|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
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
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
Fenders insert from left in this picture.
Each compartment has a footer sewn in to
prevent the fender from sliding right on
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
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
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
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
Every well-loved vessel needs a personal standard, so here is ours. We once had a poster out by
our jacuzzi that featured a flaming nautilus falling from the sky into the sea and we used to stare at
it and dream about our full time cruising plans... this is to honor the "dreaming-time".
Dreamtime Flag - Dec, 03
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 when boarding.
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.
|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.
Tonneau Cover - May, '17
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 spiffied-up.
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
Late May found us heading back to Puerto Del Rey to get situated in our wet slip and to get a few more maintenance tasks and new projects
finished. Time to apply a maintenance coat of Cetol Marine Gloss to the deck box, cabin top rails and forward hatch box.
Last year I made Sunbrella covers for the deck box and cabin top rails so this year I completed the set by making a forward hatch box cover
which goes on after the dorade hoods come off for storage below. For these types of covers I generally use webbing tabs with snaps sewn on
the inside for a neater appearance.
First stop for my Sunbrella projects is the Almacenes 100 store in Fajardo, PR. Ed has a nice outdoor place to hang out while waiting for me and I have
the best time picking up goodies for my projects. It's just off the central plaza. I LOVE, LOVE this store; tons of interior design fabrics, outdoor fabrics
like stamoid, sunbrella, etc. lots of hardware, bungee, zippers, snaps and on & on.
More to the point I was able to source 80" Pacific Blue Sunbrella which was the exact "length" from bow to stern as my tonneau cover dimensions. The
gentleman that helped me spoke perfect english which certainly made asking my questions easier. And as always, when we rent a car here we stop for
lunch at Lolita's Mexican restaurant - sooo yummy.
Done and dusted! Ed wanted a tonneau cover for use after the dodger is taken down. It will help protect the teak and lexan hatch cover
from UV damage, dirt and all that. It was a pretty big project especially in 90 degree weather.
We also burned a couple of small holes through 2 reinforced patches on the very front of the cockpit coaming to lash the dodger frame
down to some stainless steel tiedowns plus incorporated a webbing lift point to keep rainwater from pooling.
|Central Plaza, Fajardo, PR
Foredeck Canvas - May, '17
|Going to try to source some shots of all the foredeck canvas, wish me luck.
|Final fitting of the companionway flap