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Sailing

2014_April-Weather-Cloth

Do you want to stay a bit drier in your cockpit? Or maybe just have a little more privacy at the dock? Then you might want to install weather cloths. Weather cloths are fabric panels that attach to your lifelines and pushpit rails.  Although they don’t seem like much, weather cloths can significantly add to the comfort of your cockpit when underway or at anchor. These panels not only help to protect against rain, wind and sea spray they also help to block sunlight glare off the water’s surface. Today, we’re going to show you how to make your own weather cloths.

We made our weather cloths out of durable, UV resistant Sunbrella® in Jockey Red to match the rest of the canvas in the cockpit of our Islander 37 project boat. If you want more visibility, you can add clear vinyl windows to your fabric panels. We recommend using an affordable 30-gauge window material, like Plastipane.

Making weather cloths yourself is great because it allows you to customize the design to fit around stanchion poles, winches and other obstacles. You can also customize how you attach the cloth’s base to your boat. Depending on your set up, you can attach the weather cloth to your boat with leech line, shock cord or Velcro®. Basically anything that holds the cloth in place but that isn’t too strong to break away if necessary in a storm.

To see the full video and material list, visit Sailrite.com.

Do you have weather cloths on your boat? Did you make any special modifications to them? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

2014_February-portlight

Small portlight windows are great for letting a little extra light and air into your boat’s cabin, but they can be difficult to cover when you want a little extra privacy. For our third project in our Project Boat Cabin Series, we’re going to show you how to make simple-sew elastic covers for your portlights.

The benefits of using these elastic portlight covers are that they effectively provide privacy when they are in place, and that they are super easy to remove when you need a little more light or want to open the window. For our covers we used a Sunbrella® fabric, which has an open weave that allows a small amount of light to still come through. If you wanted a darker shade, try using a heavier fabric like a Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric.

For the full video tutorial and materials, visit Sailrite.com and search #200628XHT.

Do you cover the portlights on your boat? Leave us a comment and share how you did it!

Does your boat need a little love? We’ve got a new project boat here at Sailrite® that needed quite a bit of love and we’ve been hard at work this winter getting her all spruced up and making lots of great how-to videos along the way. We’ve just finished working on a few of the projects in the cabin and the difference is striking!

Meet our 1976 Islander 37 project boat. She belongs to Jim Grant, Sailrite’s founder, and he’s letting us do a little work on her so we can share the projects with all of you! Over the course of the next month, here on the blog we’re going to be bringing you full tutorials on four great projects to transform the cabin of your boat into a comfortable, functional space.

See the full video tutorial and materials list at Sailrite.com.

What projects need to be done in the interior of your boat? What projects would you like to see us do a video on? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

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Salon Port-side Settee Before

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Salon Port-side Settee After

2013_November-powerboat

Are you looking for a new custom cover for your power boat? Did you ever think about making one yourself? We’re excited to share with you our first ever power boat project! Our new How to Make a Power Boat Cover video is full of helpful tips, techniques, and step-by-step instructions for making a perfectly snug cover.

There are many benefits to making your own custom power boat cover. Covers from big box stores can be a close fit to your boat but they rarely fit just right. Custom covers from a canvas shop will be made for your vessel but they can be really expensive. By making the cover yourself you can use the highest quality materials for the best price and have a cover that fits perfectly.

The style of cover featured in the video can be used for trailering, storage, and mooring. It features a snap closure system and adjustable support poles in the interior to prevent water from pooling on the cover. Learn how to pattern the cover on the boat with fabric (5:56), how to create darts (23:00), how to add chafe protection (33:53), how to install snaps and support poles (1:06:55) and more!

 

Power Boat Cover Materials:

Find all of the materials needed to make a power boat cover, from fabric to support poles at www.sailrite.com.

Have any of you made a custom boat cover before? Share your tips and advice in the comments!

When it comes to replacing the lines and rigging on and around your boat, the amount of choices can make your head spin. We’ve found that the best approach to deciding on new rope for your boat is to take the process one step at a time. First, think through your priorities for your line and your new rope’s desired characteristics. Then, look at the material and construction that meets those criteria and fits within your budget. Then all that’s left is determining size and amount. Let’s take a look at how all of those elements break down.

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1. What are my Priorities?

To determine what priorities you need for your rope you’ll need to think about the rope’s application, what type of sailing you do, and your budget.

  • Application: The application in which the line will be used is obviously a big factor for which type of rope you should purchase. The application will help you determine which rope criteria (strength, stretch & UV resistance) are your biggest priorities. Most rigging applications will require high strength and low stretch as priorities.
  • Type of Sailing: Are you a racer or a cruiser? The main use of your boat will directly affect the main use of your lines. Racers will need lines that are lightweight and meet their class regulations, while cruisers may place more importance on longevity and ease of handling.
  • Budget: It’s important to set a budget and to not overspend on your line. You could easily buy the most expensive, highest quality line, but for many sailors the fanciest line available is probably overkill. You might never use the line to its full extent, so it’s just not worth the expenditure.

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2. Fiber Choices

After you’ve determined the traits that will be your line priorities, its time to take a look at which fiber of rope will meet those requirements. Many of a rope’s performance properties lie inherently within its fibers. Here are the most common rope fibers and what they are known for.

  • Polyester: An excellent choice for applications where strength, low stretch and durability are important, as in most running rigging applications. Also, polyester has a moderate price tag, which makes it a good fit for a variety of uses and users.
  • Nylon: One of the original synthetic fibers, nylon has great shock absorption properties, wear and UV resistance, and strength. Also with a moderate price, nylon ropes are great for dock and anchor lines.
  • Aramids (Kevlar or Technora): These high performance fibers feature very high strength and extremely low stretch. Aramid lines are perfect for serious racing sailboats and as running rigging on larger yachts. The downside to these lines is that they don’t have good UV resistance, can self-abrade, and are more expensive.
  • HMPE (Dyneema): High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE) is another high performance fiber with very high strength and very low stretch. These ropes also repel water, float, and are ideal for lightweight running rigging for serious racers or on larger yachts. HMPE ropes do have a few drawbacks, however. They have a low melting point, which makes these ropes susceptible to friction and when left under sustained loads HMPE ropes have been known to creep or elongate.
  • Polypropylene: This is a lower to moderately priced line that is great for applications where a lightweight or affordable line is important. Polypropylene line floats in water and is a good choice for light air spinnaker sheets. The drawbacks to polypropylene are that is not very strong or UV resistant, has high stretch, and melts at a low temperature.

2013_November-Rope-2

3. Rope Construction

A rope’s construction can make it better suited to a particular application. It also can enhance a fiber’s strengths. Here are four main types of construction:

  • Double Braid: A braided core inside a braided cover. This produces an easy to handle rope that is strong and durable. Double braid lines are used in running rigging and dock lines.
  • Parallel Core: These lines have a unidirectional fiber core with a braided cover. Parallel core lines have significantly less stretch and greater strength than a double braid line of the same size. These ropes are ideal for halyards, sheets, and guys where low stretch is required.
  • Single Braid: This type of line has a flexible and supple construction that absorbs twist and does not kink, making it great for mainsheets, furling lines, and large dock lines.
  • 3 Strand:  3-Strand is durable, long-lasting, flexible, and easy-to-handle. Plus, this line won’t harden with age. Use nylon 3-Strand for anchor, dock, mooring, and tow lines or polyester 3-strand for running rigging on traditional cruising boats.

Make Your Choice

The fiber and construction of the line can be selected in different combinations to best meet your needs. Be aware that the selection process often involves some trade-offs, whether they be performance or cost-based. Gauge your priorities to decide which combination would work best for your boat.

Now that you have a good idea of what fiber and construction suits your needs, you should be ready to make your rope selection. On our Rope Size & Selection Guide we have more information on rope as well as a handy selection chart that outlines our line recommendations based on application, type of sailing, and boat size.

Sailrite stocks a wide array of high quality New England Ropes. See our full selection of rope for your vessel at www.sailrite.com.

Is this the formula you use to select rope or do you use another method? Share your thoughts in the comments!

As a girl growing up in Minnesota, Kelly “Kelly Girl” Waterhouse never dreamed of sailing around the world. In fact, she didn’t even know how to sail. But if you ask her today about the four years she spent circumnavigating the globe with her husband, she’ll gush about her boat, her travels, and the freedom of sailing on the open ocean.

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Kelly and Kelly Girl Waterhouse

Kelly Girl’s sailing story starts years ago when the restaurant she managed in Minnesota sent her to open a new location in Seattle, Washington. It was there that she met Kelly Waterhouse, one of her lunch regulars. The pair hit it off and eventually got married. Since they have the same first name, she became known as “Kelly Girl” to avoid confusion.

Kelly was an experienced sailor and had grown up around boats. However, sailing didn’t play a big part in their relationship until after they were married, and it wasn’t until after the couple bought a little Catalina 22 that Kelly taught Kelly Girl how to sail on the Puget Sound.

Ever since Kelly was a little boy he had dreamed of one day setting out to travel the world, but he never thought he could do it with a wife, Kelly Girl said.

“He introduced me to sailing and to the idea of sailing the globe and I was like ‘Really? We could?’”

And so the pair began planning for their sailing adventure, thinking at first that it would be a long way off.

“We had talked about retiring young, like at 50, and then going,” Kelly Girl explained. “But we’re very mortal. There’s no guarantee that we would be there tomorrow. You just know you don’t necessarily have all the life you think, let’s do it now.’”

Despite many friends and family members thinking they were crazy, Kelly and Kelly Girl set out in search of the perfect boat to sail around the world in.

Eventually they found Moorea, a 35 ft. Dufour Sloop built in 1974.

“She was beautiful. She had a thick hull—sturdy and heavy. She was great for two people, and she had all the things we needed,” Kelly Girl explained.

2013_November-Kelly-2

Moorea anchored in Hiva Oa, Marquesas

The couple lived aboard for two years in Seattle while they readied her for the sea and saved up for their big adventure.

In 2006, at 35 years old, Kelly and Kelly Girl finally set sail, heading down the west coast of the United States to Mexico.

“We had the worst weather on the west coast going from Washington to California,” Kelly Girl said. “It was our first time sailing offshore and night sailing.”

The pair had hit a squall and their boat was creaking loudly in the waves.

“You really don’t know your boat until those situations,” she said. “Once I realized that she was a solid boat, I really wasn’t ever nervous again.”

The Waterhouse’s circumnavigation took them 4 years and 35,000 nautical miles to complete. They stopped in 30 countries spending anywhere from a week to six months in any given location.

After all the traveling was done there were two aspects of the journey that stood out to Kelly Girl.

“[My favorite was] visiting countries that are so different from your own, like Thailand—the people there were so kind and welcoming. Just visiting new cultures, learning to say hello and thank you,” she explained.

“That, and getting to a place by your own means—by the wind—the freedom of it is addicting. You feel like you’re the only ones on the ocean.”

2013_November-Kelly-3

Kelly sailing in the Marquesas

Like most sailors the Waterhouses frequently rely on their DIY skills. Kelly often hires himself out to other cruisers to fix problems on their boats for extra cash. And throughout their travels, they always have their Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Sewing Machine on board.

“We love our machine. It’s always been very reliable. Other cruisers know we have it and always want to borrow it!” Kelly Girl said. “We’ve fixed our sails—and I mean our heavy-duty sails, not just the light ones. It’s saved us a lot of money.”

On one fateful passage, the Ultrafeed even saved the day. While cruising through the Gulf of Aden, the couple had to make an emergency spinnaker repair.

“We were trying to keep up with our boating flotilla through pirate alley and pushed the spinnaker too hard,” Kelly Girl said.

They immediately pulled their spinnaker down and set to work on repairs. Kelly Girl was thankful that they were able to do the fix themselves.

“In situations like that, there isn’t a professional near you,” she said. “You don’t have to be an expert.”

While admitting that she is not the most talented sewer (Kelly is the go-to sewer on board), Kelly Girl feels a sense of pride from the things she’s DIY-ed. Together they’ve made a wide range of projects for their boat including: dinghy chaps, a binnacle cover, a shade system, jerry can covers, and courtesy flags.

2013_November-Kelly-1

Kelly Girl and friend, Lisa from s/v Ohana Kai, making flags with the Ultrafeed LSZ-1

Today Kelly and Kelly Girl are living in Phoenix, Arizona. They have a new 42 ft. project boat, Trini. She currently resides in Houston, Texas, where Kelly travels to work on her sporadically. The couple hopes to be living aboard again by this time next year with plans to return to coastal cruising soon after.

Kelly Girl urges other sailors dreaming of sailing full-time to follow their dreams.

“I just warn people if they do it, they might not want to come back,” she said. “If it’s the lifestyle for you—and it isn’t for everyone—but if it’s the lifestyle for you, go for it.”

Kelly Girl is the author of Sailing the Waterhouse: Swapping Turf for Surf, a story of the couple’s transition to life on the water and their first ocean passage. Her second book is due out next year.

To learn more about Kelly and Kelly Girl Waterhouse and their adventures, follow their blog: Sailing the Waterhouse One Wave at a Time.

2013_November-Genoa-Cover

If you have a furling headsail you know the importance of keeping your sail sheltered from the sun. UV rays will quickly cause a headsail to rot if it’s left exposed. There are a couple of different methods for protecting your headsail. You can sew a sacrificial sun cover to the leech and foot of your sail or you can cover it with a sleeve furling cover. Today, we’re going to focus on sleeve furling covers, which are easy to make and easy to use.

Sleeve furling covers, also known as Genoa covers or jib socks, are long canvas covers that will cover your entire furled headsail. They are often made from marine polyester like Sur Last or an acrylic, like Sunbrella Marine Grade. Covers protect the sail from sun, weather, mildew, and pollution. Many sailors also prefer to use furling covers as a safe guard from their sail coming unfurled in high winds.

Sleeve furling covers are pulled up over the furled sail using an extra halyard. They are made to fit snugly so they don’t flap in the wind but so tight that they chafe the sail. A long, Vislon zipper secures the entire length of the cover. Sleeve furling covers are great for sailors with older sails (they’re easier to install than sacrificial covers) and for racers who don’t want the added weight of a sacrificial sun cover.

Watch this demo video to see how quick and easy it is to install a sleeve furling cover.

 

Make your own sleeve furling cover with a kit from Sailrite. Kits contain everything you need to sew a genoa sleeve and are available for sails from 15-63 feet.

Learn more about these and other sail cover kits at www.sailrite.com.

How to you protect your furling headsail? With a sacrificial cover or a sleeve? Share your personal experience and tips in the comments!

2013_November-Culver-2

For those of you who regularly watch our how-to videos, you’ll recognize our Project Boat. Sailrite’s Seaward 24, Desperado, has been the subject of many how-to projects and over the years we’ve spruced her up and outfitted her with a full array of canvas projects. Now, after 4 years of faithful service we’re saying goodbye to our faithful project boat.

Since purchasing our Project Boat in 2009, we have used her as a teaching tool to share a variety of how-to videos from how to change your halyard line to how to make a bimini. Now that Project Boat is fully outfitted, we’re ready to start a new adventure. We will be selling our Project Boat and begin working on a new boat to bring you even more great project videos and instructions.

We’re sad to part with our Project Boat, but we’re excited by the possibilities of outfitting new vessels. So as we say goodbye, let’s take a look back at all of the great projects that we accomplished with Project Boat.

 

5 Favorite Projects from Sailrite’s Project Boat

You can see full videos for all the projects featured here at www.sailrite.com. Be sure to keep an eye out for our new projects as we work to fix up and outfit an Islander 37 sailboat.

What was your favorite project video from Project Boat? Share your thoughts in the comments!

2013_October-Eric-Ultrafeed

The Sailrite crew is back home again in Indiana after a great long weekend at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland. Despite the rain (and there was a lot of it!) we had a great time meeting customers and hearing about your projects.

We kept the sides of the booth down to keep a warm and inviting atmosphere away from the rain. Inside was the usual hustle and bustle of Ultrafeed Sewing Machine demos, tool demonstrations of the Sailrite Edge Hotknife and the SnapRite System, and plenty of stories.

The weather did slow down the pace of the show a bit this year, but our team member Brian, enjoyed the change.

“I enjoyed that with the rain, the crowds subsided enough that I got to spend time talking with customers and sharing their project and sailing stories,” he said. “I was particularly thrilled to meet so many young—20’s and 30’s—families that are sailing just like my family is.”

As always, the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines stole the show. Many customers walked away with new machines, and a couple even had machines delivered right to the dinghy dock by the Sailrite crew.

“My customer was from New Zealand and, as a live aboard, was thrilled to get a machine at the show,” said Matt.

We heard so many great reviews of the machines and all the great projects being made with them. Here’s a quick video snippet of what customers are saying about the Ultrafeed.

 

We heard so many positive comments at the show and we’re excited to keep bringing you products and services you love.

Until next year, Annapolis, it’s been fun! In the meantime, you can stay up to date with Sailrite and get great project tutorials and in-depth information, right here on our blog. Click the ‘Sign Me Up!’ button in the right-hand column to get post posts right in your inbox.

2013_October-Boat-Show-1

It’s that time of the year again. With a crisp fall breeze in the air, it’s time to load up our trailer and head east to meet some of you at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland! We look forward to the boat show every year because it gives us a chance to meet our customers and show some of our favorite tools first hand.

What’s At the Boat Show

Stop by the Sailrite booth to see demos of the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines and all their great accessories. We’ll also be demonstrating some great tools including: the Sailrite EDGE Hotknife, the SnapRite System, the Pres-N-Snap tool, and the SnapRite Surface Mount Stud Die. We’ll also have a variety of DIY resources and supplies available for purchase, including our new Make Your Own Winter Boat Cover DVD.

If you can’t make it to the show, you don’t have to miss out on our great demos. Here’s a video that highlights the sewing capability and great features of the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines.

 

Why We Love the Boat Show

We have a great team of guys demonstrating the sewing machines and tools for you at the show. I spoke with a couple of them about what they enjoy most about going to the boat show. A big hit of the trip is the town and the seafood, but the thing they look forward to most is talking with customers.

“The guests at the boat show are fun to talk with. They are usually the serious boaters who love to learn about our products and services,” Eric explained. “They don’t mess around when it comes to DIY projects.”

Brian echoed Eric’s thoughts, “I look forward most to getting to talk with our customers who are always excited about their projects and boat show purchases,” he said.

“I also enjoy the show since it falls right at the very end of my sailing season. After seeing all the new boats and gear, the memories are fresh in my mind all winter as I anxiously await the next season—188 days after the end of the Annapolis show, not that I am counting!” Brian added.

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Eric demonstrating the Ultrafeed LSZ-1

Visit Us at the Boat Show

Go out and visit the Sailrite team at the Annapolis Boat Show. We’ll be in our usual spot, Tent H: Booth 24-27.  They can’t wait to see you!

The boat show starts today (Thursday) with a VIP Preview Day and opens to everyone tomorrow, Friday, October 10 at 10 am. The show runs through Monday, October 14. For more information on the United States Sailboat Show visit their website: http://www.usboat.com.

For those of you going, what are you excited about seeing or doing at the boat show? Can’t attend this year? Share your comments with the team here virtually, we always love hearing from you!

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