|Yes it is the month of May in Nova Scotia as the First Mate makes some notes in our Log Book. Much work was ahead.|
|The 4:1 makes single-handing quite a breeze!|
So I grabbed an Army pal of some near 30 years and tossed him into the Alberg 30 and put him to work earning his First Mate's position at the headsail winches. It was a great sail together, winds were forecast to be 10 to 22 kts, but like all forecasts, they seem to take some time each season to develop accuracy. The wind was fickle (another word for variable) and coming from various directions was a bit fitful for us. We pulled into less than a knot of wind and I grabbed the windward side of the 4:1 traveller system and adjusted for the vespers as the Alberg purred and slid at 2 knots in this silver mirrored surface. I was elated but knew my crew would not especially grasp the celebratory vibe I was experiencing. However, this first use of the new traveler was impressive. I'd not had this kind of control as my track and sliders were less than up to the task. I knew that if it made this much difference in sail shape in a knot of wind, it would be substantial in a breeze. Anyone can sail somewhere in a blow but few can turn a slight wind into a sail. That I was even able to gain momentum was a thrill.
|You're telling me! Yes it was archaic but it lasted a long long time! Yet it did not provide any decent control and impossible to change positions under tension. Impossible.|
After just short of an hour of more gliding petered-out, I suggested we flake the sails and enjoyed the warm sun of early Spring. We caught up on all things friends catch up on and reflected and discoursed in a lake as placid as a summer day yet without the dreadful heat.
I was quite pleased the winds were not living up to the forecast however, as my pal had an orientation's worth of sailing experience, and I was anxious to Beta test my latest installation, the Harken traveler.
|Installation was really pretty easy. The only challenge is a bit of boat yoga to remove the track and some needle work to make the flemish eye for each line to attach to their blocks.|
Then there came the day this February the weather was permitting and I removed the mainsheet and its blocks, and removed perhaps, the original track, taped over its holes and went hunting in earnest for the system best suited for its size. For in fact, the "system" which I inherited simply had no direct impact on the vessel other than to "hang on" to the boom.
But I digress. So back aboard, we continued talking and basking in the first warmth of the Spring, when I glanced upward and saw nature's signal of change. I asked my First Mate if he saw what I saw, doing a bit of training on what to look for in terms of signs of wind. In the sky had arrived many puffy small clouds moving west to east. Then appeared in a matter of minutes on the horizon several miles to the west, a grey line slowly marching toward us. "The wind is coming!" I said, and we raised the main and unfurled the headsail to receive an initial burst of 3 to 5 kts of persistent wind and in half an hour settled into a delightful 8kts of wind with full sail.
|First Mate showing he's retained some of that sail training!|
The push-pin was the lynch pin of my decision making. In my appeal to the First Mate's keen sense of shopping savvy, I reminded her that I would purchase these items on a day when West Marine provided double points to all shoppers. She affirmed my sensible approach to the purchase and the Harken low beam track and prepackaged slider and 4:1 end controls arrived shortly thereafter. Ka-ching, well you know, it's an old sailboat and it needed this more than bottom paint!
As for performance, because that is useful to readers too, the increased pointing capability of having the boom closer to the center of the boat enabled us to easily manage better shape of the main and its cooperation with the headsail. The Alberg 30 points well anyway, but this addition just made her so much more capable.
You don't know on these old boats until you look and see. The high beam track on #614 seemed sturdy and useful enough in this configuration, however in the process of disassembly, I discovered 1/8th inch screws secured with a common washer and a non-locking nut! It is remarkable that the track even survived 40 years of use. It's replacement required enlarging holes three times larger than the original, locking washers and locking nuts. After a easy day of sailing in 8-9kts I'd say this addition to the boat is probably one of the last "had to do it" items on my original list. Keeping it to this point ensures I have a real comprehension of how much better this boat sails now than it did when I first took her out. It has created a sense of accurate measurement of the vessel's capability.
|I simply cannot throw them away. They are historical artifacts now!|