|Companionway Slat Cover - Jan, 00
One of the first canvas projects I took on was to design and construct a storage "pouch" for the
companionway slats. (Yeah, I know I could have bought a generic from BoatUS or West, but I love
a challenge, don't you?)
This was (finally) accomplished using Sunbrela and velcro, and is secured in place with stainless
steel grommets. They hold it in place during heavy weather.
Dodger Construction - Feb, 03
After completing the rehabilitation of the cockpit coaming area, as outlined on the exterior page, it
was time to build a new dodger. We decided to keep the existing stainless steel 3-bow frame, and
just turn it around for a more pleasing window configuration and a smoother fold-down appearance.
The old dodger was rather poorly made; 2 lengthwise portions of Sunbrella canvas sewn together
just won't hug the frame and provide a snug fit, so there was point in trying to use it as a pattern. It
was time to start over from scratch - we love a challenge!
After purchasing a somewhat rudimentary but quite useful video on dodger construction from
Sailrite, I felt like I had the conceptual ideas down enough to start. First things first, make a pattern.
Sounds easy, right? It took an entire day.
Front windshield section -
over 16' long!
Side curtain section - one
of the 2 needed.
Mid section, between first
and second bows
Aft section, between
second and third bows
The patterns shown above were made by using double-sided tape on the three bows of the frame, then forming
each section individually. The windows, except for the windshield, were determined using blue masking tape to
delineate shapes and sizes.
We decided to use Pacific Blue Sunbrella and .0040 gauge Strataglas for the windows. We wanted to be able to
take the entire dodger off without having to remove the frame - meaning zipper casings for each bow. We also
wanted to either unzip and flip up the center section of the windshield, or take it out entirely - another 3 zippers.
We "raked" the sheerline at the back of the side curtains to give the dodger a "racier" look and to provide
additional protection from the wind and any spray while underway. Used some round fiberglass batten in a casing
at the trailing edge of the side curtains for some stability and stiffness.
Entire pattern on frame with
windows outlined in blue tape.
Side view of the completed dodger
Dodger with snap-in shades, very useful to have
when in a marina for a while or summering aboard
in the hot climes.
Looking through the windshield after installation
Back half, shown after completion for an
idea of the scale of the project
Vinyl Storage Bags
This past spring on our shakedown cruise, May '03, we found it very difficult to access our fenders
during docking manuevers.
I guess we all know how cockpit storage lockers can get regardless of how disciplined one tries to be
- so the Capt'n requested my assistance in making an idea of his become a reality, something on the
order of "Make it so, Number One".
He envisioned a compartmentalized assembly that would hold both our large fenders and the small
dinghy fenders in such a fashion that it would be easy to pull just one fender out and put it back. He
also wanted loops made of nylon webbing at each end (it turned out all across the top line) so that he
could mount it outboard of the lazarette engine compartment access.
Fenders insert from left in this picture.
Each compartment has a footer sewn
in to prevent the fender from sliding
right on through.
This shows the openings at the bottom
of the shot, and the footers are readily
viewable at the top of the shot.
This is a shot of our companionway with the sunbrella
and stratoglas flap. The stratoglas provides excellent
visability and allows the light to come down below (nice
during a rain storm).
We read about this in a cruising magazine and copied it
with materials left on hand from the dodger project.
It is really wonderful when it's raining, No hassle mon,
just flip it up and climb up or down below, then flip it
back down again.
I added a pair of snaps to the companionway slat cover
(above) so this just snaps onto it and stays put.
Click the shot for an enlargement.
|Soft Companionway Flap - Aug, 03
Fender Storage System - Sept, 03
This shot shows a couple of bags used in
the galley - one with foil, baggies, straws
and stuff like that, the other with
condiments. We grouped like things
together, such as the hot drink items like
coffee, tea, hot cocoa, sweetener and so
forth, making storage more logical.
These shots show the solution I developed to make full use of our storage areas. Since most of
them lie along the hull, both in the galley and the salon, they are curved and vary in depth. This
makes hard-sided plastic boxes impractical. The bags are easy to make and tuneable in size, plus
you can add pockets and dividers or flaps for extra waterproofing.
The vinyl bags not only conform to the space available, but also contain leaks should they occur, and
the contents are readily visible, making it fast and easy to find a particular item. They are also great
for use in the dinghy. With a velcro flap they are fairly waterproof. In ours we carried the handheld
VHF, the digital camera, pocketmail device, dry clothes, beer etc. Also quite useful for showering at
marina facilities, outings to the beach and all.
Click each shot for enlargements.
Medical supplies are easy to find when
stored in a clear vinyl bag.
Simple for the person on watch to find a snack.
Art supplies and sewing kit in their own bag.
This is a shot of the new sunbrella bridge which
closes the opening between the dodger and the
boom gallows. You are looking stright up at it.
The obvious benefits being the additional shade
both down below and in the cockpit, plus
protection from rain which was falling straight
down the companionway.
On one side I used a zipper that had been
installed in the dodger tail when I made it, and on
the other, some vinyl awning track was mounted
on the boom gallows with awning rope sewn on
the fabric side.
The other fabric in the shot, on the other side of
the gallows is the bimini...kind of confusing, huh?
Click the shot for an enlargement.
|Dodger Bridge - April, 05
Dinghy Cover, June, 08
After a few seasons here in the Tropics we felt it was past time to make a cover for our dinghy, a 10' Carib. I
had learned from the Dodger project that the way to get the best results was to make a pattern.
Using the same pattern making strategy as before, I affixed straping tape on the tubes where I envisioned a
seam, then put double-sided tape on top of that. As I couldn't locate any 2mil thick plastic dropcloths locally,
I decided to buy some lightweight clear vinyl from the local fabric shop called El Castillo. When this was
stretched tightly and evenly, I outlined and measured the dimensions of all of the cut-outs for handles, seat
supports and oarlocks then marked where the top of the rubrail was all the way around the outsides.
Materials used were heavy grey denim, Sunbrella being way too expensive down here at roughly $30/yard,
medium blue PVC fabric for the bow and rubrail, and grey rubberized vinyl for reinforcement purposed as it
will resist scuffing much better than the PVC.
Sourcing heavy duty rubberized vinyl here in Venezuela has proved impossible, however I had a
small supply left from St. Martin. I decided to use it for reinforcement purposes. The biggest need is
to reinforce the widest part of the rubrail, so I added a 1 1/2" wide strip to the blue PVC fabric which
makes up the lion's share of the rubrail.
Additionally, the rubrail assembly included a casing at the bottom to accommodate the rope which
would fall directly under the widest part of the rail and serve to hold the cover in place. A separate
assembly flap was made to "cup" the front at the bow, holding that part of the cover in place.
After a discussion with the Cap'n we decided to add reinforcement in the form of a "racing stripe"
across the top of the port side where the davit rubs when the dinghy is raised up high and tight for
passages. Seen best on photo below left.
Finally the 2 front corners needed some extra oomph as they tend to bang up against pilings, docks
etc. Seen best on photo below right.
I also made a couple of small PVC and webbing assemblies and sewed them to the upper inside
seams in the bow to be used for tying things off, such as fenders, anchor lines, and the like.
Binnacle Cover - March, 05
This binnacle cover was a fun but challenging project. We wanted to be able to keep dirt, salt
and UV off the instruments and sound system controls while chilling out at anchor or in a marina
environment (notorious for being dusty & gritty). As usual, Sunbrella is used along with a YKK
zipper. I put a zipper in so we can crank the engine without taking off the cover, and made a
pouch for access into the Binocular case. Finally, I added a small flap for access to the stereo
controls (which can't be seen in either shot.)
Every well-loved vessel needs a personal standard, so here is ours.
We once had a poster out by our jacuzzi that featured a nautilus falling
from the sky into the sea and we used to stare at it and dream about
our fulltime cruising plans... this is to honor the "dreaming-time".
Dreamtime Flag - Dec, 03
Dinghy Cover Redux, November, 2011
Our old dinghy cover had just gotten worn out, torn, dirty and ready for the trash. We had been stringing it
along through the hurricane season, but now that it was behind us it was time to buckle down and make a new
one, this time out of quality materials, as the cheaper ones didn't last long at all in the UV around here.
I was able to source 60" Sunbrella and a rubberized material called Shelterite, (which I used for the forward
portions of the cover), from a local sail loft, and I already had a large cone of Tenera thread. I stitch any
important project with the Tenera. It last forever but is a real BEAR to use sometimes, as it is really slippery.
Makes my Sailrite machine very finicky with skipped stitches etc.
Since I leave my crocs on while getting in/out of the dinghy I wanted a more forgiving material that would wipe
down easily. Also, each summer season we reverse our chain, cleaning it and WD-40'ing it before loading it
back into the chain locker via the dinghy. No matter how careful one is or how many precautions are taken,
there is usually some dripping. shelterite fits the bill but is very slippery when wet so care has to be taken
I also still had my pattern from the '08 effort which helped give me a good start. Anyway, many long
hours/days later I was finished. I'm hoping the cover will relax a bit after being on the dinghy, plus pumping
up the dinghy is bound to have an effect on the fitting too, but in general, I'm quite happy with it, and happier
still to have it behind me!
At the very back, over the tips of the tubes I used
Phifertex mesh-like material which allows water to
go through. Sometimes with a lot of weight in the
back of the dinghy many covers tend to try to scoop
water. In addition to the Phifertex, I've alleviated
most of that with only taking the rub rail portion as
far back as the arrow. Click for an enlargement.
A good shot of how far around the forward portion I
used the Shelterite, to the arrows, going further aft
on the port side to include where the davit lays.
Also, a shot of our towing painter with it's snubber.
Very handy in calm weather when going from one
anchorage to another. Click for an enlargement.
I also re-covered my "princess" cushion, (as Ed calls it), a closed-cell foam cushion. I used waterproof
Shelterite on top (easily wiped dry) & free-draining Phifertex on the bottom cover portion. Webbing straps
w/buckles hold it on the seat.
Dinghy Cover Redux, November, 2011
|Dodger Rain Bonnet, November, 2011
On Dreamtime we have installed stainless steel bars from the mast back to the boom gallows to facilitate
movement from the cockpit forward without involving the dodger or it's frame. At the forward end it also
provides stability at the mast for reefing. A bit unconventional, but we had the stainless so why not?
Since this frame is there we decided to fit it with a sunbrella "bonnet" which we take down while underway. It's
purpose is to provide additional shade for the dodger/companionway area and to allow us to leave the dodger
windshield open when raining. An added "bennie" is as a rain collector for the sun shower. Yep, we know, a lot
of blue canvas aboard, LOL.
|Left, front view looking aft, right, port side view looking forward
|Washdown Hose Bag, Nov, 2011
A straight-forward Sunbrella bag with Phifertex bottom which provides drainage and has an opening for the end
of the hose to come out and attach to the raw water plumbing fitting. We use this hose to rinse the anchor/chain
or deck with raw water. It is attached to the lifelines and has a velcro flap to allow ready access to the hose &
nozzle. Does a good job of protecting it from UV.
Dinghy Cover Redux, November, 2011
Dinghy Cover Redux, November, 2011
Ed has been wanting a waterproof cover for our teak cockpit table, to protect it from wear and tear and the
occasional rain shower. I used Naugahyde that matches the everyday cover we use below decks on our dining
table. Using some cloth fabric with a bit of give to it, I made casings for all 4 sides underneath and ran some
shock cord through them to provide a snug fit in case of high winds etc. Nothing fancy but it does the job.
|Cockpit Table Cover, Nov, 2011
Companionway Screen Redux, Nov, 2011
Before we took off for full-time cruising we decided that we would make a screen enclosure for the
companionway and screens for all hatches. The previous owners used a large piece of screening with
cloth-covered weighed side pieces and hooks up at the top part of the door opening. They passed it along to
us and we would have to stand there flopping this mess of screen back into it's place each time they had it
deployed, if only just to hand up a drink, or go below to cook. Noisy and cumbersome.
We decided to take a different, 2-part approach, with the 2 parts being sewn together thus making one
fantastically easy to use but effective screen enclosure. Just flip the lower portion up and slide the top
portion back and viola.
First we installed curtain track on both sides along the length of the companionway opening. Then the top
portion of the screen enclosure itself (sewn out of heavy nylon to facilitate being less bulky when pushed
back) has the associated snap tape/cars sewn on it. This would allow the screen to slide back and forth
easy-peasy. The velcro framework is also sewn onto the underside (less UV exposure) of this piece as well to
accommodate the actual screen.
The 2nd part is a sunbrella screen flap framework (more body to hang better) with velcro sewn in to which we
can readily attach the screen. This piece also has built-in casings at the top and bottom to hold the 2 pieces of
dowel cut to the exact width needed to ensure a good fit. I included a Shelterite "pull" at the top and bottom
inside and out of the screen flap so people wouldn't abuse the screen.
One of the things I like about our methodology is that usually each year the screen itself needs replacing due
to UV degradation. It is super easy to take the velcro'ed screen pieces out and sew another piece of screen
back onto the velcro "framework". This time, after several years, things were worn and tattered-looking and I
felt a complete re-do would look spiffy again.
cars every 4"
or so allows
piece to slide
back and forth
|Dowels of the
needed are in
casings at the top
and bottom of the
flap allowing the
screen flap piece
to flop back into
position within the
|The screen on
both top and
bottom pieces is
velcro so it can
I also decided, (while I was in the "zone"), that the mast boot cover needed to be replaced. Mast Boots are
used on keel-stepped Rigs to help prevent water leakage where the Mast goes through the Deck. They fit
around the Mast and cover the Deck Collar flange and Mast Wedges. Ours is rubber. I felt like it needed to be
protected from the UV so years ago I made a cover for it but It too had gotten grubby and needed to be
The new cover is also made of Sunbrella and has a casing top and bottom for small gauge cordage to run
through so we can snug it down tight. A nylon zipper runs up the center of the aft portion which allows removal
if necessary. Big whoop, but looks nice & tidy.
|Mast Boot Cover, Nov, 2011
Back View w/zipper