Tag Archives: masterpieces in canvas

Final Touches on Sugar Shack

There were just a few more final touches that we wanted to make on our boat.  We still had a lot of canvas projects and we needed to replace our bathroom accessories in our two heads (bathrooms for my landlubber friends).  The bathroom accessory update is on the second half of this blog post – scroll all the way down.

Matt and I were so excited to buy a second hand LSZ1 Sailrite machine from our friend Chris.  But then fifty million projects took priority over our sewing projects and it sat for several months unused.  We finally broke it out to learn how to use it.  We decided to start with a vinyl cockpit table cover (to better protect the teak) and it was a good first attempt.  Then the sailrite sat for several more months as we focused on more important boat repairs and upgrades.  That was the final straw. We decided to ask Kim from Masterpieces in Canvas for some help with our canvas creations.

Here is a list of “final” projects:

  • (2) Cockpit table covers (1-vinyl for Matt’s work bench & 1-Salueda for guests)
  • (2) Aft cushions to go over line the bins and around the wenches on the transom
  • Redo our exterior cushion covers in a darker, vinyl fabric
  • (2) Sets of 3 pockets (mounted on the aft of the boat for storage)
  • (2) Recycle bags
  • (1) Remote wench control bag
  • Cover for our Man Over Board Horseshoe

These projects are not urgent and are not necessarily needed.  However, all of the pieces are old, ratty, and in need of a refresh or make over.

Transom Seating

Our transom spans across the back of the boat.  This is where we store our lines and where we have our working winches.  However, inevitably, we have people over and they always sit on the hard, uncomfortable fiberglass.  And if you sit over the line holders your rear end sinks into the holes.  We have wanted to add seat cushions here since we bought the boat – 13 years ago!

When we bought Sugar Shack in Turkey, we replaced all of the interior and exterior cushions.  We saved the outside foam (from the cushions) because we thought one day we might use them for the transom seating.  I will be honest, I thought we would use them a lot sooner than 13 years!  But here we are doing them now.

Matt cut the foam around the wenches, pad eyes, and stanchions.

Then we handed them off to Kim to cover.  This is more than a “final touch” and we are so excited to finally have this project done!

Cockpit Pockets

The boat came with these nifty pockets in the cockpit which collect all sorts of junk and treasures.  Spare lines, small tools, cleaning supplies, bungee, SUP fins, etc…

The stitching is coming out, the bungee is dead and they are just looking tired overall. Matt has wanted to design them a little differently so that the bungee can be more easily replaced.  

Additional Bags

We have several recycling bags where we put glass, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard.  In addition, we put smelly things that might stink up the house.  We also have a small bag that holds the main wench remote holder.  All functional, but need replacing.

The new recycle bags are just as big and wonderful.

Line Bags

We keep our main sheets inside two bags that hang off the life line off the transom.  They came with the boat, so they are at least 13+ years old.  The bags are functional, but too big for the space and we are often fidgeting with them.  Plus the fabric is torn and they are just ready to be replaced. 

We were going to ask Kim to remake them, but we ended up finding store bought ones Ronstan Line Tail Bags (large-RF3912) for a very reasonable price.  The final price with tax and shipping was $68 per bag.

The new line bags are smaller and far more functional.

Table Cloth Covers

We currently have a gray vinyl cover over our beautiful teak table.  It is our work cover that Matt uses when he works on projects and it gets super dirty.  We decided to make a dark vinyl cover and a nice salueda cover for when guests come over.  So, one will be a working cover and one an every day cover.  Kim made this awesome velcro piece underneath to keep the cover on during high winds.

Exterior Cushion Covers

We really do love the new light gray salueda exterior cushions.  However, they show dirt so easy and they do not clean as well as we had expected.  As people sit down, the back of their legs rub against the side panel and crease (seam where the top and side panel are sewn) leaving dirty marks that just don’t come out.  This just after a few months of use.  So, we decided to recover them in a dark gray vinyl that does not look or feel like vinyl!  We are hoping this will be our final recover project.

The new cushion covers turned our really nicely.  We are hoping we have better luck with these without “sticking” too much.  This is a nice touch to the boat and really looks classy.

More Sun Shades

We love, love, love our new cockpit enclosure.  However, we noticed that our sunshades needed to be expanded to cover the corner areas.  We have a giant sunshade off the transom and one for each side.  But there is a giant triangle of space between the side and the back that needed to be covered so we had Kim make us corner sun shades.  This should be the final “shade” project for the cockpit.

Man Over Board Cover

Our man over board cover was looking incredibly bad.  So bad that I did not even take a photo of it before it was tossed.  But we have a new one and it looks bright and bold!

Rail Protectors

As you know, I painstakingly varnished 90% of the exterior wood while we were on the hard.  So, when I saw our jib sheets rubbing on the cabin top hand rails I about flipped my lid.  I immediately went about making rail protectors so the jib sheets won’t ruin my varnish!

Just when you think you are done, you find more things to update and beautify.  Man we need to get out of New Zealand as it is costing us a fortune.  Well can’t really blame NZ as we’ve needed to do these updates for some time now.  We add a few more final touches to our beautiful home.

Bathroom Accessories

We have two heads (bathrooms).  In each head we have hooks, cup holders, toilet paper holders, dish holders, and towel racks.  None of these pieces were stainless steel and they have since turned green, spotted, pitted, and turned icky in general.

Matt and I searched all over New Zealand and the U.S. for 316 stainless bath accessories.  It is a lot harder than you think!  We found 304 and stainless plated but nothing else in NZ or the US.  Until we stumbled across Drench in the U.K.  We found all of the pieces we needed in 316 Stainless Steel. Hopefully these beauties will last us a life time!

And the new bath accessories in the port bathroom:

It appears starboard bath accessories are worse off than port which could be because we leave our escape hatch open and the salt air gets to these pieces more frequently.  Perhaps, maybe they are just 23 years old and tired?

And Starboard bath accessories:

These updates make me so very happy!  

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog took place during the the months of March and April.  We remove part of our standing rigging to do repairs – check it out here.

Life on the Hard: Boatyard Projects

We haul out Sugar Shack at Norsand Boatyard to complete lots and lots of boat projects.  The plan was to be “on the hard” for 5-6 weeks but a lot of projects have to be done in sequential order and cannot be done simultaneously.  We started booking contractors and work back in May to ensure that we could get all of the work done and be back in the water before Christmas.  Several blog posts will come out about this journey.

Last season in New Zealand we were able to complete a lot of upgrades, maintenance jobs, repairs, and a few miscellaneous projects.  We were tied to the dock at Town Basin Marina for almost 8 months where we upgraded to lithium batteries, repaired our salon window seals, replaced our main sail and genoa, replaced our dinghy and dinghy chaps, had a new cockpit enclosure made, new interior and exterior fabric for our cushions, new ceiling panels, new LED light fixtures, and new stainless counter tops and sink.  It was a lot!  (to read more about these upgrades, search our website for the specific blog post or click on the above links.

Hauling out

Hauling out and splashing always makes my heart race.  So many things can go wrong and yet we’ve been blessed with excellent workers at each yard.  We had a late haul out because we had to wait for high tide which was 4:00pm on our scheduled date.  We arrived and found the dock empty (which evidently was not normal).  The slipway manager was busy swapping trailers and we came in a smidge early so lucky for us another cruiser met us at the jetty to grab our lines. (top photo).  I was afraid I’d have to prove my non-existent Texas skills by lassoing the pilon.

Norsand Jetty

Norsand Jetty

Kevin, the slipway manager and Shane arrive and slowly walk Sugar Shack down the slip toward the ramp.  Another two workers showed up to toss us lines for the starboard side.  Once secured, Kevin rows a dinghy out to measure the exact placement of the trailer.

They use a large tractor to push the trailer into the water.  It has to be lined up right down the center of the boat.

They expertly manuever the trailer under our boat, without incident.  Once the trailer is in place, Kevin rows his boat out again to use the trailer’s controllers to set the supports on our bulk heads (the strongest part of the boat).  It is a slow, tediuous process, but we don’t rush them.   Slow is pro!

Coming Out of the Water

Once the boat is secured onto the trailer she is slowly pulled out of the water.  

Kevin and Shane blocked us on the trailer for the night right at the top of the slipway and smack dab in the middle of the yard.  Hello Norsand, Sugar Shack has arrived!

The Projects Begin Before We Are Even Blocked

The following projects are started early the next morning, before we are moved to our parking spot.

  • Removed both rudders (the original starboard rudder and the temproary rudder)
  • Removed both props
  • Removed both saildrives (this is done by Whangarei Marine as they will service them)
  • Evaluated our vinyl/stickers with Vital Signs and he shows us how to remove them

We are moved and blocked later that afternoon.  Not sure how he is able to squeeze us in between these other two boats, but he does with no problems.

Thank Goodness We Are Not This Wide

There was a trimaran that had been in the yard for 25 months!  She had a lot of work done and was finally going back in the water.  The problem was she is too wide to go down the slipway so they have to brining  a 90-ton crane to lift her up and over into the water.  

It was remarkably fast and effecient.  The yard did a tremendous job and truly was due to the expertise of the slipway team with Kevin at the lead.  The crane arrived around 8:30am and was done by 11:30am!

Boat Yard Projects:

We have scheduled a lot of boat projects with the yard, including:

  1. Haul out / Splash
  2. Waterblast
  3. Copper coat bottom (sanding down bottom paint, applying primer & copper coat)
  4. Re-Seal the deck and hull joint around the entire boat
    • In the end, we also resealed the starboard large hatch, both helm seats & stations, both davits, the bimini.
    • We also resealed / caulked the new ceiling panels in all 3 cabins, master bath. Caulked the salon around the new counter tops & around the nav station.
  5. Gelcoat repairs
    • Below the waterline: repaired small osmosis areas, small cracks, dagger boards, and sail drive casings
    • Above the waterline: both hulls had previous repairs that no longer matched the surrounding gelcoat so we blended them better; 2 small areas at starboard bow
    • Sugar scoops: both sugar scoops around cleats, steps, and by waterline
    • Deck: Port bow filled holes from old cleat, cockpit, filled crack on hatch, both entries at sugar scoop filled holes from old barrier (water stop barriers)
    • Inside: a few of our bulk heads had small hairline cracks that we reinforced and re-glassed
  6. Wash, wax, polish
  7. Prop-speed on the props

Outside Contractor Projects: Outside of the boatyard staff:

  1. Canvas: Kim is coming back to give us phifertex side panels for the cockpit enclosure and new phifertex and sauleda window covers for the salon.
  2. Whangarei Marine removed our props and saildrives.  We are replacing the bellows, clamp rings, o-rings, and seals on both saildrives.  Huge . They also sleeved, turned, polished the wear marks on the saildrive shafts and lapped the starboard cone.  An big and expensive job.
  3. Vital Signs is replacing all of our vinyl graphics, stickers, logos on the boat.  
  4. Aakron Express is repairing our EVA/non-skid which came up on the interior floor of our dinghy
  5. RH PRecision is making our new rudder shafts, then we will take them to Alert Anodising to anodise them.
  6. New custom fit rudders are being built.
  7. Denray Marine will service our liferaft and 4 of our PFDs
  8. Nautilus Braids will provide us with new main sheets, spin halyard, reefing line, Oh $hit line (hand hold off bimini), and a roll of dynema
  9. Cleigh Ltd, Matthew Duckett will install a new 220v inverter/charger.

Matt and Christine’s Projects

  1. Remove all vinyl stickers, logos and adhesive (5+ days)
  2. Replace anchor chain markers indicating length (every 10m) and clean 100m of stainless chain (3-5 days_
  3. Install heater port heater
  4. Install 12v Inverter/charger, Matt assisted with wires, breaker, installation
  5. Varnish hand rails along cabin top, flag pole, hand holds in cockpit, helm seats, princess seats, flag pole, bimini rails (all 4 sides), princess seats, and wench handle holder
  6. Clean and polish all interior wood
  7. Polish all stainless
  8. Replace window screens
  9. Repair utensil drawer 
  10. Repair wood along aft bimini (wood glue)
  11. Repair, paint, seal starboard head ceiling (5 panels have chipped paint on fiberglass)
  12. Repair 3 steps on both both sugar scoops (teak work)
  13. Sewing projects (probably won’t get to): new fender covers, new cockpit table cover, new cockpit pockets, new recycle bags, new man over board cover, new outboard cover

As you can see we are doing a LOT of work.  And it is putting my project management skills to the test!  We are hoping to get all of this done within 5 weeks!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on building new rudders, coppercoat (bottom job), vinyl stickers, gel coat repairs, and canvas work.

The cover photo is Sugar Shack after removing her stickers and her bottom paint.  That is our NZ car that we bought last season and are tooling around this season (BMW 330i with 20k miles that we bought for $3850!)  What a deal!  We will sold it for the same price after we splashed back into the water.

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog happened the 2nd week of November 2023.  Did you catch our Christmas in Whangarei blog where I bake over 800 cookies and ring the bell until it upset the Mayor?

New Canvas: Inside and Out

New canvas!  We replaced all of our interior and exterior cushions when we purchased Sugar Shack in 2010.  Do you remember the horrid teal pleather that was on the boat when we bought it?  The shop in Turkey did a really great job replacing the cushions and covering them.  We replaced the interior cushions with a beautiful, light tan micro suede called Alcantera and the exterior cushions had a sturdy, stainproof, water resistant beige sunbrella. 

Fast forward to today…if you were to look at our cushions from afar you might wonder why we were replacing the fabric…Even I think they look pretty darn good from this shot.

But, when you look closely, the fabric has started pulling away at the seams especially around the bolsters.  Unfortunately, this is not fixable.  I know, I tried and it doesn’t hold as the fabric is too thin and worn to hold the thread and glue.

And some of the cushions have actually worn through the fabric on the sides.

Exterior Cushions

The exterior cockpit cushions are holding up a little better but they are stained and looking a little tired.  They are also retaining water (when it rains the cockpit gets wet) which takes ages to dry out.

Shopping for a Dressmaker

One of the first things that we did when we arrived in New Zealand (Nov.2022) was to look for canvas makers.  We knew this would be a huge job and so we wanted to get on the books early on.  We met with several companies and decided on Masterpieces in Canvas.  The owner, Kim, is very professional, has amazing creative ideas, great suggestions, and a reputation for stellar work.

The Pending Canvas Projects:

  • Replace fabric on interior Cushions (7 backs, 8 bottoms, 1 nav seat, 2 bench seats, 1 round seat)
  • Recover exterior cushions (3 long cockpit cushions, 2 helm seats)
  • New back bolster covers at helm seats
  • Dinghy Chaps / cover
  • Cockpit enclosure
  • Sail Bag Cover (North Sails will provide this)

We selected a new, hardier interior fabric that is a macro-suede in Ash (left photo).  For the exterior, we selected two types of a new (to us) fabric called Sauleda.  The main cushions and helm seats will be in light silver gray called Tandem Piedra.  The new dinghy chaps, sail bag, helm bolsters and cockpit enclosure will be in a darker gray called Tandem Grafito.

The macro-suede is water and stain resistant and can be scrubbed and cleaned.  The Sauleda is waterproof, stain proof and much stronger than Sunbrella.  It has more threads making it a sturdier fabric.

The Big Reveal:

The new cushions came in and boy oh boy are we excited.  They turned out so beautifully that we did not want to sit on them!  The color is perfect, the material is soft and luxurious, and the design is perfect.

Kim has great attention to detail which can be found in all the seams, curves, and design.  Yours truly (Christine) made the beautiful, buttery soft blanket in the bottom photo.

The bottom side even turned out really nice.  She used a beautiful black phifertex, with sturdy zippers and wood on the bottom (so your bottom doesn’t sink into the holes below)

The seat at our navigation table even came out super cool.  We bought a new chair and had Kim recover it to match the cushions.  This new chair is on a swivel so it turns around and will lift up so we can still access the storage underneath it.

Outside Canvas work

The vendor in Turkey did a great job providing us with large, cushy cushions.  All we needed to do was add a little more water proofing and new canvas.  They came out beautiful as well.

Cockpit Enclosure

Matt and I had made our rain and sun shades and they were very tired and did not completely enclose the cockpit so when it rained everything got wet.  Kim and Matt designed our new enclosure that has windows and is completely enclosed.  We will most likely only use the large back panel and the two side panels (not the corners) on a daily basis.

From the inside…excuse the mess but we are still under construction…

A New Dinghy and Chaps

Our amazing Avon 3.4 lasted over 22 years!  She was a spectacular dinghy and lasted way beyond expectations.  She had a deep “V” bottom, a false floor so we had a flat surface to stand on inside dinghy, tall transom, locker with hawes pipe and 3 pontoons.  But she had several slow leaks and we just could not keep up with them.  We thought about just replacing the pontoons because we loved this dinghy so much, but the cost was equivalent to a new dinghy.

Avon no longer makes small dinghies (they just make gigantic dinghies) so we could not even replace her with another one just like her.  In fact, we had a lot of problems finding a dinghy we liked.  We wanted a 3.6M dinghy, with a deep “V”, false bottom, tall transom (for our long shaft outboard), and hypalon pontoons.  But, New Zealand does not sell dinghies with hypalon pontoons because they are too expensive and they don’t sell.  So, we had to go with a pvc version which just are not as strong or sturdy.  What can you do? Just means the life span of this dinghy will be maybe 5-7 years tops.

We sell our beloved Sweetie along with our old 8hp Mercury outboard.

The gorgeous new outfit for Sweetie 2.0

And we get new chaps made for the new dinghy to protect the pontoons.  Sweetie 2.0.  The far left photo has shadows from the trees – the bow is actually perfect.  Kim added two beautiful pockets and the craftsmanship around each cut out is simply amazing (lower left photo).

Here is a photo of Kim and Roger (our sailmaker)

Events from this blog occurred between April-May 2023.  Our blog posts run 8-10 weeks behind actual events. We replace all of our ceiling panels, ceiling lights and update the master bath in our last blog.