Posts Tagged ‘Awning’


Saturday, August 21st, 2021

Time Does Fly

I’ve wanted to blog once per week but already see I’m past two! 🙁 We’ve been working like crazy on the awning and epoxy /varnish teak cover. Well, let me clarify that statement. We’ve been working cruiser crazy. As cruisers we try to put in 20 hours / week of boat work. For us, we’ve found 20 hours works to keep the boat functioning and our life aboard comfortable. We’ve actually been doing a bit more lately. All this while maintaining some social connections and exercise (playing tennis).

Playing tennis does tire us out – a bit. The Aussie social tennis style is to play without the normal 90 sec break every two games. And the groups like to play straight through the morning; somewhere between 3 to 5 sets. As I said; with few breaks. Thus many afternoons as we return to the boat there is no desire to start new or continue a project. Some of those days slide by.

Other times are full on. We get out the sewing machine, a beefy Sailrite zig zag and begin work on modifying the awning. The awning was brand new 5 years ago and we never used it. I was waiting for our old awning to blow out. After 13 years it never did. I had some chafe and it was getting brittle in places. Yet it still held together. We did try to take it down if the winds exceeded 25 kts. On a cruising boat we like to extend the life of a product to the fullest. Sometimes even more, finding a new purpose for it or to use parts elsewhere. Anyway…. the new awning sat for 5 years. The old awning was getting to be a PITA because we had changed our mainsail storage system. That and the fabric was getting too brittle. We added a Stack Pack with Lazy Jacks in Fiji. To use the old awning we needed to release the lazy jacks and drag them to the end of the boom. (Lazy Jacks help to store the sail as the sail is lowered.) . The old awning sat over the boom. The new awning had been sewn like the old one; before we made the switch to a Stack Pack and Lazy Jacks. That switch was forced because in NZ we had a new sail made with full battens.

To change the new awning we needed to split it down the middle. Each side would attach to the top of the Stack Pad with a Keder Track. New shorter poles would rest in the boom and hold the awning taut. If all works well we will again have shade while anchored in the tropics. And I have checked out temps before. There is a 20º F difference on the deck under the awning vs outside the shade of the awning.

Modified Main Awning

Attaching the track to the awning sounds simple. Not quite. Moving pieces of the awning the length of the boom around in the boat makes Twister look easy. All the forward attachment points on the awning would change. The after piece would be different because the boom is now centered on the boat with the awning up. Sewing / moving / rotating 10 meters of Regatta fabric in the boat was NOT a bucket of joy. One day we hauled the awning up to the community room/lounge. There we spent all day remaking attachment points and adding a new end.

So far, it is looking good. Good enough that we can get back to the epoxy / varnish job at hand.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

ps  I hope to have the new website up and functioning with in the week. I’ve been cleaning up all the links and fixing pages. From there I will then begin to add more content. Of course… for the nitty gritty on the cruising life… this blog is it.


Hit by a Chocasana

Monday, June 4th, 2012

We’ve been anchored in the Green Island group for about a week now. Some good rains in the am and then generally a warm to hot day with a mild evening. Some evenings actually moved into the  nicely cool range.  Yesterday pm it was cool for a bit and I heard the wind shift.  I recognized we would most likely be getting more early wet sunshine so I reached up to close the hatch, turned on a fan,. Still thinking I better check further I got up for two minutes and stuck my head out of the companionway to see what the Mother Nature was going to give us. There was some lightening; not a lot, but some, to the E of us so I crawled back into my berth hoping for a couple more hours of sweet sleep.

Neptune knew better. About 30 minutes later the winds began to pick up. Pick up isn’t the best description. The winds went from the speed of a bicyclist cruising down the street to a car cruising down the interstate in just a few seconds.  I got out of my berth as quickly as possible making sure I didn’t knock myself out on the way forward to again stick my head out the companionway. By the time my eyes were open and head exposed we were healed over as if we were sailing and the awning was acting like  a mainsail. Yeah, we leave it up 24/7.

Our awning has been tested; mostly accidentally, to about 40 knots of wind on the beam and for the most part she holds up fine. In Grenada we had broken an

Awnings after the Repair in Grenada

Awnings after the Repair in Grenada

awning pole; maybe two I don’t remember, and I had endeavored to flatten out the peak of it some and strengthen the poles.  That has worked for close to two years. Here the awning was scooping wind like a kite and the poles were under a great deal of tension.

The aft pole snapped in two. That was the weakest and the shortest. The middle pole started to bend and then the forward.  By the time the boat had  had begun to sit to the new wind direction the aft two poles had snapped into two pieces each and the forward pole simply had good solid kink in the middle. W/ was now up and she grabbed me some lines so we could secure the middle aft pole and keep it from doing a great deal of damage swinging about in the wind. That pole secured I put the furthest aft poles on the awning outside the boat. With the four pieces flailing around and with the sharp broken Aluminum ends I wasn’t wanting to be struck by one nor have one pole end dig into anything on the deck.  With those poles secured I tied the kinked forward pole off a bit so hopefully it wouldn’t part. Luckily it didn’t.

With the poles secure we waited. The Chocasanas are brief periods of high wind and rain lasting usually less than an hour.  svMoonsong in Coco Bandaros; about 2 miles N of us, reported on the VHF sustained wind of  50 kts for 30 minutes.  Finally the winds did calm and I was able to evaluate what and how things would be repaired.First however; breakfast and the SSB nets, then work.

I know the poles can break. We use the Forespar Awning poles and I’ve broken enough over the years that I repair them by splicing more together making a stronger middle section.  I’ve never had one break out near the ends.  For the most part this method works but I still need more of the larger outer pieces of Aluminum to keep the center splices strong. When we get back closer to civilization I’ll order a couple more spare poles.

All morning I worked on replacing parts and by noon the awning is reset flatter and back in place.  If I have an opportunity to go through this again I’ll temporarily tie off the pole down so it will not kink up. Kinking up is where I break the poles. We’ll see how that strategy goes.  Hiatus has been spending a good part of the Summer season in the San Blas for the last 12 years and had only seen two of these. They now have added a third to their sittings. If luck is with us; we won’t have another Chocasana while here.

Sail Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long