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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Saturday, May 11, 2013

We all dream about sailing in winter.  Spring snows dampen sailors' spirits in northern climates but don't stop the heartiest from finding something to occupy their time in those long nights and grey days.  Toward the end of winter La Belle Vie came to the sailing club.  Trailered from the warmer Charleston waters, the barren landscape of the midlands of South Carolina was a cold and sometimes bitter environment for a little happy sailboat.  Even sunny days were cold but her refit had to begin. 

First things first, a bath, a scrubbing, and an inspection were in order.  An initial scraping of the keel hull was essential to remove all sorts of bizarre sea growth that had taken residence on her.  Once she was clear of most of that I was able to powerwash her hull with evident success.

While I had not intended to erase her boot strip, it lifted off effortlessly with the powerwash and left the ablative red paint and a bit of the underlying grey base paint evident on her hull.   Too she showed layers of others' labors over the years and like a mystery unfolding revealed that there was much more work to do, and much life left in this Cape Dory. 

In a telling photo the hull reveals both the residue and the clean hull after the wash:

So, the hull cleaned up real well, and despite a few remaining salt water barnacles, she was ready for her new life on the hard and the luxury of being a trailered vessel.  So knowing that it is easier shown than told, I grabbed my GoPro3 and decided to chronicle the Cape Dory where she sat at the Chandlery site our yacht club provides.  It was a brisk and cold late winter day as I toured La Belle Vie.

We had thought we'd name her Baby Halcyon at one time.  But that was early in our relationship with her.  Time and work on the vessel has had an effect on us.  The closer we get to the Dory the more we begin to think she's got a name we're trying to discover.  And besides the fact that later on we find 2 names on her transom, we realize that the name is more the relationship we have with her than "the name" she ought always to have had.  So for now, before she becomes Baggy Wrinkles, she is La Belle Vie. 

Intro to the Cape Dory

Time and weather had taken their toll on La Belle Vie, but underneath the grey teak and the dusty fiberglass deck was a sturdy sailing vessel that was soon to undergo sea trials.  Just another lesson for us all that have long since been seduced by all things digital, that there are some things that get better over time, although old and out of production, this Dory is a bit of living history.  She doesn't beep and click when you touch her but she touches you when you get close to her.  She draws you in to her history and makes you feel alive again.  And if she can do that, she's more magical perhaps than historical!