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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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

So a gentle storm was "a-brewin" from the west, moving onto our lake for one day this week.  The winds were estimated to be all over the map, from 10 to 20, to as much as 17 to 30kts.   All sorts of wind variations were indicated.  It is nearly the end of December and the Yacht Club is deserted but for a few hearty folks who scoff at the wind and set sail anyway.  Like a friend said years ago, "if it were easy, everyone would be out sailing today...!"

I figured there was just this one day of good sailing in the next week or so, then Christmas holidays would require family visiting and travel and demands would keep BaggyWrinkles on her trailer.  So a trip to the club was in order despite the forecast.

Winds were forecast to be out of the West-SouthWest, just perfect conditions for making it back to our cove in safety if it proved more stormy than enjoyable.  However, looking at the photo below, you'd think no one in their right mind would want to be in that weather!  Even the lake was transformed into a dark lava looking surface strafed with lines of white left by heavy gusts.

Foreboding isn't it?  At least the temps were bearable.  Air was about 50+ degrees with a water temp in the 55 degree range on the surface.  I clocked winds with my handheld anemometer at a peak velocity of 24kts or about 30 mph.  Wind waves were initially about 2 feet and increased to a vigorous 3 feet during the sail.  Inviting?  Hardly, yet I wanted to run reefed again in this wind, and get some GoPro of the adventure into the winds this day.  Plus, I wanted to do the run to "Bomb Island" and back.  Bomb Island, duly named because it was a WWII practice Island for B-25s.  Today a bird sanctuary.  It was a crazy but do-able day of sailing.  You just had to accept that you would be wet most of the day!

Although I have video from this, it will take a while for the production unit (me) to get it assembled in a viewable form.  Plus, the PVC pipe rig bounced out and off the dory several times.  I had it lashed to the stern cleat fortunately.  Talk about hilarious.  Imagine sailing in that wind, grabbing the pole adrift at the stern, and keeping the entire thing headed in the right direction.  Even a little boat, Baggy Wrinkles can test your nerves quickly.

Here is a sequence of photos I grabbed with my handheld Nikon D3100 while hanging on to this wild ride.  I had it on automatic shutter.  I enhanced the photos to show what the frenetic activity really looked like.  Our human eye catches the brilliance of the water but it is hard to recapture.  The fact that the waves are hitting this hard illustrates the impact of waves and wind.  The bow was charging the increasing swell, causing the crashing you see in photos 1,2,3 and 5.  The lean of the boat is vivid in photo 4.

In the next installment, I will chronicle a bit more of this tempestuous sail.  I will explain the route I was taking and the plan beating to windward and returning wing and wing.  Overall, it was a great sail, very dynamic.  The dory kept pace with the winds and waves.  The only thing it lacked was its capability to "point" very well.  But I've known that.  It could be remedied a bit with a traveler, but I'm a bit reticent to put one on the transom and alter the original design of the vessel.  More follows...