Friday at the Ars Electronica I arrived a touch late but still not too late that I missed a quite lovely talk from Arne Hendriks about the Repair Manifesto and about the various details of repair as opposed to recycling, reducing and other ways of dealing with the world. I often feel a bit foolish with my various repairs, so this was a nice bout of feel-good for the inner fixer. We have been reading a lot in the fine “Arts of the Sailor” by Hervey Garrett Smith, a wonderfully old fashioned opinionated and eloquent writer about the finesse of rope work and seamanlike repairs. With a mixture of his notes and the somewhat more lengthy explanations of the “Sailmaker’s Apprentice” from Emiliano Marino, we prepared for our “A good captain always goes down with his Ship” party with some repairs.

A long Herringbone holding the Umbrella together.

The Umbrella that we hide under at lunchtime and other times outside is a lovely looking piece of gear with a coloured canvas surface and wooden spreaders, unfortunately with plastic parts and some other bad design decisions also included. M9 has managed a few repairs, re-gluing some split wood and suchlike, but it was really time to do some proper repairs. In particular the wind (it can get stormy in the harbour) and friction have made several tears in the  canvas. So it was time to try out the capacity of herringboning to get the tears back together.

It turns out that my reading of both fine books still left me making some compromise between the two techniques that were presented, not quite as simple as the simple technique, not as complex as the intricate method. But the results look good and seem to spread the load around suitably. Actually looking around at various sailing pages I find examples where I reckon that mine looks great! But I also learnt a few things looking at other people’s explanations of how they do it – there are many variations and I still have a LOT to learn.

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