Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | January 2, 2012

Damaging Winds

N 18° 03.77′   W 63° 05.31′

Simpson Bay Lagoon, Marigot, St. Martin

A big wind gust over the weekend ripped apart our aging bimini. We had been nursing it along with the hopes it would survive the Caribbean tour. It made it through numerous tropical waves and three tropical storms but not the Christmas Winds.

It wasn’t an incredibly windy day. We just had an unusually strong gust during a rain shower. It lasted about 20 seconds and shook the boat so hard I was sure we had come loose from the moorings. Bob was in the shower and I ran on deck to find we were secure. However the bimini support was broken, some of the seams had torn loose and mysteriously three zippers were missing. The fabric was flapping against the anchor light and about ready to be ripped from the remaining snaps.

We briefly thought about replacing the whole section – maybe in a lighter and cooler color – or better yet, getting a hard top! Simplicity won out and we decided to tackle only what was necessary to get the bimini in working order.

We have an industrial sewing machine aboard and some spare matching fabric and zippers so we set to work getting this repair done. A sewing machine has come in handy during our travels, and not just for the typical sewing needs. In addition to replacing the clear plastic bimini windows and making dinghy chaps we have bound small carpet pieces, made an insulated cover for the freezer and stitched pieces of strapping material to make stronger dinghy and anchor tie downs.

The machine is amazing as it can sew through multiple pieces of canvas, leather and plastic and not skip a beat. We got a Sailright machine designed for marine use.  It has an instrument case, so we don’t have to worry about it getting damaged while under way. The only drawback is that it does not have the long arm of a true industrial machine, and it can be hard to fit large pieces of fabric through the feed area. We don’t have a large work table either. Big projects can be cumbersome and an extra set of hands is invaluable.

Two days of stitching and patching the bimini and epoxying the damaged anchor light and we are back in business! The old waterproof fabric backing got all over us during the process and Bob and I looked like we were ready to audition for the Blue Man Group by the time we were done having fun with this project.

We listened to the locals in French St-Martin partying and rapping while we worked. Sort of a different way to spend New Year’s Day.


We were happy to wake up and find our repair work still intact after another blustery night!



  1. Happy New Year Mr. & Mrs. MacGyver! Glad to hear you’re back in action after the rough weather. I’m still hoping to make it down your way in February. Please arrange for a steady 15kts of wind… with no canvas (or kite) tearing gusts..

  2. As they would say on the Dutch Islands Gellukig Nieuw Jaar ! Happy New Years to both of you, from the Dutchman in Texas. May 2012 be smooth sailing all the way.
    Bert’s enjoying his retirement building a big deck for hot tub, fire-pit, pergola,shed and all. The deer keep checking it out, since it is in one of their pathways to the lake. Keeping busy with our two yr old granddaughter Selena helping Opa build things.
    Bert and Janet Schadee

  3. Hello… I am so with you that’s a different way to spend new years lol… But glad you guys n the boat made it through… It’s exciting new adventures of life… Maybe frustrating too but sounds you guys are making the best of the bad or unexpected times… Smiles… Well aim not use then best way to get ahold of you guys but hopefully this works better than a fb message lol. I messaged uncle bob on his fb about school… I don’t see a place on this website to email or message you other than these comments so if you could check the fb message or I’ll try emailing you the message… Well glad all is well and back on track… Hope to hear from you soon… Thx love you crystal

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