Sew, Sew, Sew (for) Your Boat



Once we got the oven working again (typed as I eat a deliciously roasted butternut squash!) my main focus was to get a few sewing projects out of the way before we made the cross over to the Bahamas. While I finished our new dodger a few weeks ago I still needed to make the piece that connects the dodger to the arch so that we had a fully shaded cockpit while we sail. Given my ghost like exterior coloring, this was definitely a priority!

Most cockpits have a dodger and a bimini that are connected by a panel that has zippers on both ends to pull everything together. Instead of a bimini Chance has a hard topped arch that houses our solar panels. Jason built it using stainless tubing and fittings. This sounds all good and well until you realize that I had to come up with a way to attach fabric to stainless poles which is a tad more complex than just sewing on a zipper and calling it a day. Do I use snaps to wrap pieces of fabric around the poles? Nah, too much of a chance of the snaps failing under that amount of load. I could used individual zippers for each piece of fabric that I wrapped around the pole but that means I would need five zippers for a 72” length. What I opted to do was create a sleeve that slides over the stainless pole and is kept properly spaced around fittings with a long length of fabric. The zipper is then sewn to the fabric. This ensures that the point that is getting the most tension is fabric and not a zipper or snaps. The only sucky part of the job was that I had to take apart a lot of the arch to install the sleeve which was not a fun task. Nothing like the fear of solar panels falling on your head and into the water below to keep you on your toes!


{A portion of the sleeve I made}

Once I had the sleeve in place I could make a connector piece with zippers on both ends. Easy! I installed quite a large window in comparison to a lot of the boats we’ve seen. This was for two main reasons – one being that I didn’t have enough fabric, and two that we wanted to easily be able to see what the heck was going on out there. Too small a window will seriously limit your ability to see your sail from the comfort of your cockpit. When we are at anchor I have a window cover that I keep on to help protect the vinyl.


A day in and I am pretty happy with how it all turned out. We can now have a cockpit that is moderately dry when it is raining (unless it is going sideways, or wind blows it all over the place which it tends to do a lot), dew free in the mornings and full of shade when it is blistering outside. Woohoo!


Another small, but not insignificant, project I finished yesterday was installing rings through the cringle on our mainsail for reefing. Reefing allows us to depower our sail and making it smaller. This is very helpful in high winds or for night sails when seeing weather is a bit more challenging. I had previously added reef points to the sail but had this finishing touch to add. The previous boom on our boat was a rolling boom so you simply rolled up the sail to reef it. Since we no longer have that boom I had to adjust the sail. I still need to put in one more reef point but I guess one reef point is better than none!

Up next: buying new plates to replace our shattered Corelle plates. It has proven a bit challenging to plan dinners around what can be eaten in a bowl. Especially when you forget about not having any plates until after you invite friends over for dinner. Oops.

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    • I think the fog makes everything look better 😉 when you get sick of all that snow come for a sail!