Posts Tagged ‘ATN Tacker’

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.