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Old 02-10-2008, 11:08 PM   #1
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One of our items on our short list was a Sailrite sewing machine. When Julie & Chris (S/V Cisnecito) returned from their 3 year circumnavigation, they had a few things they wanted to sell and their Thompson sewing machine was one of them. Chris gave us a great deal and it works wonderfully.

Lori is already a very skilled seamstress and took very quickly to the repairing of the Genoa and sun cover. This simple repair job would have cost me $300 and several trips to the sail loft. It only took Lori an hour and most of that was spent setting-up. Knowing that you can repair your own sails while out cruising will be very comforting!

Lori_Sewing.jpg

If you look closely, you will see that the Thompson and the Sailrite are essentially the same machine...maybe even the very same...for much less.

http://www.thompsonsewing.com/PWZ-500.asp
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Old 08-20-2008, 02:23 AM   #2
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I love to sew but figure my old Singer is NOT up to the heavier tasks that we'll see onboard. I also had an industrial machine (older Singer) but it was in a large table and didn't have zig-zag it was straight stitch only so I sold it as part of "unloading things" to move on board a boat.

I have a friend who has a Thompson who loves it. I've been checking out all the sewing machines figuring we'll be buying one in the next month or two. If I can't find what I want in a used machine, then I'm leaning towards a Reliable 2000U-33 Zigzag Walking Foot Sewing Machine (link) .
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:21 PM   #3
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Let us know if this sewing machine handles the tasks of sail repair and batten pocket reinforcement. I want to sew webbing straps on both sides of the batten pockets to protect the sails from chafing when sheeted out sailing downwind. On Cats (Leopard & Lagoon are the only 2 that I have some experience on) the sails have a tendency to rub and chafe on the cap shrouds.

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Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
I love to sew but figure my old Singer is NOT up to the heavier tasks that we'll see onboard. I also had an industrial machine (older Singer) but it was in a large table and didn't have zig-zag it was straight stitch only so I sold it as part of "unloading things" to move on board a boat.

I have a friend who has a Thompson who loves it. I've been checking out all the sewing machines figuring we'll be buying one in the next month or two. If I can't find what I want in a used machine, then I'm leaning towards a Reliable 2000U-33 Zigzag Walking Foot Sewing Machine (link) .
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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Let us know if this sewing machine handles the tasks of sail repair and batten pocket reinforcement. I want to sew webbing straps on both sides of the batten pockets to protect the sails from chafing when sheeted out sailing downwind. On Cats (Leopard & Lagoon are the only 2 that I have some experience on) the sails have a tendency to rub and chafe on the cap shrouds.
You can put something on the shroud to help protect the sail from chafe. Examples: Baggy wrinkle (old fashioned) to newer style little plastic rings, etc.

You can set your sails so they don't rub on the shrouds.

Both of the above are desired as your webbing straps will just chafe through at some point, right?

It is very likely that you won't be able to sew along the batten pockets mid-way up the sail because these machines don't have much room under the "arm" where the material must lie. You have something like between 7 and 10 inches horizontal space and less vertical space. Take a look at the spec's online for the space under the arm. The dacron is bulky material. Imagine how you'll have to have it positioned to do the task. Lots of sailcloth and very little space.

Good luck with your chafe situation. You can hand sew a sail IF you really can't get it to fit onto the machine. Just takes lots of time and the right needles, palm, etc.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:41 AM   #5
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Thanks Redbopeep, but I prefer not to have the sails rub on the shrouds, but it still does happen, but the Baggy wrinkle is something I have never heard of. (An example, picture or such would help the viualisation The plastic rings I assume spin thus reducing the chafing

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Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
You can put something on the shroud to help protect the sail from chafe. Examples: Baggy wrinkle (old fashioned) to newer style little plastic rings, etc.

You can set your sails so they don't rub on the shrouds.

Both of the above are desired as your webbing straps will just chafe through at some point, right?

It is very likely that you won't be able to sew along the batten pockets mid-way up the sail because these machines don't have much room under the "arm" where the material must lie. You have something like between 7 and 10 inches horizontal space and less vertical space. Take a look at the spec's online for the space under the arm. The dacron is bulky material. Imagine how you'll have to have it positioned to do the task. Lots of sailcloth and very little space.

Good luck with your chafe situation. You can hand sew a sail IF you really can't get it to fit onto the machine. Just takes lots of time and the right needles, palm, etc.
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gslabbert5119 View Post
Thanks Redbopeep, but I prefer not to have the sails rub on the shrouds, but it still does happen, but the Baggy wrinkle is something I have never heard of. (An example, picture or such would help the viualisation The plastic rings I assume spin thus reducing the chafing
Baggywrinkle

How to make traditional baggywrinkle

West Marine Chafe Protector rings

You can also use cable covers in strategic locations. This can be pipe insulation, vinyl purpose made, leather sewn onto the location of worry (over a block or turnbuckle). Spreader boots you probably already have...

These days lots of people think Baggywrinkle looks very "shippy" on a traditional boat (similar to ratlines looking shippy) but in the past this chafe protection was ONLY put up on a yacht when needed and taken down as soon afterwards as practical. That is because there's a lot of windage having such things up there on the shrouds.

Sometimes it is possible to hand sew nice patches onto the sails at the strategic locations if you really cannot put something on the shroud.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gslabbert5119 View Post
Let us know if this sewing machine handles the tasks of sail repair and batten pocket reinforcement. I want to sew webbing straps on both sides of the batten pockets to protect the sails from chafing when sheeted out sailing downwind. On Cats (Leopard & Lagoon are the only 2 that I have some experience on) the sails have a tendency to rub and chafe on the cap shrouds.
Hi there. We did buy the portable Reliable 2000 as we thought we would. It has no problems with thick materials. I haven't sewn any sails but have sewed some thick layers of leather together with no problem. I also did some lighter weight sewing and managed to wack out the timing on the machine fairly quickly and had to take it into the shop where I bought it for adjustment. Since then, so far, all has been good but I've only sewn a few things overall.

I'd hoped to run across a machine on Craigslist or at a swap meet, but really never found anything close in features and cost. While you can find some great deals on used straight stitch machines, when you start looking at heavy duty zig-zag (walking foot or not) there aren't so many great deals. Many people paid quite a bit more for similar machines 5 to 10 years ago so they're not really realistic about pricing as the zig-zag machines and walking foot machines have come down quite a bit. I do prefer to have zig-zag and though the walking foot is nice, it certainly isn't a requirement, IMHO.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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Having been redirected to this thread and having done a good bit of research as well and getting a hold of a few sailors I know with a good bit more sailing experience than myself who do most of their own repairs on their sails and sundries. I am going to go with view. I currently own a Bernina Model Viruosa 150 QE (Quilters Edition). It can handle canvas up to 12 oz at four to five layers which is equal to 9.1 sail cloth of the same amount of layers. Having talked with my friends and a few other folks I will most likely be keeping this one, giving the Necchi we have to family (It is a mini and does a good bit but not up to anything really heavy as the wife proved once [had to get it recalibrated after that time]). We will be getting a Pfaff 3.0 Series as it is very close to the older 1145 series which is no longer in production and comes with walking foot top and bottom and can handle the same loads plus a bit from what I used to do to the 1145. Which was stitching tents together (these where bakers/trappers pavilions and 12 to 18 foot round pavilions as well, you get real good at feeding cloth through the arm doing that stuff). Price wise a you could buy a top line series 4.0 with all the bells and whistles for the price of a new Sailrite. Yes, they are heavy duty and yes they are mechanical model which means they are less likely to loose calibration. I just can't see the reasoning in buying that limited of a machine when I know Pfaff and Bernina will stand up to the job (the Bernina is sensitive to power loss as it is one of the older models that had that problem, which why looking at getting/trading up to a Pfaff 3.0)

Anyone with more info on comparing these machines real world (have not been able to get my hands on a Sailrite or Thompson yet to test them out) please let me know. I just have a problem with the price and I know that some peole think that Pfaff and Bernina are "domsestic models"; but they can and will handle professional level heavy use (on the 1145 I used to own, I once did 5 hours striaght sewing to get a project done and had others doing the prep work so i could keep the machince in just the reight set up to get it all done.

I have runn industrial grade thread through both Berninas and Pfaff without any problem for anyone interested. The only problem with them is they can be power hogs.

Michael
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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You may take a look at the HP rating on the machines you're interested in using. For many years I used the old Singer quite successfully, but its motor wasn't powerful enough for multi layers of sailcloth nor leather. It was belt driven as many machines are, and the belt would slip and the needle not go thru the heavy layers of sailcloth.

I had sewn a lot with multiple layers of heavy canvas, nylon, etc--making a splash cover for our canoe and doing work on our tents and backpacks over the years. Cruising weight sailcloth is different. The coating on the Dacron I suppose is the issue.

You might wish to pick up some leather and see if your machine can keep up with sewing thru it as that would be a good test. Take some 9 oz leather and sew 2 to 3 pieces together and see if it can handle it. Or, get some sailcloth and go for it. It will all depend upon the motor on the outset.

Good luck
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:38 PM   #10
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Thanks, will do. That makes sense as both the Bernina and the Pfaff are gear driven (For the Pfaff to work with the double feed feet it has to be) and Both have pretty hefty motors.

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Old 08-04-2009, 06:09 PM   #11
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So--does your machine not have a belt between the motor and the machine? e.g. it is totally gear driven? That would be unusual.

1/10 hp is the common motor size for the portable walking foot machines, btw.

At one point I had an old Singer industrial machine that a para rigger had set up for me--it was the most amazingly wonderful thing: a 1 hp motor, a clutch system so that it could stop on a dime and it sewed a mile-a-minute. Unfortunately, it wasn't a zig-zag machine. But, it was nice. And, it also was also belt driven as most machines are.

Good luck on your projects and we'll look forward to hearing how it all works out
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
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So--does your machine not have a belt between the motor and the machine? e.g. it is totally gear driven? That would be unusual.

1/10 hp is the common motor size for the portable walking foot machines, btw.

At one point I had an old Singer industrial machine that a para rigger had set up for me--it was the most amazingly wonderful thing: a 1 hp motor, a clutch system so that it could stop on a dime and it sewed a mile-a-minute. Unfortunately, it wasn't a zig-zag machine. But, it was nice. And, it also was also belt driven as most machines are.

Good luck on your projects and we'll look forward to hearing how it all works out
Bernina are geared and to my knowledge Pfaff are also. It is one of the reasons that they hold value as long as they do (also one of the reasons maintenance can get expensive). A Pfaff smaller model you could consider portable, but a Bernina isn't really unless you are using a trolley as they are very heavy. I will be getting some sail cloth and the foot Bernina makes for Sewing Leather and Plastics and see how things go. As it is found out this evening that Bernina does make a walking foot for my model it is only 75 for just the foot (something to add to the Christmas wish list). The current going market price on one of these is around 600 (we got ours used/reconditioned from a dealer here in Edinburgh for less than that).

Will let you folks know how it goes. As a Machine that would do Sailcloth and a lot else would be very useful indeed.

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Old 09-18-2009, 12:11 AM   #13
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Well, I've now done a number of projects with the Reliable 2000U-33.

It can handle things just fine BUT I find myself really pushing it to do stuff it's not supposed to do...Like...hubby made some wood steps for a swim ladder (four 3/8" holes on the edges of the steps for a rope to go thru...) and I used some BlueWater accessory rope 7mm size for the rope. Instead of just knotting the ropes below each step, I seized some nylon (size 34) tarred marlin under each step. Well, that accessory rope is a lot slicker than the typical polyester rope I usually seize something onto...so after realizing this was not going to work as planned, I sewed (zigzag) the top portion of each seizing to the rope to keep it from slipping down the rope under weight of the steps in use. I could hardly cram the seizings on the rope under the pressure foot-had to beat it and tug it to get it to fit (tal thickness of the 7mm rope plus the seizing was about 1/2" (12mm). The machine had a hit-or-miss time making it thru the tough nylon marlin seized tightly onto the 7 mm accessory rope as I was pushing it thru the top edge of the seizing where I'd put a clove hitch in the marlin... I had to hand crank the machine since the belt would slip and I had to manually push down on the needle (used a metal bar against the screw which holds the needle) to help it get through some of the time.

I just finished rebuilding hubby's diving weight belt which was in bad shape--no problems for the machine and I've now done several projects with leather sewing with no problems.

The machine doesn't have the nice fit-and-finish that my old Singer has but it is solid and I think it will work great on all my projects.

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Old 01-03-2010, 02:55 AM   #14
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We have found that 4" wide sail repair tape (self stick, put on when sail is clean and dry, just where there are marks from shroud or spreaders) made by North or West marine is the best choice. Goes on easily, does not make holes in the sail from all the stitching, and if it wears through, easy to replace. We have sailed 12K miles in the last 6 months, and no sail damage whatsoever. We do, however, vang down hard off the wind to flatten the sail, which has the additional benefit, of vastly reducing relative motion of the sail to the rig. when we know we are going off the wind for a long time, I add split foam insulation on the back of our spreaders which eliminates point loading and the worst chaff point on our rig. I also double the self stick tape where it crosses seams or exposed stiches.

Best of luck!

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Thanks Redbopeep, but I prefer not to have the sails rub on the shrouds, but it still does happen, but the Baggy wrinkle is something I have never heard of. (An example, picture or such would help the viualisation The plastic rings I assume spin thus reducing the chafing
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