Monday, March 5, 2018

We Finally Have Curtains!

After spending our first Summer as liveaboards without curtains last year, we were anxious to get curtains on Nirvana before the brutal heat arrived this year. We also felt a lack of privacy, especially at night when the lights were on. I have an aversion to sewing, and really hated the thought of tackling this curtain project. However, after experiencing the hottest February on record here in Louisiana (a pleasant surprise), I was motivated to get this project over with before it suddenly got too hot.

Before our insurance adjusting road trip last Fall, Ken had installed four eye hooks around one port to test out our idea of hanging the curtains on bungee cords. We purchased the fabric (bought enough to also recover our settee cushions soon), purchased the bungee cord, tied it to the eye hooks .. and never went any further until now. About ten days ago, I recently sewed two panels at our daughter's house (wasn't so bad with her help!) and brought them back to the boat to finally test out our theory. I'm glad I started with only one port, because after sewing the two panels for it we realized that the fabric doesn't "bunch" too well on the bungee cord. We then decided to instead sew only one panel per port (half the work!) and hang them tight instead of bunching them & opening from the center.

Once we knew how we wanted to create our curtains, Ken installed the remainder of the eyelets around the ports. Before installing the eyelets, Ken first had to hold the bungee cord at the top & bottom of each port to see where the eyelets needed to be installed. Our Catalina 30 has angled ports that decrease in size as they go forward, so holding the bungee in place helped make sure that our curtains would follow the flow of the ports. Ken then marked the spots with a pencil & drilled a small hole for the eyelet. He then screwed the stainless eyelets into the fiberglass, which was a real pain! The eyelets kept breaking when Ken would screw them into the fiberglass. He had to pretty much install each eyelet at least twice before getting the eyelets screwed in. After the eyelets were finally installed, Ken then measured each port for curtains. This was also kinda difficult since the ports are different sizes. Ken numbered each port and wrote down the measurements for cutting the panels.

Here's a photo of the small bungee cord that we used ...

The following Sunday, we invaded our daughter's house for sewing the panels. Ken measured & cut a panel, passed it on to me for pinning, then I passed it on to our daughter for ironing & sewing. Thanks so much to our daughter .. it was truly a family affair!

We didn't think of adding a liner until we were almost done with sewing, so we decided to spray the sewn panels with the 303 Fabric Guard that we'd previously used on our canvas. We've been very happy with this product for water protection, and the product claims to also provide UV protection. We're really hoping that the 303 Fabric Guard protects the fabric from the sun as it claims!

After all eight panels were sewn & brought back to Nirvana, Ken spent an evening hanging the panels by attaching the bungee cord to a wooden dowel and pulling it through the hem. He then knotted the ends of the cord to an S-hook & hooked it onto the eyelet. This also took a while, but music & beer helped! The S-hook & eyelet will allow us to easily remove the panels, or even just remove the bottom of the panel & hook it to the top hooks when we want to see outside.

As the sun set, Ken had one more panel to install ...

Here's a view of the starboard side at night. We really like the color & type of fabric .. a micro-fiber/suede that kinda looks like a chamois. Since Nirvana is a smaller boat, we didn't want to draw attention to our curtains. These blend right in!

The next morning ...

A close-up view of the installation ...

I  just kinda liked this photo .. boat life!

After racking our brains for quite a while on how we were going to install our curtains, we're really happy with this inexpensive solution. If you combine all of Ken's time, my time & our daughter's time in this project, I'd guess that it took about 24 hours to create these curtains from start to finish. Geez .. I'm so glad this is over with! Now I'm ready to tackle the settee cushions, which are in great shape, but we want to keep them protected when cruising & living aboard full-time.

This next project will have to wait .. cause tomorrow we're catching a plane for a sailing adventure with a friend of ours! Woo hoo .. I can't tell ya how excited & nervous we are about this! We'll be experiencing a few things for the first time .. including overnight sailing. We'll be on the water for about 3 days straight! Wish us luck & stay tuned to find out where we're sailing!

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!
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