Sail and Canvas Upgrades
Sarah has undergone an almost continuous upgrade in sails and canvas since I purchsed her in 2000.  Very few years have gone by without a change to the sail or canvas inventory.
This page is a record of those upgrade.


New Sails
When I purchased Sarah in 2000 she came with a complete set of functional, but aging sails.  This inventory included a 135 Genoa on a Harken furler, a fully-battened mainsail, a full-battened mizzen and a working jib.  The working jib did not seem to be in good condition and I gave it away.  Then I started to replace all of the remaining sails.
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Flying the Asymmetrical Spinnaker On the Way to Bermuda in 2001
The first sail I added to Sarah's inventory was an Asymmetrical Spinnaker in early 2001.  The sail was made by Quantum and ordered through the Quantum loft in Solomons, MD.
Aquiring this sail before any others paid off when we sailed Sarah to Bermuda in June, 2001.  We had very light winds all the way from the Chesapeake Bay to Bermuda.  We flew the spinnaker most of that leg.
In the fall of 2001 I ordered my second sail from Quantum, a 135% Genoa (shown on the right).  This is Spectra laminate sail, which was about 30% more expensive than a convential Dacron sail from the same loft.  Today (2012) this sail is showing its age in the form of mildew (a common problem with laminates), but still has excellent shape.  I have had to replace the Sunbrella cover (2007) and the spreader chafe protection (2012). 
As of May, 2015, this sail has lived on the forestay for over thirteen years.  A replacement is planned for 2016.

Short Tacking With the New Genoa in 2002
Photo by Joe Kewer
Click on picture to view at full resolution
The Fully-Battened Mainsail by Quantum in 2003
A new fully battened mainsail from Quantum was added in 2003 and shown in the picture on the left.  With the exception of the mizzen, Sarah then had a completely new (since 2001) sail inventory.
This is also a Spectra laminate.  While the sail, in 2012, still has excellent shape it has had a number of repairs over the years.  The Spectra cloth has excellent stability, but it cannot take a lot of flogging.
In 2005, while enroute to the Azores from Bermuda, I managed to rip the foot of the sail because I let the sail flog too much in light winds.  This was quickly repaired by a sailmaker in Horta.
In 2011 I once more let the sail flog in light air and got a small tear in the luff, also easily repaired.
I guess the mainsail is more vulnerable to these kinds of tears because it is secured on two sides.  The Genoa is secured only on the luff and flogging does not produce as much stress on the fabric.
In 2015, after 12 years of service and two ocean crossings, I replaced the main sail with a Dacron sail from Neil Pride.  This sail is loose footed.  
In preparation for the trans-Atlantic passage in 2005 I added a Solent Stay to Sarah's rigging.  I had Mack Sails in Stuart, FL make a staysail for the Solent Stay. 
I really hadn't throughly thought this sail through before ordering it, and allowed Mack Sails to make a much bigger sail than was required.  I intended this sail to be the one I would fly when the winds were too much for a partially furled Genoa.  The sail Mack Sails made for me was basically a Pearson 424 working Jib, which was about 60% of the size of the Genoa.  I could furl the Genoa to less than 60% before I needed to reduce to sail further.  At that point the staysail represented a larger sail than my furled Genoa.  So in practice I rarely set this sail.
In 2007, when I had returned to the states, I had Quantum Solomons recut the sail so that it represented a reduction in sail area over that of a 50% furled Genoa.  The re-cut staysail is shown in the picture on the right.
I also have a ATN Gale Sail that was originally intended to be set around the furled Genoa.  I found that an impractical implementation and had the sleeve that fits around the furled sail removed and replaced with conventional hanks.  That storm jib can now be set on the Solent Stay.

Staysail, Recut by Quantum, Solomons

New Mizzen Sail in 2015
In 2015 I finally replaced the mizzen sail that came with Sarah when I purchased her in 2000.  Now all of the sails on Sarah are new since my ownership.
For this sail I went with a loose foot and no battens.  This sail is difficult to set and furl because of the Bimini.  The battens and the boom slides made taking the sail on and off even more difficult.
Because of the difficulty setting and furling I have seldom used the mizzen in the last 5 years.  The old sail was pretty well blown out from the Atlantic crossings.  I tried using it as a riding sail at anchor, but it was too baggy to work well for even that task. 
I hope the new sail with its good shape will encourage me to use this sail more often.
Because of the difficulty furling and setting this sail it is a prime candidate for the "Stack Pack" type sail cover.  That may happen in 2016.
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Whoosh Flying a Mizzen Staysail in the Carribbean
Photo Provided by Jack Tyler
On the left is a picture of Whoosh flying a mizzen staysail on a passage from the Bay Islands to Grand Cayman.
I've been planning to add this sail to  Sarah' inventory since 2007.  It just hasn't happened as yet.
Sail Covers
When I purchased Sarah the sail covers were serviceable, but old and worn.  They were also black - not my favorite color.  When I purchased the new Genoa I also had Leonard Canvas in Solomons (Quantum Sails) make me a new set of sail covers for the mizzen and mainsails in Sunbrella Toast.  Leonard also made the cover for the wheel.
In 2009 the sail covers were replaced by Custom Canvas in New Bern, NC.
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Sail Covers Made by Quantum, Solomons, MD

New Turtle for the Asymmetrical Spinaker
The Quantum asymmetrical spinnaker purchased in 2001 came with a turtle or deck bag, from which to launch the sail.  That bag lived on deck, hooked to the lifelines, for nearly 8 years.  The only time the bag was removed from the elements was dockside, when it lived under the dinghy.
Finally in 2009, the original turtle disintegrated from almost constant UV exposure.  For the next 3 years the spinnaker was stored in the Genoa sail bag.
Finally, in 2012, I had Pat's Canvas Shop in Jacksonville, FL make me a new turtle - this time out of Sunbrella fabric.
Maybe now I will start using this sail once again.
 Dodger and Bimini
The Dodger that came Sarah was ugly (Black!) and poorly designed (it was difficult to get around the Dodger when going between the cockpit and the deck.  I kept the Dodger until we completed the Bermuda Cruise as I felt we needed some protection for the cockpit.  My crew believed we needed even more protection and improvised a Bimini from bed sheets.

When we returned from Bermuda I discarded the Dodger (it was badly worn) and began planning for a new one and a Bimini.  I wanted the width of the new Dodger to be inboard of the cockpit coamings so it would not be so difficult to climb out of the cockpit onto the side deck.  I also wanted the Bimini to allow me to stand under it at my full height (6'2").  The later requirement led me to raise the mizzen boom about 1'.  This is the maximum I could raise the boom without requiring the mizzen sail to be re-cut with a shorter hoist.

In 2003 I started to seriously talk to canvas fabricators.  I considered a hard dodger like the Wavestopper, but decided the low main boom and and proximity of the mizzen mast did not make that solution practical for Sarah.  The biggest problem with the fabricators is that there are so few of them in the mid-Chesapeake area.  There are only two in Solomons.  I could go to Annapolis, but even there there are only a handful of shops.  I finally decided to turn the work over to Clark McKinney of Quantum Sails in Solomons.  There were a lot of compromises required to come up with the final product primarily involved with getting around the mizzen  mast in the middle of the cockpit and the low boom over the trunk cabin.  The major compromise for both the Bimini and the Dodger is that I will not be able to lower them with the booms in place.  In order to achieve both head room under the canvas and strength in construction it will not be possible for either of them to fold under the booms.  This is not a major issue for the Dodger as I expect to leave it up in all weather.  However, I may need to remove the Bimini in preparation for a storm.  Currently the solution will be to remove the Bimini cover from the bows and leave the bows in place.  The obvious alternatives are (1) to cut down the height of the Bimini to allow it to be lowered or (2) to re-cut the mizzen to allow the mizzen boom to be raised another foot..  Neither alternative is very attractive.  One solution suggested by a friend is to loosen the set screws holding the secondary bows to the primary bow and allow them to slide down the primary bow until they are low enough to clear the boom, then fold everything forward against the back of the mizzen mast.

I think this solution is workable, but it will require some minor modifications to the existing configuration.

  • Install and secure collars immediately above the secondary bow attachment points to provide a reference for where the jaw slides must be secured when raising the Bimini.
  • Replace the set screws in the jaw slides with fast pins so the slides can be released and secured quickly.


I'm sure there are other issues that would have to be dealt with to implement the solution.  For sure it will be a 2-person job.  If I am single-handing I will probably have to just take down the cover and leave the bows in place.

In any case I don't plan to make any modifications for a month or two until I get used to having all this canvas around the cockpit.

In summary I am very satisfied with the quality and value I received from Clark and his staff at Quantum Solomons.  My wanting to tweak the design is part of the process of adjusting the product and myself to the best solution, which is never apparent at the start.  The product I received conformed to the design we worked out together and was delivered at a fair price.

Click on picture to view at full resolution
Bows for the Dodger Installed
Here the bows of the new dodger in place.  Fabric was still being put together at this time.  This gives me 48" of clearance above the bridge deck to enter and exit the companionway.  This is adequate, but will require me to stoop a great.  This is probably a good thing as it will keep the head of anyone going through the companionway well below the height of the boom.
Two weeks later both the Dodger and the Bimini are in place.  Click on picture to view at full resolution
Dodger and Bimini Completed
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Dodger and Bimini, Viewed From the Bow
Looking at the Dodger and Bimini from the bow.  The Bimini is about 6" higher than the dodger.  The limit on the height of each are the mizzen and main booms, respectively.  The result is I can stand under the Bimini at the helm and see over the Dodger.  Something I wanted.
Dodger and Bimini from above. Click on picture to view at full resolution
Dodger and Bimini
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Dodger and Bimini From the Side
The Dodger conforms to the coach roof and is within the cockpit coamings.  This allows anyone to step onto or over the coaming when going forward.  The previous Dodger was attached outboard of the coaming making it difficult and awkward get around it and onto the deck.


 The Dodger support is strengthen by vertical support attached to the cockpit bulkhead.  This support allows the side curtains to be released without weakening the dodger.  The side curtains must be released to allow a full 360 degree rotation of a 10" winch handle. Click on picture to view at full resolution
Dodger, Viewed From the Cockpit
Click on picture to view at full resolution
Top of Bimini
Clark added vinyl strips to take the wear of the mizzen sail and cover rubbing on the top of the Bimini.

Because the mizzen sail control lines are cleated to the boom directly over the Bimini I replaced the cleats with rope clutches on the forward edge of the boom.  This allows them to be adjust easily with a lot more leverage than reaching out over the top of the Bimini while standing on tip toes.  See Mizzen Running Rigging for details.

In order to allow the Bimini to be as tall as the mizzen boom permitted, I borrowed an idea from Jack Tyler and moved the mizzen sheet tackle to stern rail.  The bottom fiddle block in the tackle is attached with a snap shackle.  After setting up this arrangement I discovered it also eliminated the need for a vang on the mizzen boom.  When sailing off the wind I can rotate the sheet tackle and the leeward running backstay.  The backstay is moved forward and secured to the base of the mizzen shroud and the sheet tackle is moved to the pad eye vacated by the backstay.  That will allow me to maintain a downward, restraining force on the mizzen boom without using a vang. Click on picture to view at full resolution
Mizzen Sheet
New Dodger in 2011

New Dodger, 2011
While berthed for the winter of 2010-2011 in Jacksonville, FL I decided I really needed to replace both the Dodger and the Bimini.  Over 7 years of constant exposure, including two very cold winters had taken their toll.  I had re-stitched and patched both items on several occaisions.  Now the material was starting to give way.
I am reasonably confident that I could make a new Bimini as the panels and zippers are mostly straight.  The Dodger is another matter.  I left that to the professionals, in this case Pat's Canvas & Sail Repair shop next to the Ortega Yacht Club Marina.  The new dodger is shown on the left.
When I ordered the new dodger I requested several modifications to the existing one and the canvas shop recommended some more.  In the picture on the right the clear vinyl panes are covered by a removable panel.  This was done at the recommendation of the shop as it provides protection for the vinyl, extending its life, and also provides shade for the companionway.
Vinyl Cover

Smaller Center Window Panel
In the picture on the left I have removed the cover to expose the clear vinyl windows.  One of the major differences from the old dodger is the size of the center window panel.  This openning panel was much larger on the original.  The zippers for that panel provided the opening for the traveller control lines.  This was not a bad idea, but it made it somewhat difficult to roll up and secure that large opening panel.
It will be a lot easier open and close the new panel.
View From the Cockpit

Line Ports Under the Dodger, Port Side
This is a closer view of the openings provided for the port traveller line and the main sheet.  The opening on the far left will be used for an inboard lead for the staysail sheet.  I plan use rope clutches on that and the main sheet, so they can both be trimmed by the existing main sheet winch.
This is a view of the starboard side of the dodger.  Just two openings here.  I have purchased a used Lewmar 25 winch for the stay sail sheet on this side.
Line Ports Under the Dodger, Starboard Side

D-Rings to Secure Openning Panel
Another change from the old dodger is the method to secure the opening panel.  As stated above, that large panel was difficult to roll up and secure, almost impossible for one person.  Usually I just flipped that panel over and on top of the dodger when I wanted to get some air to the cockpit.  I had no way to secure the panel in that location and it often was blown down in front.  That position also put stress on the top of the zippers, causing broken teeth and ripped threads.
For the new dodger the shop sewed a couple of D-rings into the top of the dodger (as shown on the left) and attached short strings to the bottom of the pane.  I can now flip the openning panel onto the top of the dodger and secure it without stressing the zippers.
One feature of the dodger was delayed until a local metal fabricator could make the grab rails.  With the rails installed on both sides of the dodger I now have something strong and secure to hold onto when moving between the cockpit and the deck.
Grab Rail on Dodger

Grab Rail on Dodger
The grab rails are thru-bolted to the frame tubes.
New Bimini in 2012
One of the first things I did when I returned to the Ortega Yacht Club Marina in Jacksonville, FL  was to order a replacement Bimini.  I am very satisfied with the Dodger Pat's Canvas and Sail Repair built for me last year so I gave them the job.  I also wanted to have an insert between the Bimini and the Dodger so it made sense to have them modify the Dodger they made.
The first step in making the new Bimini was to add a zipper onto the top of the Dodger for the insert piece.

Zipper Sewn Into Top of Dodger

Dodger Grab Rail Re-Attached
This meant removing the Dodger from the frames and taking it the shop for the modification.  When I got it back I had to re-install the grab rails on the Dodger.  This took a lot of finagling, shaking and pushing to get the studs to go back through the holes in the frames.  The port side went in fairly easily, but the starboard rail fought me all the way.
Finally I resorted to the gentle persuasion tool in my canvas tool bag.  That took care of the starboard rail.
Persuasion Tool

New Bimini
On March 27, the new Bimini was installed on Sarah.  It is pretty much a duplicate of the original Bimini.
That means it isn't very large, fitting between the mizzen mast and the running backstays.
Side View of Bimini

Top View of Bimini
Pat did add more chafe protection on the front and back edges.  Extra protection has been provided in the area of the main mast backstays and the running backstays.  These areas chafed through on the old Bimini.
I retained the Load Lock Fasteners from DRD.  I replaced the original tie-downs with the Load Lock Fasteners in 2005.
Tie Down Attachment

Forward Port  Side Tie Down Strap
The forward tie downs secure to the same eye straps used on the orginal Bimini.  The rear tie-downs secure to the stern rail stanchion bases.
I'm considering using solid tubing for the rear tie-down.  With the current arrangement I have to disconnect the tie down to use the gas grill or to move the outboard motor on or off the stern rail.
Ten days after the new Bimini was delivered, the insert between the Bimini and the Dodger was installed.
Insert Added Between Dodger and Bimini

Bimini Dodger Insert
The insert is mounted on zippers on the edges of the Bimini and the Dodger.
The picture on the right was taken about 1500 in the afternoon.  The Sun was at its brightest and shining directly over the bow.  For the past several days I could not relax in the cockpit at this time of day as the only relief from the Sun was up under the Dodger, where there was no breeze.
View From Within Cockpit

Openning for Mizzen Mast
The insert allows enough room to work the mizzen halyard, reef lines and the topping lift.  However I doubt I will have the insert installed when I am under sail.
The final step was to mount the shade curtains I made in 2011 on the new Bimini.
Shade Curtains Mounted on New Bimini

Port Side View of Dodger, Bimini and Shade Curtains
I made only one side curtain for the cockpit because generally the Sun is on one side or the other of the boat.  Today the Sun is shining directly over the bow and I could use curtains on both sides of the cockpit.
I still have plenty of the Sunbrella Shade material, but I think that task will wait until next year.
Cabin Curtains

Original Cabin Curtains
I inherited a complete set of simple curtains for the port lights on the Sarah.  These were not elegant curtains, but they served the purpose of privacy and kept most of the harsh sunlight out of the cabin on hot summer days.  They weren't very attractive (picture on the left).  However I had enough projects so I just lived with them.
I have no idea how old they were in 2006 when Bob Calt offered to wash them while we were in Madeira on the way back to the USA.  Only five of the eight curtains came back from the wash.  The UV had gotten to them and they all but disintegrated in detergent and water.

So now I had three port lights with no curtains.  I lived with that for the next three years until in the summer of 2009 when I arrived in New Bern, NC.  I quickly discovered that summer sun in North Carolina really required awnings and port light curtains.  I started a project to make a deck awning, but the material I purchased, Sunbrella Shade, proved to be a little tricky to work with, especially for my limited sewing skills.  I decided to attempt a little smaller project before starting on the deck awning.
The hatch awnings seemed to be more important than curtains so I started on those first.  I was following an instructional video from SailRite on how to work with Sunbrella Shade.  In their video, SailRite sewed nylon webbing along the material edges, then sewed binding tape over the reinforced edges to provide a finished edge.  I had no difficulty sewing the webbing to the material I cutout for the hatch awnings.  In some ways this is simpler than hemming the edges.  However the second step tested and exceeded the limits of my sewing machine and my skill.  I could not get the binding and the Shade material to pass cleanly through my SailRite Yachstman machine, even though I was using a binder attachment to feed the binding tape into the machine (picture on the right). 
Binder Attachment on SailRite Yachtsman
 I experimented with many pieces of test material, but I could not get the material to feed through my machine.  I tried using just the Shade material without the nylon webbing.  That would feed, but I couldn't keep the shade material inside the binding fold.  All it took was a second of inattention (e.g., trying to keep the machine speed slow and steady) and the Shade would slip out of the binding.  It looks really easy on the SailRite video.  The reality was a little different for me.

Sewing Machine on Table Pedestal
Part of the problem was the limited space I have for a sewing machine in the Sarah's main cabin.  I set the machine on the central pedestal of the dinning table and used one leaf to catch the material coming through the machine.  There is very little counter space to the left of the machine to support the material while is it being fed through the machine. 
 Consequently I'm fighting gravity trying to keep the material and the binding tape together.  I experimented with turning the machine 90 degrees and using the table leaf as support for the material, but then I had to sew standing up and I couldn't see what was happening under the machine.  The result was the same - the material and the binding separated before being joined by the machine.
So I once more re-grouped and tried what I thought would be a simpler project - port light curtains.  For this project I decided to forego both the webbing and the binding on the edges.  In stead I would do a simple hem.  I tried to do a mitre corner with the hem, but even that proved a little difficult, so I went a very inelegant overlapped corner hem.  The result for the port light in the head is shown on the right.
Curtain on Port Light in Head

Although it is certainly nothing elegant, I am satisfied with the result.  This curtain does the three most important things I wanted from the new curtains.
1, Provide privacy.
2. Cuts down on the heat from the sun.
3. Lets in the maximum amount of light while still achieving the first two goals.

Port Light in Shower Stall
The other nice thing about this approach to making curtains, it took only a few hours to make curtains for the port light in the head and the port light in the shower stall.  The shower stall curtains are shown on the left.
The curtains are mounted on the port lights using the screws that hold the internal port light trim in place.  I replaced the #8 x3/4 round head screws in the trim with #6x1 flat head screws, which held the curtain track mounting in place.
Curtain Track Mounting on Port Light Trim

Curtain Track Mounted on Port Light Trim
Then the track was snapped into the holders on the top and the bottom of the port light and the curtain carriers were slid into the track.
For the carriers I used the Snap-On Tape from Sailrite.  This is a nylon webbing tape with Snap-On studs attached on 4-1/2" centers.  All I had to do was sew this tape to the top and bottom edges of the finished curtain.  Then I attached the Snap-On carriers (also from SailRite) to studs on the awnings.  The carriers slide into the track.  You can see the Snap-On studs through the material in the pictures of the awnings mounted on the port lights.   I also purchased the Small Screw Stops from SailRite to secure the carriers in the track.
On the right is the new curtain installed on the port light in the galley.  It allows a generous amount of light, but very little heat.   This picture was taken in the early afternoon in August.  Sarah is berthed facing West, so the port-side lights get a lot of nearly direct sunlight.
Notice I had not yet removed the old curtain rod when I took this picture.
I'm not going to brag about these curtains (they a pretty rough construction), but they do serve the cabin much better than the old curtains.

Galley Port Light

Small Port Lights in the Saloon
There are four relatively large (20" wide)  port lights and four relatively small (10" wide) port lights on Sarah.
On the left are two of the small port lights.
I may have cut the curtains for the small port lights a little too narrow.  They barely cover the width of the ports.  They seem to work though so I won't be re-making them.  I'll just trim down the tracks a little.
Curtain on Saloon Port Light

Velcro Tape on Openning Port Light
For the two opening ports I used self-adhesive backed Velcro to attach the curtain material to the port light.
This is the opening port light in the main cabin.
Openning Port Light Curtain Mounted with Velcro

Openning Port Light in Forward Cabin
And this is the opening port light in the forward cabin.  Using Velcro the port light can be opened without removing the curtain.
I'm not sure how well the Velcro adhesive will hold on the aluminum frame of the port light.  The Velcro I used for the main cabin port light has been in my parts bin for several years, so I don't expect it to hold very long at all.  The Velcro I used in the forward cabin was recently purchased, so it will be the benchmark for adhesion to the frame.
If the Velcro adhesive does not hold I could go to JB Weld.
There is really no reason for me to remove these curtains so this may be a non-issue.
My final curtain project was the clear acrylic companion way wash board.  The only draw back to the clear board is it let a lot of direct sun light in during the morning or afternoon hours.  This made the aft cabin very hot on summer days.
This curtain is attached to the board with Velcro on the upper, outer corners.

Curtain Mounted on Acrylic Hatch Board
Well it looks like my curtain project is pretty much over.  Now onto the real sewing project - hatch and deck awnings.  Then I can put the sewing machine away for another year.
Hatch Awnings
Hatch awnings were actually a higher priority than the port light curtains.  This August has been very hot and heat from the sun beaming through the hatches rendered the air conditioning useless.  So my first priority was to cut the material for the hatches and lay it in place weighted down with winch handles.  This proved the effectiveness of the Sunbrella Shade material as a sun cover and it allowed the air conditioning to keep the cabin habitable while the outside temperature was over 95F.
This allowed me to work on the curtains while I was still designing the hatch awnings.

Awning on Galley Hatch
The picture on the left is the completed awning for the galley hatch.  If you look at the pictures below, taken within a few minutes of this one, you can see that the sun was nearly directly overhead.
Also if you look closely at this picture you will see that the varnish on the hatch frame is badly in need of refreshment.  Now that I have a UV screen on this hatch, maybe the next varnish job will last more than a few years.
The main issue in the design was how I would attach the awnings to the hatches.  I finally decided the simplest fastener would be Dot snaps, but then how to attach the snap stud to the hatch frame.
My initial solution was to use pop rivets, but I wasn't sure if the pressure of a pop rivet might deform the stud.  I was also more than a little anxious about drilling holes in the frame.  Jack Tyler suggested using J-B Weld, which I had not considered until that moment.  Then the issue was whether J-B Weld would hold the stud to the frame when the snap fastener is pulled apart.  I had purchased a piece of flat aluminum stock to test the pop rivets and I used that to test the J-B Weld.  That test seemed to be successful so I attached four studs to the hatch over the galley with J-B Weld. 
The picture on the right shows the snap stud on the frame.  Actually this particular stud did come loose when I first pulled the snap fastener apart.  I did not get enough epoxy on the stud base, so I re-attached it.

Snap Stud Secured with J-B Weld
One of the problems using adhesive to attach the studs to the frame is that the frame is an extrusion, actually a flat tube rather than a solid piece of flat stock.  The inner and outer surfaces are not parallel, which makes it difficult to put a clamp on the stud when it is glued to the frame.  This is less true on the sides of the frame, but a significant problem on the front of the frame.
I could have cut darts out of the corners of the awnings as I was sewing the hems.  This would have made the awning form a shape more conforming to that of the hatch frame.  I opted for the easier method of just mitering the corners.  It may not be as elegant, but it works and I didn't have to spend time figuring out how much of a dart was necessary to match the curve of the hatch corner.

Galley Hatch Awning
The picture on the left shows the completed awning for the galley hatch.  I can open and close the hatch with the awning in place.
I put two snap fasteners each on the forward part of the hatch frame and the two sides.  There are no fasteners on the aft part of the frame to prevent any interference with the hatch hinges.
I think I can leave these awnings in place all summer, even when sailing.
Well, the JB-Weld never held reliably.  Some of the studs held for repeated separation from the sockets, but many came loose from the hatch frame.  There just isn't enough surface contact between the stud base and the frame in addition to the difficulty clamping the stud to the frame described above.  After two years the awnings were only being held by two or three fasteners, and I expected some of them to let go the next time I removed the awnings.
While in Jacksonville for the winter I discussed this with Mike of Pat's Canvas and Sail Repair shop, and he suggested I use pop-rivets.  He loaned me his rivet press and gave me a bunch of studs that are riveted.  I  drilled 1/8" holes in the frame where the JB-weld has let go and riveted the studs.  
 These studs are a standard product from DOT fasteners (Durable).  I believe I could have just as easily have riveted one of the standard Durable studs using a normal blind rivet.  The real key to this working well was Mike's rivet press, which has a small diameter die for the rivet stem.  This die fits into the stud without deforming it.  My rivet press has a larger die, and I believe it would deform the stud.  So, I may be looking for a another press with a smaller die.  I didn't rivet all of the studs.  Those that were still secured by JB-Weld are still on the hatches.  I will likely need to rivet these some time in the future.  I  also will likely want to attach other canvas items to metal with DOT fasteners.
Snap Stud Riveted to the Hatch Frame
Within a year of using rivets on the hatch frames several more of the J-B Welded snaps came loose.  I no longer had access to Mike's rivet gun, so I used mine with the larger die.  This did not create any problems with the fasteners as I feared it might.
Shade Awnings for the Cockpit
Sarah's Bimini is not very large.  That is largely the result of the geometry of a Ketch rig.  I also wanted to keep the Bimini inboard of all rigging.  I've  seen some P424 Biminis in which the running backstays are inboard of the Bimini, going through a hole in the Bimini.  I prefer to have none of the rigging incumbered by the Bimini.
A small Bimini means not a lot of shade in the cockpit in the late afternoon.

Cockpit Sun Awnings
Finally, in April, 2011, I decided to do something about the lack of shade and also to use up some more of the Sunbrella Shade material I bought for the deck awning that may never be made (certainly not with Shade).  The result is shown on the left and below.
I made the awnings in three panels, one for the sides and two for the stern.  Generally I would never need awnings on both sides of the cockpit.  The sun will either be directly overhead or to one side or the other.  So I attempted to make the side panel such that it could be mounted on either port or staraboard.  That was a fairly successful approach, although it does fit a little better on the port side.  The stern panels each cover one half of the end of the Bimini.  This means I can remove the starboard panel to use the gas grill, which mounts on the stern rail on that side.  I can also remove the port panel to get at the outboard motor.
Cockpit Sun Awnings

Cockpit Sun Awnings
OK, so it looks like I just hung up a couple of my bedsheets.  Elegance was never the objective.
Anyway it works.  I completed this project during an unusually warm Spring day in Jacksonville, FL.  The afternoon temperatures were in the low 90s and the Sun was brutal.  It was very hot and uncomfortable working in the cockpit to install the fittings.  Once I had the side panel up, things improved greatly.
The panels are secured to the Bimini with Common Sense fasteners (AKA twist locks).  The bottoms are secured with elastic cord.
These awnings are only for times at anchor or dockside.  Even then they need to be taken down in high winds.  The Sunbrella Shade material is a very loose weave and could be badly distorted by even a moderate amount of air pressure.  In order to stabilize the material I hemmed each panel with nylon webbing.  The tops and bottoms are hemmed with 1-1/2" webbing (to hold the fasteners) and the sides were hemmed with 3/4" webbing.
Deck Awning
In 2013 I spent my first summer living onboard in Jacksonville, FL.  I  guess the sun is a lot brighter here than in Maryland and North Carolina,  because even with A/C running 24/7 the cabin was getting very warm (over 85 °F) in the afternoon.
In July I finally broke down and ordered a deck awning from William Gardner Assoc., a local canvas shop.  The result is shown on the right.

Sarah's New (2013) Deck Awning

The Awning Poles Have Not Been Rigged
In order to reduce the cost a bit, I agreed to do the rigging work and William Gardner fabricated the awning out of Stamoid Light material.
In the picture on the left I have partially rigged the awning.  I have not inserted the cross-wise poles at each end nor have I rigged all of the tensioning lines.  Still it is holding up pretty well in a 10-12 kt breeze blowing over the bow.
I am very happy with the design and workmanship provided by William Gardner.  One design feature I would not have thought of was the rigging of longitudinal lines as ridge poles.  There is one rope on the centerline and one each on the outer edges.  These ropes allow me to  quickly rig the awning by myself.  The awning will actually slide forward and aft on these ridge pole ropes.  Separate lines are used to tension the awning and position it over the deck.
At this time I have rigged the tensioning lines only on the center of the awning.

The Awning Rides on  Longitudinal Lines Acting as Ridge Poles.
This first day with the awning up clearly showed its value.  The afternoon temperature in this area has been into the mid-90s for several days, including this day.  In the previous days the maximum temperature in the cabin, as measured by a thermometer near the top of the cabin, was over 86°F.  Today the maximum temperature was under 82°F.

Poles Added to the Forward and Aft Edges
After a few days I addeed to poles to the forward and aft edges of the awning.
The poles provide a more rigid form and stabilize the shape of the awning.  I still have not added tensioning lines to the outer edges of the awning.  Only the center line of the awning is tensioned for and aft.  I'm trying to decide if the outer edges really need tensioning.  The fewer lines I use the easier it will be to set and remove the awning.
Pole in the Forward Edge of the Awning

Center and Tensioning Lines Clipped to an Eye Stap on the Mizzen Mast
In order to make the attachment of the center pole and tensioning lines I  added an eye strap to the mizzen mast and use shackles to attach the lines to the mast.  This is particularly import for the lines to the mizzen mast as they are at the limit of my reach from the cockpit.  It is very difficult to climb the mast and tie in the ropes as I would have only one hand free.  The other hand would be required to keep me from falling.
With the eye strap in place I can just clip in the lines then go forward to the main mast the tension of the awning.
I also put an eye strap on the main mast to clip in the center lines.  I tension the lines at this end, but it is still easier to just clip in the lines and tension them against the shackle, rather than tie them around the mast.
The gold braid nylon line is the centerline rope.  The white rope is the tensioning line for the center of the awning.
In this picture I have not trimmed the length of the tensioning line.

Center and Tensioning Lines Clipped to the Main Mast

Spigot Attached to the Awning to Catch Rain Water
Within a few days of rigging  the awning we had an extended period of moderate to heavy rains here in Jacksonville.  I discovered that without raising the center of the awning with the topping lift the sides of the awning filled with water.  The topping lift solved that problem, but it made me aware of the opportunity to use the awning as a rain-catcher to collect water for the tanks.
I still had some credit with the canvas maker and he agreed to add two opennings in the awning to insert a spigot, as shown on the left.
The spigot is a standard 3/4" deck scupper to which I will attach 3/4" vinyl hose and run hose to the deck fills for the port and starboard tanks.
When I'm not in rain catching mode, or the awning is stowed the spigots will be removed as shown on the right.  Without the hose or a plug in the awning holes, they will drip onto the deck during a rain storm, but this is a sun awning not a rain cover.

Hole in the Awning with the Spigot Removed

Awning Rigged with the Topping Lift, but without the Poles
On the left I have re-installed the awning without the cross poles.  With the center of the awning raised by the topping lift I expect little water will collect on the awning and what does will drain through the holes.
In order to use the awning as a rain-catcher all I need do is lower the topping lift, attach the hose and run it to the water tank deck fill.  The with topping lift dropped the awning will sag allowing the water to collect on the sides and drain into the hoses rather than flowing over the side.
I don't really expect this to produce a lot of water in my tanks.  I tested the rain catchment in a recent light-moderate rain of about 1 hour.  Using just one side of the awning I collected over 2 gallons of water.  That means with both sides of the awning feeding a single 50 gallon tank it would take nearly 12 hours to fill one tank.  The awning might collect more water in a heavy shower, but those generally are shorter in duration and accommpanied with a lot of wind which will tend to spill the water on the decks rather that down the drain.
Still it is free water and the modifications don't affect the sun protection provided by the awning.
I still have some work to do with the rigging.  I want to be able rig and de-rig the lines as quickly as possible.  For this purpose I'm using small snap shackles whereever possible.  However the shackles slide easily up and down the shrouds to which the awning is secured.  I will need to add some lashings or cable clamps to the shrouds to keep the shackles in place.
Still Have Work to do on the Rigging
Working with Sunbrella Shade
Shade is a loose weave fabric made of the same acrylic used for most other Sunbrella fabric.  The loose weave allows a considerable amount of light through the fabric, but cuts down significantly on the amount of harsh sunlight (UV and IR).  It is sold primarily as covers for the large windshields on many power boats.  It should also be an excellent material for awning hatches and port light curtains.  I may be stretching (figuratively and literally) the technology in using it for a deck awning.
I ordered more material than I needed for the deck awning from SailRite.  I figured I would make a few mistakes and allowed for a certain amount of wastage.  Then if I didn't waste too much I would have enough material left over to start on the hatch awnings and curtains.
When I received the roll of material I got my first surprise.  I expected the outer edges of the roll to be finished and sealed in the same manner as the other Sunbrella fabric I've dealt with.  Instead the outer edges of the Shade material are unfinished and need to be trimmed and sealed.  This is similar to the upholstery material I used 15 years ago to make new cushion covers for the cabin of my previous boat.  The deck awning will require at least three long (13') panels.  I had not planned on having to trim and seal the long edges of these panel, just the short ones.  This was one more reason to start on the small projects (hatch awnings and curtains) before starting on the deck awning.
Unfinished Edge of Sunbrella Shade Material

Soldering Iron Used to Cut Sunbrella
Cutting Shade and most of the other Sunbrella acrylic fabric is best done with a hot knife.  SailRite sells a hot knife for about $150.  If I had known I was going to have to trim and seal the long edges of my awning panels I might have opted for that tool.  Instead I purchased a 40W soldering iron with a cutting tip.
I have several soldering irons in my electrical tool box, but I elected to purchase one and dedicate it to cutting acrylic fabric.  It will stay in my canvas work tool box.
I still needed a place where I could cut the 54" wide fabric.  Patricia Tyler suggested the aft cabin berth, and that turned out to be the best place.  I purchased a 4'x2' piece of Luan plywood as the cutting surface and laid it on the berth.  This gave me a surface on which I could both measure and cut the fabric.
Using Luan Plywood as Cutting Board on Aft Cabin Berth