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, 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.  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Old Guys and Old Boats

Time away from my Alberg has given me plenty of time to peruse sailing websites to slake my thirst for sailing updates and follow the conversation for a boat I truly love.  I keep up with the Alberg site and follow a couple of sailing sites to stay informed on productions, renovation ideas, and professional advice for old boats.  I've found it's a full-time process and worth every minute.

It has come as a bit of surprise that as time passes and Facebook sites engage new sailors there also come the same ol' passions and questions, some worth answering and others subject to the suspicion test of whether the question is a ruse (an attempt to deceive someone or in this day and age to conjure up a senseless thread of comments without any sincere question).  And this very thing happened to me the other day on a popular and large Sailing site as some young gal gleefully announced she was going to set sail on a major passage but had no experience sailing.  Well-meaning advisors commented on legitimate items for such a thing one by one, commenting honestly on preparations for such.  I sincerely did not believe the post in the first place and dutifully commented that before doing such a thing she ought to slow down, get with a sailing instructor and vet her ideas with them as it is a major step off into the unknown to do such a thing and could be dangerous.  Others commented but one decided to attack me.

Their reaction hammered me for being such a pious snark and that I was the sort of person that this respondent considered soured him to sailing!  I was taken back and flabbergasted.  It was simply part of this whirling Facebooking world where narcissistic postings abound and time is wasted saying things the authors enjoy watching for "likes."  If this effervescent posting was a ruse, it was being met with sincere responses but if it was a foolish one, and it read unlikely to be real, it deserved framing and advising at a basic level.  But of course, there are thousands of people in a crowd and many are not your friend.  Some, in fact, would prefer to see you fall off the dark side of the earth.  

So, I responded to my snark, yet withheld my retaliation and expressed my sincerity, that having a daughter I'd never do such a thing without knowing how to sail and without professional instruction and experience with a proven skipper.  There was no counter-point and I did not visit that thread again after seeing the responses continue, glibly suggesting taking charts, extra water, and diesel.....etc.  I was flabbergasted again.

No matter what my credentials are, they only have meaning in a local setting, and sometimes not even there.  I've thought that honestly, I'll probably quit the Facebook culture when I turn seventy because by then I'll be so contrary I'll not have the time or energy to engage in cyberspace anymore.  My kids are on Instagram, and photoshare sites, none of them email me anymore.  I think I'll be connected with important people if they have my phone number.  

Too, I've noticed via these sailing platforms, new boats are coming!  New hull designs, sails you could only dream of but never find, and interiors that amaze us with their ingenuity and bright designs.  But that too is eye-candy, like a Facebook post that gets a few likes.  The designs are not so great, they just look great after a cold winter.  And that causes me great satisfaction, because when I look at the Alberg designs, I'm very satisfied.  There's something timeless about certain designs and the Alberg is that kind of vessel.

Friends at my Yacht Club in South Carolina regularly keep an eye on s/v Nautica, covered up on her trailer, awaiting my return.

I have to say, that this is probably just an old man's rant.  I don't have the thick skin nor the patience to tolerate the diaphanous threads of respondents who prefer ephemeral autonomy coming and going from their Facebook cave.   What is very satisfying is the concrete and lasting work Albergers engage in with questions about how to fix a shroud, install a shaft for their diesel, or what size head sail to use in a brisk wind.  And the conversation is about an old boat, not a sexy chine hull that clips along at 10kts and has a flat screen tv in the cockpit.  Really, ha.

So this is a blog posting about the satisfaction of honest sailors of this design of vessel which continues to draw attention in any harbor.  Makes me proud to be part of this community and whet's my appetite to return and take up the continued life and times of my 1977 design.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Life on the Hard

Every boat can use some time on the hard.

I just didn't expect my time to be now!  But no matter, life is more important than my boat anyway.  Too, it does afford time to do other things I really enjoy doing!

This period of life is quite handy. I spend my time motorcycling and working on my RC Gliders instead.  And, am studying Italian at the university to improve my life abroad living in a country village.  Sounds idyllic hum?  Well, even this can be a busy place.  But it comes with some much desired "slow it down" moments too.  Nearly every evening we get to watch a great sunset over the hills of northern Italy looking west towards Verona and Milan.  Ok, so that's not a water view but with the sounds of nature and the arrival of dusk, you can almost hear the whisper of St. Francis of Assisi (one of two Italian Conferred Saints) to listen to God's creation and muse on this wonder.  The town of Assisi is just shy of 300 miles south of our house and very near the town of Catherine of Sienna, the other Saint from Italy.

But back to being on the hard.  It is good to know that friends are checking on s/v Nautica while she's covered up and snoozing.  She's got some admirers as well as she sits on a row of boats that haven't moved in years.  She's now joined them. 

This has been providing me lots of time to prioritize my future changes aboard.  In that I'm not a natural engineer or artisan, I've got to take extra measures to forecast my planned work aboard.  I'm certainly giving lots of thought to redoing the joint underneath the cap rail.  In recent posts on the Alberg 30 FB page, I've watched as another Alberger has been doing just that.  It seems that both that and the stainless steel plates underneath the stanchions need to be remanufactured and re-put with new stainless bolts to further insure water does not penetrate those locations as it has in the past.  

In the meantime I study others' work and begin to scheme as to what will take long hours and what has to be done in a "work area" as opposed to what I can achieve where she is currently located.  I also want to redo the bottom paint on her, a tedious but necessary task.  I did this on BaggyWrinkles some years back.  It is a slow and incremental task but brings lots of satisfaction.  I don't think I will mess with her essential hull, other than to do some polishing.  I could put that on the docket but think doing 1/2 of the hull which is necessary is better than doing the entire hull at this time.  I might even reverse my thinking on that after another year abroad.  

I brought my diesel book with me to Italy and have also begun to think of hauling the diesel out of its position in order to clean and apply brightsides to that area and make it more shipshape down in the power room.  We'll see about that adventure.

Yanmar diesel is running in this photo.  I want to remove this little jitney for a makeover and while doing the engine to redo the compartment to further enhance its looks and insert noise blocking material.

I have an eye to do what one of my followers did to his diesel, painting it yellow rather than dull grey.  But to just be able to clean up and paint the bulkhead like is already done under the cockpit will enhance the overall look of that dingy area.

Photo was taken on a rather sunny day as the shadows reveal.  This installation has made getting into this area easy.
As this photo reveals, the area beyond the two cockpit drains is evidently in need of some R&R and enhancement.  Yup, it's cosmetics, and that's the kind of detail we like to see in a boat really.  Makes us go, ohhhh!   And I just enjoy seeing these improvements on my own vessel that I sail.  I want her to look as good as possible.  No crappy boat here!

I'm very happy that s/v Nautica does not appear to have any gross problems with water or leaking.  She's got some areas that need improvement but she's overall in great shape.  I have yet to finish the fresh water tank area, but these days, sailing on a lake, we most often carry fresh water in plastic bottles in a Yeti cooler don't we?  This is the reason I put the batteries in the "ice box" remember?

Selfie on Lake Murray pre-overseas move.  Will be there again.

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!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Putting her away for a while...Alberg on the hard.

Don't say it can't be done.  It has to be done.  First Mate said so.  So here we go.

Nautica in her safe-depth-berth during the lake draw-down before the decision to put her on the hard.

The process is counter-intuitive.  Take everything off the boat, everything.  Remove this, then that, then that other thing, whoops and get that one too.  This mental process took me the best part of a month back in the states, going over everything on Nautica that wasn't glued down or sealed, or bolted down, like the diesel, but the mast yes, that comes down too. 

Detaching boom and lines

Made sense to put new Kiwi Grip on the deck

Lots of connections to remove, photographs will help in the re-rigging process

When all was said and done, only the diesel and a couple of toolboxes remained behind.  I kept getting startled texts on my Instagram about this grounding of the Berg, but I didn't have time to think about the process as I had limited time to get this done.  With the help of friends, I was able to haul out the 10k of hull #614 onto the herculean Triad trailer during a 3 hour adventure of ooops and ahhhs as we inched the old girl up the ramp, transferred from the extension to the trailer hookup and into the gin pole exercise.  Having at least one person who'd done this before with me, the others eyed the mast somewhat perilously dangling above held by the simple block above, wrapped around the spreaders.  Undoing all the rigging, forestay/furler, and removing the two main shoulder bolts holding the mast base in its tabernacle, she was down easily.

Tough to get these deep keels out and why we don't do it every
During the transition of re-attaching truck to trailer from hitch extension.

More work followed to arrange her in her parking space, creating a balanced seat with the trailer and its winches, we were able to nest her in the place she'll recognize as her own by the time I get back.  The following exercise was the wrap-up of and tagging of the rigging, coiling, taping, and transferring of everything loose to my garage, an hour away, in a dry space.  My pal of many years gave me two days of his time to do whatever I told him to do.  I was very grateful to have this linebacker's help in this momentous work.  

I had planned this event for a few weeks and by doing so was able to plan having her hull scraped in the water by another great guy, our West Marine Manager, who moonlights underwater cleaning hulls for his boat money.  Glad to contribute!  He did a terrific job.  Having it cleaned provides potential time for me to spend some time in the next few years taking the hull down and redoing it.  Not something I look forward to doing however.

While I worked against time, my flight was on Sunday the 31st of March, I brought all the inside gear home, stuffed bins and located them in my garage, then hung lines and wires so that I could still use the garage.  With a very high ceiling garage, I had plenty of room for the cushions, rigging, and extra gear.  It's amazing how much stuff we have aboard our boats!  

Chevy Suburban makes a good support vehicle.

Have not used this drifter yet but she looks pretty though a bit of wear at the grommets.  

Every piece is labeled and most to be replaced.

Back at the parking location I also covered the dorade vents with metal screens and duct tape to discourage the squirrels from taking up residence aboard Nautica.  I texted the former skipper for  comments on cover deployment to gain insights on how she faired being on the hard for 15 years in the winters of Nova Scotia.  The photos show the increase in the number of ties used to pull tight the cover.  The cover is a custom design and provides spaces for aft and fore rail.  The dog house provides sufficient height to form a runoff roof for the deck. It's a given, that if the squirrels want to get inside, they're gonna.  But they wont find much of comfort below in this rig.  It's all wood and fiberglass.  I'm sure there will be that exceptional rodent who'll find residence in the Alberg.

New wheels and tires, 80 pounds of pressure, mast below with furler alongside; nothing is perfect but this is home for now.
I read a lot about diesel prep but couldn't align much of it to a fresh water situation.  I did drain the fresh water out of the little beast, but I did not drain any diesel.  I did put fuel stabilizer in the tank previous to hauling her out, and did that when the engine had a chance to run for a while and circulate the stabilizer formula.  I suppose I will run some risks, but am not certain what they might be.  I removed both batteries and gifted my haul-out pal who needed just a couple more things in his already burgeoning garage storage facility.  I suppose I will see how sturdy this little Yanmar is after a few years.

Now that I've stashed my rigging and parked my boat, I have also retained a very valuable purchase.  This boat's got some great bones and a bit of time on the hard will extend her life even more.  It also gives me time for several upgrades I plan to set in place.  That's one of the great things about suspending her "in the water" time.  She needs new cushion coverings in the v-berth and salon.  And she needs a new dodger.  Looking forward I see getting her a modern roller furler to replace the 1990s version she's got now and stays need to be redone as well.  Time on the hard is time for working behind the scenes for some future sailing and time aboard.  This will be part of her renovation and her journey.

All the kit and caboodle is in the garage waiting till next time.