Sewing machines......you either love the one you have or hate it. The Kenmore that currently resides on Sundancer was my 16th birthday present - yikes, it's been around almost as long as I have but it seems to be holding up better than I am. While I require massive doses of red wine to keep my gears lubricated, in the 36 years I've owned this machine, I have yet to apply any oil. Consider this an endorsement for the mighty Kenmore, and the quality of the products that come from Sears.
Two years ago, when we were in La Paz, Mexico, I was looking around for a sewing machine to keep on the boat. I had heard good things about the Pfaff 130, and had heard that it was capable of punching through several layers of canvas and sunbrella. Another boat was selling theirs (I now know that those people had an evil sense of humour) so I snapped it up. I earned my sailors' stripes tackling that beast, and impressed Ron with my use of both known and unknown sea curses, invoking the wrath of Neptune to strike the Pfaff or me down.....may the best machine/woman win. Suffice it to say that only my mennonite upbringing and a waste not, want not attitude prevented me from designating that Pfaff as the newest addition to our anchor selection. It went back to San Diego and will hopefully soon be picked up by some unsuspecting Craig's List shopper, and was replaced with the steady friend I call Ken. We are a boat of boys, and me. Ron (Quire), the captain, John (Deere) the engine, Ray (Marine) the chartplotter and radar, and Ken (More) the sewing machine. A boat is only big enough for one woman, but can hold a multitude of men.
Back to the projects.....I was getting pretty antsy to make a move, and had begun haranguing Ron for a new adventure; reading my 737th book didn't appeal any longer. We found a shop selling authentic Sunbrella fabric, for similar prices to the states (the same fabric in Canada would have been $36/yard) at $19/yard, along with a reasonable selection of design and colour choices. I was in business!
First order was new covers for our cockpit cushions. The perfect cushions came with the boat (thanks, Tim and Sandy) but as they were covered in vinyl, were sticky to our sweaty skin. I was always hauling up sarongs to use to sit on, but felt a better solution was in order.
Of course, along with those covers there needed to be something to rest our heads on during those long midnight watches. So.....
Our dinghy also needed some work. While we were in El Salvador, we had a set of dinghy chaps made, but it was constructed out of fake "sombrella", so while it was very perky when new, within months the bright red had faded to pink. Although I still need to replace those bits, I did make a new cushion/preserver for it, and the dinghy wheels got a protective cover to protect the rubber from the effects of the harsh sun. Looks like a shower cap, doesn't it?
Last but not least on the sewing hit parade were hatch covers. The old ones were recycled into the dinghy wheel covers, but now we've got some nice new ones helping to keep the boat a bit cooler, and to help preserve the varnish on the wood hatch trim.
We have a rule on our boat, when one of us works, so does the other. While I was busy bonding with Ken, Ron was channeling his inner marlin spiker by making a few new rugs to keep our cushions and companionway clean.
I've still got a few more things that needs to be made. New covers for our deck chairs, the dinghy chaps, covers for the jerry jugs and windlass, and a sacrificial bag for our bicycles. Also, and perhaps one of the most important items, will be a new windscoop for our forward hatch, designed to be left up even during a rain storm (and those storms will be on us before we know it) which will enable the wind to still come in, but will keep out the rain. Once completed, I'll post a few more pics.
You see, it's not all turquoise seas and deserted beaches......sometimes we also have to work.