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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Monday, January 22, 2018

It was right in front of me.

I never saw it.  It might have helped my sailing that day too.  The video might tell you the story without reading so perhaps view it first and then read, or, read through and see if it makes sense what you see?  Your choice!

The wind was pretty brisk that Sunday afternoon on the lake.  Adding to the drama of gusts that were following straight line from the north, the lake had been drawn down 6 feet making for some serious shallow areas that could bring a vessel as large as Nautica to a dead halt.   It was important to watch everything carefully and be cautious at 15 degrees of heel not to fall off the leeward side on occasion.

Single-handing is always a terrific time to challenge one's skill-set and this was a typical day for that.  There weren't but a couple of other sails on the horizon, and the winds were not blustery but coming straight from the north with persistent blows lasting about 5 to 10 minutes apiece.  This kind of straight-line wind provides the opportunity to set the vessel on a point of reach and pay attention more to sail shape and dynamics than on where one is headed.  

I had been working on my sail-shape.  In the video I realized that I had tightened my sail-ties a bit too tightly when setting out for the day, and the ties were pulling on the grommet points with too much pressure.  This can have the effect of putting undue stress on the sail and possibly tearing the sail!  But this is sort of routine, that is, to notice things and correct them.  There are numerous and repeated adjustments to be done while sailing.  It's like any sport, once you engage, you must be constantly adjusting, correcting, applying more here and less there, and so on and so on, it is simply part of any sport you wish to do well.  And so it is with sailing.  The challenge is to remember the basics, apply them in a timely manner and do it well.  But we're only human, and we mess up!

The Alberg is so forgiving that it allowed me in this case the time out of the cockpit to go forward and loosen those ties while under sail.  However, the funny thing is that as I was paying attention to my sails, and especially the new headsail and its shape and clew points, I failed to notice my soft vang hanging underneath the boom until the end of my sail that afternoon. 

Another day, admiring the sails, their shape, their color, and the quiet power they produce.
It wasn't absolutely critical, but it could have assisted in some sail shape flattening and holding the main with more authority in these brisk winds.  I simply didn't notice it until I was ready to flake my main and wrap up sailing for the day.  I laughed to myself as I wrestled the cover over the main, how I'd worked so hard to piece together that vang, get the blocks in place at the foot of the main and to run the control lines to the cockpit.  It was so close, all I had to do was pull on the vang line (it is even marked on the line clamp) and make it so. 

But not seeing something directly in front of us is no stranger to many.  Had I had another sailor with me I'm sure the vang would have come up and we'd have fixed things toute-de-suite.  I'm enough competitive that I can still reprimand myself gently for not "sequencing" all the parts of fine tuning my rig and doing it properly.  This is the seamanship part of sailing that also enters into our kitbags as sailors.  As for the Alberg, it is a sturdy boat capable of doing well sometimes whether we do well or not!

Lighter air close reach and loose vang is fine.  Downwind and heavier air can be managed better with the assistance of a vang to control the boom's upward movement, keeping sail shape at best angle.
I learn something every time I head out and sail and many more times I relearn something I should have remembered to do!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Back in the Winds

Forecast was for 9 to 11 kts but the reality was more like 2 to 6 kts once out on the lake.  I didn't pull out my anemometer, I just enjoyed the warmth and the straight line winds from the east.

It was so warm I took off my jacket and sailed in a t shirt with long reaches and full sun to guide the way.  I left the Go-Pro running during the sail and captured the best part of the winds that day.  In fact, the footage appeared in slow-motion because the winds were so precise and measured, the Alberg glided across the lake as it might have been on tracks...the video is worth the watch even though it's 9 minutes, I managed to find some free music to match the footage.  Enjoy-


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cold Winds of Winter

Zephyr, the God of winds, has been visiting us in the Southeastern USA with bitter cold but soon will blow us away with some warm winds.

Last evening I braved the elements to check on Nautica.  The evening sky was advancing quickly turning colors into shades of grey, the light disappeared and the red lights of the salon made the Alberg look light a military operation.

I had a club meeting, and before the meeting, I decided to get to the boat early, turn over the diesel, and let it run for an hour or so to recharge the batteries and remind the gal I had not abandoned her.  A plastic water bottle sitting on the nav area had a solid ice interior as the temps inside the boat had dipped below freezing for about 5 days.  Everything below the waterline looked fine however.  

But being the suspicious person, I removed the hatch stairs and combed over the running diesel with a flashlight.  I spotted a persistent drip coming from the bottom hose point on the impeller mount.  Turning the hose clamp, it tightened more.  Carefully, as belts were turning, I felt around the body of the mount to make sure the gasket was functioning ok.  It appeared so.  I will further inspect before sailing in the next couple of days, to make sure there is a secure, i.e. watertight, seal on that bugger.

Cold and boats is a formula for problems.  I checked things over before sitting back and having a cigar from Perdomo lot 23.  The diesel banged back and forth happily for an hour and I enjoyed the ambiance of the red lights.  The temp inside was 45 degrees but it felt fine.  In addition to the cold, our lake has dropped another foot in depth so that our usual 360 foot level is now at about 353.6 feet.  Perhaps I'll be able to spot my cordless drill which jumped overboard this past August in an attempt to frustrate my work schedule.  There will be many shallow spots around our docks but I think with careful handling, we'll be able to sneak out and creep back while avoiding the peril of grounding. 

It was rather dark when I snapped this photo but it looks nearly daytime.  The lake surface is like deep space below the hull.
This became a good time to check light systems.  The above photo was taken in the dark but for some reason my LG camera translated it into a very bright photograph.  You can barely see the red nav light and the green one, shining brightly, is not evident.  Upper lights, mast head and steaming light, working great.  Even the cockpit tachometer and fuel gauge are brightly shining.  Whew.  Glad I got those wires hooked up right!  The masthead and mooring lights are also functioning. 

I enjoy the simplicity of this boat.  Although if I were to go offshore, I'd have to increase my complexity a bit with a few more systems, the beauty of a few buttons and systems is a great joy.  I wandered about for a while admiring the wintry glow about the Berg before closing her up again.  

Stern light proudly displaying his presence rear of the life ring. 
All the tedious small projects are paying off now.  And I admit there is a punishing pace to keep with good maintenance, but once in the groove, it is manageable and makes sense.  The Alberg has just enough creature comforts to take care of its crew and yet not so much that she is mistaken for an RV.  She wants to sail, not sit floating around pretending she does.  Winds are looking good this week for some lake activity as temps increase from the 30s to the 60s for a day or two before we get hit with another deep frigid assault.  It's time to shake her out.

She needs a good romp on the lake.  She poses well but she sails oh so much better!