You may recognize Brian from a few of our how-to videos, from a boat show, or maybe he’s helped you on the phone. Brian is a true jack-of-all-trades around here at Sailrite® and he’s an avid DIYer and boater himself (who always has a countdown to when his boat can go in the water again!). Brian is also prominently featured on the cover of the 2016 Sailrite Marine Catalog. I recently asked him a few questions about his passion for boating and his role at Sailrite so you can get to know him a little better.

Meet Brian -  

Q: How long have you been a boater? 

A: Literally my entire life.  Legend has it that the night I was born my mom had been pulling my dad, brothers and sisters skiing earlier that day. We have skied and boated my entire life.  I started sailing when I was about 9 when we bought our first sailboat upon which I spent many summers cruising the great lakes, primarily the North Channel of Lake Huron.

Q: What kinds of boats do you have? 

A: Currently I have a 1987 Seaward 22 Sailboat which has served as our weekend cottage at Lake James, Indiana for about five years now, a 1977 19’ Marquis runabout which has been in the family since new and has belonged to my wife and I for about 14 years, and a recently acquired 1982 24’ Regal cabin cruiser which is my winter restoration project, that will ultimately replace the Seaward. I hope to come back to sailing, but for now our boating lifestyle is more about destinations then journeys so my wife has won the power vs. sail debate in our family.

Q: How long have you been DIYing and sewing for you boat? 

A: I have been repairing and maintaining boats as long as I have been using them.  I remember helping Dad with the “work” end of boating as young as 6 or 7 years old. I have known how to sew nearly as long, but never really started sewing my own boating projects until I started at Sailrite.

Q: What is your DIY project you are most proud of?

A: Probably the one I am most proud of isn’t really a DIY project, but a Do-It-For-Someone-Else project.  Last spring a friend who runs a great “floating food truck” as I would call it upgraded to a larger houseboat.  I made rail covers and a front screen enclosure the latter being required to pass health department inspections.  My payment for the project was a summer of free food including the best cheeseburgers around for the family.

Q: What is your role at Sailrite? 

A: I oversee the customer service and shipping departments at Sailrite, and also help to answer any project or product questions customers may have.  I also get to, and most enjoy working on, developing new projects and helping in the work process of filming said projects.

Q: You have an interesting story of how you came to work here, how did your Sailrite journey start?

A: I stopped in one day for a catalog while I was restoring the Seaward.  When I inquired about the for-sale sign (our old facility in Miriam) and the implied growth it represented I was told whom to e-mail.  A resume, few e-mails and an interview later here I am. My parents were customers of Sailrite since the 80’s, and I remember going to the facility downtown way back when.

Q: What is your favorite Sailrite product?

A: It has to of course be the Ultrafeed Sewing Machine.  I have a great old metal Kenmore that has served me well, but without the Ultrafeed there is no way I could have sewn the things I have, and definitely not as easily.  My Ultrafeed goes with me to the lake nearly every weekend, and is always on standby to fix a zipper, blown out seam or tears and holes for fellow lakers.

Q: What are some fun facts you’d like to share about yourself?

A: It’s no secret I live to be on the water.  I try to be the first boat in the water and the last one out, and we seldom miss a single weekend at the lake.  When I was growing up, we lived much of the same lifestyle with our sailboat acting as our weekend cottage on Lake Wawasee, Indiana. I remember my Mom and I waiting in the parking lot where my Dad worked every Friday night as leaving from there got us to the lake in time to get in an evening sail or a couple passes on the ski.  I also have a rule that I don’t wear pants as long as the boats are in the water.  Luckily Sailrite is an environment where shorts fit right in.

Thanks, Brian!

The 2016 Sailrite Marine Catalog (with Brian on the cover) will be available in early 2016.

Fort Lauderdale Boat Show -- Show

Fort Lauderdale Boat Show — Show

This past weekend Sailrite president and vice-president Hallie and Matt Grant went to the 2015 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. This show is one of the largest in the country and there were a large range of boats on display. However, Matt and Hallie found that it was mostly focused on powerboats big and small from super yachts to speedboats.

Walking around and touring boats, Matt and Hallie noticed a few trends starting to appear. So today we’re sharing the top trends they saw at the Fort Lauderdale boat show that you can incorporate on your boat.

Below Deck


Interior on an Astondoa 52 

Making your boat cabin feel more like home is always a goal and there was even more of this at the show. Familiar materials are being used in new ways along with incorporation of textures and colors in the cabins. Genuine leather and faux leather materials like Ultraleather® were popular choices for cabin seating. Additionally, boat interiors weren’t just white, as many powerboats have been previously. They had pops of color with throw pillows and accents made from bright Sunbrella colors or even patio fabrics like Wavily® Sun N Shade or P/Kaufmann Outdoor fabrics.

One look that really surprised Matt was seeing Phifertex used as a wall covering. It looked great and we think it’s is a really cool idea for DIYers to explore. There were also several boats with Ultrasuede® as a headliner, which brought a beautiful, subtle texture to the ceiling.

On Deck

 60 Cantius with Retractable Awning - Source

60 Cantius with Retractable Awning 

There were many ingenious ideas being used on deck that, like in the cabins, were using common materials in exciting new ways. Sunbrella® fabric, for one, was everywhere. It was above and below deck on all types of boats at the show. An interesting Sunbrella use that Matt and Hallie saw was in retractable awnings covering aft decks. Just like on a patio, these were small-sized retractable awnings for a boat. We thought this was a really cool idea!

They also saw Flex-A-Rail being used for awnings and tops on many boats. This is a Sailrite product we really like because it can be bent and it easily fits on narrow areas of your boat. We’ve used Flex-a-Rail at Sailrite on a radar arch to attach aft enclosure panels and this use for it was seen again and again at the show.

Flat, snap-on covers seemed to be a new popular trend that utilized Sunbrella fabric and YKK® SNAD®. These covers are used to protect sections of the boat. For example, covers drape over deck chairs and then snap to SNADs on the deck. SNADs are a neat product because they stick right to your deck so you don’t have to drill holes and they have a domed top so they won’t hurt if you step on them.

All in all we’re really excited about the new trends Matt and Hallie saw on the powerboats at the show and we definitely have new ideas to test out and share with you!

Try out some of these trends for yourself! You can find Sunbrella fabric, Ultraleather, Flex-a-Rail, SNADs and much more at

Would you try any of these ideas on your boat? Have you already? Have you noticed any other trends in boating recently? Share your ideas, opinions and experiences with us in the comments!

It was an exciting, fast-paced five days at the United States Sailboat Show this year. Our crew is exhausted and anxious to road trip back home today, but they had a blast meeting everyone that came out this year and seeing all the creative projects you’re doing with your Ultrafeed® Sewing Machine and supplies from Sailrite®.

2015 Annapolis Boat Show Wrap-Up

Hallie, Eric, Zach & Matt B. in the Sailrite booth

The weather was fantastic for the show this year (Matt Grant said the best weather he can remember!) and customers came out in droves. We had so many customers in the booth that we ran out of sewing machines on Sunday. We even sold three of our demonstration machines!

Among the crowds of new Ultrafeed shoppers, we met a lot of existing Ultrafeed owners who stopped by to show us photos of their latest projects. The boat show crew was pleasantly surprised by the amount of customers who stopped by just to say hello, to meet Zach, to snap a selfie with Matt or to thank us for the how-to videos and fast shipping.

Everyone on the sales team will tell you that his or her favorite parts of the boat show are chatting with our great customers and showing off the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines (with the all the good seafood in the evenings coming in third).

2015 Annapolis Boat Show Wrap-Up

Matt G. with Sailrite customers Vicky & Ed from the cruising blog “Catching the Horizon”

Among his many conversations with customers, Matt Grant was impressed by how many of you are planning to start circumnavigations this year.

“We heard from a lot of circumnavigators who were buying sewing machines to take on the journey or to fix up their boats before they left,” he said.

For those of you who went to the show this year you may have seen Sailrite founders Jim and Connie Grant perusing the booths. This was the first year in a long time they had been to Annapolis not working in the booth, but just shopping for their own Islander 37, which has been featured in several Sailrite videos.

All in all the whole crew had a wonderful time. Matt summed up the whole weekend simply by saying “Good crowds and great customers.”

2015 Annapolis Boat Show Wrap-Up

Zach demonstrating the Ultrafeed LSZ-1 to a customer

We’ll be back in Annapolis next year for the 2016 United States Sailboat Show, and it’s never too early to start planning a trip! For now you can always find our sewing machines, supplies and how-to videos right here on the blog and at

For those who attended the show, what were the highlights for you this year? For those who couldn’t attend, we’d love to hear your stories, too! Leave us a comment about your sailing plans or next big sewing project.


Today is the opening day of the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland! Our booth is all set and we’re excited to meet all of you and show you the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines.

What’s at the Show?

We have a great crew at the show this year who are ready to answer your questions and chat about projects. In our booth you’ll find demonstrations of the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines and accessories, including the new EZ™ Set Stitch Length Plate, which we think you’re really going to love.

We’ll also be doing demonstrations of a few of our favorite tools. The Sailrite® Edge Hotknife, the SnapRite® System, and the Pres-N-Snap will all be on hand for you to see and purchase. Be sure to check out our fabric wall too, which contains swatches of a variety of great marine grade fabrics for your next boat project.

You can also meet our newest crew member, Zach Grant. Zach is Matt and Hallie’s son who has just joined the Sailrite team after graduating from Indiana University last spring. In case you can’t make it out to the show this year, I did a little Q&A with Zach so everyone can meet him!

Meet Zach Grant


Q: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s show?
A: The thrill of being able to talk about the Ultrafeed Sewing Machine and show off its potential is at the top of the list. Otherwise, being able to talk with each customer and share their enthusiasm about future and past projects seems a great way to better understand the uses of Sailrite’s products. I have a lot to learn and am truly excited for all the knowledge I will gain and share at the boat show.

Q: How long have you been sailing? What kinds of boats do you sail?
A: I have been sailing since I was 9 years old, my grandfather, Jim Grant was pivotal in my sailing education. At the time he had to fight hard to get my brother, cousins, and me on the water to sail. As we learned the basics of how to read the wind and which courses of sail would and wouldn’t work to reach a buoy we became enthralled with the sport. We mainly raced Sabots at the time, but as we progressed we moved into the Force 5, Sunfish, and Laser. About the age of 15, my cousin and I became competitive and raced Lasers, MC Scows, and Flying Scotts all around the Midwest.

By the time I got to high school I made the varsity sailing team for the Laser and 420. Since then I have mainly stuck with sailing MC Scows and C Scows against my father, Matt Grant, and grandfather. Jim recently refurbished an Islander 37 and has been goading all family members to join him for Wednesday night races leading up to, hopefully, the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac.

Q: What’s your favorite Sailrite product?
A: I love the Ultrafeed. After spending the last couple months working with and learning to tune and repair the machine I have grown a deep admiration of it. While it may seem simple, the internal workings are a work of art, almost as pretty as the projects it can produce.

Q: What’s it been like joining the family business?
A: At first I was a bit skeptical to work for my parents, little did I realize Sailrite is a family in its own right, there is so much camaraderie within the company it is hard to tell one family from the other. I thoroughly enjoy working with everyone here and could not ask for a better place of work.

Q: What’s one fun fact about you?
A: 5 or so years ago, sailing Sailrite’s Seaward 24 project boat with Jim, my brother, and cousins down the Intracoastal Waterway we decided to anchor in a small cove along the river for the night. Little did we know tide was a concern. Long story short, we all woke up on top of each other at a 30-degree angle and were stranded until tide came back.

Show Details

Come out and meet Zach and the rest of the Sailrite crew in person at the US Sailboat Show. We’ll be in our usual spot, Tent H: Booth 24-27. They can’t wait to see you!

The United States Sailboat Show starts today (Thursday) with a VIP Preview day and opens to the public tomorrow, Friday, October 9, 2015 from 10 am – 6:30 pm. The show runs through Monday, October 12. To learn more about the show and to purchase tickets visit the Annapolis Boat Show.

If you’re attending the boat show, what are you most excited about? If you can’t attend, you can follow Sailrite’s trip with us on our Facebook and Twitter.

Sailrite is proud to sponsor the DIY efforts of Eben and Genevieve Stolz, the dynamic duo behind the cruising blog It’s a Necessity.

Eben and Genevieve Stolz know the DIY lifestyle. A few years ago, in order to maintain their cruising lifestyle with their two daughters, Arias and Ellia, the couple needed a bigger boat. They found that boat, S/V Necesse (a 41-foot Morgan Classic and a total fixer-upper) in Georgetown, Bahamas and sailed her back to Miami, Florida for a re-fit.

DIY Aboard S/V Necesse

The whole family: Eben, Genevieve, Arias & Ellia

They spent two years of hard work redoing nearly the entire interior before they set sail again. Now this hard-working cruising family is back at their boat projects while waiting out hurricane season in the Virgin Islands. I recently got the chance to talk with Eben about his latest DIY projects and his experience as a DIY sailor.

One of the recent and biggest projects Eben took on for their boat was building a dodger. The dodger project was one Eben had been mulling over in his mind for years before he set to work.

“I bought Strataglass and Sunbrella fabric from [Sailrite] like three years ago and did my bimini,” he said.

Eben had always planned on making a matching dodger, but without a template to follow for the project, he decided to wait and think the project through more before starting.

“I sit and look at things for a while,” Eben said.

He recently got the push he needed to finally start on his dodger when a fellow cruiser lent him old VHS tapes outlining how to build a dodger. The video didn’t do things exactly the way Eben wanted for his boat, but it gave him a good starting point. So he pulled out his materials from storage and set to work bending and building the frame.

DIY Aboard S/V Necesse

Eben uses his Edge Hotknife to cut Sunbrella for the dodger

After bending all the tubing by hand on his boat, Eben installed the dodger frame. Then he used the frame to template the fabric panels. Friends of his had offered him their office space to sew in, so he took his templates and fabrics to land to sew it all together.

In the office, Eben laid painters drop cloths on the floor to keep his Strataglass from scratching during fabrication. Then he patterned and basted all the pieces together and started sewing on his Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Sewing Machine.

“I was a little worried about sewing the 40 Gauge Strataglass,” he admits. “I didn’t know if the machine would handle it.”

But once Eben started sewing, his fears were quickly assuaged. “[The machine] went through it like butter,” he laughed.

Throughout the process Eben was meticulous in his planning so everything would come out just right, carefully adding zippers around the whole frame and installing fasteners one at a time to ensure a perfect fit. The close attention to detail really paid off and the finished dodger looks great. Genevieve wrote on their blog that the dodger “gives our boat a whole new feel.”

DIY Aboard S/V Necesse

Eben’s sewing set-up in his friends’ office

Eben said the most challenging part of the dodger project was the surroundings he had to sew in. Having a small space to sew a large project meant having to roll the Strataglass to sew while being careful not to scratch it and sewing slowly to make frequent adjustments.

“Not having a huge space and not having an even plane with your sewing machine to sew on [was a challenge],” he said. “It’s feasible but it’s not like having a sail loft to work in.”

Eben has a long history with DIY and sewing especially. He started sewing when he was just 10 or 11 years old because his older brother had taken up the hobby. Together they started sewing their own snowboarding gear.

He says he’s always had a DIY spirit and a drive to learn new things.

“People say I have a lot of talents, but I don’t. I just think I can do anything,” Eben said. “If someone else is doing it, I want to figure out how to do it, too.”

Eben eventually fell away from sewing until he and Genevieve were living in Miami working on their boat refit. There he met a guy with a canvas shop who hooked him up with a Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Sewing Machine and Eben started sewing for the boat. He made their bimini and all new cushions for their salon.

He now describes his Ultrafeed Sewing Machine as his “number one tool.”

“Every day I use it I’m impressed,” he said.

One of the features Eben really likes about the Ultrafeed is that it doesn’t draw a lot of energy, so he can run it off his Honda generator. He frequently takes the generator and the Ultrafeed out to the beach to sew.

“The Sailrite weighs more than the generator, so that says something about quality,” Eben said, laughing.


Fitting the fabric on the frame

Having his sewing machine onboard also means that he frequently gets requests from other sailors to sew projects for them. He recently made “bat wing” boom awnings for cruising friends and has plans to help a neighbor with a dodger. Aside from helping fellow cruisers sew boat projects, he’s never sewn officially as a job.

Eben said he focuses his efforts on projects for their own boat.

“It gets expensive being in the boating world,” he said.

Eben’s two other go-to tools for his canvas projects are the Pres-N-Snap Tool and the Sailrite Edge Hotknife.

“Those are amazing,” he exclaimed.

Eben described how he would carefully and meticulously hem all the edges of Sunbrella projects before having a hotknife to ensure none of his edges would ravel.

“The hotknife is the best thing available for sewing. Having the hotknife saved me 6-7 hours of work on the dodger and really put my mind at ease that nothing would unravel,” he said.

DIY Aboard S/V Necesse

The finished dodger during a sail

Eben shared his advice for other DIY sailors looking to sew their own canvas projects.

“Think you can do anything,” he said.

Eben also recommends careful planning and being methodical in your approach.

“Waste time over planning,” he said. “You know how they say ‘measure twice, cut once’? I’m more measure seven times, cut once.”

He also recommends taking advantage of all the sewing resources available online and over the phone.

“Use the assets available—use Sailrite’s customer service,” he said. “Sewing can be a pain when things go wrong but you can be on the right track again with just a phone call.”

To learn more about Eben and Genevieve and to follow their cruising journey, visit their blog, It’s a Necessity or follow them on Facebook & Instagram (@sailing_necesse).

You may recognize Desiree Golen from videos we’ve shared on our Facebook page. We heard about Desiree, her boyfriend Jordan Wicht, and Project Atticus just as they were starting to refit their boat a couple of years ago. We admire their ambition and DIY spirit and we thought you would too. Sailrite is sponsoring Project Atticus as they learn how to sew canvas and sails. I recently chatted with Desiree about their ongoing adventure and the nature of DIY. Here is their story.

The DIY spirit has grabbed ahold of Desiree Golen and Jordan Wicht and it’s not letting go. This young couple is the dynamic duo behind the blog and video series, Project Atticus, where they are documenting the refit of their 1963 Allied Seawind and will ultimately share their adventures sailing around the world. The motto of Project Atticus is “know your world” and that is exactly what Desiree and Jordan intend to do.

Desiree, Jordan & Project Atticus: Seeking Knowledge & Adventure

Jordan & Desiree on the deck of Atticus, their 1963 Allied Seawind

For Desiree, the desire to travel started at a young age.

“I grew up traveling with my family and as soon as I had money of my own, I was out the door traveling again,” she said.

Desiree was working at a start-up she owned in Silicon Valley when she met a girl who crewed on super yachts. When she heard stories of traveling the world with free room and board and other great perks, Desiree could hardly believe that was a real job. She read a book about being a yacht stewardess, sold her company and moved to Fort Lauderdale to get a job on a super yacht. After working as a stewardess for 2 years, she got a job aboard Limitless, the largest American super yacht in the world. It was on board Limitless that she met Jordan, who was working there as a deck hand.

Desiree said a big attraction between her and Jordan right away was their mutual love of exploring.

“What I had always wanted to do was backpack around the world,” Desiree shared.

She hadn’t been dating Jordan long when he shared his dream to sail around the world.

“Jordan asked me to sail around the world with him and I thought, ‘hmm, let me think about that one,’” Desiree laughed.

The couple decided to test the waters and see how they traveled together by taking a trip backpacking and climbing in Southeast Asia. The trip was a success and together they decided to quit their jobs, buy a sailboat and see the world.

Desiree, Jordan & Project Atticus: Seeking Knowledge & Adventure

Celebrating their first day on board Atticus

As they were looking for a boat and preparing to start their journey, they got the idea to document their travels and their process through videos they would share online.

“We were thinking of a way to contribute back to society and to motivate ourselves to be creative,” Desiree said.

Jordan studied filmmaking in college and Desiree had worked in marketing so they pooled their skills and founded Project Atticus, a travel and adventure documentary series and blog.

“It’s really a way to document our travels and to showcase our experiences,” Desiree said.

They started on their video series right away, before they even had their vessel. In the first four of their video episodes, you can watch them search for and purchase the boat that will become Atticus.

Their boat was a diamond in the rough and needed a lot of work to make her the perfect home for Jordan and Desiree’s world expedition. They are currently deep into a complete refit of Atticus.

“It’s taken longer and is more difficult than we expected,” Desiree said of the refit.

Desiree, Jordan & Project Atticus: Seeking Knowledge & Adventure

Desiree paints the Project Atticus logo at the boatyard

The pair has been working on their boat nearly full-time for two years now, doing all the work themselves. They decided to DIY originally to save money, but have found that it has added benefits.

“[Doing the work ourselves] also makes us more capable sailors and boat owners. The feeling caught and now we do everything for the boat ourselves,” Desiree said. “It’s cool to have the empowerment to do things that people think you can’t do.”

Projects on their list included making curtains for their cabin, as well as sewing new settee and v-berth cushions. While looking for v-berth cushions online, Desiree found Sailrite’s How to Make V-Berth Cushions Video and decided to try her hand at sewing. She got an Ultrafeed Sewing Machine, Sunbrella fabric and set to work on her first project—curtains.

“I was super anxious for sewing and I was intimidated by the machine at first,” Desiree admits.

But after her first project, Desiree started to feel differently about her machine.

“I used to enjoy the prepping more, but now I enjoy the sewing more,” she said, describing sewing now as being almost a tranquil, zen-like feeling.

After completing her curtains and new settee cushions for their saloon, Desiree is now working on the v-berth cushions, which is purposely saved for her third project because she knew they’d be tricky. After that she’d like to make a sail, a sail cover and an awning for their cockpit.

While doing her canvaswork Desiree has learned that “there is a lot of finesse in sewing” but she loves the pride that comes from completing her projects.

“It’s cool that I really only know the bare minimum about sewing but I can make functional lifestyle projects,” she said.

Desiree, Jordan & Project Atticus: Seeking Knowledge & Adventure

Look at that Ultrafeed love!

She has also been really pleased with her Ultrafeed Sewing Machine.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s like having a MacBook Pro. It’s reliable and strong. My favorite part is the Sailrite videos. I can take it right out of the box without having to call anyone for help.”

Desiree advises other new sewers to find a mentor, an individual or a group, to ask questions of during the process. She found a lot of help from Sailrite and the Facebook groups “The Sailrite Users Group” and “Sewing On Boats.”

“Get a seam ripper,” she added, laughing. “Don’t be intimidated to do things over again to get them right. Also gorge on Sailrite videos.”

After two years working on their refit, Jordan and Desiree have put their hearts and souls into their boat and at time things have been really challenging.

“The emotional cost of cruising—the time you never get back—that’s the hardest part,” Desiree said. “When we’re just working and working and not sailing and not living a beautiful dream.”

Desiree, Jordan & Project Atticus: Seeking Knowledge & Adventure

Desiree’s finished curtains & settee cushions

Desiree thinks that throughout their refit they have learned valuable skills both about their boat and about life that will help them on their adventure. They’ve had to take odd jobs and learn how to sustain their dream financially (neither is independently wealthy) but Desiree now feels that they will be able to make money anywhere they go to maintain their lifestyle.

“It’s made us more self-reliant and more resourceful. We’re also better at managing expectations,” she said of their refit. “It’s made us more humble about learning and that to learn, you have to fail.”

All in all both Jordan and Desiree feel that their DIY efforts have been well worth it.

“Jordan and I have been talking a lot about the pros and cons of DIY,” Desiree said. “We realized that even though sometimes you spend the same amount of money, we are the kind of people who like to know how to do things for ourselves. The amount of happiness it brings is worth knowing.”

And it’s that same love of knowledge that lead them to this adventure in the first place. That drive to see things for themselves and to truly “know their world.”

You can follow along with Jordan and Desiree through their video updates and their blog posts. Visit their website, to see and learn more.

Linda Newland has devoted most of her life to expanding the presence of women in the sailing world. She earned her reputation by pushing limits and working her way into and up in a sport that had previously been something of a boys’ club. Now, as the President of the National Women’s Sailing Association and the Women’s Sailing Foundation she’s empowering new generations of women to feel confident taking the helm.


Linda Newland

Linda started sailing in the 1970’s when her then-boyfriend bought a 22-foot sailboat on San Francisco Bay, despite the fact that neither he or Linda actually knew how to sail. The pair just motored around the bay until they had an accident. They struck their mast on a bridge because they didn’t know to radio to ask for the bridge to rise. After that Linda decided she needed to learn how to sail. She enrolled in lessons and discovered that she really liked it.

She quickly started sailing a Santana 22 at a local yacht club with an all-women crew.

“We were the first all-women crew to race with the guys,” she said. “And we just didn’t want to be last. The guys weren’t very welcoming.”

But the crew gained their credibility at the yacht club one day during a casual beer can race when the women beat their male competitors.

Linda and one of her crewmates then started a women’s sailing club at the crewmate’s yacht club.

“I’m proud of that, and getting more women into the sport,” Linda said.

Not long after that Linda became “entranced” with single-handed sailing and in 1981 she single-handed in a race from San Francisco to Hawaii. A year later she competed in a single-handed race from San Francisco to Japan.

In the early 1990’s Linda met Doris Colgate, President of the Offshore Sailing School, at a sailing seminar for women at a boat show in California. Doris had recently founded the National Women’s Sailing Association. While being a big proponent of teaching women to sail, Linda didn’t get involved with the organization right away, but in 2005 joined the board for the National Women’s Sailing Association and has held several positions before being elected President in 2014.

The National Women’s Sailing Association is a program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation. The group’s mission is “to enrich the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing.” To accomplish their mission the group sponsors an annual Women’s Sailing Conference as well as hands-on weekend seminars. Seminars include a diesel engine workshop, a sail repair workshop hosted by Doyle sails, and a 2-day seminar on boat electrical systems.


Attendees from the Electrical & Marine Systems Workshop presented by NWSA Board Member & ABYC Master Marine Tech Beth Burlingame (far right).

The Women’s Sailing Foundation also sponsors a program called AdventureSail® that introduces at-risk girls, ages 9-14 years old, to sailing and their local waters. The girls meet mentors and learn leadership, responsibility, teamwork, and environmental stewardship.

“We partner with local yacht clubs and people take girls out on boats for the day,” Linda said. “Many girls have never been on boats before.”

As a follow-up to the program, girls can apply for scholarships to attend sail training programs. This year the Association is giving a scholarship for an AdventureSail graduate to sail aboard the tallship Adventuress, a 100-year old schooner. The trip, called Girls at the Helm, will be a 4-day cruise in the San Juan Islands of Washington State that focuses on tall ship sailing, marine biology, and leadership training. Linda herself has sailed on the Adveturess and is a big supporter of the AdventureSail program.

“I haven’t been to an AdventureSail day yet, but those who do [volunteer] are hooked,” Linda said.


Attendees from 2014 AdventureSail in Racine, WI

Linda loves teaching sailing, and finds it especially rewarding to teach other women.

“I’ve found that women have a different learning style from men. Women want to talk things out,” she explained. “We like the idea of women teaching women until they get the confidence to go co-ed.”

She said that the most rewarding is teaching women who have been on boats but whose husbands do most of the sailing.

“When you ask them how much they know about boats they always say they don’t know much. But then they have an aha moment when they realize [that they know much more than they thought]. The knowledge is there, and I love that moment.”

Linda encourages any woman interested in sailing to jump in and try it.

“If you’re motivated, don’t let anything hold you back,” she said. “Get professional training and crew on as many boats as possible for experience.”

She also really encourages women to look for conferences and other opportunities to meet fellow women sailors.

“The energy level is amazing,” she said.

Linda lives and sails in Washington State with her husband. The couple stays very involved in sailing and races in a boat that her husband designed. She teaches sailing in the summers.

For the second year in a row, Sailrite has donated products for auction/raffle at the 14th Annual Women’s Sailing Conference, which will be held at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Proceeds raised help fund AdventureSail programs.

For more information on the conference and the National Women’s Sailing Association visit their website


The beginning of a new year is the time to turn the page and start fresh with a new outlook and new goals. Here at Sailrite, as we look forward to 2015, we’re recommitting to you, our customers. We have big plans for our Do-It-Yourself Advice Blog, and we want to make sure that those plans include content that you want to see!

So tell us, what projects would you love to see a tutorial for? Do you have any questions about tools, hardware, or supplies you’d like answered? Which posts would you love to see more of (fabric features, scrap busters, customer features) and which ones could you take or leave?

Leave your feedback for us in the comments. We can’t wait to hear from you!


The holiday season is upon us once again and we can’t believe how fast the year as flown by! As we get ready to celebrate the season with our family and friends, we’d like to thank our loyal blog followers and customers. We love reading your comments and seeing the projects you’ve created. We hope you’ve enjoyed all the DIY projects and tips we’ve shared this past year. We’ve sure loved putting them together for you! We have some really exciting things planned for next year that we can’t wait to share, so be sure to stick around.

From all of us here at Sailrite, we wish you and yours a happy and joyous holiday season!


Have you ever wrapped a gift in fabric? Fabric can be used to make re-usable gift bags, to accent your wrapping or to take the place of paper altogether. Today we’re going to share some ideas with you that will not only help you spice up your gift wrap game this holiday season, but will also give you a chance to use up some of the fabric scraps in your stash.

1. Embellish Plain Paper


This is the simplest method to dress up a plain package and it requires only a little fabric and no sewing. You can use a plain cardboard box for your gift or wrap the gift in kraft paper. Then, cut a strip of fabric using pinking shears and wrap it around the box. Secure the fabric with twine or a ribbon. Finish off the package with a tag.

2. Wrap with Fabric


In Japan, hostess and birthday gifts are often wrapped in fabric using a method called Furoshiki. Creating your own fabric wrapped gifts gives a unique look and is eco-friendly because the wrapping is reusable. To do this, start with a large square of fabric. I wrapped a small box in a 16” square piece, but I probably could have used more. Then, lay out your fabric in a rhombus shape (like a diamond) and set your gift in the center. Over the center of your gift tie two opposing ends in a single knot. Tie the remaining two ends in a double knot over the first knot and pull tightly. Then you can embellish the top with a tag, card, or candy cane.

3. Sew a Fabric Gift Bag


These reusable fabric gift bags look more unique than a paper bag and will last so much longer. Plus, they are great for odd-shaped gifts that would be difficult to wrap in paper. To make this bag, select your fabric and cut one long panel of fabric that is your desired width and twice your desired height. Fold the panel in half widthwise and sew up the sides. Turn the bag right side out. Then you can either hem the top of the bag or cut along the top with pinking shears for a decorative, no fray finish. All that’s left is to put your gift inside and tie the bag up with a pretty ribbon!

Love the fabrics featured in this post? They’re all available at

Have you ever used fabric for wrapping presents before? Would you? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

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