Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sailing with Salty Gene.

We affectionately refer to our main sail as Baggy MacBaggerton

One of Mark's favorite dock buddies is Salty Gene. His name is actually just Gene but we've benefited so much from his knowledge gained during his 6+ years spent cruising the Caribbean on the boat he built himself, his years sailing the US and added with the fact that he manages to wear a fisherman's hat without looking the least bit twee that I feel calling him Salty Gene just fits better. And this is my blog so there ya go...Salty Gene it is.

Anyway, we had the opportunity to take the boat out with Salty Gene aboard to get an idea of what we want to add and more importantly, where the screw ups on the deck lay out and running rigging are so we can address them while we refit. We had plenty of wind at around 20-22 knots. Enough that we were able to get moving along at a well heeled over clip even though our main sail is the more akin to a sleeping bag then a sail. We managed to lose a batten due to me not tying up the end well. Fortunately, with such a  badly blown out sail I don't think a batten or the lack there of would make any difference at all. Mark asked me if I felt humbled by the loss of our batten due to my mistake. I told him no, I did not feel humbled because in order to feel humbled I had to first be feeling a bit superior about my skills. I just assume all the time that I will bumble my way through ignorance, make lots of mistakes but get through it all somehow. Besides, all the other battens remained intact so I must have done some of them correctly.

Salty Gene at the helm
It was a very good sail. The suggestions Salty Gene made were for the most part already on our list so at least we got confirmation that we are on the right track. We also had it illustrated to us just how crappy the deck layout is. Mark has been thinking things out carefully and this should be the next big project once we tidy up the plumbing. Rigid boom vang, jammers, increasing the size of winches, new clutches, organizers, etc should keep us busy for a while as the current configuration has been declared to be "Crap. Absolute crap" by Mark and after getting the jib sheets hung up on various parts of the rigging, me cranking a winch for a heck of a lot longer than I would like to, dealing with far too much friction on the lines. etc I have to agree. Salty Gene agreed that our current set up "is too damned hard". So we are going to do what we need to make it easy because I am all about easy.( Mark, I say if you really want those 54 winches by all means go for it!)

Salty Gene declared the boat to be a good, solid and dependable sailor. We know a bit more about what we want to do to the boat especially  for when sailing with a bit of wind. The sun was shining, the girls were happy and all in all I have to say it was a very good day. After we got the boat docked and tucked away, it was time for some birthday cake (Kitty is 2!) and to make plans for some overnight sails this summer.


  1. We come from the land of nick names as well. Your our Main sail is also a MacBaggerton..must run in the family.

    How nice to have Salty Gene's expertise! We feel that way about Bud Taplin and his Westsail knowledge.

    Seeing the sail half full instead of half empty will help you with the other 4,458,984,987 things that will go wrong no matter how prepared you are.

    I envy you and your blueprints for deck improvement. I on the other hand am lifting weights at the gym to help with the winching.

  2. I'm not sure if Baggy needs a bath and a shave or a cut, shape and blowdry; but it looks like it needs something :)

    I'm sure you saw the write up about all the hardware I got last fall, I just finished laying out where and how to install. Deck layout is important not just for friction and load - but also intended use and by whom it will be used.

    My vang, cunningham and outhaul are going to starboard (helm), mainsheet and travler to center and main halyard and reef lines to port - so shaping is at the helm and raising/lowering is to port. Got to do some splitting when the cockpit is 10 feet wide :)
    Good luck with your layout, I'll be watching.

    1. Chuck, Baggy needs a retirement home. :) We are waiting on the new main sail so we can make our screw ups and mistakes (like losing a batten!) with the old one. Damaging and beating up an old baggy sail is a lot less painful that doing that to a sparkly new sail!

  3. Dani, I think you and Tate are one step ahead since Sundowner was previously set up to circumnavigate! Ceol Mor was set up hang out at the dock. Why someone would buy a boat designed to handle ocean passages to hang out in a marina is beyond me. We don't currently have a workable deck set up but we do have a kick ass air conditioner. ;)