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, May 18, 2018

Spilling Champagne on the Deck

We'd been waiting for a long time for just the right time and place when s/v Queen Bea would be renamed s/v Nautica.  And, acknowledging that a sailboat's name ought never to be changed without proper Ceremony, we wanted to insure a crowd and plenty of Champagne for the event!

That perfect occasion took place just the other day when our yacht club decided to host a "Tapas on the Docks" evening for Cruisers.  Everyone was in good spirits about the event, and the weather, though hot, was pleasingly so, and the sun was low in the sky when everyone assembled around the dock for a reading of John Vigor's duly copyrighted text of a proper "Renaming Ceremony!"
Official Proclamation and Christening Ceremony for a Vessel
"In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship in the past, and in the name of all who may sail aboard her in the future, we invoke the ancient gods of the wind and the sea to favor us with their blessing today. "Mighty Neptune, king of all that moves in or on the waves; and mighty Aeolus, guardian of the winds and all that blows before them:  "We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We voice our gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to port.  "Now, wherefore, we submit this supplication, that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known “Queen Bea,” be struck and removed from your records. (Toast) "Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and shall be accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed. (Toast)  "In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject as always to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea.  "In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea."  (Toast)[i]
"I name this ship s/v Nautica, and may she bring fair winds and good fortune to all who sail on her." (Final Toast)
© Copyright John Vigor. Reproduced here with permission. Reproduction in any form for commercial gain forbidden without written permission.

[i] After a boat is de-named, you simply need to rename it using the traditional christening ceremony, preferably with Queen Elizabeth breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow, and saying the words: (see above final line)

After stuffing themselves full of tapas, the nomadic sailors made their way across the club waterfront to Nautica, tied to on the launch dock.

Explaining some of the unique story that accompanies the vessel to date.

The months of tasks aboard the Alberg had been long.  My spreadsheet reveals about 70 items, or projects, notwithstanding innumerable hours of personal investment into "improving" the overall seaworthiness and cosmetics of the vessel.  I had also chronicled the monetary costs of that investment alongside the fixes!  Many folks assembled on the docks thought she was quite lovely.  But then, it's easy to look original and customized to its period look against the backdrop of dingy white high freeboard hulls assembled nearby, many the aspiration of an owner whose attention span has long since forgotten that first captivating glance which required mountains of hours and as much money, to get their boat where it now languishes, unnoticed in the crowd of clanging halyards.  I was quite proud of this vessel in the sweat of the late Spring evening.  I looked down at kids who had no idea of what we were doing and their adult parents who did, coming together to "toast" the renaming of a vessel which to me, was a warm and charming design, the kind people look at and say, "wow, that's nice...."
Glomming on through the Ceremony with one toast after another....
We perhaps ought to have done a pre-ceremony test run on cork removal!

Checking on First Mate's readiness before the final proclamation.

It's a quirky but pleasant text, the renaming ceremony.  I stood at the bow with a bottle of champagne in one hand and text in the other, calling the crowd to this age-old tradition which transitions a hull from one name to another.  Of course, it's easy to change names these days, no longer painting a name, we order up our size and font and the product is delivered in immaculate design, perfectly fitting our transoms.  And it's quite inexpensive at that!  In a commanding voice I called everyone to this renaming, invoking images of Neptune and Aeolus and their attention to the unique fables to which all those who clamber aboard this Alberg 30 should pay attention.  And to the rest, to be enchanted from afar!

The First Mate stood at the stern and I at the bow, invoking and pouring champagne over the bow and anchor and tossing it onto the deck as well.  She struggled with the cork but finally shot it into the air and spilled the sparkling juice all over the assembled crowd.  All assembled were of a jovial sort and loved sharing the "toasts" with whatever drink they might be carrying that evening.  Cheers rang out amongst them as the newly named sailing/vessel Nautica received her official welcome into the annals of our lives and times.

It reminded me of a wedding.  There is a lot of conviviality and many salubrious toasts for the new couple, all of which are long forgotten over the years of a marriage when the times take their toll on our feelings.  But at the moment all seems eternal!  And this was that moment for Nautica, and us.
Everyone enjoys a bit of bubbly sprayed about!

Just before the explosion!

We're very conscious of our commitment to Nautica and know why she captures our imagination.  And for this reason we have brought her into the midst of our club, to share the lure of her design and the history of her lineage amongst sailors.  I figured that rather than haul her out of the water and shrink-wrap her for a few years, I would keep her in her slip and grab a couple of history-loving sailors who I knew would care for her like I have.  Life can't stop with a transition, nor can boats stop.  If they do, they end up slothfully banging their halyards in marinas around the world, like prisoners who clamor and clang in their anonymity while the rest of the world scurries about to "the next thing" which catches their eye.  
So in anticipation of heading overseas, I have sailed with my trustees, and handed them the finely appointed tiller, dutifully varnished, giving them their initial encounter with Nautica's captivation.  Having Alberg lovers look after your vessel is like having people watch your children while you're away for the week, and you wonder how anyone could love your children as much as you?  Perhaps not, but just having them try is better than leaving the kids "home alone," or taking them with you!  We knew taking her overseas would be ridiculous.  And we did the research.  So, it's our plan and it affords me the luxury of being able to return periodically and stay as long as I desire, again fixing, and sailing, and keeping her wet and wanted.

Yes, we thought about putting her "on the market," but it seems too rash at this time.  She's in her prime as it were, and yet we realize life has many twists and turns, so we're not stuck in our position, and if life requires more of us than we are allowed to give to her, we will certainly entertain offers.  That's why there's a spreadsheet!

Before our departure overseas, s/v Nautica has one more official function to perform.  Months ago I offered her services to a delightful couple who are getting married and asked if anyone in our club would enjoy hosting the couple aboard for photographs after the ceremony in the evening.  Of course I thought this a fitting task for an elegant Alberg, and am duly approved for her to be professionally photographed.  This will provide Nautica with photos all skippers want of their boat, under sail.  Should be fun.  

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Those who sail know that means action and a change in direction is about to settle in as the new normal.  In fact, you cannot sail without changing courses, it defines the art of sailing itself.  So we're tacking again!
Chart of the waters around the coastal town of Korcula

My blog has tacked numerous times over the past 5 years.  And this time will be another interesting variation as we depart for Italy and take up residence a half hour from the Adriatic.  That's closer than my current mooring on the lake!  Regrettably, it is not cost efficient to ship the Alberg, nor is it feasible for non-blue water sailors to up and thinkin of making a trans-Atlantic jaunt who have never done so before.  Estimates just for setting up such a vessel would cost as much as our boat.  And, we could not be assured she is so seaworthy as to be ready for those conditions!

So, working a plan, I have two very able sailors at my sailing club who are going to provide Nautica with an active sailing schedule as she stays in fresh water and continues her extended life.  She will get my attention from afar and my plan is to return periodically and spend perhaps a month at a time, polishing, varnishing, tinkering and sailing her throughout our period abroad.

In addition to this new tack, there are numerous Adriatic venues for sailing and many boats to explore around this area of the Mediterranean Sea.  It's a splendid place to sail in good weather!
First Mate at the defensive sea wall of the port in Dubrovnik

Port of Dubrovnik 2009

We've already sailed from Dubrovnik and will look for additional charters in those waters upon our arrival.  We spent an enjoyable week in 2009 discovering the islands north of Dubrovnik including the city of Korcula and the world heritage site of Sipanska Luca both with their excitement and charm.  In fact our visit to Korcula, the said birthplace of Marco Polo was quite charming and made such an impression we purchased a local painting of the harbor which resides on the wall of our home, overlooking the piano.  

 We got a slight taste of the Bora wind while there as well both in a terribly difficult slip entry in Korcula harbor where fishing our Beneteau 473 stern-to was made impossible without the assistance of a crew member holding a mooring line to our bow from an adjacent vessel so as to keep our bow from falling off downwind on the turn in reverse to secure the stern.  The winds had the increased velocity of blowing through the saddle of land that connects the city to the main part of the island.  

Everywhere you look on the high point of the city of Korcula, you will also look out and see the Adriatic's blue surrounding you.  The winds can be brisk as our docking adventure cautioned us.  We were happy with the provisions we found in the city and the streetside fare as well.  Heading south about 35 miles by the crow's flight, is the idyllic Sipanski, Luca.  A shallow harbor with a older "grand in its day" hotel and fishing boats moored about is a perfect harbor where you can dinghy to the shore and find numerous family run restaurants with distinctive fare.  The fishing boat photos were typical of what was found around the harbor.

Sipanski Luca was delightfully peaceful.  Guarded from the winds and waves, this was an easy night aboard.  

The view north from the beach in Sipanski Luca showing the protected environment on east and west.  Apart from a direct North wind, this was the perfect mooring.  
We look forward to more sea-based destinations as we move to the Adriatic region and study its characteristics and culture.  We hope to perhaps find a vessel to slake our sailing thirst while Nautica waits for us to return home again.  She need not worry, she's a classic and not easy to forget!  

First Mate doing her Titanic impression on the way to Marco Polo's birthplace

 But before we take off we have a renaming ceremony to take place for s/v Nautica and that comes next.