Starting a Sewing Projects Page

I have had a serious sewing habit all of my life, so imagine my delight when, upon taking up sailing with Matthew, I discovered that boats have unlimited potential for sewing projects! Since my first winch-covers for Penny, I have upgraded my sewing machine to a Sailrite, and learned about all kinds of fabrics and threads suitable for boat projects. I also joined boat-sewing groups, and have posted a few of my projects there. Now I think it is time to start consolidating the pictures and instructions to share with other boat-sewers and to leave myself a trail to follow, should I ever want to repeat a project. Here goes, in no particular order:

Christmas Gifts for the Captain:

His own personalized shopping bag, just for the fun of it. My sister-in-law has an embroidery machine, and is always willing to help out with my projects.

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Quilting Practice:

I plan to make Matthew a “Runner’s Quilt” out of all his running bibs that were previously proudly displayed on our refrigerator door at home, but must now fit on a boat somehow…making a lap quilt for him seems like a good solution (everything on a boat must serve more than one purpose)

I have only ever made one quilt, and it was many years ago. So I decided to start small, and using some leftover bits, made a sampler in order to get a bit of practice before launching into the big project. I was so pleased with how it turned out, I made it into a cushion.


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The Drogue Project:

That one has its own two-part blog with instructions, Part 1 and Part 2.

After the first season on the boat, I took it home to make some improvements. In order to fit in the locker, the bundle needed to be a bit shorter. It also needed some much more substantial handles. The final touch was to add its name in bright contrasting white letters, and a bit of reflective tape, in order to make it easy to find and identify in the kind of conditions under which it might be wanted. Here is the final version:

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A “Business Trip” to Antigua

Kathleen started to think about getting more training to improve her confidence.  We both have Sail Canada Basic Cruising along with radio, survival, first aid and navigation qualifications.  I had been researching the training and testing for RYA Yachtmaster but I had not formed any plans to get there. Kathleen talked to me  about nipping off for a week’s sail training as I was too busy at work.  She made the excellent point that we are in process of investing a lot of money in a refit for the boat, but we had not invested much in the crew over the last year.  She was right of course.  I looked at my work schedule and freed up some time as we started to research some options.  We found a couple of options for RYA training in the Caribbean and sent of some emails and landed on Miramar Sailing in Jolly Harbour, Antigua.   We signed up for a skills building clinic as we did not know where in the RYA scheme we could slot in.

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We joined the boat, Miramar, a Benateau Oceanis 400 and met our instructor – Ian Grant and our fellow student Anna.  Anna was starting the second week of a three week boot camp with Miramar.  Coming to sailing as an experienced sea kayaker she was gamely eating the elephant that learning to sail big boats is, almost from scratch.


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The west coast of Antigua is a great place to sail, with many bays and harbours to play with.  Ian talked to us about what we wanted to get out of our time on the boat.  For Kathleen, practice, skills and confidence building.  For me, the same with feedback on where in the RYA scheme I could slot in.  For us, to build our confidence in each other and to improve our communication as we sail.

What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong?

Ian’s natural teaching style and our needs meshed really nicely.  He quietly assessed where we were and pushed us both forward with challenges, often preceded with his catch phrase “What could possibly go wrong?”.  When we had a skill in hand he would move us forward to the next level or discuss the requirements at Yachtmaster level to put the exercise into context.  We practised man overboard (the less political correct version of the Canadian “crew overboard”) to the level where Kathleen and I could demonstrate solo MoB recovery.   The resulting tracks are entertaining…

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It is a Small World – Jolly Harbour, Antigua Edition

Last week we went to Antigua for a skills and mile building course with Miramar Sailing. We booked at the last minute, with a choice of Antigua or Grenada, Miramar were faster to respond and got the business.  As we were in the process of packing I noticed a FB post from sailing friends Catherine and Henry on S/V Mowzer that they had just arrived in Jolly Harbour, home of Miramar Sailing.  We don’t know many people who are “out there” and it was a bit weird to think of the few people we do know in the Caribbean, some of them would be in the same port.  I contacted Catherine and we arranged to meet on the Sunday before our course.

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Catherine and Henry are about 2 years ahead of us.  They sold up and sailed in the fall of 2014 and spent the summer of 2015 in Grenada so they have a lot of cruising experience but still recall the transition.  After a tour of their lovely cat, a Fountaine-Pajot Mahe 36, we hung out for the afternoon in St John’s and we asked question after question about their experiences and recommendations.  Thanks to Catherine and Henry for the data dump!

It was great to catch up in person, blogs and Facebook are great but glimpsing the cruising life just for a few hours was wonderful.  I think we are going to love our time away.

Later in the week we were sailing close to Jolly Harbour and we heard Isbjorn hailing the marina.  Isbjorn is Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson’s Swan 48.  Andy, Mia and Andy’s dad, Dennis gave us the recommendation that directly lead to us buying Kinship.  We never did sight Isbjorn or track Andy down, it looks like they are in English Harbour preparing for the RORC Caribbean 600 race that starts in about a week from this post.

If we bump into people we know at this pace despite only knowing a handful of boats, I suspect our social life might be quite busy.