Since the installation of the folding wheel, it was time to address the binnacle cover. Previously the instruments were the only thing covered, and the wrap on the wheel is too nice to be left exposed.
The folding wheel is a very cool part, I know that some folks like small wheels, but I really like the response of a larger wheel, the ability to sit way out on the coaming and have a clear view forward and up at the trim, while having the wheel right there makes it way easy to drive the boat. A solid wheel would have accomplished this, but the requirement to build a catwalk on either side of the boat to get past the wheel wouldn’t work too well. The steering response is amazing with this thing. Small changes require moving it a fraction of the distance compared to the old one, although that statement would annoy anybody with a math background. Of course this physical wheel moves further to cover the same distance, it’s just that you actually don’t move it as far as the smaller wheel before you see a response back. Sounds odd, I know, but it works. The boat stays straighter, and the effort required to input those changes is less.
Anyway, as usual, I digress. Last fall both me and my neighbour ordered a little knockoff called a “TechSew 611”. This is a copy of a Sailrite sewing machine at about 1/2 the cost of the real thing. The logic being that there aren’t enough projects to justify the real one, and the quality can’t be that far off. Right on both counts. For a walking foot machine that does straight and zig zag, it’s a cool little toy.
The first real project is a new binnacle cover. It measured up to be almost square, with the NavPod, table and the wheel folded up, there’s not a lot of curve to it and two darts at the top. It was a good exercise at patterning, installing a zipper, and trying to get straight stitches.
Way back in the Mac days, I bought some green Sunbrella that I never used, so along with the two desks that I bought for $10 to use as a table, I set out to make one out of the green Sunbrella, as a test bed, and if it turned out, to use as a winter cover. This way the precious blue stuff didn’t get tested with, and funny how it was the shorter roll, and 10 years later cost more than twice as much.
Sailrite sells a hot knife cutter, always a good idea for Sunbrella, the stuff frays really quickly, and this thing seals the edges nicely. There’s no substitute for good tools.
I think it turned out reasonably well, the stitching is reasonably straight, and that will get better over time, operation of the TechSew is a little quirky, but that will get better too, and the bobbin seems to be related to my truck, it was always out of thread – the truck being always out of diesel. It has taken a bit to figure out the machine, I have exactly zero sewing experience, the machine came with nothing for manuals except very crude drawings of where to oil it, and thankfully the test thread was loaded, I took pictures so I’d remember how to load it, but now it is settling in.
Anyway, here’s the cover installed. There’s no gather or bungee at the base, it’s well protected down there and really doesn’t get any smaller with the table extending almost to the cockpit sole. I did two runs of stitching for each seam, probably overkill, but I would rather have it stay together. When I get better at it, one well done stitch will likely suffice.
Now we go from the test to the proverbial frying pan. The dodger. Confidence abounds. Be afraid.