Monday, February 6, 2012

Sea Socks and Sail Covers

Just before leaving Nova Scotia to move to BC, I paddled for a week down the coast in a river kayak. This was a wonderful trip, but some of the open water crossings were rough and because the boat has no bulkheads and I cannot 'eskimo roll', I realized that had I capsized, my chances of survival were low. To improve the odds on such trips, I decided to make a sea sock. This is simply a large sock-shaped bag that you sit inside while paddling. It fits around the cockpit combing and prevents water from entering the rest of the boat if you capsize. I bought the materials for this - coated Cordura - over the Web and have been carrying it around ever since - first across Canada to Victoria, and then onto Ladybug and down the coast to Mexico. I never made that sea sock, but yesterday, we finally used the material.

Friends who have spent much time in the tropics have warned us that the intense sun can do a number on your sails even if you keep them covered. Most of our canvas is more than 10 years old and thinner and less opaque than it was when new, so we decided to line our main sail cover with the burgundy sea sock material. We cut the material into 3 pieces and sewed these on the inside of the sail cover using the special sunbrella-specific UV resistant thread that Rani brought down from Vancouver. This thread is thicker and waxier than anything I have used before and did an excellent job without the issue of twisting and jamming that has plagued previous canvas projects. Our little Singer Featherweight handled the job without an issue, despite having to punch through 5 to 6 layers of material in places - testimony to the fact that good thread and a sharp needle are as or more important than your sewing machine's power.

The northerly winds have died down today after 2 or 3 days of rough weather outside our snug harbour. We are running low on water, butter, eggs, and fresh vegetables, so will sail south toward La Paz today.

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