It’s not off to the glue factory for me yet.

I usually stick pretty close to home, and this last weekend especially being no exception to that rule. I spent most of my days propped up in the cockpit, my right knee gently supported in various states of rest hoping that the next time I had to hobble to bathroom 100M away it wouldn’t be so stiff.

Thankfully Jim next door has been fetching bags of ice from the shop for me. Jo, a long time security guard at the marina, brought me a proper elastic brace and some homeopathic analgesic spray on Saturday night, unprompted. After a very lonely few days it was nice to know that someone here is looking out for me.

The good news is that indeed it is getting better. Hopefully by the end of the day I can make it past the bathroom/shower building, maybe even making it as far as the shop for a bottle of soda water. I know, what excitement!

But, before my great plunge into immobility I was working on my latest round of sewing projects, one of which I am quite excited about.

For the last couple months I have been “upcycling” our old mainsail, the one we tore in the middle of the night while we hove-to just off the island of Niue a couple years ago. Although I did a pretty good repair (it saw us sail another 1200NM or so) we decided that it was time to retire it and bought a secondhand sail last time we were in the USA. We tested our new-to-us sail last season in Tonga and decided it was good enough ( a few inches too long on the foot but what can you do for $600?).  The old sail could be given a new life.

One Old Main Sail

One Old Main Sail

First I made a pair of boom tents for the boat. Essentially custom tarpolines that lay over the boom and the spinnaker pole and tie to the toe rail. They provide shade, allow the hatches to be left open in light rains and, perhaps most importantly while in the hole, keep the bird crap off the nice white decks.

Sewing al Fresco

Sewing al Fresco















Next I made a storage bag for our dinghy, basically a chaff guard so when we are shoving it in tight spots it we don’t have to worry about putting a hole in it by mistakenly poking it with something.

Inspired I made a couple shoulder bags, both for those all important market trips but also for going back and forth to the shower with wet stuff; sail cloth doesn’t mind getting wet.


His and Hers


Dinghy Bag













Those pesky birds that have been bombing the boat with their ever colourful droppings have also been casing the joint. When I leave for more than five minutes they take the opportunity to invite themselves on in for a snack, bananas and tomatoes are a favourite. At first I tricked them by covering the bananas with a cloth napkin. Then they figured out how to pull the napkin aside.  I hung a set of wind chimes my Mom sent us for Christmas in the cockpit hoping the noise would keep them at bay.  It did for a few days, now I think they enjoy their silvery tinkle as much as I do.It was all evolutionary fun until one day a couple weeks ago when, in the time that it took me to walk to the bathroom and back (considerably quicker than my 10-15 minute leisurely stroll of late), one shat on the sofa. It was time to get serious.

Out came the old sail. The head of the sail was almost a perfect match to the shape of the companionway opening. Four bucks for a mosquito net, a half a roll of double sided tape and some patience on my behalf and I gained the upper hand. That is on the days I remember to close the door when I leave.

Bird Door

Bird Door


The last project has been on the drawing board in my head for a while. I wanted to make a mosquito barrier for the vee berth. My store bought mossie net was fine when it was just me last summer but when Steve came home we discovered that it didn’t quiet cover us both, or if it did it meant we lost nearly 25% of our sleeping area, not to mention a few inches of valuable head space. I envisaged a wall of mesh that would block off the whole bunk, something akin to a tent fly that would give us maximum protection without infringing on our space.

It took a while to figure out how I was going to incorporate the hatch above bunk and what I could use to suspend the whole contraption. I turned it all over in my head for months, watched youtube videos about how to sew taut screens and zippered windows. I made an elaborate plastic pattern that in the end, as usual, was used less as an actually pattern and more of a dry run to figure out what design flaws I had made before actually cutting any fabric.

It took two days, some careful cutting, the other half roll of double-sided tape and at least a dozen bobbins of thread but I am more than happy with the results. The first night I slept in “the tent” I couldn’t believe that I could roll over without getting caught up in a gauzy curtain. There are a few tweeks to be done and the photo doesn’t really do it justice but getting a half decent shot inside a 40′ sailboat isn’t that easy.

Not bad for a tired old main sail and I still have a few square metres left, anyone got any ideas?



2 thoughts on “It’s not off to the glue factory for me yet.

  1. What ingenious use of that old sail. Beautiful stitching and zip placement. How about a rain coat & sou’wester? Oh, of course you’ve got those already!! I’ll keep thinking… I do wish I could just drop in to see you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s