Christine Rasmussen: Discovering a Love for Sailing & Sewing

Three years ago Sailrite customer Christine Rasmussen was neither a sailor nor a sewer, but after a seemingly fated purchase of a used sailboat, she learned her capability to be both.

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Christine in the cockpit of her sailboat s/v Audacity

Christine always had a desire to learn how to sail. However, living in landlocked Durham, North Carolina, didn’t make sailing an easy goal. After a failed brush with windsurfing—“I was horrible,” Christine admitted—her dreams of sailing seemed like they would be left unfulfilled.

Then one summer, Christine, along with her husband, Mark and their twin sons, started camping at Kerr Lake, a large lake not far from where they live. Now that they were spending time regularly at a lake, Christine thought it would be fun to get her boys a Sunfish so they all could learn how to sail.

When Christine took to the Internet to find a small sailboat, she stumbled across something a little more interesting. A Craigslist listing advertising a 26’ C&C Yacht valued at $8,000, with a $4,000 price tag. Not entirely convinced that it wasn’t a joke or a scam, Christine sent her husband the link anyway, and the pair went to take a look at the boat.

When they got to the marina, the boat they came to see was nowhere to be found. After they returned home, Christine got a phone call. The boat was leaking diesel and the marina manager had moved it because of the leak. The seller, anxious to get the boat off his hands, offered it to Christine, as is, for $100, Christine explained. And just like that Christine and Mark were the proud owners of a sailboat.

Fixing up their boat was the first task and while they had the leak fixed and the motor tuned, Christine turned her attention to the cushions in the cabin.

“They were the original 1976 cushions and they were super smelly. Everything smelled like diesel,” Christine remembered.

She decided to make her own cushions, despite the fact that she hadn’t sewn anything since high school home economics. To prepare for making cushions, she watched Sailrite videos.

“I watched all the videos,” Christine said. “If there is a video with the word ‘cushion’ in it, I’ve watched it.”

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Christine’s cockpit cushions

When she had completed all 12 of her cabin cushions, Christine was proud of her accomplishment and completely hooked on sewing. She knew that it was the right time to get a Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Sewing Machine.

“I’m addicted to [my Ultrafeed,]” Christine laughed. “It’s really quite a problem.”

Christine has since made cockpit cushions, replaced the sacrificial sun cover on her jib, and has just finished making a new bimini and bimini boot.

She compared the excitement she gets working on a sewing project to reading a good book that you can’t put down.

“I think, I’m taking my time on this, because this rocks!” Christine explained.

She encourages others to try sewing for themselves and her number one advice to new sewers is “do not be afraid.”

“I think people are afraid to be a do-it-yourselfer because it won’t be perfect,” Christine said. “I tell people, ‘I may not be really perfect at this, but I sure do enjoy it.’”

She would encourage beginners to start with small, affordable sewing projects if they are nervous to dive right into a larger project. Christine also attributes a portion of her success to the Sailrite videos, which she recommends highly.

“There is nothing, nothing, like the Sailrite videos,” she said. “If you have any inkling that this is what you want to do, start at Sailrite and watch the videos.”

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Christine’s bimini boot

Christine also recommends investing in some tools to make the job a little easier.

“The hotknife is so worth [the purchase] and the binder. Oh my God, I could not live without the binder,” she said. “It’s worth it to invest a little bit more and you will be successful.”

This next summer Christine hopes to improve her sailing skills on the water and to also work on some new sewing projects for her home including new patio cushions and a sail shade.

16 comments
  1. Ruth said:

    Christine, I share your passion for the Ultra feed. Your are right the videos make it easy for anyone who wants to do it. I especially like the detail and they don’t leave out steps. RF

  2. Christy said:

    Great article! Which binder do you prefer, Christine?

    • Chris R said:

      Hi – I went with the swing away binder, very glad I did. I wouldn’t want to keep attaching and detaching the binder during the sewing project. I bought the 1″ version to start.

  3. I side with Christine as well, I am a full time RVer (let’s say land yacht) and travel the US. I invested in the LSZ-1 Sewing Machine a couple months ago and it has all most paid for its self in awning repairs alone. The videos have been very help full tools in learning to sew. Thank you Sailrite. Joel Buchan

  4. Christine, We are thrilled to have you in the Sailrite family! Thanks for taking the time to let Nikki interview you for this blog post. Keep watching the videos, Eric has some really exciting ones coming soon. Best Regards, Matt Grant, Sailrite Vice President

    • Christine Rasmussen said:

      Thanks, Matt! I hope to meet you and the Sailrite gang at the Annapolis Boat show some day!

  5. Russell Tripp said:

    I started sewing 2yrs ago my first job was the interior of my 1955 chevy nomad that I had been working on for three years I built several test pieces like door panels the interior came out great then I did the 1940 ford I watched videos on u tube I enjoy it it is a challenge I had not realy sewed before that I bought the Ls1 my wife told me I was crazy the rest is history I receive a lot of comments at shows on the interiors if you are handy with your hands and have patience and don’t mind learning from mistakes chances are you can do it yourself. Good luck Russ.

  6. Christine has found a way to make great improvements to her boat and have a blast at the same time. I finally bit the bullet and ordered an Ultrafeed over the holidays. Now doing small projects such as a tiller cover and companionway cover. I still can’t believe a guy can have this much fun sewing! It’s a great craft and a cool way to freshen up an old boat.

  7. Sue said:

    I also agree with the comments about the Sailrite videos. They include little tricks that make the projects go so much easier, so you don’t have to spend years figuring it out yourself! One of my favorite tools is the simple acrylic ruler (#102400). A small investment that saves a boatload of time in laying out hems!

  8. Janet said:

    I have sewn my entire life, mostly clothes and fixing horse blankets but watched the video series which is kind of for beginners as I have a friend and her daughter who want to learn to sew. I hightly recommend the videos. easy to follow along and yes I did learn a few new tricks

  9. Dan Williams said:

    Great job on your boat projects!

    I am about to take the 1st steps toward building a pair of biminis for my home-made wooden pontoon boat. I have been watching the videos and now have the confidence to go forward.

  10. Mark Bondy said:

    Your’s is an awesome story. I love that you found your 26 C&C and was blessed with an unheard of deal. Gutsy move to go big before learning to sail but you couldn’t pass on that deal. that is so cool. Great to hear good things happening to good people. I’ve four sailboats, 3 small and a Catalina 36. Want to learn to sew and am going to do it soon.

  11. Robin Midgett said:

    Thanks Christine! I’ve been following the Sailrite videos too, as I’m a novice sewer and our 32′ pontoon needs new upholstery on the deck seats. I think the project is within my grasp but I’m still working toward having the confidence to complete it. Your testimony is very supportive!

  12. Wendy thornton said:

    I just received my sailrite ultra feed in today and am so excited. My husband and I are new to sailing and 6 months ago purchased a 37 foot Endeavor. We are learning a lot about our boat and I stumbled onto the sail rite page and feel in love with the company. I made all my cockpit cushions by watching the how to videos and now I am making my Bimini, motor cover, grill cover, and winch covers ( which I completed today). The videos make sowing easy. After I read your article, I laughter and told my husband I found my long lost sister. Glad to see someone like us.

    • Christine Rasmussen said:

      Like!

  13. Well done Christine! I too have found great satisfaction in DIY projects on my 34′ Jarkan. Highly recommend the Sailrite videos, they are my go-to for every new project. They are packed full of great information that will save you hours of frustration, unpicking and material waste….. love Sailrite!!

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