An avid Hobie sailor friend came home from a recent trip with the trampoline starting to pull out of the port extrusion. We had a look at it and determined that the stitching was giving way and the material was pulling away from the bolt rope. Since the starboard hull was leaking badly where the prior owner had patched it, this boat is out of commission for a while. In other words, a good time to pull the tramp off and restitch it.
I took the tramp home and washed it in the bathtub, pulling out a fair amount of black soot. Examination of the stitching proved that it was all rotten. As is recommended by Sailrite, I thoroughly oiled the machine before starting the project. The original thread was black, but on top it was faded to a light gray. I decided to restitch in yellow. That would make all the bunched and missed stitches obvious, but it would also make it easier to see broken stitches in the future. I spooled several bobbins with yellow V92, knowing it was going to take a lot of thread.
The first few feet of stitching looked pretty ragged, but eventually I got the machine adjusted to make a fair zig-zag. Soot continued to pour out of the cloth, so after a while I halted work and rewashed the tramp.
The heavy material and cheap needles led to several needle deflections. The spring cap was hopelessly damaged, but fortunately I had a spare. One deflection was so bad that the needle hit the top of the foot, bending it at a 30 degree angle. As I got close to finishing the job, accumulations of soot in the mechanism, plus burrs on the spring cap and gib hook, caused many thread breaks, until I finally gave up on zig-zag stitching and finished with straight stitches. Some of the gusseting was too thick to zig-zag anyway.
Eventually I got all the stitching done, all the tags cut off and the ends melted, and when I have time I will give the machine a good cleaning and oiling. I will work over the gib hook with 1000 grit sandpaper to get it smooth, and probably replace the spring cap. The tramp is done and should last many more years, especially if a tarp is kept over it when the boat is not in use. Sunlight is the killer of stitching, and to a lesser extent, tramp material.
Text and Photographs by Paul Clayton. Posted 08/21/21.
Copyright © 2021 Paul M. Clayton