The Captain is upgrading our electrical shore power cables. Considering the small investment in the cables (although the value of any fire safety improvement is unquestioned), we want to cover the cables to reduce the potential detrimental impact of sun, weather and dirt on the cables. So another Sunbrella cover.
First a bit about the cables…We bought the SmartPlug cables at Defender during their annual warehouse sale in April. These cables are supposed to be safer because they have 20 times more cross-section connector area than traditional marine power plugs which were designed in the 1930s. The design should reduce the chance of overheating and fire. The plug connector allows an easier snap-in connection rather than the older threaded connector. The end that connects to the dock pedestal is the traditional connector. A boat owner with some electrical experience can install the power inlet on the boat. We will hire a trained electrician to install this 120v inlet just to be cautious.
Back to the cover…This cover project is fairly simple, but a bit tedious due to the length of the cover. The cables are 50 feet long – 600 inches! It took me about and hour or two to mark and cut the fabric and another two to three hours at the sewing machine. Basically a really long Sunbrella wrapper with Velcro closure. Here’s how I made our cover.
49’ Sunbrella cover with Velcro closure
2.5 yards of 46” marine grade Sunbrella
17 yards of heavy-duty Velcro 1” wide, adhesive backed
V92 thread and size 18 or 20 machine needle
Marking pencil or chalk
Tip: Because you will be doing long stretches of sewing, wind 4 bobbins of thread in advance. I sewed 4 rows the length of the cover to sew on the Velcro (~68 yards total). I found that I could stitch for about 20-25 minutes straight on one self-wound bobbin. So I’m guessing a self-would bobbin of V92 is about 15-18 yards of thread. Now if I could solve how not to run out of bobbin thread mid-seam. BTW, If you use Salirite hembobs each is 25 yards of V92 so you’ll need at least two-three of those. Interesting alternative.
- Mark and cut with a hot knife 7 strips 6” wide by 86” long. This will make a 50’ cover. We ended up trimming about a foot off. You can adjust here or trim at the end if you wish. With the hot-knifed edge, I did not hem this cover. This measuring tool was very handy for this project. (A good dry day on the dock was a requirement for me to accomplish this. Don’t forget the heavy-duty extension cord and a cutting board.)
- Sew the strips together with 1/2” seams. Be sure that you keep all the seam edges on the same side. Mark the outside on each end so you can easily remember to keep the seams on the inside of the cover.
- Mark the inside right edge for the hook Velcro. The opposite edge on the outside will be the side for the loop Velrco creating a 1” overlap of the Velcro. (You could do either piece of Velcro. The important idea is that each Velcro piece is on the opposite side and edges for the overlap.)
- Tip: roll the strip up to manage the bulk of the length.
- Sew the hook Velcro 1/4” from the outside edge using the adhesive to help place it close along the edge. You can also use a sewing guide to help guide the fabric and Velcro. Considering the long stretch of fabric the guide is very helpful. Speaking of which, check your stitches every few minutes to make sure you don’t run out of bobbin thread. You’ll likely need to change the bobbin midway. Sew the other edge of the hook Velcro.
- Sew both edges of the loop Velcro on the opposite side and opposite edge to create the overlapping Velcro.
That’s it. Stretch your cover out on the dock to wrap it around the cables. This project takes just a couple of hours to add protection to something that we hope will protect us.