Friday, August 21, 2015

Looking at ugly

With the Sailrite acting right once again, yesterday dawned as the day to finally put the bimini build to rest. Two tasks remained. One was to add binding at the zippers. The second involved adding four Velcro sleeves to help hold the cover in place at both sides of the two inner frame bows. The zipper pockets holding the Bimini top to those loops, as originally designed, stopped at the edge of the solar panel mounts.  This left some exposed tubing that was unsightly. The design also allowed the edge of the bimini to fluff in the wind.

Replacing the bimini cover was a project sparked by adding the third panel. The short zipper pockets were chosen because mounts to the support rails for the solar panels were in the way of a normal design. The old cover simply wouldn't work anymore, meaning we were designing a new one "on the fly", one of some complex geometry to work around the mounts. There was always some question as to the short pockets working out, but there was no way to tell without giving them a try. The project was a bit like assembling a puzzle: try it, change it, finish it.

Bound edges of the zippers
The Velcro sleeves would be an "after market" kind of fix.  Not preferable, but better than starting over.  In any case a couple of hours of work would see it done. Sundowners in the shaded cockpit would finish off the day in style. Adding the binding was mostly for aesthetics, though it did add a second seam to help support the zippers. Doing them was kind of fun, though it turns out long runs of straight line stitching chews through bobbins like mad. Ah, but the sleeves…the sleeves turned into another thing.

Positioning Velcro sleeves where they butted up against the zipper pockets would be hard, nor would they support the edge of the Bimini as much as was needed. Worst of all they would be flat out ugly. The idea of spending hours sitting the cockpit staring at ugly chaffed. There was much debate but in the end only one course of action would be acceptable, remove the original zipper pockets and replace them with ones that reached all the way to the edge of the Bimini.  It wasn't a total "start over" but it wouldn't be an easy "fix" either.  The first step would be removing the original pockets, zippers, and binding.
Zipper access at each solar panel mount covered with flaps to protect from the sun
A lock stitch is when reverse is used on the sewing machine to overrun the start and end of a line of stitches. This locks them in place by, basically, tangling the thread into a tight little knot in a visually pleasing manor. Since a lock stitch is also used at each end of a sewing “ops”, novice machine operators, like yours truly, use many such stitches. Alas, such stitches make UN-stitching, shall we say, tedious.

The time to enjoy sundowners in the shaded cockpit passed unnoticed as just-installed parts of the bimini top were teased away from the underlying fabric so as not to leave any scars. More time passed as new parts were cut and placed. There was talk of calling it a day and finishing the build come morning, but a kind of frenzy had infested Kintala. This was the twelfth day being absorbed by this project. This was the last project keeping us pinned to the dock. It had to be finished. And it had to be finished NOW.

Backstay access via zipper and drawstring cone to keep
the water from dripping on our heads

Deb started trading off stretches at the machine with me to keep things going. Mistakes were made, undone, then redone. A head lamp was put into play so tired and aging eyes could see the stitching lines run under the walking foot. The last chalk lines drawn during the next to last fitting of the Bimini were done under flashlight. Eventually more stitches went in than came out and at 2300 hours on day twelve of the Bimini build the cover was stretched over the frame for the last time.

The day started out in style, sipping coffee in the shaded cockpit.

Backstay access zipper and drawstring cone from the top.
And not looking at ugly.

The finished project. Oh, and Brian and Mizzy's Hylas 46 is anchored in the background. They're here for a visit.

Solar panel mount bars at the forward edge of the cockpit.

Leather chafe guards for the supports.

Our newly added center support bars to help support the forward weight of the solar panels.

We left the old solar panel wire installed because we intend to mount some sort of cockpit light there.

1 comment:

Robert Salnick said...

Nicely done guys! It ain't easy doing this project onboard- no place to lay out the big pieces of fabric - I know because I am remaking our canvas too - at anchor.