Category Archives: Boat projects and Maintenance

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and a long post!


It is now 2017.  So time for an M/V Autumn Dream Update.  As Beth mentioned previously, we are staying in Somerset and have repurchased M/V Autumn Dream.  This did not break my heart having to buy back such a great boat.  You may remember from a previous blog that when we sold the boat to Dr. Andy he had an extensive survey (physical) performed on the boat to make sure she was as healthy as I was telling him she was.  You may also remember that the surveyor gave this 43+ year old boat a clean bill of health.  So buying her back was a no brainer.  We loved this boat but it was not the right boat for our place in FLA.  Getting her back we are now doing a few upgrades that we were planning to do before we sold her.  Some of the upgrades include the new Pilothouse headliner which Beth has already blogged about.  Before physically re-installing the headliner panels in the overhead we had decided that we wanted to insulate the overhead (pilothouse ceiling) area that the headliner covers up.  Want to insulate to make the Pilothouse a bit cooler and maybe a little bit quieter as the insulation will absorb reflected sound.  The insulation part is a quick and relatively easy job.  However being a boat ……..   So the quick and easy job gets a bit longer.

OK so not as a result of the headliner job but this is a good time to do it since the headliner is removed.  I’ve always wanted a second multi-function display (MFD) in the pilot house for redundancy, and also so I could run the radar on one MFD and the GPS on the other MFD when navigating in crap weather.  Currently we do a split screen on the MFD with both the radar scan and the GPS chart displayed.  Not a big deal in good weather when you can look outside and see what is around you in addition to looking at the MFD screen.  i.e. other boats, rocks, islands, big ships.

Our existing electronics (radar, GPS, VHF Radio etc.) are from the stone age (pre-digital).   Also with consideration that I had recently replaced the radar array the boat came with, (a pre-stone age vacuum tube display) a more current stone age array to match up with our existing stone age MFD.   I figured that due to all the new digital navigation equipment now being sold, I should be able to purchase a second stone age MFD for short money.  So it was now time to go out to the world to look for a second Raymarine C-series  MFD.  Well there’s tons of Raymarine C-series MFD for sale as everyone is upgrading.  However because there are many others like me (read cheep bastard) who wish to save a few $$$$ the second hand market is showing strong prices for MFD that are in less than optimal condition.   Well after a protracted search, I managed to find a Raymarine C-80 MFD in Salem MA.  For a fair price and in reasonably good condition.  Only issue no power cable.  So to the internet to look for a cable.  New replacement cables from Raymarine are about $50.00.  Found a used cable for about $19.00 including shipping!  The internet is a great place some times.

As an unexpected bonus the “new” MFD came with a local area chart card.  These electronic chart cards are about $200.00 for a specific region.  So since this was an unexpected bonus (I was only going to run the radar through this MFD and not the GPS).  However since I have the card I can now also use this as a back-up GPS to the other GPS.   However to utilize the GPS chart card you need a GPS antenna.  That means you have to feed the MFD GPS data and the data comes from the add-on items like GPS antenna.  In the event of a failure I could use my existing GPS antenna and move the cable from one unit to the other, but no wait!  That’s not all hmm…..   I could get a used GPS antenna!  Redundancy Redundancy!

With this requirement to use the new toy to the fullest…  Well now off to look for a used Raymarine GPS antenna.  A new Raymarine GPS antenna that will work with this MFD will set you back about $400.00.  So M/V Autumn Dream being a boat you can see that BOAT actually is an acronym for = Break Out Another Thousand.  Back to the internet revealed many used GPS antennas that “may” work starting cost at about $75.00 up to $300.00 used.  You may also remember that we love Marine Consignment in Fall River.  Before going on internet for any of these used items Beth and I spent several hours picking through the racks of equipment and stuff and talked to Bill!  Well unfortunately no MFD or cable, but wait he did have a Raymarine GPS antenna but he did not know the status of the battery in the antenna.  So for the very reasonable cost of $25.00 USD we had a GPS antenna.  I did have to take it apart and check the battery and I found it was dead.  This particular unit does not have a replaceable battery but once again through the wonders of the internet I learned how to replace the battery and test the unit.  Long story short, all is well and I now have a $30.00 functioning second Raymarine GPS antenna. (antenna + battery, and of course a $15.00 mount for the antenna, because this new mount looks cooler than just surface mounting the GPS to the roof of the Pilothouse)

OK where was I going with this?  Oh Yea!  So as a result to do the electronics updates and insulate the Pilothouse overhead and replace the headliner I need to move the radar cable and run a new cable for the GPS antenna.  Oh also in the process of doing the cable and insulation work I decided to replace the VHF radio remote speaker which also goes in the overhead!  So as of January 1, 2017.  The new MDF and GPS antenna is purchased and tested to be good.  All the cabling is completed except installing the GPS antenna and running the wire to the MFD location.  The GPS antenna requires some fiberglass work on the Pilot House roof so that will wait till spring.

Current project status:  All insulation is installed.  New VHF remote speaker is installed and wired back to the location of the VHF radio.  To accommodate the new MFD I had to run a new electrical circuit and re-work the helm console.  All this is done and when spring arrives a few hours of work will see two MDF’s, a new headliner, new GPS antenna and VHF speaker in the pilothouse!    Some photos of the work.



Pilothouse with old headliner


Old radar and MFD installed in console.  Old radar removed a few years ago and location of MFD was moved to where the old radar was in this picture.


Pilothouse overhead with headliner removed


Starting to remove cabling and the old remote VHF speaker


Who ordered a boat taco?   M/V Autumn Dream all bundled up for a cold New England winter!


Insulation installed and cabling well underway.


Who ordered the spaghetti?  Actually this is a reasonable well organized control console, I am running the new power cable for the new MFD which will eventually fill the open hole on the left in this picture.  


Blurry phone photo of completed (mostly) insulation and cabling reinstalled for radar etc. 

Finally owning a boat is no fun without a way to get to the boat on when you keep it on a mooring.  To get to the boat on a mooring you either swim or take another boat to your boat.  In our case we have a small boat called dinghy.  In our case it is an old Dyer that I have been in the process of continual maintenance.  The dinghy is really a work horse and she takes a ton of abuse as your big boats tender.   We use her to move – us, food, water, fuel, luggage, wine etc.  So she occasionally needs love.  As you can see in the following photos she is back in my shop getting some much needed love.  She will get some minor fiberglass work and paint this winter.  Also Dr. Andy bought some perimeter gunnel guard to put on the dinghy to help protect the mother ship from scrapes.  This too will be applied once the painting is completed.  Some photos of the work in progress for your amusement!


Sanding paint to raw fiberglass to prep for some new fiberglass


Close-up of sanded area almost ready for a filet prior to fiberglass tape.  Filet is to reduce the curvature that the fiberglass has to make.  Fiberglass does not like to make a 90 degree turn.  Likes a radius better!


Filet done and curing.  Next step will be a strip of fiberglass or 3 or 5 to complete this step.  Then sand, sand, sand.  Then finally paint!   More to come!


Peace, Joy and Happiness be yours in 2017 wherever your world takes you.


New Headliner


New roll of Headliner fabric


One of the frames with the old, stained headliner


New panels, ready to be installed

Before we sold Autumn Dream to Dr. Andy, we had a list of upgrades and improvements that we were going to make.  If you own a boat or a house, you know that there are always things to do….

So, after we bought Autumn Dream back, we went through our list and started working.  Kevin has been busy with his list, but I wanted to share one of the items on mine.

The headliner in the stateroom was in very good condition, so nothing was needed there.  We removed the headliner in the main saloon previously, as it had some staining from an old leak.  We really liked how it looked without the headliner.  So the only headliner that needed replacing was in the Pilot House.

In the pilot house, the headliner is installed in panels, so it made it a lot easier to  remove and replace.

We brought the panels home, to measure and order replacement Headliner fabric, without foam.  Defender had the best prices, as usual!  In the pilot house we wanted it to breathe, and didn’t need the sound insulation, so no foam backing required.  I took the old staples out of the frames to remove the old fabric.  There were some obvious repairs – including the wrong (not stainless) staples, and masking tape holding some of the fabric onto the frame.  Lots of the staples broke, so Kevin and I both had “fun” pulling out little bits of metal.

Kevin repaired two of the frames that were cracked, and then we installed the new fabric with the RIGHT staples.  Last step will be to install and cut the hole for a nicro solar vent, and we will do that after some of the other projects are done.

This was an EASY project!


Winter is coming….

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and readers in the USA, and a warm hello to everyone who does not celebrate the holiday.

And a special BULA! to our fellow Fiji Princess 7 day stayers… when are we doing something like that again?  We are definitely willing…

The juncos have returned, the summer geese and the cormorants are gone, the winter geese are here.  The leaves are off the trees (and thanks to the other day’s south west winds, they are not on our property either 🙂 ).  Our stupid rose bush insists on still blooming, so I can’t prune it yet, but everything else says that Autumn has a firm grip, and winter is on its way.  Fortunately, no snow yet for us here on the south coast, but we certainly aren’t having one of those wonderful 70 degree Thanksgiving day’s when you go for a walk in your shirtsleeves after eating too much.

The heat had to be turned on near the end of October.  There is this Yankee thing about waiting as long as you can before you turn on the heat.  Everyone starts to ask each other if they are still toughing it out, or if they turned it on yet.  We held out long enough, but there is a point where you just have to do it.

I’m sorry we have been away from the blog for such a long time.  I know that for some of you who don’t use Facebook, this is your way of keeping track of us.  There have been a few changes, and you can feel free to get in a chuckle at our expense if you like.

The move to Florida is no longer going to happen.  We have a saying (and so do many others): ” the universe will unfold as it should”.  The forces in the universe were apparently conspiring to prevent our move from Somerset to Yulee, and after 10 months, we just had to read the signs and make a decision.  The largest issue, of course, is the fact that we just could not sell the house.  No one was interested – no even to look.  There is a clear message there.  Then a few other things happened, and after 10 months of trying to make this work, it was time to move on with our lives.

In contrast, when we decided to purchase this house in Somerset, we put the Ashland house up for sale after we left for a vacation in Hawaii.  We had a signed P&S in less than 2 weeks, before we got back home – obviously, that change was meant to be.  Everything was just “too hard” and working against us for this move to Florida.

We are very happy with our decision to stay here, and to get back to living in the now instead of floating in limbo, waiting for the ‘later’.  And if you know of anyone who is interested in purchasing a very nice lot in Waterman’s Bluff at a great discount, send them the information please.  We now are trying to sell this land.

Once we made the decision to stay, we started shopping for a boat.  We had sold Autumn Dream to a really great guy, and so we started looking at sail boats.  Kevin kept looking at Pilot House sail boats, and we were trying to decide what was the best option for us.  We mentioned to the new owner of Autumn Dream (when we were helping put the cover on) that we were in the market for a boat, and he asked if we would be interested in buying her back, due to some changes in his life.

Wow.  After a few days of discussion, we decided to buy her back.  This is when you really can start to laugh if you choose.  Yes, the blog will stay as M/V Autumn Dream, because she is back in our lives, and we are staying here in Somerset.  All is right with the world, and the universe is unfolding as it should.

Future posts will include boat work (of course) and changes we are making around the house, now that we are staying put.

Hope this post finds you all happy, and well.

M/V Autumn Dream has a new owner!


Well as many of you know we have had Autumn Dream on and off and back on the market.  She went back on the market back in Feb of 2016 for a new and improved price after we completed some repairs to the engine, transmission and running gear.  Oh yea the water pump also.  Well a few weeks ago we had a showing with a local couple who really liked her, but they never came back.  Next another guy wanted to see her and told the boat broker that he was looking for a boat with soul.  So I showed this new guy the boat ( and her soul but he could see that she had a ton of soul)and he fell in love with her.  By the end of the showing we basically had a deal.  He had to formalize this with the broker but soon the deal was inked and we had a deposit.  If you’re smart when buying a boat you try and find a good marine surveyor to do a survey.  This guy was not new to boating and scheduled both a land survey (Pre-launch), and a sea trial, including engine oil and transmission fluid chemical analysis.  The survey was scheduled on a Friday and when the surveyor showed up he was not overly happy as his experience with boats this old is not good.  And to have one of these on a Friday could make for a long day.  However he did not know Autumn Dream.  He started his survey by sounding the bottom with a hammer and testing for moisture.  Typically with old boats the hulls can become saturated with water and since the hull is a fiberglass laminates they can de-laminate.  However after about 5 minutes of the 60 minutes of hull inspection he was starting to see that Autumn Dream was not a floating wreck but an exceptionally maintained vessel.  As he moved to the topside after finding zero issues with the hull he was now thinking that the deck could be soggy plywood under the fiberglass coating of the deck.  Once again the deck was found to be sound.  He and I were talking about Autumn Dream and he was telling me that he typically looks at 3 year old boats that are saturated and ready for major repairs.  This is not to say Autumn Dream is 100% perfect, but so close to it that he said if the perspective buyer changed his mind he would buy her!  No he was not kidding.  He actually told this to the buyer.  So the on-shore survey went off with only a few very minor issues.  Next up was the sea trial.  About a week and a half after the shore side survey we launched her and did the sea trial.   The only issues found were a clogged shower sump pump and the spotlight was not working.  I rectified these two issues in about an hour.   The spotlight connection was a little corroded quickly cleaned and the shower sump had some hair plugging the drain line!  They also ran a fluid analysis on the engine oil looking for Chromium which is a sign of piston ring ware.  Everything came back as in very good condition.  She ran well on the sea trial and the surveyor once again commented that he would buy her if the deal fell through.  Well to make a long story short the deal closed last Friday July 2nd.  So Autumn Dream has a new owner.  He is the kind of person you would want to have bought the boat that you loved.  I know he will take good care of her and he has offered us use of her if we ever want to take her out.  We really like the new owner and we look forward to seeing her sail by our house as he takes her into the bay.  The new owner has a few boats.  This is not his first rodeo.  He currently has a 29 foot sailboat in the Sea of Cortez that he has also offered to us whenever we want to go there!  Exceptionally nice guy and we look forward to a new friendship!  We wish the new owner safe cruising and smooth seas!  We know Autumn Dream will take care of him and he will take care of Autumn Dream.  Yes we are a little sad to see her go, but we look forward to our new life in FLA if we can ever sell this house!  Typically the house is the easy thing to sell not the boat!


M/V Autumn Dream waiting for her new owner!

As far as this blog MV Autumn Dream I’ll finish as few entries about the trip but then we will see.  This blog will end but watch this space so we can direct you to the new blog if we decide to write one!

M/V Autumn Dream Update 6/12/16

Since this Blog is suppose to be about our pilothouse trawler M/V Autumn Dream I thought I should do a short post about her.  Well as you know Autumn Dream was for sale.  Well she is now under contract.  So that means that we have basically sold her before the house sold.  Good that this happened but kind of unexpected.  The buyer is a great guy who knows boats and was looking for a “boat with soul”.  His words not mine.  Autumn Dream has a ton of soul.

Well this past Friday Autumn Dream had the “out of water” buyer’s survey.  She passed this with flying colors.  The surveyor like her so much and was so impressed with her condition that he wants to write a bad survey so that the current buyer won’t buy her-  so he can buy her  (LOL).   Just a joke but he was exceptionally impressed.  When Beth and I bought her we had difficulty finding a surveyor who would survey the boat because of her age.  Once we found a surveyor and had the survey done, that surveyor was also blown away.  The survey on Friday showed that her decks were dry and the bottom was in exceptional condition.

The surveyor made a very interesting comment => that he was not happy with his office assistant for setting up a survey for a boat this old on a Friday.  Old boats are always a pain!   Well, when he was done he told me that this was a much better survey than he has seen in years.  Most much newer boats (less than 3 years old) do not survey as well as Autumn Dream!  We knew she was special and we hate to let her go but it is time to do so!  The new owner will be a good steward to Autumn Dream and that makes us very happy.

So one more step before the transaction is complete, and that is the sea trial.  This should be a non-issue as she runs like a top and with her new damper plate, water pump, hoses and all the rest of our hard work this past winter I don’t see much chance for issues.  However she is still a BOAT and anything can happen!  If all goes well the deal should close by end of month and we can concentrate on the house!

Drive Train

As you know I have been working on Autumn Dream’s drive train.  So from previous blogs you saw that I have reinstalled the damper plate, bell housing and engine is back on the motor mounts.  The cutlass bearing is installed in the shaft strut and the actual propeller shaft is installed back in the cutlass bearing.  So now it is time to reinstall the transmission and starter on the boat.  Well this was going to be fun.  Remember the transmission weighs in at a measly 145 pounds and the starter is an estimated 45 pounds.  Fortunately  my old friend David was willing to help.  So we took the transmission and starter back to the boat and lifted inside using brute grunt force!  So far so go.  No one had hurt anything or anyone!  Now we had to get the transmission into the small hole located in the main saloon so we could attach it to the engine’s bell housing.  I had rigged up a pulley system to remove and re-install the transmission but that was only to get it into the hole, and could not help get it attached to the engine.  The attaching to the engine was a challenge.  After a few hours and much head scratching Dave and I came up with a ramp system to help push the transmission up to the bell housing so we could line up all the bolt holes and the actual spline that connects the engine through the damper plate to the transmission.  This was literally an uphill battle.  As in most boats the engine is on a slight downward angle to the transmission to the propeller shaft outside of the boat.  All this just adds to the fun.   To make a long story short this transmission installation took us 6 hours!  We now had to install the starter to the bell housing.  That was a pain but went quickly.  Maybe 15 minutes.  Helps that it was only 45 pounds and we could manhandle it into position.  So the photos below are the proof that it is done!


Transmission and starter attached to engine bell housing before the fun began!


Old Damper plate inside bell housing






Heavy Transmission removed ready to go home for some repairs and paint.


Repaired and Painted transmission,  almost ready for re-install


New damper plate in place and re-installed bell housing, engine back on engine mounts!


Transmission and starter re-installed.  Life is good!


Victory Beer!  Woo Hoo!

So now that we are in mid January things have finally gotten colder here in New England so work on Autumn Dream is on hold.  It is a bit too cold to work on her.  The potential to break something while working on it goes up with the colder weather.  This said some work is still taking place on the dinghy as this week I managed to get put some Kevlar cloth on the keel.  The basement is warm!  🙂

So if we get a warm spell in the next few weeks I re-install the stuffing box on the propeller shaft.  You can see where it goes in the next photo!    However I think we are done till March!  I need to get you a photo of the stuffing box!


Stuffing box attaches to the shaft log here.  The shaft log is a tube that goes from the inside of the boat to the outside of the boat!  This is where you see the stainless steel propeller shaft entering the shaft log.

Thumbs UP!

It is so easy to complain.  Let’s face it, we all do it.  Everyone is quick to post a review on line when stuff goes wrong.  For some reason it makes you feel better about whatever perceived injustice you just experienced.  People in general seem to be less inclined to post reviews when they are satisfied, or frankly, surprised by over the top service.  We try really hard to be equal opportunity posters- whether on this blog,,, or other on-line communities.

We are subscribed (and members) of Active Captain– a boating website and service that uses subscriber-supplied content in addition to many tools for navigating, boat maintenance, etc. (they are also the keeper’s of their dogs’ blog Taking Paws).  One of my jobs (Beth) as CIO (chief information officer) is to finally get our e-boat card set up and learn how to use the site and tools.

A few years ago, Active Captain offered a special price for Eartec Simultalk voice activated headsets at Defender.  We needed a new set after our old Motorola Talkabouts died on us.  It really makes it easier to pick up a mooring or do other things (including work in the house) with headsets.  No yelling and clear communication.  As you know we did not do a lot of boating the last few years, so the headsets didn’t get much use.  When they did, we had a lot of trouble with them, trying to get them both working.  I really got sick of saying “Can you hear me now?”.

Last week we were going to use them at home, and they just wouldn’t work.  Not only did it seem like the batteries were dead, one of us could hear just fine but the other one (talking) couldn’t hear anything!  Kevin found the instructions (printed in 2003?) and found out the company was nearby, in Narragansett RI.  He sent an email and they said if we brought them down, they could repair them.  Great!  A trip down there meant more Baa Baa burgers at Crazy Burger.  Yum!

When we arrived, an extremely helpful person came out to talk to us and diagnose the problem.  He looked at the headsets and said “Do you know how to wear these?”  put them and DOH!  All of our complaining about them not being ergonomic or logical went out the window – we  DIDN’T know how to wear them!  After feeling stupid, we started to feel better when he confirmed that there was a problem with the switch on one of the receivers…  plus the batteries needed replacing.

These were way out of warranty, and we expected to pay for new batteries and any repairs.  Instead, he gave us a new receiver, said he would put a new switch in the old one and I guess put it back in inventory, and charged us for the batteries only.  As an added bonus, he gave us new instructions… Wow.  We were not expecting this at all – what fantastic customer service!

Eartec has a great product, is a (small) local company, and they are really nice people to deal with.  If you are looking for some kind of wireless headsets – they seem to have them all.  Please help support them – they definitely will support you!

One more quick Thumbs UP goes to Sewing Parts  We needed new belts for Kevin’s mom’s (now my) old Kenmore sewing machine.  I ordered the two belts from them using the part numbers provided by sears (and confirmed on their web site).  One of the belts was just too large and flopped around.  No way was it going to work right.  After more digging on the internet it looked like this belt was described both as a 13 7/8 AND 13 1/4 inches.  How can the same belt part number (for a specific model number) have two sizes?  Who Knows?

Anyway it was obvious I needed the 13 1/4 instead of the 13 7/8 belt.  I called customer service and they were extremely pleasant.  We found a different  belt that looked like it was the right one, and they shipped it immediately.  She told me it wasn’t worth sending the other one back, AND she refunded the difference in price to my credit card (the new belt was almost $4 cheaper than the original).  Wow – didn’t expect a refund – in my opinion that was not necessary, but again, now they have a happy customer and I will order from them before going anywhere else.

It’s great when you can say NICE things about two companies in one day!

Disaster Averted – we hope

Today’s entry is about sewing…

On Sunday, after lunch Kevin went down to do some work on Autumn Dream, before it got windy, snowy and cold (yesterday we woke up to about 8F).  I got busy making pumpkin scones.  He surprised me by being back home  before they were even out of the oven… and was not happy.

Seems that one of the seams on Autumn Dream’s cover was open and getting worse by the minute.  Her cover is a heavy canvas material – and is at least 10 years old – it was purchased by the previous owners.  We already had to replace the isinglass (clear plastic) that allowed the sunlight to reach the solar panels with the cover on, and this summer I repaired another area where the seams had started to separate.

The problem is the thread – after all this exposure to weather and sun, it is disintegrating – and anywhere the cover rubs against the frame is at risk.  Here’s a link to last winter’s blog with a photo of the cover

So… the thread gave up the ghost on the starboard side, about 2 feet forward of the zipper, where the cover was rubbing against one of the upright portions of the frame.  We waited for the scones to finish baking, then grabbed the Speedy Stitcher and went back to attempt a repair.


Speedy Stitcher to the Rescue

With Kevin working the “bobbin” thread on the outside, and me “sewing” with the awl on the inside, we sewed the seam back together with 2 rows of stitching in about 15-20 minutes.  Of course then we saw where the cover is starting to pull apart at the zipper – but that is the canvas itself so we couldn’t fix it the same way – we just hope it holds for the winter.  Maybe it is time to give up and get a new cover.

When we got home, it was time for a Victory Coffee with fresh pumpkin scones!

My other sewing news, for those who are mildly interested, is my “new” sewing machine.  This belonged to my mother-in-law, who unfortunately is not able to use it any longer.  I need to do some research with Dr. Google and YouTube to learn how to do a full D&C – cleaning and servicing- and then I think this Kenmore Ultra-Stitch will work better with heavy canvas than my old New Home (which is probably 20 years younger than the Kenmore).  Note the owner’s manual – brings back some memories!

Lastly, something that has NOTHING to do with sewing…  Back when Kevin and I both were working in Marlborough Shipley/Rohm& Haas, there was a time when we realized we had become the “old grizzled engineers” and were surrounded by much younger engineers.  We really enjoyed the company of some of these people, and thought they had great potential.  We wished them luck and hoped they did ‘better’ than being stuck in EM.

Most of these folks have now moved on to other companies or completely turned their lives around.  Nate has joined the Air force (or is it the Navy?) and graduated from EOD training.  Crystal is in Hawaii working on her Master in Marine Science.  Alex decided to take time off and travel!  Wow – here is a link to the blog that he and his girlfriend are using to document their adventure:

As I write this, Kevin and his friend Dave are braving the cold to re-install the transmission – Hopefully it will go back IN almost as easily as it went OUT… Kevin will be providing an update on that project.


Dinghy part?

More dingy update.  The dinghy has now been painted mostly.  As you can see in the attached photos it appears I’ve run out of paint.  As a result I will now need to head off to the boat paint store to buy another can of expensive   polyurethane base paint.  I guess that since I use to work for a company that made polyurethane I’m keeping their stock up.  However I’m over all pleased with the progress of rebuilding the dinghy.  While I’m waiting for the replacement paint the dinghy has been turned over and work is now happening on the bottom of the dinghy.  I’ve sanded the bottom, and sanded the sides.  The bottom needs some Kevlar reinforcement of the keel to keep it from being torn apart on the beach.  The keel on this dingy is wood attached to the fiberglass hull.  The interesting thing about working with Kevlar vs. fiberglass.  Is that Kevlar is very challenging to actually cut to size.  So after searching the Internet I’ve found that inexpensive EMT scissors appear to work fairly well in cutting Kevlar.  So now yet I have to buy another tool.  I don’t have EMT scissors in my tool portfolio.  Once I finally get the scissors I will post more photos of the from the Kevlar work on the bottom.  For now please enjoy the photos of the partially painted interior of the dingy.

For my friends in Germany the weather here in New England has finally turned cold.  Today the forecast was for sunny skies however we woke up too crazy cold, overcast skies.  Also some snow.  The forecast showed only sunny skies.  So I guess it’s better to do your forecast by looking out the window then checking weather Bug on the computer.  And by the way when I say it’s cold the temperature this morning was minus 10C, and getting colder throughout the day.  Winter is finally come to New England but that said we will be above freezing again by Wednesday of this week.  This is good since my plan is to get the transmission reinstalled in the boat and get the rest of the drivetrain installed.  More updates as time goes on.

Making a Dingy Cover

In a previous entry I (Beth) mentioned that one of my winter projects was to make a dingy cover out of sunbrella. Kevin is tired of pumping gallons of water out of the dingy after our typical summer rainstorms.

Here are the project details, with photos following.

I used sunbrella that I bought from Marine Consignment of Fall River – it was all cut pieces left over from a canvas maker’s shop – but I figured I would have to piece it together anyway. Using the excellent book “the Complete Canvas Workers Guide” I was able to get through this step by step.

Materials: Sunbrella, Coat’s and Clark “Outdoor”polyester thread, brass grommets, Sta-Set braid (3/16”), and a fiberglass shock-corded tent pole for the center support.  I followed the guidelines and used double-felled seams to minimize water penetration.  The fiberglass tent pole was cut to the correct length, and is held in place in 3 locations with tunnels inside the cover.

All sewing was done on my24 year old New Home machine.  I used 90/10 and 100/12 “Jeans” needles for the sewing machine, and had to tweak the foot pressure and the upper thread tension to almost the max.  For those of you who may care, I also used a walking foot for this project.

I bent quite a few pins…  but didn’t break any needles.  The machine was a bit grumpy at times sewing through 4+ layers of fabric, and at times it decided to jam, but in the end I prevailed and we now have a Dingy Cover.  It is bright yellow!


The materials.


Laying out the pieces


3 main sections sewn with double felled seams


The center section added


The center section showing the fiberglass rod in place


Fitting the corners and darts


Fitting the bow section


Finished cover, side view


Finished cover, aft view


Finished cover, bow view