"Red Right Returning"... "Red Left Leaving"... "Red left, left right,
right red!"... Whew!
At the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, before that second
cup of coffee, or just plain "senior moment"! We find we often forget
which side we're supposed to be putting that !@*%$* buoy on. And it
doesn't help that the ICW markers don't follow the "red right" rule!
Our friend Joe Nillis on the "Ja-C-Jo" gave us this solution! This
simple red triangle! When the red is supposed stay to the right... we
put the triangle to the right! When the red is supposed to stay to the
left... bingo! The triangle goes to the left! When in doubt, the
helmsman only has to look down to know which is right. Of course,
that's ASSUMING the navigator (that would be ME!) has put it on the
proper side! But it is fairly easy to keep this straight. I look ahead
on the charts for spots where the system might change such as inlets
and river convergences, and check that I "flip" the "Nillis" if
And while you are looking at that picture of our "Nillis" notice the
nice covering we have on the steering wheel. Doesn't it have that
expensive leather look? Well, you just KNOW I wasn't going to spend
$125 for a leather wheel cover!
What you are looking at is tan Sunbrella canvas, cut into a bias strip covering the wheel. One and a
half yards of 60 inch wide Sunbrella is enough to do this project...
depending on where you get your fabric, that should cost you anywhere
from $15 to $38. Figure out the circumference of the tube that makes up
your wheel (in my case about 3 inches) then add one inch for folding
the cut edges under. Now cut two or three bias strips of Sunbrella that
width (4 inches for mine) from the part of the fabric that will give
you the longest strips (a bias strip is one cut at a 45 degree angle to
the normal weave of the fabric). Sew two of the strips together and
you will probably have enough for the circumference of your wheel.
Now cut the strip
to the exact length you need, sew the ends together so that it fits
your wheel snugly (the reason you use a BIAS cut is that it will "give"
a little and mold around the wheel without any "puckers"). Tuck under
1/2 inch along the cut edges and sew onto the wheel using waxed
whipping twine and a "baseball" stitch (I also taped the fabric in
place in a few spots using double sided Scotch brand tape). Voila! A
good looking covering that has a good "grip" and insulates your hands
from that cold metal on cold mornings!
But best of all it looks "Yachty"
without that "Yachty" price tag!