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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Friday, November 17, 2017

A Royal LoFrans comes Home

In late October I posted about removing my Royal Lofrans windlass and its sad condition after years of inattention.  It was a sad and non functional piece.  Could have thrown it away I suppose.  But I had the time and needed a distraction while my new headsail was being sewn.

This old Lofrans was much less a Royal and more like a Reject.  It barely functioned, I thought due to corrosion or something, so I determined to disassemble it and get to the bottom of things. 

Parts everywhere.  Inside, all looked very clean and usable.  Nothing looked overworked or worn at all.  Just a bit dirty.

So for the past few weeks I've had the parts all over my worktable as I clean, inspect, and attempted during this time to extract corroded screws throughout this bugger. Everything had been going "ok" until I encountered bolts that broke off and screws that would not budge.  I used my butane torch, penetrating oil, brute force and nearly thought prayer might be my only resort!

I bumped up my game to some titanium drill bits, then went to an extraction kit, alas, only a couple of the screws from the flange face plate resisted but finally yielded to my attempts.  I knew the plate was critical to supporting the shaft and for keeping debris out of the gearbox, so I gave it my best effort while a couple other bolts holding the "snipper" an arm which races along the base of the Gypsy chain wheel, cracked during removal and they required a machine shop.  

Since my headsail is still in progress at the loft, I've plenty of time for frustration so I handed the windlass housing off to my favorite machinist in town.  He's helped with the Cape Dory Typhoon, my motorcycle and now the Alberg 30.  He's the kind of guy who can tackle an arcane project with some sort of fascination and come out with a fix.  I knew the gypsy would appreciate the snipper being functional again.

Once the snipper was reattached I reassembled the Royal Lofrans and decided to add it to our household of nautical paraphernalia that occupies our rooms and lifestyle.  I set it on its own display pad and looked with admiration at this machine that has the capacity to wrench anchors from the deep, now still showing the pitting of corrosion and the scratches of labor on the warp bell.

1st Mate was not as enthusiastic about the appearance of the windlass near the grand piano but I suggested it a conversation piece for guests and an occasional opportunity might arise for it to be a doorstop!  I sort of like the combination of colors and know that if we take the Alberg to the big blue in the future, we can always reput the Lofrans on the foredeck.

This manual windlass was an interesting journey for us, as we used to disregard the fantastic work of our power windlass aboard our Beneteau 473.  How easy that was!  Rev the diesel and run the windlass, it would retrieve 150 feet of chain and pull the boat along with it.  This old model is still functional although it would take plenty of time to reel in 150 feet of chain!  The upside is that this old model doesn't need more diesel except that from your biceps!  

This project was a nice diversion for a few weeks.  I discovered the interior of the windlass was nearly in perfect condition as it was protected from the elements.  It had not been serviced in a very long time, perhaps never, but nonetheless, it was functional once things were remedied.  The most curious part of this rescue was the plastic exterior coating which inhibited the wheel, at the right side adjacent to the warp bell, from moving.  Once the plastic was removed the entire mystery was solved.

Not being a mechanic, this was a good little project.  Now we can admire this little bugger in its climate controlled museum environment until summoned into service again!