Tuesday, June 14, 2016

PHOENIX MEMORABILIA: Baggy-wrinkle - lost or disintegrated

     See, making "baggy-wrinkle" wasn't just Skipper's ploy to keep me slaving away even when I wasn't polishing the kerosene lamps or writing Alphabetabobical stories on the rough ride across the Pacific.
     They really do exist. Even Capt. Bert Bigelow of the Golden Rule mentions them in his book, The Voyage of the Golden Rule: "Her main gaff was high-peaked. . . . Although there are some who still cling to it. . . the gaff rig, in my view, is a clumsy, complicated, and improper rig for a small ocean-going yacht. This is particularly true of a ketch. Unless the masting is extraordinarily heavy, the gaff creates an added problem. The mainmast cannot be permanently or properly stayed aft. This results in a slack headstay and a slack-luffed and intolerably inefficient jib. . . The only way to stay the masts in an aftermost direction is to place the aftermost shroud further aft. This results in interference with sails, and even spars, and creates hideous problems of chafe. This explains the many bunches of baggy-wrinkle in the rigging of the Golden Rule. . ." (pp. 60-61)
     I'm not sure what all this means but no one wants a slack headstay or a slack-luffed jib--and one certainly doesn't want "hideous problems of chafe!"
     The Phoenix, though 50 feet long to the Golden Rules' 34 feet, was a gaff-rigged ketch so she needed baggy-wrinkle and I was elected to make it.
     As I wrote somewhere on His Scribe, it's a kind of braiding. You unravel about two feet of rope, secure two lengths of it at both ends parallel to each other a few inches apart. Then you take other strands maybe six inches long, bring them up one at a time around the outside of the parallel lengths, feed them down between the lengths and pull them tight, then snug them up to the strand tied previously.
     That's how I remember it, anyway, and when you have a long narrow grass skirt of the stuff, your father somehow secures each end and wraps it around the rigging and you have done a Good Deed, leaving nothing slack, luffed, or chafed.
     This is the best photo of baggy-wrinkle I could find--a minimalist one. No sails or other distractions, just clean lines and those feather dusters at regular intervals. We have lots of slides of Phoenix baggy-wrinkle but the slides are dirty and our bw's look like disheveled dust mops. So I'm using a photo of the Golden Rule's baggy-wrinkle: plump, fluffy and evenly-spaced.
     Neither Webster's nor The Oxford English Dictionary mentions baggy-wrinkle but I was able to find definitions and photos online. Wikipedia has good pictures of the finished product, explaining, "Baggywrinkle is made from short pieces of yarn cut from old lines that have been taken out of service. Two parallel lengths of marline are stretched between fixed points, and the lengths of yarn are attached using a hitch - similar to a cow hitch - called a 'railroad sennit'. This creates a long, shaggy fringe which, when the marline is wound around a cable, becomes a large hairy cylinder." Long, shaggy fringe. Large, hairy cylinder. That's it, exactly.
     Best of all, I found an excellent photo of someone making it!
     Naomi, I hereby promise if you get the Phoenix seaworthy again, I will make all her baggy-wrinkle!

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