This past weekend I caught the zipper pulley line for our Mack Pack sail cover on the end of the batten while the Captain was raising the mainsail. Why is it so hard to keep a 44′ boat head to wind? If I slowly ease the boat into the wind I hear “hurry up it’s not fun standing here at the mast waiting.”. If I go fast to the wind I overcompensate and have to back off. Probably half the time we catch a lazy jack or reefing line on the edge of the batten off the mainsail leech. I really do try to watch the leech (and the depth and the crab pots and the other boaters) while keeping the bow directly into the wind. But this time we caught the pulley line for Mack Pack zipper and pulled the zipper slider and one of the pulleys off the pack. Last spring during a sail in the Abacos we had not had the boom sheeted tightly enough and ripped out a grommet for the lazy jacks in the pack. It was time to get the pack back in shape with these three “relatively minor” boo-boos.
After determining that the zipper was a #10 coil continuous zipper, I was able to get a slider from a local canvas shop and get it installed. Learnings here:
- Worth getting to know the different types of zippers
- With zippers use finesse not force
The little pulley just needed a few stitches using waxed thread and a very large needle. The Captain took this on. He did a great job.
Fixing the grommet was a different animal. We didn’t want to take the sail cover off the boom if we could avoid it and we couldn’t get the big sewing machine safely rigged to sew a patch on it in place! Hand sewing would have to work. After a few ideas we settled on a two piece patch with the grommet that the Captain designed. I carefully hot knifed the edges of the rip on the pack to seal the edges and fraying. With a piece of Sunbrella (I hot knifed edges) and a piece of Shelterite both about 2″ larger than the rip for a patch, we installed a grommet on the two pieces. The Sunbrella side was passed through the rip from the inside so it sat on the outside of the pack; the Shelterite side is on the inside with the grommet at the hole. Using V92 thread doubled on a large needle I did a back stitch around the edges using the palm and cutting board to help pass the needle through the Sunbrella and Shelterite. It took a bit of time but pretty soon we had engineered a fix ourselves.
We really like our Mack Pack which we got in Stuart, Fl last fall. It manages flaking the sail well. The downsides are that the supporting lazy jacks can get in the way and with the pack being used hard, it is going to need some love from time to time. Zippers will pop etc. But, looking at the grommets I think they could have had a better reinforcement for the load they sometimes take from the bulk of the sail in the pack.
- Canvas Boat Cover & Repair Advisor – Good information on zippers, snaps and products they sell – http://www.canvas-boat-cover-and-repair-advisor.com/
- YKK – http://www.ykkfastening.com/products/types/s_zipper.html
- Sailrites zipper videos