Re Metau
People of the Sea
Pearls of
Boat Projects
Paint, Varnish & Canvas
Crossing Under a Bridge
~ Crossing Under a Bridge ~
Canvas Coverings
Spruced Up
Once the brightwork is refinished to standards fit for the Louvre, it becomes important to cover it up. Take a moment to allow everyone who walks by to 'ooh' and 'ahh' over all your hard work then – cover up as much as possible to keep it from the light of day. The sails, the dinghy, the winches, just about anything on deck that needs to remain either beautiful, or in good working order needs to be protected from the elements.

We had canvas covers for a fair amount of our gear, but it appeared the previous owner first attempted to gradually change the color scheme from burgundy to green, and then remained ambivalent to the shade of green used. So all available hues were represented and our topsides looked a bit like a freshly mowed football field. In any event the coverings we did have were in the latter stages of deterioration so replacing each one was really no loss.

The Dodger
~ The Dodger ~

The first major canvas purchase was a new, larger dodger that allowed for better visibility and shelter. And the first major decision for this purchase was which of the 8 colors of green to choose. We selected the dark green 'Spruce' shade for its ability to accentuate the bird droppings, and added covers for the newly cleaned and greased winches onto the order. Next came a cover for the freshly varnished wheel and binnacle, and when the zipper on the mainsail cover started looking like an NHL goalie, it was swiftly replaced. But there was still much more that needed protection. So much so that I decided rather than pay someone for their custom cover labor, I would tailor the rest myself.

In my former life, I loved to sew. I apparently had a hormonal defect as the desire to master this skill and craft my own clothes began with an aversion to shopping malls, dressing rooms, and high priced fashion that never fit quite right and fell apart in the first wash. I'd since given up on dressing uniquely chic, but I was determined to outfit Re Metau in style.

Choosing to take on this task was the perfect excuse to purchase a Sailrite®, a quality sewing machine capable of handling many layers of heavy fabric. My rational was that this machine would be the tool that would protect our gear, save us money, perhaps even allow me to earn some money and, if nothing else, could double as an anchor should we run on short supply. Excuses aside, I was back into stitching and loving every minute. I had a challenging model to dress, but she wore it all quite well.

Sea of Green
~ Sea of Green ~

The starter project that eased me back into the craft was handrail covers. These were almost immediately followed by modifications to the dinghy cover, and the creation of a new windlass cover. There were covers to be made for the life sling, the tackle box, and the fenders. The original deck-box cover, albeit in fair shape and of the appropriate hue, was once mistaken as a rag and thus smeared with black deck caulking. I made a much needed anchor riding sail, chain locker netting and repaired the sun awning after a brutally windy spring.

I then began contemplating things like port awnings, PFD pillows and boots for the blocks. With a medium of fabric and a machine with the strength of a jack hammer – I was indomitable. Though Don and I look like we had been clothed in rummage sale rejects, Re Metau was looking quite spruced up!

Refit: 08 Nov 2013
Lots of covers were made over the years, but eventually everything on deck that could be protected, was covered in Spruce Sunbrella®. Then it was time to prepare for our cruising through the eastern Caribbean, and a big part of that involved some replacements and some upgrades.
Weather Cloths and Wheel Cover
~ Weather Cloths and Wheel Cover ~

We'd gotten a new mainsail made with a 'Stack Pack' like cover. But the cover looked more like a frumpy bag than a nice tight envelope, and it did a lousy job of catching the sail when it dropped. No worries for me though! The fabric alone was worth what I'd paid for it, and I knew I could make the needed modifications.

There was so much extra fabric, that I was able to sew two pockets along the zipper and insert small-diameter PVC pipes to stiffen the envelop. Then I installed grommets and fed the lazy-jackA set of thin ropes led from the upper section of the mast to the boom that guide the sail to fold on top of the boom when dousing. lines around the pipe, so that the sides remained lifted to catch the sail. Next, I added small blocks along one side of the pack, and rigged a looped line to the zipper, so one could zip or unzip from anywhere along the boom – including from the cockpit. The final modification was adding twist locks to the mast, so that the pack was connected tightly, but could easily be removed for access to the tackThe lower, forward corner of the sail and luff.The edge of the sail attached to the mast.

But the most useful project I crafted was the weather cloths around the cockpit. When we took possession of Re Metau, there were cloths hanging from the life lines around the cockpit, but they were pretty worn and torn. They were quickly replaced with netting, but a desire for a bit more privacy persisted. So I imagined a two layer system of cloth that could be rolled up out of the way when we desired to watch the water, or dropped down for shade, as a barrier from splashes and wind, or as a privacy screen in crowded anchorages.

Years of planning went by and the design was further improved with pockets, a feature done an acquaintance whose boat we visited in the Bahamas. I determined my pockets would fit our water bottles, our coffee mugs, our books, Nooks, and Kindles, and they catch the camera, the InReach, the cell phone, the sunscreen – with so many pockets, we always have everything we need at hand!

Boat Projects
Engine & Sails
Deck Hardware & Anchoring
No time to read? Visit our Vlogs on

If you've enjoyed our stories and pictures and want to give back
Buy Us a Drink!