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, October 25, 2017

Getting to know the Lofrans Royal Windlass

My Lofrans windlass has been occupying time I would otherwise be anticipating my new headsail, without which sailing is simply not fun.  The challenge is that the windlass is stuck!  The bronze wheel at right will not turn while the gypsy at left is functional, the gears inside will not turn.  What could be wrong?  This continues to be my preoccupation while I wait for my headsail...

The Lofrans sitting in my office waiting for an interview.
So, it is back to the very interesting and simple, Lofrans Royal Windlass.  Well simple, but troubling as well.  Here is the unveiling, the removal of the extremely resistant flange plate which covers the spring-loaded assembly of gears within the housing.  Removing the stainless screws was a tedious endeavor as corrosion had glued them in place.  I used a butane torch to ease the screws out but alas, this did not make things too much easier.  I had to drill out 2 of them and managed to wriggle out another 1 but the last 3 came out without argument.

This shows the flange plate which covers the spring-loaded gear assembly.

Once the flange is off, the interior revealed a somewhat dirty and sticky assortment of gears, but for the naked eye, not a bad condition for what must have been closed for the past 30 or 40 years or so.  A quick bath will do them good.

One of the small gears with dirt and some grease on the teeth.

This project reminded me of school homework I really didn't want to do and would open my books and stare at the misery without know which way to turn for help.  As the above photo reveals, underneath the caked-on white corrosion there is pocked-marked aluminum and a bronze wheel adjacent to the the warp barrel (at very first photo above).  The bronze wheel (shown directly below with warp bell and shaft removed from the left side) is supposed to be the turning portion of the windlass, i.e., where you put your hand crank to advance the windlass retrieval of anchor one pull at a time.  As plastic covered this bugger, it also inhibited the wheel from turning, thus, a broken windlass.  Well, not really broken, just not able to turn... don't even ask me who put the plastic on the housing!

The gear shaft is the inside portion of tubing visible at the center inside the bronze wheel.  I knew it had to come out as it had a couple of "keys" to provide grip on the wheel.

The challenge was to somehow remove the small shaft in order to check the main gear and discover why the bronze wheel would not turn, service the shaft and reput the assembly.

The conqueror.
The small shaft removal was made simple by using a small piece of wood, shaped to fit into the bronze wheel hub area.  A few well-placed hits began to push out the gear and shaft with hardly any effort.  Wood broke here and there but the assembly came out.  Once out, I was able to view for the first time how the white plastic veneer which I had torn off the housing had been done by some ingenious individual in the past perhaps to inhibit salt water corrosion.  However, the plastic around and up the collar of this flange gripped the bronze wheel and denied turning.  Once the gear and its shaft was tapped clear, the bronze wheel removed easily and exposed the reason why this windlass did not work:

Once free, the bronze wheel looked perfectly fine.  It went to the vinegar bath spa after this removal.
The plastic which had covered the housing gripped the small space between the bronze wheel's collar and the housing constricting so tight I had to use a stainless steel breaker bar and a hammer to make 1/4 turn!  Even spraying with copious amounts of WD40 did little to improve its capability to turn.

Below are the pics of the guilty party.  A thick, even brittle white plastic, same as covered the original housing area, surreptitiously constraining the bronze wheel, and the house gears, and the gypsy and its anchor retrieval!  Busted!

I was thoroughly delighted with this discovery, which by way of some cleaning and debris removal, I will be able to reassemble and use this windlass some more.  After bathing for 24 hours in vinegar, the parts cleaned up well...

The housing cleaned up as good as possible with the assistance of the metal brush on a drill.
The Lofrans looks a bit combat tested but still shows some of the gleam of bright aluminum between the years of corrosion.
Next step is to reassemble the Lofrans, service the gears on the interior, eating up a little more time while waiting on my headsail.  Might also find a large cleat to install in the original placement of the Lofrans on the fore-deck.  As I don't intend to use the Lofrans on the lake, I can use a centered larger mooring cleat in its place.  I might even put the Lofrans on the market?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Deterioration Decision

I do not consider myself a restoration guru of any sort.  But I do enjoy a measure of pleasure by working on my boat.  

Contrary to the whimsical and annoying comments of the few who suggest that some people spend more time working on their boats than sailing them, I think they miss the obvious, like their noses.  Working on a boat is part of the process of gaining appreciation of a design and how it all fits together in order to then sail.

After all, there are an equal number of days in our calendar year where the winds are too feeble for sailing and the weather either too hot or too cold to enjoy a sail.  Many of those days can be reclaimed with industrious crawling around fixing things.  But there's this one thing I've been hacking on now for a few days which is beginning to look like it is going to get discharged from the project, the Verricelli Orizzontale Royal Lofrans Windlass...

Well this is what she should look like (above) but this is what mine looks like (below):

The clutch cones and gypsy and turning knob really only look worse for wear of the elements but are otherwise very capable.  Taking photos will help reassemble this as well! Notice very carefully the ratchet arm just beneath the gypsy in this image here as later you will see what happened to it.
She's a beaut.  She still ratchets back and forth, so she's really still, apparently let's say, serviceable, but she looks like she's been rode hard and put up real wet, like in a salty sea water wet way.

Someone coated the entire exterior with a plastic covering which might have well served it for a while, but succumbed to being part of the problem to her deterioration rather than a defense.  Underneath the metal is pitted severely and hardly resembles the fine looking "Royal Lofrans" she used to be.  Royalty ought to look bright and shiny like the photo of her in the user's manual.

I would like to bring the newness back to this aluminum drum.
She was installed with 4 quarter inch bolts through the deck but without a backing plate in the chain locker nor a deck plate above, just 4 bolts.  What fun she is!  If she returns to the fore-deck, I'll reinforce the chain locker supports

Like everything aboard, I'm trying to give her a chance to meet muster and join the onboard team.  So, on with the penetrating oil, a look at the manual and some tapping with a good solid steel hammer here and there.  I'm using hope as a method (much to the chagrin of many a boss I used to have in the military who decried, 'hope is not a method,' ugh glad I don't have to endure that trite reprimand any more) in that by persistence, a bit of oil, some vibration by hammer, and time, I may prevail to disassemble the Lofrans, extract the gear and examine it for continued use.  

Gypsy in hand and clutch cone on face-plate look good.  The plate is a rascal.

So here we sit, ashore on my workbench, rudely sticking her bronze shaft in my face, secured by a flange plate and 5 remaining short fastening screws that ought not to be such a big deal to remove.  But they are.  Corrosion has made them fast in their holes and with the single slot to turn, highly improbable to remove without ruining the slots' integrity. 

The drama continues...
I've provided several days of penetration and managed to remove one screw from this flange.  Next I will jury-rig a flat head on my ratchet along with some torch heat and attempt to persuade the rest of these fasteners to abandon their futile grasp. If you are a savvy viewer, you will see the stems of two bolts broken at their removal located just adjacent to the flange at the 3 o'clock position.  These two screws served to hold the ratchet keeper for the windlass gypsy.

This is a real-time entry so it will be continued..

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Annapolis Boat Show 2017

Boat shows are like the circus coming to town.

We stayed with friends on the Severn and took an afternoon surging through the crowds to see the beautiful line-up of boats, beam to beam, lying in the Annapolis harbor.

It was good to see some vendors face to face, like the current owner of the Baggy Knees tender (if you haven't seen them look here:  Baggy Knees ) who purchased the molds from the owner and is firmly in the process of scaling the business once again after the company lagged due to personal issues.  Plus, we walked with friends on the new impressive designs of the Beneteaus, the Jenneaus and others, whose interiors were just as impressive as ever. The air conditioning below was a sure sales factor for those large bohemoth gals.  My pal, who was interested in the motor-yacht phase of the show, was able to parlee his membership in the Hawaii Yacht Club for entrance into the Annapolis Club location which served a fabulous lunch.  After a few visits, I do think they might be convinced to return to a sailing hull which they had had in Hawaii years ago.  But trawlers have them in tow!

Time well spent, walking the docks.  We mostly enjoyed talking with vendors about their products and seeing what was on the market, where the price-points were, and finding some parts for Nautica that were on sale at the show!

After some cold beers and good conversation, we toted our show-bags home and took to the river for a water cruise with our friends.  They had told me that they'd seen an Alberg in the Severn, so we watched with interest to see that design slipping across the waters.  And we were not disappointed as one of the Alberg Association members came into view with the binoculars.  We trailed them and too a few photos.

Wes Gardner and friends on a port tack in Round Bay on the Severn.

The winds were light and the weather was delightful.  Hull 196 looked splendid on her port reach.  We contacted the skipper via FM radio and he recognized me as Skeep from the Alberg Association community.  A fantastic conclusion to another great boat show.

Phone photos have their limitations but you get the idea!  Wow!
Now back home, it is time to continue a few interim improvements but get the Berg back onto the lake to squeeze the last bit of life out of the current headsail whose seams are continuing to give way.  Once the sail is exhausted, we'll pack it up and send it to Sea Bags (you can see the link on the site here) and donate the cloth for a nice complimentary bag in exchange.  Can't say enough about how positive we are about Sea Bags.

The best part of the weekend in Annapolis was catching up with good friends.  Here we are at the Annapolis Yacht Club about to savor a fabulous meal together before hitting the docks for the afternoon!

Time to refit!
Sailing gets better and better on Lake Murray in the Fall and Winter, so it's time to dust off the Go-Pro and begin working on some photo angles again.  

Picked up a couple of Schaeffer spring blocks for the genoa track after cleaning the varnish out from underneath the tracks and lubricating them further.  Years of accumulation had made moving the original cars very difficult.  I will re-purpose the original Harken blocks for the mast base as I assemble parts for shifting control of the main halyard and reefing line to the cockpit for easy access.