The answer, Yes, NO, and Maybe.....
Depending on the job, the area and the people you run into..
First, you have to understand that cruisers are Cheep SOBs, I know, as I'm also one..
And I Owned a Marine
canvas shop for a number of years.. Most of my work for cruisers was for "In Trade" for something.. sometimes I would repair sails
or replace zippers in excange for them working in the shop doing simple labor. So YES, there is work out there for an experanced person to do.
And the "Park Bench Idea" It works, and infact it works way to much.. If you're good that is. We pulled into Berkely California
at one point, were berthed behind the officed on a very wide dock
, about 15 feet concrete.. figured it would be a good place for us to pull out the folding tables and do some mending of fabric
on our own boat.. It wasnt but about 30 minutes before someone came down the dock
with an arm load of repairs for us to do.
Our stay there went from origional of 3 days to over 3 weeks and we had to turn down work to get away.
and Many of the Old-timers here on CF have heard me bitching about a business not allowing me to go cruising, so there is plenty of work to do...
Now the down sides,
Its really hard to opperate a canvas business while cruising.. Space is an issue, for the machine, the fabric, and the parts and pieces needed to do the work.. I have 3 tool boxes full of DIFFERENT types of snaps, groumets, and fasteners and the tools to apply them. Machines, yes you can get by with a Sailrite machine but its hard to run a business with one, it just dosent have the guts to do the work.. We have a JUKI 1541 aboard, and at times it takes up alot of time.
Space for doing the work is another issue.. for doing a dodger, you need to "LAYOUT" and pattern the top and pieces.. very hard without a table of 6'x8' minimum.. Not an issue on a large boat and we carry folding tables, but the biggest issue is time involved..
When In the shop, I could build a Bimini
, complete from start to finish in about 6 to 8 hours.. on the boat, working in confined areas, it takes me a couple days..
Doing repairs is great but you'll find that you will never have the right pieces to do the job and they have to be ordered.. zippers, you'll have 2', 3', 4', 5' and maybe 6', in three sizes of #10, #8, and #5, and probably a roll of zipper for cushions
of #10 and #5.. just for repair.. And speaking of repairs.. they always come to you full of dirt and grime.. not what you want to go through your machine..
BUT, there is light at the end of the tunnel.. If you want to go cruising, you can do what we have done and that is to pick the SMALL jobs you can make a dollar on and find a product you can sell and build comfortably in the boat..
We have business, actually my wifes business, on line at
My wife has also started making doll clothing
, and can be assembled and sold on e-bay..