While Melissa has been rambling across Scotland with her mum, I’ve been doing what men always do when left unsupervised; sitting around in my underpants, drinking beer.
But a fellow can wallow in his own filth for only so long before he is called to action by his sense of duty. And so it was with pleasure that I received the main sail cover for Galapagos. Finally, a reason to wear pants!
The old sail cover is actually well made and the material still has some life in it but what a hassle it is to take it off or put it back on. With about fifty twist lock snaps to undo plus the sheer effort of moving that much canvas around, it made a daysail with the main much less likely. And, as you can see from the photo, about six feet of the cover is only accessible from the dodger, which meant two trips up top to remove and install the cover.
As problems go, this is not up there with global warming, but I am determined to make Galapagos easy to handle for one person. I consider that a safety factor and a quality of life issue for both Melissa and myself. Despite her size, I want to make Galapagos easy to use and enjoy for a few hours on Commencement Bay or a few months in the South Pacific.
And so I contacted Jamie Gifford of SV Totem to ask for his advice on replacing the existing cover with with a Stack Pack style cover. Jamie is a sail maker, full time cruiser and co-captain with his wife, Behan Gifford, of Totem. Although Jamie and Behan are currently cruising the Indian Ocean, Jamie was happy to entertain my many questions.
As Jamie was busy cruising the Maldives, I was referred to Phil Auger of Zoom Sails in New Zealand. Phil guided me through the measurement process and was available to answer the more detailed questions that one inevitably has about something as intimate as canvas work. The cover itself was built in china.
We paid a bit extra to have the cover made with a non stock color. I was very happy at how well it matches the old canvas and how well it blends in with the sail
The installation was fairly straight forward. I had to remove the sail and old lazy jacks, install the the cover and new lazy jacks, and then bend on the mainsail. The new sail cover uses the groove for the sail foot’s bolt rope which means the main is now loose footed. The new sail cover also came with lazy jacks that are attached to battens that run the length of the cover. That meant removing the the old lazy jacks that were attached to the boom proper. This makes for a cleaner install but I had to climb the mast four times to attach the new lazy jacks; once to figure out what was needed and three times to install cotter pins that wanted to jump into the Foss Waterway.
I have found that a boat hook works well for zipping and unzipping the cover. It allows me to reach over the dodger without having to crawl up there. I still have some tweaks to make on the cover but so far I am quite happy with the improvement. On Sunday, I took Galapagos out for a sail and used the main for the first time single handed. Lowering the sail still requires some care as the lazy jacks can still allow the aft section of the sail to fall out of the cover if you aren’t dead into the wind. Still, it was a two minute job to stow the main.
I am looking forward to showing Melissa the new cover. The old cover was a source of irritation for both of us. Phil Auger of Zoom Sails and Jamie Gifford are both great resources and I would recommend their services for anyone looking for sails or canvas work.