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, June 18, 2016

In the Army, there is a saying, "no plan survives first contact with the enemy...."  Adaptability, patience, and some pressure are needed to get through the last stages of this Alberg 30's transport to South Carolina.  The first plan changed quickly!

The Alberg was supposed to have arrived within the past couple of weeks.  That plan failed.  What's new?  I needed to generate some interest in the shipment from Canada, so I fired off a less than jovial email to the broker that emphasized the importance of timely shipment and frequent communication, and oh yes, my displeasure at this rather moribund attitude after a signed contract and the exchange of funds.  A sale is not complete until the buyer possesses the item correct?  Email received at the other end and pressure applied to get "on the ball" and ship the Alberg, hurry-up.  Now to distract my attention.

So, I decided to jump into a motorcycle maintenance project in order to calm my nerves and take my mind off the list of things I must do once the Alberg is on the ground here.  Plus, I don't have much interest in going near the water where all I will see are other boats floating along in the breeze.  So why not disassemble my motorcycle?  That's an idea.  Check on stuff.  That'll take my mind off of shipment of the Alberg....

A Sailor friend suggested this was a "Unicycle," some sense of humor that's a coordinated workplace!

So maintenance began with checking the brakes.  That was a good call, they were down to a 16th of an inch thickness, whoops!  That's a maintenance item!  Ordered new pads, of course, for the first time the local Honda dealer didn't have front pads.  No problem, I'd be so deep in parts on my garage floor, that it would be great not to have the front wheel off at the same time as the back wheel.  After all, the bike weighs about 900 pounds, and is balanced on that floor jack in the photo.  Prudence called for.  Also strapped the bike to the stand.  One wonders about the motorcycle tipping over while everyone who might assist in such a moment of panic is at work and my cell phone is on the work bench above.  What to do if this elephant falls on me, I wonder to myself.  More prudence.

So the brake job led to checking the coolant reservoir, and then cleaning it of the gunk which began to line the interior.  First I went with vinegar for about 5 hours, then that not working, I resorted to good ole household bleach, which kinda worked.  No problem, I did my best without a bottle brush.  Perhaps a trip to the dollar store for a brush might be a good idea even at this point.  Anything to take my mind off the Alberg shipment, good thinking.  I mean, while you've got the bike taken apart, better get busy with the little nit-noids or forget about them till a later date, a date which is coming anyway.

And so brakes began this adventure, now I cannot clean the brake caliper unless I remove the rear wheel.  And the tire looks pretty shabby there.  I compare with the front tire which looks great, and decide at 4:30 on a Friday evening to run down the freeway to Honda and drop that off to be changed.  Then next week when the front brakes arrive I can retrieve them and the tire, mounted, and return to polish the aluminum rim on the rear tire which is nearly impossible to do when all the stuff is put back on the bike.

So the list of "to-do's" on the bike are legion.  Everywhere I look, there is something to scrub, clean, lubricate, fix or replace.  Army calls this PMCS. None of us easily remember what that stands for, but it meant taking care of your vehicle before it breaks down in combat or "preventive maintenance checks and services."  Combat for a motorcyclist is a failure to start along the side of the road without a cell phone.  Ugh.  More prudence.

So this array of parts and tools also reminded me of the need for a quarter inch universal adapter in order to fish 2 bolts on and off the starboard exhaust manifold.  They were not exactly as tight as they should have been.  Off to Sears on Saturday.  Plus I should check the wires in the rear fender, lots of water and road debris collect there, so some new electrical tape wrap, cleaning of a connector and applying some dielectric grease too.  

This is the benefit to having another vessel on land.  While the Alberg 30 tries to catch some wind and get south, I'm working on this 19 year old motorcycle in the garage, sweating so profusely my body weight is getting into alignment, and I've plenty of distraction with that and the EUFA 2016 Soccer tournaments in France, that I think I'll be ok for another week to ten days.  Cause when the Alberg arrives, I'll be very distracted with some corrections, notations, building the baseline maintenance with that vessel.  

Plus, I'll manage my father's funeral at Arlington Cemetery by the end of the month, another 'little' item of importance from a dad who insisted in 1967 that I learn how to sail and how to type that summer.  Oh, and he rode a motorcycle too!  So that too is on my mind this month.  Remarkable influence after 49 years.  After numerous combat tours in Germany and Korea, he retired and lived a long 94.5 years.  I promised him I would not relax nor grieve until he was buried at Arlington, 30 June 2016.  

I've got plenty of distractions this month.
A young Lieutenant at Ft Benning in his Sherman tank circa 1944.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Baggy Wrinkles is bigger than I thought.  As an Alberg design, the itty bitty Typhoon represents the quintessential Alberg design, heavy displacement, sturdy construction with bronze and teak appointments which draw the eye.  Any boat which causes you to turn around several times to take a look at her is one classic design.  Here are a few recent photos of her that do just that:

This was her launch and haul-out at the RRYC.  She now sits on Typhoon Alley with her enviable hull paint.

When I first got the Typhoon, I thought something long forgotten, yet integral to old world sailing would well typify her curious name, Baggy Wrinkles.  Yet it seems these Albergs are all throw-backs to another era.  All the skippers are having to keep up with maintenance, but the hulls are solid, and the designs are timeless.  They all seem to be like Baggy Wrinkles to me, thus if one word typified the Albergs for me, it is Baggy Wrinkles.  And now, I see the term is bigger than I thought.  So it seems natural that this blog will continue with the same name as the larger design, the Alberg 30, now enters the adventure and takes the stage.  

We're in the process of vetting the Alberg 30's name right now.  First Mate and I have been sorting through the pile of ridiculous boat names to find our silly name too.  No, it won't be Baggy Wrinkles, that's unique to the Typhoon Hull 729.  In fact, her new owner told me the name is remaining, quite an honor to know.  We've selected a name but are washing the lists to find it.  It appears that on a list of 10,000 sailboat names (vis-a-vis the internet) it does not appear there.  So, this will be forthcoming.  Tic, toc....

Keeping this blog is also a way of keeping tabs on the "start point" of this, new to us, Alberg 30, and of seeing the progress and sharing across the blogosphere ideas for maintaining and improving a classic design.  Also, seems some of the member sites which promote these ideas, are not all as fluid and easy to read, visually, as the keepers of them are not savvy to new platforms, etc.  I like to be able to read things on the net easily, and a blog is a quick way to read an update.  I'll stick with this.  Plus, Baggy Wrinkles may appear from time to time in a special cameo appearance as the new skipper pushes her into interesting situations on the Rappahannock River.  I can't wait to see her at play on the river!

Meanwhile, like Baggy Wrinkles, the Alberg 30 is moving closer to us every day, from Nova Scotia, to  South Carolina.  First priority will be for her to survive the drive from the boat yard to our Club site, which is less than 3 miles, yet the tires on the trailer are 15 years old.  This ought to be interesting!

And the summer here is punishingly hot, not like Iraq in 2003 I'm sure, when I was deployed as a soldier there( 140 degress!), but just the same, you sweat in such volumes while working that your eyes begin to ache from the saline of the sweat inching over one's face.  It's tough to be upside down in a closed-in vessel with a light on, sweating, and trying to catch one's breath while applying epoxy or fiberglass with all that goes with that sort of boat yard contortion.  It should be a labor of love that is for certain.  Yet I have plenty of work to keep me busy inside the hull when she arrives so I will parse that progress slowly.

There is something unmistakable about this view.  Looks like a Cape Dory Typhoon on steroids!  Our personal visit to River Bourgeois was not necessary but something we wanted to do.  When we got there and met the owners, there was something incredibly serendipitous about our meeting which we never knew, nor could have imagined taking place.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Baggy Wrinkles is in transition.

She was lifted into the water for the last time. We were at the Typhoon Nationals, sponsored by the Rappahannock River Yacht Club (RRYC).  It was our second and last time to go there with Baggy Wrinkles.

 The weekend was delightful and the winds were good the first day and great the second day.  Meeting friends we'd made a couple of years ago was fun and the atmosphere was terrific.  Yet all the while, we knew, "...this was the end."

Baggy Wrinkles knew too.  She knew this time was different. The belts that lifted her slick bottom into the Carter Creek were careful not to scratch her bottom paint as she splashed into the brackish water of the creek.  The water was cool and the Typhoons were everywhere.  There was the $75,000 dollar Typhoon in the paint booth, getting a total refit, top to bottom and gleaming dark blue to any voyeurs who stopped by.  And there was the ugly duckling Typhoons whose owners had let them go to "seed."  The good, the bad, and the ugly were all around.  Seemed like a bit of the bar scene in the Star Wars film.  Baggy Wrinkles wiggled into the creek
A worse than ugly nearby hull on Typhoon Alley
 and made off in the winds with all the rest of the fleet, happy to be sailing again.  We didn't do well in the races.  We don't race together at all, and when we must, it's a bit of a clusterfluck aboard.  Lines are hung-up, the First Mate is tasked with too many orders to comply, and the race is lost before it has begun.  But we love to sail, despite our absence of racing acumen.  Oh well.  "Tant pis..., ca n'importe rien.." as the French say, not everyone is a racing sailor but every sailor races every time they're on the water!

So we settled into a great weekend of sharing stories and lies, and sampling the cuisine here and there and easing ourselves into the idea that we would be leaving Baggy Wrinkles in Virginia, at the RRYC, with her new owner.  

It's like having to leave your favorite dog at the fish camp, this act of selling an adorable boat.  My dad did this to us years ago.  Sandy, a temperamental Cocker Spaniel, had an attitude to-boot, and Dad had finally had enough of being bitten by this canine rascal and had decided to leave the mutt in the Ozarks one summer vacation.  The guy who owned the fish camp took a liking to Sandy and Dad figured that was all the compensation he needed and we drove away one evening, leaving Sandy at the camp.  Nobody was sadder than me.  I do hate departures.  And I hate leaving something behind that I like.  And we did not easily leave Baggy Wrinkles behind this past weekend.  It was like leaving your dog at the fish camp, never to see her again.  I patted Baggy Wrinkles on her stern as I dismounted one last time.  A bit of grief passed before my eyes and I quickly refused to admit it.

Her new owner and I had done the checklist I had created and we checked off one item after another while Baggy Wrinkles listened quietly.  She knew this was the end too.  "Whisker pole," 'check,' "floating cushion," 'check,' "motor," 'check'...and on and on it went until, finally, there were no more items to check.  Everything was accounted for. We dismounted.  I ran my hand along her beam and admired how good she looked.  Numerous sailors had said this while we loggerred about before races this weekend.  Her colors were not brash or bold, she didn't have some French name on her stern and she didn't have any special equipment like a "boom vang," or a "roller furling head-sail."  She was just an original Cape Dory Typhoon, with a number of spider cracks in her paint, a couple of wood crack problems, and probably the best looking varnish on the creek, and an original white hull color offset by subtle greys in her boot stripe and hull.  She was quietly one of the darlings of the fleet.  And she knew it.
 And then it was done.  Three years of careful maintenance,  endless coatings of varnish on teak and fiberglass sanding and polishing, and money poured over her to sustain her classic lines, it was over.  Our relationship had come to a suitable end.

She was worth every dollar.  Under the shadow of a beamy paint chipping relic in the yard, we signed our papers and made it official.  She was going to another skipper.  I looked across the gravel to where she sat on stands and admired her lines and remembered how very well she sailed.  I will miss her.
Baggy Wrinkles being parked on 'Typhoon Alley" at the Rappahannock Boat Yard near the RRYC. 
I have a hunch that Baggy Wrinkles will do very well.