Mainsail Cover

My first big boat sewing project.

The Mission: To replace the fragile cheesecloth mainsail cover.

This is the 10 plus year old mainsail cover that came with the boat.

For our 17-foot boom, I purchased 34 feet of canvas from Sailrite, set up the Sailrite LZ- 1 sewing machine on our boat salon table, and followed the Sailrite Video proved I can produced a new Mainsail Cover for our Tatoosh 42.  Sounds pretty easy, right!?! It didn’t get completed without a few setbacks along the process.

After receiving the 34 feet of 46″ wide canvas, I figured I can use the floor of my school to lay out the canvas and using a hot knife to cut the patterned parts.

Before sewing the seams, I used double sided hem tape to hold the folds in place. In most hems there were two folds and found it easier to maintain a even hem to use the hem tape at each fold.

Note the systematic system I I had to keep the canvas even: rolled on the left, tape in the middle, then folded on the right.

Learning to sew 34+feet of canvas in a 8 foot wide space took a little engineering. I had to push and pull the canvas on one side of the sewing machine to the opposite side as I sew the seams. It took more time than actual sewing.

We have lazy jacks and it’s common to have slits on the mainsail cover to accommodate the lazy jack lines. I completed one slit before it dawned on me that there has to be a better approach. Deciding to continue with Lazy jack slits or not Lazy Jack Slits. After some researching what other options I had, I decided to go with the Brion Toss approach. After consulting Hayden Island Canvas on how to ‘undo what I sewed’ I began with ripping out the stitches and patching the slit. The end result looks good.

I was proud of this lazy jack slit.
Looks like frankenstein stitching but you don’t see this because I sewed a clean patch on both sides.
Pounding in the Twist Locks. I love swinging the hammer. 🙂

I continued with the steps from the video and the book provided with the Sailrite mainsail order. Overall, being this was my first canvas project, and a large one, the project was more time consuming than difficult. Do keep in mind, it took more time because I worked in a confined space. It would been dreaming to have had a dedicated space where I completed the entire project without having to set up the sewing machine and canvas and return when done for the day.

I’m very pleased with the results. I’ve learned a few things along the way. It’s been over a year now and I still get giddy when someone compliments my work.

Chris assisting me with the initial instal.

Tip: You may want to consider tapering the aft end of the cover. Since the end of our boom doesn’t have lines and such, the end looks droopy. It’s really not a problem. More of a critical eye from a Type A personality.

Please note that I completed this canvas project November 2018.

2 thoughts on “Mainsail Cover

  1. I used the Sailrite mainsail cover kit for my boat, several years ago. I used a forty year old Sears sewing machine, but now I have a Sailrite machine. I have also made boat curtains, a Lifesling cover using the Sailrite Lifesling cover kit (the plastic covers wear out) and a hatch cover.

    If you want to eliminate the lazy jack problem, you can add a block on either side of the mast where the lazy jacks attach to the mast, and make the lazy jacks retractable. I’ve heard them called easy jacks, but I don’t know whether that’s correct.

    BTW, my mainsail cover also droops at the end.


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