Here’s a video from our friends at Scuttlebutt Sailing News showing a few essential knots. While there may be moments of fervent supplication to deities during heavy seas, we all know what we hope will hold us 🙂
As sailors, we cope with a lot of maintenance issues on the boats that we sail and race. Since there are so many moving parts and gear, the upkeep can get exhausting, and most of all, expensive! The relentless wind, sun and salt will eventually disintegrate our sails and covers, regardless of our protective measures. Canvas covers can help slow the degradation but inevitably the harsh elements will eat away at something. Most of the time, it’s simply the stitching that goes first.
If the stitching pulls out of a seam on a sail or cover, the situation can go downhill rapidly. The fabric can come unhemmed, allowing the material to degrade prematurely. It’s time consuming and costly to go to a sail loft or canvas repair shop to get it fixed. A simple repair that takes an hour or so, might take a week if the shop is backed up. Therefore, buying your own tools and educating yourself on small DIY repairs can save time and money. Obviously, there are certain projects that should be done by a professional, but for the do-it-yourselfer, it’s great to have your own tools and machinery to repair the old and build the new!
While there are many options on the market for proper sewing machines, Sailrite is one of the oldest and well-known brands out there. Thanks to a friend, I’ve recently had the opportunity to borrow an Ultrafeed LSZ-1 to repair some stitching on covers. I was so impressed with the ease and functionality, that my only choice was to acquire one for the J/World location in San Diego to help with repairs and new canvas for all our West Coast locations. The “Z” gives you the ability to switch from straight stitches to zig-zags, a necessary setting for sails!
We ended up getting the Ultrafeed LSZ-1 PLUS, which came with its own carrying case, a magnetic light, and other great features. Just from the packaging, you can tell that Sailrite has things dialed in. Everything was well packaged; clearly with concentrated though and effort put into every detail. The machine was ready to go right out of the box, as each of the machine’s settings are tested before it’s sent out. The tester also left the piece of thread still run the correct way through the rig so I could see how it is run properly.
Along with the spare parts, extra bobbins, oil, small spool of thread, and other accessories, the kit came with a great instruction manual, CD-Rom with How-To videos, and a catalog. The simplicity in the layout and descriptions throughout the instructions and setup process speaks volumes to their time and experience in the industry. And of course they have any part you could ever need to repair or upgrade your machine.
It’s amazing how easy it is to get things set up on the machine immediately after opening. Once everything is in place, just step on the pedal and go! And, for different fabrics, you can put in the appropriate needle, easily tune the machine for that material, and get at it. Since the PLUS always sits in the base of the carrying case, there’s a potential for fabric to get caught and ripped on the metal corners. But fear not; Sailrite has noticed that too! They’ve included a durable elastic strap that buttons onto the end of the case to be placed over the corners while you’re sewing, eliminating the potential for snags and rips.
There are very few things that I’ve found with the machine that could be improved. As I said, they have things pretty well dialed. The bobbin (lower thread) system is great, especially for winding new thread onto it. My only complaint is that it doesn’t hold a whole lot of thread, so at times I’ve found that I’ll be in the middle of a stitch and have to reset everything. But they do include extra bobbins, so you can have them all wound up and it becomes a lot faster to change it out and continue on. It’s a small pill to swallow when the overall system is basically flawless. It’s truly something when you can have it so well tuned that you just step on the gas, and have the walking foot pull miles of fabric right through your guiding hands at any speed that you wish. If you want it to, it will go faster than you’re comfortable with.
One upgrade I did myself was to wire the light into the power system on the machine. I’m comfortable enough with my electrical skills to have tried it. What a success! Now only one plug is needed. While it’s probably not recommended by Sailrite; I was simply employing the DIY mentality. If you try it, be very careful, and certainly keep things unplugged when making connections!
Since receiving the machine after the new year, we’ve saved hundreds of dollars by repairing things ourselves. It’s mostly been repairing stitching in old covers, though the list has gotten quite long for new covers for various things throughout our West Coast locations! While I’ve mostly just been repairing covers, the sail repairs that I’ve done have proved that this machine can get through just about every material that you need! I’m really looking forward to learning new tricks and getting more efficient with the process. And of course I’ve used it to repair some clothes as well! If you’re looking for a fun new toy for this sailing season and to lower the bills, look no further than Sailrite!
Patrick and the J/World Team
Did you see the pic and say it?
Did you stop and think, “I need to get on the water”? Was your next thought, “I want to have an excellent season and sail better than ever!”? If that is you then we want to hear from you. Our courses are underway for the season on the best coast, the west coast (sorry J/World Annapolis -we do love you east coast guys) and spaces are available. Contact Us or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For now, enjoy some images from our 2 entries in the Yachting Cup to get you by:
Except of course our smiling faces! Need a smile? Contact Us and join us for a course or race.
We love this video from Quantum Racing. J/70 Practice at Charleston Race Week. Makes us want to race. You too? Click Contact Us or choose Contact from the menu bar above and we will find you a spot!
Thanks for sharing Quantum!
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You’re sitting in front of your computer, dreaming of being on the water or considering your sailing goals and how you will get there. Your calendar is open and the heavens open up, angels sing and you see it; free time. Now all you need to find is that course or event that fits. There are a number of confirmed opportunities for you to join us on the water. Check the list, maybe one of these is what the angels are singing about!
- Learn to Sail – San Francisco (Alameda) – 2 Weekends Sat & Sun May 13-14/20-21
- Learn to Sail – San Diego – 2 Weekends Sat & Sun May 20-21 / June 3-4
- Learn to Sail – San Diego – 2 Weekends Sat & Sun June 17-18 / 24-25
- Learn to Sail – San Francisco (Alameda) – Mon-Thurs July 3-6
Or is this more what you’re looking for…
Spaces still available for:
California Offshore Race Week
Puerto Vallarta to Cabo Cruising
Contact Us to book your spot now!
“Light air settings are the call today as J/World’s Vanishing Girl approaches Punta Raza. Our plan is to practice ‘All Crew Overboard’ drills, right after anchoring!”
That’s J/World Coach Paul Marston checking in on Day 2 of a 5 day Liveaboard Cruising Course from Puerto Vallarta. What a great photo! Interested in moving up to a larger boat, the shipboard life of passage-making and adventure sailing, or wanting to bareboat charter? Try a Liveaboard and get the training you need. Find out more here or contact us to get more information.
TRANSPAC is nearing and berths are filling up fast. Yes, you can still get one and yes, it will be an amazing experience. Still, we hear some of you saying to us, “But it doesn’t start until the week of July 3rd! I just can’t wait that long!” We completely understand and we have a solution:
If you just can’t wait to feel the thrill of racing or you want to hone your skills so that you can take on all comers, this is the perfect event for you and it is happening at the end of May. Seemingly tailored to J/World’s world renowned style of sailing instruction, this event gets the adrenaline pumping early and keeps the momentum with increasingly longer and more challenging stages. Combining 3 previously separate events, the Spinnaker Cup, a revamped Coastal Cup and the second running of the SoCal 300, it has become a racer’s paradise. Every start is a new opportunity to excel. Every stage the chance to learn new skills and increase your proficiency. It is an incredible learning and racing opportunity.
Last week was our annual clinic and regatta combo in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Three days of J/World racing clinic with set the stage. We hosted daily morning lectures then hit the water on our fleet of J/80s for practice on sail trim, boathandling, spinnaker work, crew communications, strategy, tactics, starting, and rules. The breeze for the initial days was pretty solid, reaching around 16-18 in the afternoons. The weather? Shorts. T Shirts. Sunscreen. Ideal.
Then it was three days of racing! We still did lectures in the morning and debriefs at the end of the day, and coaches were aboard the boat at all times, so the learning curve continued steeply for the duration. The breezes were a bit lighter for the actual racing days, but the competition was solid and everyone had a great time. In the 20-something fleet, J/World boats managed first and third overall, so congratulations teams!
So here is the visual summary:
Ok, we are pretty excited about this. J/World has just added another boat to our offshore training fleet!
For some twenty plus years now, we have been taking sailors from all over the world on offshore races and passages. Our flagship, the venerable Hula Girl, is known far and wide for the experiences she has delivered to her numerous crews. Add to the mix our fantastic coaches, and we have programs which frequently sell out a year (or more) in advance. Well, we have had enough of having to send sailors away due to lack of capacity, so we are excited to be adding a wonderful Mark Mills designed DK46 to the fleet.
This modern design is a veteran of two Transpacs already, and the boat is a delight to sail. With a big, open cockpit and a functional interior, CaZan is ready to go on new adventures. Next up will be the California Offshore Race Week, and then Transpac! She is available for charter, or individual sailors can sign up to join the race with J/World coaches.
More details will be coming soon, but it you are interested in either a charter or individual participation, definitely contact us now! Here are some pictures of CaZan and her sisterships (only 12 of these were built) to whet your appetite: