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
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
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.