Wednesday, February 8, 2023


I'm Bob, the Aged Mariner. (Old, but not quite Ancient yet, and no albatross.) I got hooked on sailing in 1975 when friends took me out on a 17 foot daysailer. Soon after I bought my first boat, a very modest 12 foot mini scow I found tied to a tree. It came with a single sail and had the option of a jib. I determined I would make a jib, to save money. I knew that a zig-zag sewing machine was the desired choice and I bought an early one, a Pfaff that would have done the job--but my wife hated it, so back it went and I started on a machine quest that led to curiousity and a whole lot of cheap purchases at flea markets and garage sales. I got kind of hooked on sewing machines and what they could do....

I knew nothing about sailmaking. Fortunately I found a used jib at minimal cost and was saved from making a completely incompetent sail. But I learned, and studied, and nearly 50 years later I am an amateur sailmaker and canvas worker with plenty of knowledge and some skill. I see lots of questions about sewing big items (sails, etc.) and heavy things (some leather and parts of sails and vinyl materials). I decided that some folks might benefit if I put this accumulated knowledge down in coherent form, hence this blog.

On a Canadian lake. I am sailing a Grumman canoe rigged with a homemade sail in the 'crabclaw' format. Things don't get much simpler than this!

My plan for the blog: lay out the possibilities and issues of sewing big and/or heavy things, identify working strategies, dig into LOTS of details about equipment, and listen to comments and questions from readers.

This blog has a sibling, 'Simple Sails, Simple Sailing' to be found at

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