Posts Tagged ‘Sailrite’

Stackpack Re-do….

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Another One Bites the Dust

Yep, we’ve checked off another project on our list. The Stackpack we made in Fiji was HUGE! I followed the instructions found on the web and those too on Sailrites pages. They were all helpful. I believe the real issue was new sail stiff sail cloth with the full battens didn’t sit on the boom well. Thus, my measurements were … quite generous.

Two years in, the sail cloth relaxed a bit, it packed up smaller and the bag was, well; baggy. That and we really didn’t like how our full boat awning fit over the lazy jacks that were built into the Stackpack. Thus off to the google library I went. Actually I prefer Duck-Duck-Go because they don’t track you.

There I discovered a track I could sew into the cover and then slide a bolt rope into the track and hang the awning off of it. Unfortunately I could not locate any of the Keder Track in Australia. I did find it on Sailrite’s site

Keder Track Stitched in the Stackpack

and in NZ. I ordered it from NZ. The Keder rope slide I was able to locate here; about 45 minutes by car from us.

First order was to measure how much to shrink the Stackpack by and remove the pack. W/ and I (mostly W/) did a lot of seam ripping. The zipper top was good. The bottom needed a change as the slots for the reef lines were just not long enough. With the pack in pieces we then laid it out on the pier and marked off the amount to be removed. We cut and burned the cloth edge to eliminate unraveling. Next the difficult part.

We needed to sew in the new sewable track, the top zipper piece and the side panel. We had made the decision to break the track into pieces that fit between the lazy jack lifts. Am I glad we did. If not the project would have had to fold in 10’ sections. Now we have roughly 5’ sections do deal with. The track had been stored in a circle (that was how it was shipped). I had unpacked it and laid the track out on deck hoping it would straighten. It was still all curly. It wasn’t like wood. It was difficult to get all the pieces lined up. The basting tape we had would not hold everything together. I thought of using staples. I had seen other canvas makers use them but don’t have an industrial staple gun that has strong enough staples. W/ and I struggled putting all the pieces together and feed through the sewing machine. Remember the track had a twist to it and we needed it straight. I tried straightening by heating it and that helped … a bit. The track was still not “straight”. Too, this is where I appreciate canvas / sail makers. They have a large flat surface and sit in a pit with the machine and the material flush. After which they feed it all through the machine and boom; done. W/ held up one end, I tried to hold the middle and feed and sew. We did make it through one side and very frustrated as well as relieved. Frustrated that this project is on the large size for doing on a cruising boat. Relieved that we had it half completed. We needed help.

One advantage in the cruising community is that others are often there to assist. All you need do is ask. Co-opting a fellow cruiser we were better able to manage the 18’ run. With Dan (our fellow cruiser friend) and W/ we managed the huge piece much better. Still I wish I had the canvas makers floor.

I informed W/ “I don’t ever want to do this again”! W/ said she had heard that before and chuckled … just a little.

Put together we were ready for the installation. Again we found help from Dan. First he hauled me up the mast to run the lift lines. W/ says I’m dead weight and doesn’t love cranking me up the mast! Go figure… 🙂 When we removed the pack, one of the lift lines jammed at the upper block. Once both lines were down I could measure them. I didn’t like the stretch we had in the lifts. Thus I will add a small Dynema line (it stretches like wire but is soft and flexible). Once they were in place Dan hauled the mainsail up, W/ fed the bottom of the pack into the boom and I slid it on. In place

Our New Modified Stackpack

we began attaching the lazy jacks. Hauled in the lift line and dropped the sail. Sweet, the sail slid into the pack like it was expected. Zip it up and begin the final adjustments of the lifts. As it was it would have been functional. I don’t really know of any differences in the lifts have any practical consequences. I wan’t going to find out. We spent a couple of days playing with the lengths and finally I felt port and starboard were close enough. I measured and cut the lines, W/ seized the ends with heat, tied them on the Stackpack, sat back and contemplated our next project. It is a big one, redoing the refrigeration system.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

 

Well…

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Things are happening here, but the events are slow as walking a milkfish pond netting that tasty meal.

Fight the Wind Stitching the Main

Fight the Wind Stitching the Main

We’ve sewn up the mainsail and it now is 100%. The drifter/reacher is yet to do. For part of the sewing event W/ kept the main sail from flogging me to death while the wind blew. Due to excessive wind that days job was cut sort. The following day during a lull in the wind I finished the stitching using a Herringbone stitch. The herringbone is mostly for embroidery but I had read how effective it was in repairing stitching on sails and I really liked it.  The chafe was in a place that running the sail though our Sailrite machine would have been a lot of work. First pulling the sail off, then setting up the machine and finally folding the sail to run the 8 3″ stitches that I needed. After all that returning the sail to service. Thus I hand stitched it never needing to remove or reinstall the sail.  We’ll see how well the stitch holds on our next leg but I don’t foresee any problems.

We actually did a wee bit o’ tourist stuff.  Tehani – Li came into Samoa and with Carol and Phil we went to one of the premier restaurants; Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, for a delightful and not cheap Samoan feast.  We arrived early on the local bus saving a few bucks with transportation and spending more than what we saved on drinks. Oh well; penny wise and pound foolish often seems to be the American way.

Happy Masticator

Happy Masticator

We sat down to a meal with Banana leaves as plates and watched as they uncovered the above ground pit. Thanks to all our time in Penhryn eating with my fingers now was not a problem. The owner explained to us how they prepare and cook the food. Depending on the amount of food and what is being cooked, from start to finish

Uncovering the food.

Uncovering the food.

takes about two days and for most of Samoans this is a Sunday family / community  event.  There is no pit and all of the cooking is done above ground.  They build a fire heating hot rocks, then layer the rocks with food and more rocks building up the mound. Finally they cover the entire mound with various leave trapping in all the moisture. No moisture must be seen to escape. The owner informed us several times that no matter what event happens on the island, tsunami, hurricane, fires, etc. they will always have food and be well fed. Westerners like to call this subsistence living but I think the better word is sustainable. She actually said she believes the west (that is our country)  to be in more danger of food shortages than the Samoans are. Any day Samoans can go pick what they need from the island, swim and gather from the sea, and they will have plenty. And we did have plenty; from Octopus, prawns, lamb, pork, turkey, breadfruit, squash, and topped off with Kava. I didn’t have any kava not wishing to apply a neuro toxin to my mouth. Yeah, I missed out but there will be other chances.

Saturday we picked up some goodies at the Post Office.  The correct plumbing supplies arrived from McMaster-Carr and our Alternator arrived from Great Water – finally. I had to email Great-Water a couple of times but finally when I used the website to contact them they responded immediately. I was informed that it appears the first alternator that was shipped has gone missing and they would send another. Ok, I was a little concerned and said the alternator needed to be in Hawaii by Friday to be on the plane here Sat.  I never thought it would go so smoothly and yet having contacted them Sunday, received an email Monday, replied Monday that yes I want the alternator and what needed to happen to get it here promptly. Finally all went well. When we were at the post so was our alternator.  Now that project can begin.

Rainmaker doing it's Job

Rainmaker doing it's Job

Back at the boat the weather was beginning to deteriorate. In our almost 7 years of cruising this has been continuously the worst weather we’ve had. We’ve  now  been in American Samoa a little over 6 weeks we’ve had less than 10 nice days. Often in those 10 days there have even been periods of intense rain.  As we returned to the boat we barely beat another rain shower and from then on the winds started to increase up to gale force. This being in the harbor. In the gusts the boat would heel over 5º.  And so we mostly sat on the boat and entertained ourselves. W/ invited Mary (from sv Hot Spur) over for Scrabble – Mary scored a 150 pt word – you know who won 🙂 . I played chess online with FICS, we did puzzles on the iPad, played FreeCell, and read on the Kindles.  Two days later the weather was abating and I was able to again do work on our engine issue.

Temperature Sensor Shorts on Plumbing

Temperature Sensor Shorts on Plumbing

In Tahiti I had made a change to our cooling system when we had to replace our thermostat. I had raised the plumbing so the fresh water cooling tube could not short out the temp  sensor on the engine.  Now I don’t know if this issue is effecting the clicking I hear when the water pump is running but I did want to return the plumbing to it’s normal position. To complete that project I needed to pull the sensor, put the elbow in place and put it back together. As I cruise and do a greater amount of engine work myself I find I respect mechanics more and more. For the most part there is never an easy time working on the

New Sensor Elbow

New Sensor Elbow

engine. Here I thought I  would unscrew the fitting, screw in the elbow and then add the sensor.  To accomplish this simple task, to screw in the elbow I discovered that one of the marinized brackets was in the way eliminating a complete rotation of the elbow. I had to remove that bracket and that entailed removing two other brackets, one holding the transmission, oil cooler, the other controls the cable for the shifter.  Almost 3 hours later I was finished with all items restored to their original position.  I hope, I hope, I hope …. this solves the riddle.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Maintenance – Sewing

Friday, February 27th, 2015

We use an ATN Tacker when we sail with the Drifter/Reacher. It flies free on the luff and this gizmo is to allow the best alignment for the clew on the foot of the sail.  Running for 3 days with it from the Galapagos to the Marquesas all seemed to work well, at least for the Tacker and that I did not notice any issues.

Six months later while running from the Societies to Penrhyn we flew it for another day or so. After the winds died and we furled the sail I noticed some chafe on the sun cover for the headsail. The sun cover is what the tacker floats on with basically a teflon like surface. However the inside of the ATN was wearing on the sun cover and visa versa for the ATN is now a bit rougher on the inside.

Thus we had some repair work to do. In comes the trusty Sailrite sewing machine. For the first 2-3 year of cruising I do not remember having it out much. The last 3 years we’ve had it out quite often. That may partially be due to our cruising grounds. We had a ripped main when we arrived in the Chesapeake but of course Annapolis has a lot of sailmakers and repairs there were much easier than for us to complete them.  And in the last year we’ve completed about 1/3 of our total miles to date.

In Columbia I repaired the Yankee clew and in the San Blas I repaired a tear I made while setting the main. In Colon, Panama we made a new dinghy cover – that alone saved over $800 ! In the Galapagos I repaired the sun cover on the headsail, the leach line on the foot of the sail was tearing out and as we never use it I removed it. Again in the Marquesas we had a ripped staysail that we were able to repair on the boat. And here we repaired the chafe as well as checked all other points of wear on the sail and touched them up. While the machine was out there were some seams letting go on our dodger fabric with the zippers so we touched them up too.  I’ve been able to sew up ripped seams on clothes that otherwise would have seen the rag bin before their time. We don’t have a lot of extra space compared to those living in the US that have racks and racks of clothing in walk in closets.  🙂  W/ wanted a fitted sheet for the berth in our aft cabin so we’ve made up the first generation of that and now have a fitted sheet to test.  I would say that the machine has been an excellent choice to have for our cruise.

While in most places we could have found someone to do the work, ensuring it is to the quality we desire is sometimes a throw of the dice. Gary and Kia on Kia Song had a dodger repaired in Columbia by the canvas guy who at the time was considered the ultimate. They gave him the thread they wanted used –  Tenara ( a super strong long lasting thread – and expensive) and when they installed their dodger and had left they noticed that the thread they gave him was not what was used!  Other places people  don’t have the right or best  material for the marine environment  or a machine that can really do the work.  While it has been a real adventure at times moving a 400 square foot sail about on a small boat we’ve been able accomplish all our tasks with a little patience and some forethought. We have had the machine on the foredeck, in the cockpit and on table down below. We’ve taken it off the boat and used it in the large room some marinas have to work on our awnings.  It has been a work horse and still is going strong.

For us / for me, my recommendation is don’t leave home waters without a machine capable of doing 99% of all the canvas – sail repairs on your boat.