Since I have been exiled to life indoors while my face heals up, I’ve decided to put the time to good use and work on finishing our Sunbrella transformation. So far we’ve replaced the sail cover, the bimini, and all of the small canvas items on the boat with new marine blue Sunbrella. Only the jib Sunbrella and the dodger remain a moldy pacific blue.
Sailrite has an excellent video describing the step-by-step process of adding sunbrella to your jib, but I wanted to add some little tricks I found along the way as well.
The first thing we did was spend several DAYS, not hours, removing the old sunbrella. After breaking my seam ripper I got frustrated and googled “best seam ripper ever.” This is when I learned that for ripping seams on heavy canvas an X-Acto knife works wonders. This really sped up the process for us.
Once I had removed all the old Sunbrella, I started to cut the new panels of Sunbrella with a hot knife to prevent fraying. I didn’t want to spend the extra money on the Sailrite hot knife, but I found this one at Hobby Lobby that worked very well. It also doubles as a wood and leather burner, and it has all kinds of stamp type attachments. Pretty cool. After using my coupon, it was only $13.
If you’re installing panels onto a new sail, see the Sailrite video for exact measurements of panels, but if you’re re-covering a sail, it’s easier to use the old panels as a pattern.
We set my sewing machine on the floor to keep the sail flat. This is really important when it comes to connecting the panels together. There were a couple areas along the foot, where towards the end of the project I got tired and sloppy. Just a small mistake can make for some very obvious bunching when the sail is up. Next weekend I will be taking it all back down, seem ripping those seems and flattening it out.
If I was to do it again I would have done a lot more pinning.
All in all the finished product is not too bad. It needs a bit of adjusting, like all of my projects so far, but at least it matches the rest of the canvas.
Just for reference, the estimated cost for this project from one of our local sail lofts was $650. Although we did have to spend every evening for a week ripping stitches, our total out-of-pocket cost for the project was under $200.