looks awfully imposing.  
It's always that way.  Ever since becoming an adult, we are hampered by this dutiful sense of preparation, of planning, and of self-denial because, " will appreciate things better if you do...," so the words of a parent whisper in your ear.  But Mom and Dad aren't around, just throw that boat in the lake and sail buddy! 

But duty wins, and off to the club I go.  Loading my Suburban for the one hour journey over to the club with all the stuff I think I'll need for a long day in the hot sun, working one issue after another.  Let's see, there's that one chain-plate support I want to switch out with a composite that will resist any minor leakage from the deck or the rub rail.  I'd noticed it was wet before and told myself to change it first.  Can't, need my vise grips to hold the shoulder bolt and they're in Italy.  Ok, backup plan, find a socket set at Lowe's and put the small socket on the other side of the bulkhead where it can turn and lock itself against the hull while I fiddle with my closed end wrench and loosen one by one of the 5 bolts on that port shroud plate.  That should work.  But can't start that yet, have to attend to the hull on the exterior.

The small bubbles in the bottom paint don't appear to be of significant problem and the sole reason I need to get the bottom paint off is that if I don't do it, I can simply add 3 years to the next 4 or 5 years it will be in the water, and there you go, too late to get it done!  Gotta do it.  Now.  

Holding  my phone on the wand etching away at the stern.

The bottom now takes priority.  I've already done the work list in my head, and I've parted out some of it already.  The dodger I handed off to Alex, who also supplied my hull ceiling fir strips.  The salon cushions I handed off to Randy whose sew shop in the city does all sorts of business with upholstery.  The standing rigging I handed off to West Marine, they do such a great job, preserving original parts if possible and making shipping easy because they pay for it.  But the bottom paint stares back at me with its arms crossed as if it would prove I'll never hold up in the 8th round.  

I surprised myself after the two hours in the hot sun had passed, and I've nearly conquered 60% of the portside bottom.

Then, as if the bottom paint collaborated with the weather, our September was hijacked by an arctic dip and shift, and has left our Fall feeling like Summer, swelteringly intense 100 degree heat and no rain, has dried out the weather and our anticipation of cooler temps which were supposed to arrive already.  Bottom paint just laughs.  It's thick black brittle surface is my job.  The last hull I prepped was on BaggyWrinkles herself, my 19 foot Cape Dory Typhoon.  (Click on link too see that from May 2015)  It was summer too, hot and challenging as well. But 19 feet compared to 30 feet might as well be an exponential difference because that's how boats are, one more foot means another couple in another area, and so on.  I looked at the job with a tactical perspective, thinking that if I used a power-sprayer in the hot weather, I'd be cool somewhat just because of the ambient spray.  Then, if I work in the mornings, early, I can avoid the direct lay of the sun's UV spearhead against my efforts.  I was three years younger when I prepped and painted my Cape Dory.  Those are also incremental years as aging seems to come like a college party, everybody brings somebody else to the event.  When the knees don't work so well they are joined by light headedness from that damned high blood pressure med the doc just tossed my way, and oh yes, my diabetes requires an entire assortment of meds for the possible dips brought about by heat and exhaustion, and the spraying is exhausting because I'm an overachiever, and I want this thing done yesterday!

I set about to attack the hull in two hour increments each day.  This is a handy measure.  Whatever I can reasonably achieve with the sprayer in that time frame is my work calendar.  I discovered the gas tank on the sprayer runs for two hours and chokes out from lack of gas.  Perfect.

The surface tells a story of various bottoms, but nothing looks like a mishap, all appears sturdy for its new suit.

And really, it's been a rather helpful adventure on the hullside of things.  It has provided me the opportunity to examine what I could not discover but will now know as I sail into the next few years.  Knowing what is there is as good as a depth finder.  What I apply and when it is done and what is the result will be part of my spread sheet.  Some lucky guy or gal will relish that one day.  

I've found the sprayer does a fabulous job flaking off the rather hard but brittle, black, bottom paint with a relatively easy short stroking approach.  No, it's not easy, if that's what you're thinking.  It's hard on the back, and on the eyes, and it's a wet experience as it speckles me with black debris.  So far, I've muddled through a couple of sessions, and the debriding job is half done.  About four hours so far.  I expect another four before I can dry it out and take my sander to the hull and smooth things over.

Duplicate work on starboard, after two hours.

One of the most interesting things I've noticed is how durable this vessel was constructed.  The gudgeons and pintles are solidly in place and appear free of mischief, as is the foot portion which shined it's brass looking metal as the sprayer ripped some sealer out of the way.  The appointments are solid.  The bottom paint merely resides atop this heavy cruiser's frame, a bottom which looks like it was taken care of by past owners.  I am indeed very fortunate of this.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Prioritzing the Work Load

Like the first splash, this re-entry into Lake Murray will have some things fixed that needed to be fixed but were on the "hold list" until such time as I could achieve them.  

My sailmaker had recommended I install a preventer, or deflector, as you might call it, for the genoa halyard.  Under pressure of uphauling, the sheet would eventually wrap around the foil at the top of the furler and make handling excruciatingly frustrating to the little people on deck.  I had forgotten about this until an engineer pal at our club noticed the setup and jogged my memory.  Yeah, that was a frustrating bugger.  The preventer, as I nickname it, installs to re-direct the sheet at a better angle to uphaul the sail and frees the foils of the ensnaring sheet around itself.  You begin to want to fuss and cuss and get another furler system regardless of the cost.  That's what frustration does to me at least!  Not necessary at this point.

This view of the masthead area on Nautica reveals a small block on the genoa side of the masthead, tucked underneath the crane facing the bow.  This does not show the wrap however.  There are plenty of pictures of halyard wrap on line if you need to see one.  I found this one produced by Harken which pretty much sums things up:

Wrap shown at left, a preventer is sown in middle, and a sheave is used with a roller on the foil in the final one at the right.  

This fix is made easy by installing the preventer.  I grabbed one on Ebay being sold on the second hand market.  I also have an unused sheave in my mast that I might employ with the preventer.  It was not part of the previous skipper's rigging plan, however, it would certainly not be out of the question to use a thin but stronger sheet, perhaps like dyneema which would offer maximum strength and resistance to the abrasive sheave, and remove the block at the top of the masthead.  Just writing this provides me ideas about how I will be approaching my re-rigging.  One problem with a flexible sheet such as dyneema though, is that it remain taut at all times so that it does not "jump" out of the sheave requiring the First Mate to go up and re-insert it every time?  Unlikely to happen!

The example at the left is pretty much like the picture above in the middle, also a Harken photo, which illustrates up close how this preventer functions, and at what angle, and distance from the sail, and what sort of turning shackle can be used for the setup.  It also seems to be a wire leading from the crane rather than a fabric of some sort.  A wire would be great but involves another sort of system in place below which can accommodate such a reel of metal.  I don't have that and not sure I want that.  Dyneema itself would fit but it too has some disadvantages of being prone to jumping the sheave.  The following photo is the setup I inherited.  Since then I have not changed much.  But the second photo shows the "mother of invention" as necessity required the implementation of a metal tang to hold the genoa hoist sheet.  It would easily wrap and did so.  But then, with a furler you don't hoist your sail, you unfurl it, so the urgency was abated and I used this setup for a long time before finally realizing it was time to change.  

This setup worked for another skipper and I employed it too.  After a while however, one begins to do the assessments and makes changes as they see fit.

There's a lot in this photo to explore, a deteriorating connector boot, a tang held by one nut with a few turns, a sheave opening nearby not being used, and an otherwise very weathered setup.  Funny however, it functioned, but when would it fail?

Aside from this perplexing little twist of line, there are a few 
housekeeping items left over from my initial renovation package that remain.  I have a partial rebuild of the shelf area near what we call the "ice box" area.  It had suffered from water and rot in years past.  With the new hull ceiling, that area is partially finished but needs a little more work.  

Another aesthetic item is getting more of the interior painted with Brightsides.  The pale yellow gets on my nerves.  Brightsides just helps with the eye and helps everything look cleaner and brighter in color.  Geez, it is already dingy down below in an older sailboat, let's brighten it up!

Cushions remain an item in need of redo.  They are still located in my garage awaiting an estimate for recovering.  That's a drive to downtown where they're awaiting cushions for a second measurement.

As I unwrapped the Alberg upon arrival, I was keen on observing the Kiwi Grip I had put just before haul-out this past Spring.  It is such an easy surface to apply, and being water based, it is quite forgiving, yet dries to perfection.

Kiwi Grip Grey

As I have all the rigging off, it's a terrific time to apply more Kiwi Grip to the side decks.  I'm hoping to squeeze just that bit more out of my 4 litre can.  

This stuff is really easy to mix too.  I began with a cream color and went to the paint store and asked them to make it grey, presto, they did.  Due to the 4 litre can, they cannot mix it for you unless the boss is not watching.  Otherwise, you'll need that paint mixer for your drill and execute it yourself.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hurricane Again and a Change of Mission...

And once you think you've got it all figured out, everything changes again.  

My Italian lifestyle has been interrupted by legal technicalities of residency that require my presence and attention stateside.  What I thought would be a several year residency abroad has quickly turned into a return to our home here and back to a routine of caring for home and sailboat with visits to Italy with the First Mate.

I've lived a "circus" style life as far back as I can recall.  Growing up in the military and having a military career, I'm well acquainted with what uniformed folks call a "change of mission."  This isn't something people enjoy but military folks soon learn to drop what they're doing and attend to whatever issue or change must occur in order to continue to function and win a battle etc.  For us, it was easy for the First Mate to tell me "change of mission" get back to Carolina, take care of the home base and get s/v Nautica back in the water.  Yes ma'am, I replied, and off into the sky on a one-way ticket for a change of mission!

As soon as I had my orders from the First Mate I looked at the weather models for a hurricane moving its way into the Lesser Antilles and then possibly pointing towards the SouthEast USA.  Good grief, just in time for some havoc, I thought, and secured my seat assignment and huddled into my seat for a long 11 hour trudge above and across the Atlantic Ocean.  After 3 movies and some sad looks from a Black Labrador service dog lying on the deck next to me, we de-planed and began the refugee sort of chase for baggage and rides that go with weary travelling.

Another short leg to South Carolina took most of the gas out of my tank and I stumbled into the house a very weary traveler and slept well...for three hours.  Then up.  I don't like this travel thing.  But as the jet lag wore off I eventually began to prioritize my return to s/v Nautica, with one eye on the NOAA charts and another on her condition on the hard.

My arrival in South Carolina was pretty easy because of great friends.  Fortunately, these folks helped with everything in our absence, and except for maintenance issues, the home front is intact and a blissful rest for a weary traveler.  

This post is still pre-hurricane arrival.  As in so many other instances, my protocol is to head to the sailing club and check on Nautica.  

This check will be to insure all things near the vessel are  moved away so there's no chance of structures hitting the vessel.  I will also recheck all tie-downs and tire blocks.  But really, I just want to get over to her and give her a good pat on the stern and let her know Le Skeep is back!

This setup has endured the past 15 months.  Always good to recheck everything anyway.

Our house sitter was kind enough to get a couple of snaps of the Alberg on her visit to our home.  These were a couple of weeks back before the aforementioned hurricane had formed.

Our friends have all been by to tug on her stays and look around at her situation.  They've all signed off that she's looking well preserved under her full tarp and incredibly strong trailer.  That trailer needs its own zip code it's so big.

Hurricane Dorian is giving fits to the southeast, as it has slowed to a crawl in Florida.  But we do expect its arrival here eventually.  A check on the boat revealed she's about as ready as she can be.  She's weathered a year of storms already.  Hopefully the blow at our grid won't be damaging.  Falling trees are our biggest concern.

Examination of under the tarp revealed a very clean deck overall and screen still stuffed into the deck vent to prohibit critters entry.  I could only check one, so am hedging my bets that it's working elsewhere as well.

At this point, I am examining the possibilities of some major exterior hull work to reput the bottom paint at minimum and perhaps to have the above the water-line redone professionally.  Looking at quotes.  The bottom needs scraping, sanding and resurfacing with VC17 to be sure.

Hopefully we can all avoid the worst of the impending hurricane and wish to those on the coast best protections work well and keep their vessels safe too.

A January sail in 2018 with light breezes and not another vessel in sight.