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!