Flying courtesy flags becomes expensive when you are always on the move. We recently saw a rack of courtesy flags priced between £7 and £22 each. Soon we will head to the Caribbean, where almost every island has its own flag.
The cost of buying this season’s courtesy flags will soon rack up!
In the past, we always made our own flags. Two or three colour flags were easy to make but when you start adding stars, or a complicated coat of arms, it becomes more of a challenge, and a trip to the chandlery was required.
This summer we met Laurens and Kitty on Tiago. Prior to leaving the Netherlands, they printed the courtesy flags they needed on a roll of fabric. Then before sailing to a new country, they cut the flag from the roll and stitched a lanyard to it. What a great idea!
We have now created our own PDF files with the flags for all the Caribbean islands: from Trinidad all the way up to the USA. If you’d like a copy, then you can download them from NOFOREIGNLAND and print them yourself (you’ll need to sign in to access this page but the site is completely free to use).
You will find also a PDF with all the signal flags; these are also expensive and are compulsory to keep on board if you race or take part in some rallies (like the ARC for example). Here’s what the South East Caribbean flag file looked like when it came back from the printers:
Making the flags
- Printed flags: We printed our flags with Pixartprinting for around £21 a file (including delivery). This resulted in a cost of under £1.50 per flag!
The flags are either 45×30 cm or 45×25 cm with a 2 cm hem. The hem boundary is marked with either a black or white dotted line (depending on the flag’s colour). The end reserved for the lanyard webbing is marked with the country name and the noforeignland logo. Please note there is an arrow, pointing up, to show which direction the flag should be flown.
- Webbing: We bought a great big roll of webbing at The Haberdashery Shop in Ramsgate for £4.00. It’ll last a lifetime.
- Line for the lanyard: We use 50 cm of polyester 3 mm braided line for the lanyard.
- Cut the flag out by cutting along the dotted lines (marked with small scissors).
- Double fold the top and bottom sides of the flag along the solid line to form an approximately 1 cm hem.
- Double stitch along the hem to reinforce it.
- Fold the “fly-end” twice and double/triple stitch it.
- Sandwich the lanyard line inside the un-stitched side of the flag (the side with the country name) using a 5cm wide length of folded webbing.
- Fold the webbing in the middle, with the ends turned in, and double stitch it onto the flag.
- Stitch an X on both ends to make the sure the line is secured in place. We made a loop on the top side to help identify which way is up when you are on the deck changing flags and the waves are rolling.
- Mark the name of the country and the direction the flag should fly on the webbing with a permanent ink pen.
Simple and easy. All flags come complete with stars, awkward geometric shapes and coat of arms.