Boats need a lot of canvas. Marine canvas is used for covers, dodgers, awnings, seating, and sails and softer furniture fabrics are used in the boat’s interior. Unfortunately, new boats don’t come with even a fraction of the canvas items needed to protect brightwork, and although pre-loved vessels may have those items, many times they need to be replaced or repaired. As a result, boat owners either need a good relationship with a canvas shop and sailmaker or they need a sewing machine and materials source.
Sailrite recognizes the benefits of being a self-sufficient sailor, a do-it-yourselfer that can get things done when and where they need to at a reasonable price. That’s why Sailrite provides a full stock of boating canvas supplies, sewing machines, and instructions (available at www.sailrite.com or request a free catalog). Our flagship item:
The Sailrite Ultrafeed Sewing Machine
There is a good reason for that. If there’s any tool a do-it-yourself sailor needs, it’s a quality sewing machine. It’s pretty safe to assume that any sailor is looking a durable, trouble-free machine that can handle sewing various types of canvas, sailcloth, strapping, upholstery materials, and leather with ease. But if you’re in the market for a sewing machine or might be in the future, consider these lesser-known features that make a big impact before making a final purchasing decision.
A compact, portable sewing machine can conveniently be stowed onboard, moved above deck, or used on the dock without being damaged. A portable machine should have a heavy-duty case that protects and cradles the machine so it can be stored on its side if necessary. The Sailrite Ultrafeed’s wooden deluxe case is also covered in a high quality black vinyl with reinforced corners and a carrying handle and side hasps that can easily support the weight of the machine.
2. Fully Grounded, Electronic Foot Control
Heavy-duty sewing machines are cast-iron and typically have a metal-cased motor that rarely is double insulated. This makes a ground wire or ground fault circuit interrupt a safety necessity, especially if used outdoors or around water. Also look for an electronic foot control that has a 6 foot cord that can reach the floor even when the machine is used from a high bench. Sailrite Ultrafeed machines come with high quality, fully grounded electronic foot controls featuring a long cord.
3. Posi-Pin Clutch
Friction clutches are simply outdated and ineffective. Sailrite’s patented and exclusive Posi-Pin clutch is the solution to a slipping clutch. A specially designed pin is positioned through a hole in the balance wheel and into the shaft bushing to engage and disengage the drive. The Posi-Pin clutch is easy to use and results in 100% power transfer from the balance wheel to the machine’s needle. The pin can also be pulled out to wind bobbins easily.
4. Oversized Balance Wheel
An oversized balance wheel will greatly increase the slow speed power and control of the sewing machine with greater torque and the ability for slow, precise stitching. The Sailrite Ultrafeed comes standard with the Sailrite PowerPlus wheel, twice the power and size of a typical balance wheel. For even more power, opt for the Monster II Balance Wheel, a 7 lb. solid nickel-plated steel wheel with hand crank handle for optional manual operation.
5. High Foot Lift
A foot lift of 5/16” or higher allows for seams, clear vinyl assemblies, corner patches, zippers, and piping cord to pass under the foot easily. The Sailrite Ultrafeed sewing machine has a 3/8” foot lift and can sew virtually anything that can be squeezed underneath.
6. Walking Foot
A walking foot guarantees even feeding of the top and bottom fabric layers through the machine. It also makes feeding heavy and spongy fabrics easier. The Sailrite Ultrafeed walking foot mechanism features two upper feet that facilitate feeding from the top surface in addition to the typical feed dog beneath the needle plate. Sailrite feet are even nickeled silver to make seeing around the foot easier.
7. Long Needle Bar Stroke
Stroke length is directly correlated to the material thickness that a machine can sew – the longer the stroke, the more capable the machine. The Sailrite Ultrafeed has a best-in-class stroke length of 34 millimeters, Sailrite’s patented stroke length for portable zigzag sewing machines with walking feet.
8. Scarfed Gib Hook
The gib hooks rotates around the cage that holds the bobbin thread under the machine. If for whatever reason the fabric jams violently, the needle can strike the hook and break thread, bend the needle, or throw the machine out of adjustment. The Sailrite Ultrafeed features Sailrite’s patented “scarfed” hook that eliminates the potential for the needle to strike the hook.
9. Comprehensive Owner’s Manual & Support Materials
Although it sounds like common sense, do not assume a sewing machine comes with support! All sewing machines should come with a comprehensive, clearly written owner’s manual and/or instructional DVDs that include complete timing information. With the proper materials and support, a mechanical sewing machine should never require the services of a repair man. Sailrite Ultrafeeds come with a 4-color guidebook, 2 – DVDs with detailed set-up and maintenance information, and Sailrite’s phone, email and online support cases.
Protect your sewing machine investment and take a closer look at the warranty. Confirm appropriate and dependable care and service if the unexpected occurs. All Sailrite Ultrafeed sewing machines come with 2-year warranties, and Sailrite stocks every sewing machine part for both Ultrafeed machines.
Next time you’re in the market for a sewing machine, use this list and ask the right questions. Because the way we see it, a sailor’s sewing machine should be like a first mate: dependable, portable, tough as nails, powerful, and able to handle anything and everything that comes its way. That’s why Sailrite invented the Ultrafeed Sewing Machine. No sailor should leave home without one.
For more information about the Sailrite Ultrafeed Sewing Machine, click here.