July 18, 2015-The Fourth Dodger
wingssail images-judy jensen
Working on a new dodger
In 1993 I bought a sewing machine. I fixed Judy's shorts and then I made a mainsail. My sailor friends, looking up at that main, said, "That took some balls", but it worked.
Then I made a dodger. That was a bit harder. Professionally built dodgers were running three thousand dollars back then. The good canvas people get paid well for their skills. The dodger I made cost me about $200 in materials and four days of work and it wasn't pretty. However it did the job.
The sewing machine is now over twenty years old but it still works and I'm still making dodgers; I just finished the forth one for Wings. Also we have a lot of the supplies which I bought with the machine. Supplies like thread and tapes and spare bits of sailcloth and especially canvas snaps and fasteners. I've done a lot of projects over the years besides those dodgers and it's amazing that the cache has lasted this long. And the cost to make a dodger is still under $200.
But, even after twenty some years to practice, I'm still making dodgers for Wings which aren't pretty. I guess they work. I have to say, though, I am disappointed in the latest dodger. Geez, I thought I'd get it right sooner or later. But this fourth one isn't much better than the first one. A sail maker once told me that if we screw up on a sail or a piece of canvas we'll have to look at it for years. How true.
Maybe there is an convergence happening here. As years go by I learn more about what needs to be done so the graph of that knowledge slopes upward. At the same time I get older and my capabilities decline. Where the declining line crosses the upward line is where things start getting worse. Maybe that has already happened.
Well, I finished the dodger and we'll use it and it will be fine. I hope I never have to make another one, but I could if I had to. It would remain to be seen if it would actually be better.
There was one nice little miracle which occurred during this project. Right in the middle of it the sewing machine broke. Not a little failure, a total failure; the rotary hook assembly broke. We weren't doing another stitch. I started to think about how to get another rotary hook assembly down here from Sailrite. Wouldn't be fast, that's for sure, and there would be expense out of proportion to the size of this little, but critical, part.
Then a light bulb went off somewhere in the dark folds: I remembered a bag of parts which I've been hoarding for twenty years. What's the chance of one of these assemblies being in that bag?
I dug it out and held the plastic up to the light. Nope. None of the parts inside were anything close to a rotary hook assembly. Then I saw a little white cardboard box sealed with packing tape. Bingo!
So I had one and in a few minutes I'd replaced the broken one and was back in business.
That made my day. It even made up for the somewhat crummy finished product I rolled out two days later.
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Marina Scene at Sunrise
Click here for more photos.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle