Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Departures, Bad Omens, and Bad Internet

I know it has once again been a while since I made a post.  Sorry, but it has been difficult to find time or the motivation.  Then when I had the time, other things conspired against me.  So, to catch everyone up with what is happening…

After getting the cushions done, I wrapped up a little outstanding maintenance and we finished cleaning up the boat so it would be presentable for sale.  I think it now looks better than anytime we have owned it. Our broker made the trek up from St. Augustine and took some pictures and videos for the listing. He seemed very impressed with the current shape of the boat. We met with and hired Carolina Yacht Care to watch over our boat in our absence.  We divided up everything we owned into things we wanted to keep and things we could give away or donate (we already sold a few things like the folding bikes). After finding homes for the donations, we packed up all but a couple of the boxes of stuff to keep into the two cars. The extra boxes were taken to the post office and shipped back to Colorado.

Ready for her next owners.

A couple days before we left, our eldest dog started getting sick. We put her on a bland diet and that seemed to help. We departed Southport on the 17th, despite the threatening potential ice storms that were predicted to block our path.  Fortunately, we left late enough that we missed most of the ice and only found heavy rains. Unfortunately, this was when one of the clips holding the driver’s side windshield wiper blade on my car decided to fail. I noticed it was at an odd angle and pulled over in the rain to investigate.  Finding the failed clip, I managed to tape the broken wiper clip to the arm and it held until we could find a replacement blade in the next town.

That evening at the hotel, our eldest dog got sick again.  This was a pattern that ended up repeating itself pretty much every evening for the remainder of the trip. The driving marathon ended up taking 4 very tiring days of getting up, getting in the car, driving as far as we could manage, find a hotel, and repeat the next day.

After arriving in Denver, the very next morning I was hit hard by a nasty chest cold.  For those that don’t remember, pretty much the exact same thing happened the last time I was in town. If I were a superstitious sailing type, all of these things might be telling me this might be a mistake.

There was a bit of a communications snafu with the broker, but the boat listing should be up shortly. That is if the spotty internet we have where we are currently staying will manage to work long enough to work out the details with the brokerage company. 

The path ahead seems quite clouded and the sea and warm breezes continue to beckon to me.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Much Improved Salon

Well, like most projects, the settee cushions took a bit longer than I anticipated. After getting the foam cut and test fit, I started cutting out the fabric. The wood burning tool I used to cut the Sunbrella material worked well, but it is a slow process. Not having the material unravel is well worth the effort.  I used a permanent marker to trace around the plate (top and bottom) patterns of the cushions. The straight boxing (side pieces) were just measured, but patterns were used for the curved boxing of the back cushions. Although the fabric doesn't have stripes per-se, it does have a pattern or grain so care had to be taken while positioning the patterns to make it all look right.

The old, cracking salon cushions.
Sewing the pieces together to make the cushion covers is fairly straight forward and there are plenty of tutorials at Sailrite on how it is done.  The trick was getting the zippers installed along the seams the same way it was done on the original cushions. The trick I found that worked best was to sew the boxing together, then starting about an inch from the end of the back seam, sew a couple inches of the boxing on, placing marks on the material.  I would then temporarily sew the gap in the middle where the zipper would be using the largest stitch possible.  From that, I could position and add the zipper without things moving around too much.  Once the zipper tape was attached, I would install the slider, rip open the seam and sew across the ends of the zipper to lock everything in place.  From there, I could sew the remaining boxing to the plate.

Making new foam inserts for the cushions.

The Sailrite machine works very well for sewing heavy materials and zippers together. Although not a fancy, computer controlled machine, I have no doubt that these machines will last a lifetime even under pretty heavy usage. I think we will be holding onto it even after the boat is gone.

I applied polyester batting to the foam using 3M 77 spray adhesive.  Then began the process of wrestling the foam into the covers.  Since the covers are actually a bit smaller than the foam itself, this can be a bit of a process, but having the foam fit tight makes the cushion look a lot better.

After the bottom cushions were done and test-fit on the boat, I checked the patterns for the seat back cushions. The original back cushions didn't line up all that well, and I hoped to at least improve upon the alignment.  I adjusted the patterns a bit and went to work on the seat backs.  Sewing the large curved cushions was the most difficult as there are no corners to align.  The front plates are longer vertically and shorter horizontally than the back plates.  I had to make center marks and pre-pin the pieces together before sewing them up.

The new cushions. I think they are a vast improvement.

So, it was a bit more time consuming than I thought, but I think the result was well worth the effort.  The new cushions look far better than the old cracked vinyl ones and I think are quite a bit more comfortable too.  Hopefully the new owners of the boat will appreciate them.