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, April 20, 2018

Enough Room in the Cockpit

Out sailing the other day and I actually had my First Mate aboard for the afternoon.  Usually I single-hand the Alberg 30 but this was an opportunity to share the tasks and enjoy the day.  However, this cockpit gets pretty crowded when another person shows up.  Or, perhaps I'm simply spoiled to have the cockpit to myself.  I'm used to the disorder at my feet, holding the tiller between my legs while I haul-in a genoa sheet, or come about, ducking the boom, and looping another winch.  Add another person and it gets to be a busy environment!

I'm your First Mate and I'm here to help! Uh-oh!
But despite the fact that this is a 30 foot sailboat, there's just not a lot of wiggle room in the cockpit.  Add to the smallness of the area, add to that some wiggly double-braid on the sole, some shifting for a tack, and some huffs and puffs over grinding the winches, and a spilled drink you forgot on the lazarette, and the environment can get hectic.  Might even make you yearn or a big boat! 

Once you're seated, that's it.  You're staying put on this 47' Beneteau. Friends sitting down to dinner on the South Coast of France on our charter yacht, a sistership to our 473, s/v Halcyon.
Not so fast.  There will always be less room on a boat than you consider comfortable.  

Back in our chartering days, we were excited to have a large 47' Beneteau with such a spacious outdoor area for us and our guests.  But guess what?  You still have to climb past the folding table, and avoid stepping on toes on the way to the cabin winches, and it just seemed that no matter the size of boat, there was not enough room to move about.  Size of a vessel should not depend on what you want to have but what you do have and then trading off to cope with what is there.  Most of us are not wealthy boat owners, and those who are, will then simply purchase larger vessels.  That is not an option for us.  We have to realize what we're sailing and make a way with it.  And that's that.

Then there is the tiller!  What good is a large cockpit if you've a large stick with a 3' radius swinging around on the other knees against the bulkhead.  It can get crazy and complex in an instant.

This snap, taken by my help this day, shows the extent of that tiller.  And putting in a pedestal would only create other complexities for the single-hander, as you must still run your lines aft if you propose to be handy behind that pedestal.  It can be done but it is another modification.  And once you're behind the pedestal, you're behind the pedestal!  Others closer to the dog-house will have the sheets.  It's all about trade-offs with the close quarters on the Alberg 30.  

You just have to keep a good attitude aboard to make for a good sail sometimes. One can't become disenchanted with their boat because it's only 30 feet in length!  My Cape Dory Typhoon was just as limited an area in the cockpit yet I found the occasional knee cap tap a routine for that lovable little boat.  So, we adjust for attitude and have a great sail.  Seems a life lesson too!

Nautica rolls over gulping the breeze ahead of our friends in their Catalina 30.  Sailing the Alberg gets you closer to the water in so many ways and this shows one!

To put some perspective to this one has to see the "big picture" of what's going on while sailing, something rare to be able to picture unless your fellow cruising pals, end up to your stern and snap a phone photo like ours did.  The degree of heel is quite evident in these mild winds on that day, about 6 to 8 knots, sometimes blowing stiffly for a bit but lying down after a few minutes.  Sailing is dynamic and changing all the time as a rule.

One thing I learned in my military cross-training days, when I was with the Army "Boat People" (yes, they exist), was that passage ways and compartments aboard are intentionally a bit close quartered for good reason.  Ships which traffic real seas off the coast will find themselves sometimes underway in heaving conditions, tossing about.  This close arrangement of the design helps us to hold on for our own safety.  It isn't designed to provide us the comfort of a Pontoon Boat!  If you're gonna sail, you're gonna find yourself one day or another heeled over and hanging on.  In the photos above and below we're doing that on a gentle day.

So I suppose there is enough room in the cockpit to have an enjoyable sail in these conditions, full sail and a good time to run with friends on a variety of tacks on a warm Spring afternoon.   

We've had the big boat and it was terrific while we had the opportunity to sail it and its sister designs in a variety of ocean waters.  And we still love a big boat, as long as it's someone else's big boat!  For our taste, we love this Alberg 30's sufficient design which enables some great sailing and enough creature comforts as most sailors might need.  And that's what we're looking for in a sailboat. 

You gotta love someone who enjoys a sailboat this much!  I'm glad I was able to juggle the tiller and take the snap too!
The First Mate enjoyed her sail too!