Sunday, November 6, 2022

A stitch in time

A sailors Stitch in time

Sailors know that wind can pop up really quickly and if your sails have a weakness then the wind will find it and find it quickly.

After our last trip, I noticed some broken stitching on the Genoa Sunbrella cover, about half way up the forestay. That's an 'in' for the wind to make a very expensive tear in the sail while out on the water. I have to fix that early.

So after recovering from the hectic party weekend with our friends from the HISC sailing club, we went back down to the boat and lowered the sail.

First I released the locking line that prevents the Furler from turning and thus prevents the sail from unfurling, then I released both of the Jib sheets, flaked out the Jib Halyard and released the furling line. Then went forward to pulled the sail down flaking it along the deck and on top of the inverted dinghy. It came down pretty smoothly. Then Peggy & I rolled it, not so easy, so that it would fit inside the sailbag.

We ( me ) had left the Aft whip secured to the Bimini when we left for the weekend party, it ripped out of the dock mount and needed repair. So we headed home with the sail stuffed into its bag and the Whip secured to the bed of our F150 ( towel wrapped around it where it touched the truck roof and secured with a few webbing straps.) Of course, Peggy wasn't so happy about us taking I95 back home with the 14' whip tied to the truck, but I persuaded her it would be just fine.

It was, we got home and I proceeded to plan the repair to the sail and the whip. 

Next morning I cleaned up the split end of the whip and mixed up a few ounces of resin. With a cheap paint brush I spread the resin into the open wounds of the whip and then closed it up using a half dozen old hose clamps. Then I setup my Sailrite Sewing machine and moved stuff around in my garage to handle the huge sail. While inspecting it to locate the area of stitching that needed resewing, I realized that the original Thread was no Tenera nor any other type of PTFE thread and that about 20% of the sewing on the Sunbrella cover had deteriorated. 

Meanwhile, Peggy called me from the laundry room that the washing machine was broken. Of course that's more important than the sail, I can do that anytime.

Figured out that the Washing Machine Pump was either not working at all or barely working, The tub was not emptying.  Off to google and the search for a fix. It's a common problem and Amazon has the pump for just $26. Google's YouTube had many videos showing how to replace the pump, not quite the same model as our machine but each of them pretty well had the same process. So I ordered the pump on A Prime.  Back to sewing.

Further inspection indicated that I should really restitch the entire Sunbrella cover, that's the full length of the Sails Leach ~44' and Foot ~ 13.5' That's a lot of stitching but my Sailrite machine is up to is, I have sewn bigger pieces. There's just going to be a lot of canvas laying around my garage as I try to feed it through the Sailrite Sewing Machine ( it's an LSZ-1 ) 

I spent a couple of hours sewing. The LSZ-1 handles sewing the sail with ease. The sail is pretty thick, there's a minimum of 1 layer of Dacron with One layer of Sunbrella which folder over the leach or the foot so that's a total of three layers. Then there are the overlaps in which case there are 6 layes - 2 of Dacron and 4 of Sunbrella. Sewing all of those was a breeze, each of the Sunbrella segments needed 3 rows of Zig-Zag stitching a line parallel to each edge of the Sunbrella and then a set of diagonal reinforcement lines about every eight feet or so.  The Leach required at least 280' and the Foot required 81' of PTFE Thread. I use Sailrite's Lifetime PTFE thread. It's difficult to get the tension right, but worth the effort.

Halfway through the sewing, Amazon delivered the Pump - that's the same day that I ordered it. First thing the next day the pump replacement floated up to the top of the Honey Do List. It only took a couple of hours to take the washing machine apart, replace the pump and put it all back together. Total Cost $28.76, that would probably have cost us at least an Arm if not an Arm and a Leg if we had a tech from Kenmore come out to fix it, and it would not have happened in just a couple of hours.

With the Washer out of the way, back to sewing. I was able to complete all of the restitching  of the Sunbrella and I looked over the stitching of the Sail itself. It looks like they did use a PTFE thread for sewing the Dacron, phew! because that is a lot of sewing to restitch that!

The final part of the sail repair was to inspect and restitch the webbing at the Head, Tack and Clew of the sail. Thankfully they all look very well sewn and not in need of restitching. However, the  thickness of the Sunbrella, the Dacron and the Webbing is just at the limit of my choice of machine needles. I'll call Sailrite in the morning to see which is the best size needle to use. I broke one today just as I was starting the backstitches at the end of the second piece of webbing on the Tack of the sail - I thought I would try it out, just too heavy for my needle.

Ok, Stitch in time is done, also fixed the Washing machine and the deck Whip, not bad for a couple of days work. 

Looks like a really wet week ahead of us, so we'll fold the sail up and put it back in it's bag till later when we can put it back on the boat. We're planning on heading out for a Thanksgiving Friendship Cruise with our sailing club and, of course, there's Thanksgiving on Thursday that week before the cruise. So we have most of a couple of weeks to get the boat back in order.

Till then.

Stay safe, and we'll see you on the water.

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