Courtesy of Talley and Jim Powell of the Trawler DAWN TO DUSK
(Trawler Cruisers We Met At The Dowry Creek Marina Near Belhaven, NC On Our Way Back From The Bahamas,  May 2012)

          There have been many discussions about our wine box bags which made their M.T.O.A. debut at the Cambridge Rendezvous. All these comments seem to end with either “Can I buy that one?” or, “You should make a bunch of those and sell them!”  I have been answering most of those remarks with either “no”, or “no.” 

          It was in a conversation this past fall with some fellow Turtles at one of Mary’s famous “Dowry Creek Marina Happy Hours” I said I might make a couple of the bags for friends as gifts, but I was going to put the basic instructions and patterns in an article for the M.T.O.A. magazine, and then everyone could make their own.

          My remark was met with great enthusiasm and encouragement.


  This is a discussion on the virtues and values of a well fitted wine box bag, and how the bag is analogous to, and parallels life cruising down the ICW.

          The first point in our conversation comes from the mentor assigned to us at the Cambridge 2011 Northern Rendezvous, Bob Smith.  He was talking about his wonderful Ford Lehman engines when he said, “Don’t make it difficult!”  The same holds true for life, and “the Bag.”


          The most complicated part of all this is the material selection.  The material should be a reflection of your inner soul, a statement of how you perceive yourself, and how you wish others to perceive you.  If you’re soft, smooth, and sensuous, you could use silk or satin.   If you want to project a more rough and tumble image, you could use burlap or canvas.  Just as your selection of the trawler you cruise the ICW speaks volumes about you and your style, so does “the Bag,” except “the Bag” costs a little less.

While perusing the materials available at a local yardage store, my First Mate/Admiral saw some upholstery material with turtles all over it.  In her lovely and simplistic way she said, “That’s it.”  So ended the most complicated part.  This isn’t shopping.  It’s buying.  Buy something and get over it.  All you’re doing is putting a masquerade on a cheap box of wine.

The second thing to consider is what brand of box wine you usually knock back.  All boxes are not all made the same.  Black Box is not the same size as a Bota Box, and neither compare to the manly Peter Vella box we’ve all come to know and love.



            It is important at this juncture to understand that it is easier to properly fit the bag to the box if the box is empty.  Your next step should now be clear to you.  Empty the contents of the box.

          I would like to point out that the first properly fitting wine box bag, through a process of trial and error, took approximately 4½ days to complete due to the emptying of the box(s) being bagged.  The involvement of that much alcohol and the ensuing and inevitable confusion to a point of diminishing returns significantly delayed the conclusion of the project.  Finally, and after about 4 yards of junk muslin wound up being thrown out the starboard portal, eureka, I solved the conundrum.  Turn it inside out first!  I got up off the floor and proceeded, thusly:


1. Turn the material inside out, folded over at the edge closest to you.
2. Measure two sides of the box                



3. Cut the material to be about an inch wider than the width of two sides of the box.  


4. Sew up the two sides, leaving about 3/8 inch hem.
5. Put the box in what now looks like a bag.


6. Push the box all the way into the bag, and fold over the ears at the bottom


7. Mark the ears, remove the bag from the box, and sew the ears shut.



   8. Turn the bag right side out, and put the box all the way into the bag.  


 9. Check for fit.
10. Measure the height of the bag, add about 3/8 inch for the hem.


11. Cut the bag top, fold it over inside the bag, and sew the hem.
12. Add rope handles, closing flap, and etcetera, as per the reflection of your inner soul.



           Here, as in life and cruising, it is far easier to box a bag, than to bag a box.

          Fernandina Beach is less than six months away.  The sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to complete your winter project for the dismay and display to your fellow Turtles.  And possibly a competition?   Judged perhaps by George Kay?   Maybe a pin to the winner?

          Remember your project will be delayed by the initial 4 ½ days as described earlier in this article.  There seems to be no valid way around it.

          Anyone needing detail clarification, or perhaps assistance in empting boxes, may contact me at (replace AT with @).  

                             Jim & Talley Powell

                             MTOA # 3826

                             Aboard “Dawn to Dusk”, currently lying New Bern Grand Marina, Slip B-32


(Ed. Note:  Again our thanks to Jim and Talley Powell for sharing this 'project' with us!  Fair winds, etc.)

Posted 7/8/2012
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