Sew what?

Before we even sailed away on Blue Heeler, we knew there would be plenty to sew aboard a vessel. In 2010 we invested in a Sailrite Ultrafeed sewing machine from the U.S. and purchased a stack of sewing items including fabric from Sailrite. The machine didn’t take long for the machine to pay for itself. It will sew thick items including sails, except the thick clew or tack. Besides regular repairs to the headsail and mainsail, below are a few other creations.

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2009 – Life before the Ultrafeed! Hoisted up high to hand-stitch a seam on the foresail.


2014 – Madagascar, replacing worn stitching on deck is much easier than strung up the mast


2011 – Dinghy cover from Sunbrella ‘Sunflower Yellow’ and ‘Captain Navy’ and Stamoid vinyl fabric (navy) around the hand-holds and under the bow. In 2016, I refurbished the cover. Despite the fading, it’s still going strong.


2010 – Seat covers in saloon help keep the original upholstery clean. A new set of covers made in Mauritius in 2014.


2013 – Using a friend’s hatch-cover template, I produced my own for the three large hatches on Blue Heeler using Sunbrella ‘Captain Navy’ and 3mm line to tie down. These help protect the new acrylic we had installed the same year.


2018 We bought a Cobb bbq and I made a Stamoid cover using a zip from an old bimini. Perfect!


Jerry cans and outboards are forever in the sun and Sunbrella covers are easy to make and help protect them from the elements; #4 brass grommets used for the jerry covers – Navy Sunbrella plus two made from blue Top Gun.

Covers protect Jerries

Navy Sunbrella, one inch black seam tape to trim; one inch webbing nylon and clips used for the outboard lift.

2013 – In Thailand’s Boat Lagoon, our small apartment became my sewing room. New curtains replaced the old worn ones using material bought from Spotlight, Australia, as I couldn’t find any plain fabric in Thailand!


Courtesy flags can be hard to find in remote places, and they can be expensive to buy so it pays to make flags whenever possible. Typically I’ll use the Sailrite sewing machine to whip them up beforehand, although on passage that isn’t always feasible and I have to hand-stitch. For the trip across the Indian and Atlantic oceans, I had a stack made by Rolly Tasker in Phuket who made them for A$10 each in 2013. Sometimes though you make do with what’s on hand – like my Dominican Republic flag which was made with old white curtain, old umbrella fabric, and the centred Coat of Arms was drawn with pastels!!


2009 – The very first thing we made was an Anchor Sail which helps to keep the boat pointed into the wind.

This image is not of ours, but from the Sailrite webpage. Ours is made from blue Top Gun material, also purchased from Sailrite.