Boat Projects. There is always something to prepare, upgrade, or maintain on a cruising sailboat

I’ve busted out our new fancy-schmancy Sailrite sewing machine and am climbing the steep learning curve towards proficiency with it.  Ehen we first acquired the machine I watched the DVD the heavy beast came with and got tons of practice sewing straight lines making 116 cones for our Jordan drogue (emergency brake in case of bad weather).  Now that I have the basics of tensioning and backstitching down, I’m bravely heading forth into projects that involve a little more brainpower than running a 8″ straight stitch down a piece of rip stop nylon.

I started with a couple of warm up projects including sewing loops in the end of our jacklines.  This is very much a nice to have rather than must have.  Up to now we’ve just attached the jacklines to the bow and stern cleats with a cleat hitch.  Now we can loop the jacklines around bow cleat and only have to have a cleat hitch at the stern.  This will free up some space on the bow cleat for the gybe preventers to be attached more easily.  You truly must sail on Pura Vida to appreciate this one…

Next up was a fender cover.  I took an old beach towel, ran a seam down one side to make it a tube, and hemmed the ends of the tube with a length of paracord inside each hem to make drawstrings.  Bada-bing,fender cover.  Now I just need 5 more beach towels to do the rest.  I see a walmart run in my future.

Our galley has open storage cubbies between the cabinet and the counter.  Like glass fronted cabinets they are great in theory.  I reality I’m not a good enough housekeeper to keep them organized enough to look nice.  Solution, make Sunbrella squares to fit and velcro them in place.  Not quite at convenient as a cabinet door but its the next best thing.

The first big (for me) project was to replace the bag for our lifesling.  For you non sailors, a life sling is a ‘roided up version of a throwable life ring.  It hangs on the side rail in the cockpit and comes from the factory in a storage bag that lasts about two months in the sun before the UV rays start to break down the material into a white crumbly mess.  Ours had been conscientiously ignored for the better part of three years, so it was time to upgrade to a less trashy embarrassing looking system.

Lucky for my novice sewer self, the remains of the original bag made a nifty pattern for the new one, and the interior inner bag and stiff plastic liner had been spared the rigors of the sun and was salvageable.  The results, which I am (maybe slightly overly) proud of are featured below.

Lifesling loops

Fender cover

Pretty girl posing in front of the cubby covers

Killer “helping” while I made the pattern for the life sling cover

The finished life sling cover

loops to hang on the stern rail

salvaged interior of the old bag is white



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