Canvas (part three) – some final projects before we cast off the dock lines.

We still had some canvas work to do before we could head south, but after completing the dodger we knew it would all be easy-peasy by comparison.

The top priority was a new bimini.  The bimini goes over the helm in the cockpit to protect the helmsman from the sun and rain.  I completed one right before we left in 2018 and immediately knew I wanted another crack at it.  I just wasn’t happy with how it looked.  Fortunately, switching our canvas color from navy to toast gave me the perfect excuse to try it again.

It’s amazing how much more experienced I’ve become with sewing canvas.  When I did the first bimini, it took well over forty hours and I struggled the whole time.  But this one?  I whipped it out in less than half of the time, sewing with confidence the whole way.  It was SO much easier than the dodger, and we’re very happy with how it looks.

Once the bimini was finished, it was time to sew the connector.  Jeff has been advocating for a connector between the dodger and the bimini for quite some time, and although I really didn’t think it was necessary, I finally agreed just so he’d stop pestering me about it.  I thought it would be easy, but I hit a major roadblock partway through.  I couldn’t get the measurements to work according to the Sailrite video.  We made five or six trips from the clubhouse to the boat to test fit, and as the number of trips increased, so did the volume of my muttering given that I didn’t want to make the damn thing to begin with.  Finally we came up with a theory that resulted in the connector being WAY too large, so I trudged back to the clubhouse one last time to shorten it, hoping I wouldn’t make it TOO short.  Phew!  Success!


Finally, after at least triple the anticipated hours, the connector was finished.  I’m not crazy with how it looks, so I’ll probably try again next summer.  However, I’ve admitted to Jeff that having a connector is AWESOME!  It provides SO much more protection in the cockpit from the sun and rain, and we can leave the boards out of the companionway on rainy days.  He was right.  Mark the date!

To round out the cockpit canvas, I sewed some weather cloths to give us more privacy and some protection from sea spray.  We’ve seen many of them with the boat’s name along the side and I really wanted to do that, but we ran out of time.  That will be a project for next summer.

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Last but not least, I sewed some seat covers for the Porta-bote.  Whoever was the genius that decided to design the dinghy with black seats should be summarily fired.  The seat covers were extremely straight forward, consisting of hemmed material and velcro, and they’ve worked out very well so far.

Phew!  When we were finished, Jeff mentioned that our friends on Lone Star and told him that we had done a TON of canvas work this summer.  Looking back at it, I realized they were absolutely right.  A mainsail cover, interior cushions, two throw pillows, a dodger, bimini, connector, weather cloths, and dinghy seats.  All of this plus a part-time job at Shenny, driving the launch and working at the t-head.

By the time I was finished, I was more than happy to put everything away one last time so that our friend Jeff from S/V Infinity could take it home and use it over the winter.  There will be a few canvas projects next summer, but for now I’m glad to be closing the sweatshop’s doors for the season.

It’s curtains for you!

After struggling mightily with sewing winch covers, it was time to tackle a sewing project that was easier – curtains.  No sewing circles into tubes this time.  After watching the Sailrite video on YouTube it was obvious that all I needed was to make a few straight cuts, a few straight hems, and I’d be all set.  Well, close but not quite. Continue reading “It’s curtains for you!”

Interior Cushions? Finished! (For now).

Mother Nature conspired against us this past weekend to ensure that it was not a particularly productive two days.  Going into it we knew that Saturday was going to be cold and rainy all day, and Sunday was going to be even colder (upper 30’s) with wind gusts over 50 mph.  So we did what we could.

Saturday we drove down to Defender for the annual Warehouse sale.  Armed with our list, we debated asking for Defender’s checking account number so we could simply have our next paycheck direct deposited into their account.  We settled for giving them our credit card instead. Continue reading “Interior Cushions? Finished! (For now).”

I don’t think you could pay me to make these again…

“I’ll make some winch covers!  How hard can they be?”,  I thought.  Ha.  By the time I was finished I had thrown away the first three, still wasn’t entirely satisfied with the remaining five, and had taken to calling them “*$#@%%* winch covers!”

Much to our pleasant surprise, Pegu Club came with five winches that had clearly been upgraded from her original stock winches.  They are all oversized and self-tailing, and the two largest are two-speed winches.  Two-speed winches have a high and low gear which allows you to crank the lines in a lower gear (by reversing the cranking direction) as it becomes more difficult.  Buying them all new would approach $3,000, something we never would have done.  Her original winches would have been fine, but the bells and whistles on these are certainly nice to have.

Now bear in mind that as far as I can tell, a winch cover is truly unnecessary.  Sure, I didn’t like how rainwater would just stay in the hole for the winch handle but it’s not like it was going to hurt the winch.  Heck, Little Bristol was built in 1975 and had her original winches – likely never covered – and they were fine.  Nope, I just wanted to make them because I thought it would look spiffy. Continue reading “I don’t think you could pay me to make these again…”

An Ode to Our Sailrite LSZ-1

Oh, my Sailrite LSZ-1.  How do I love thee?

One of the many boat-related subjects that captured my interest awhile ago was canvas work.  I had taken some sewing lessons a few years back and had a lightweight machine, but I knew sewing for boats required something more heavy-duty.  There are countless “What’s the best sewing machine?” threads on the sailing forums and the Sewing on Boats Facebook page, and the runaway recommendation is always a Sailrite machine.

Sailrite is an Indiana-based company that has been around since 1969.  They sell everything you can think of that might be needed for boat-related (and home decor) sewing, and their customer service is top-notch.  With hundreds of how-to YouTube videos covering everything from making cushions to sails, they have a way of breaking down each step so that you find yourself thinking, “I can make that!”. Continue reading “An Ode to Our Sailrite LSZ-1”