There is a common saying that every object on a boat must serve more than one purpose, and I recently learned that the sentiment can be applied to clothes as well. Although we cast off for cruising two months ago we found ourselves dockbound sooner than anticipated when an incredible job opportunity came up that would occupy our time for 10 days. Luckily, we were in my home town of Santa Cruz and scored an end tie at their “offseason” rate, pressing a pause on our southbound cruising adventures. 

During our time in the harbor our oversized fenders earned their keep as the aggressive harbor surge would lurch Avocet fore and aft, while also rocking her against the end tie platform — the fenders taking the entire blow. Unfortunately, we never got around to sewing big soft fender covers, so to protect our paint we wrapped towels around the fenders and secured them with another knot on top of the fender line. This worked for a total of two days, but on the third day when I checked the lines and noticed one of our towels had been lost to Poseidon I knew we needed an alternative solution… preferably one that didn’t include spending money.

“If only I could dress the fenders,”I thought, while analyzing the situation at hand. And that is when that Aha! moment struck. “Why not dress them up!?” 

Avocet’s fenders sporting Chris’ old shirts as covers.

I dashed into the boat, threw open my husband’s closet and sifted through his project shirts. After four years of every level of DIY project aboard Avocet, all of his shirts seemed to be candidates, so I chose the most ragged, socially unacceptable ones for my idea. T-Shirts in hand, I returned to our fenders and carefully untied them, slipping the shirt over the top. Smiling ear to ear, my quick-thinking worked and our fenders were no longer naked, sporting Chris’s finest old shirts as their new covers. And Avocet’s topside paint was no worse for the wear.

Before you buy something for your boat, take a look around and see if you already own something that will do the trick, I promise you are more creative than you think!