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Covering boat for winter

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by NYSail, Nov 12, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,541 posts, 37 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY
    so with new boat I am getting ready to put her to bed. Figure I will have a cover made next year so this year will do a bit of wrapping. Trying to save a buck or two to put towards other items and figure rather than spending (wasting) $650+ on a complete shrink wrapped boat, I would leave the dodger/Bimini up and have cockpit shrink wrapped. Then I will cover the rest of boat with a tarp. However with the tarp rather that build a frame I would just lay it over the deck and tie it down obviously cutting and making collars for stays and mast (mast up storage). I will be removing stanchions so tarp can hang and be secured. Dingy is stored on foredeck also and will be under cover as well. I figure this will be easy on cover as it won’t be subject to wind as much as on a frame. Anything I am missing? Could this create issue with gelcoat? Here on Long Island NY we get snow but not a continual blanket......
     


  2. Don S/V ILLusion

    Don S/V ILLusion

    Joined Sep 25, 2008
    4,807 posts, 139 likes
    Alden 50
    US Sarasota, Florida
    As I understand it, laying a plastic tarp directly on deck or on the topsides will trap moisture which is detrimental to gelcoat. You need to ensure proper ventilation between the two.

    Make sure there is adequate space between them including when there is a snow load weighing down the tarp.
     


  3. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,541 posts, 37 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY
    I was thinking same...... there is a guy in our yard that does it that way on his new boat.... haven’t spoke with him about it as I never see him down there. So maybe over the boom...... the dingy will keep it off the deck forward of mast and then over the bow rail...... so a smaller tent but off the deck and not subject to as much wind as a tall frame.
     


  4. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,166 posts, 266 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    While you can leave the frames for the dodger and bimini up, remove the canvas. The freeze thaw cycle is not good for canvas when it is wet.

    If he boat is painted there must be good ventilation between the cover and the painted surface, if not it will blister.

    Allow for good ventilation in the cabin. Open the sink seacocks and leave the dorado vents open, a lot of air will flow though helping to ward off mold and mildew.
     


  5. Don S/V ILLusion

    Don S/V ILLusion

    Joined Sep 25, 2008
    4,807 posts, 139 likes
    Alden 50
    US Sarasota, Florida
    One additional caution - make sure the is sufficient space to prevent abrasion if wind can move the tarp around.
     


  6. Rick486

    Rick486

    Joined Oct 1, 2007
    782 posts, 78 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Pt. Judith
    Personally, I do not view shrink wrap as wasted money. The way I look at it I have a large investment in my boat and the cost of a good shrink wrap job is money well spent in protecting my investment. The shrink wrap ensures deck fittings, hatches, winches, and port lights will remain dry all winter and not have water infiltration, then freezing, with the poential for damage to seals. We don't get much snow here in coastal RI but we do get some, and we do get below freezing temps fairly often.
     


  7. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,166 posts, 266 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    Covering the boat and protecting it from ice and snow is a worthwhile investment. In the long run, I think a better investment is a good full canvas cover such as the ones Fairclough makes. The initial cost is high, but amortized over the life span of the cover, the cost per year is much less than the cost of annual shrink wrapping. And then there is the waste from shrink wrapping, all the plastic that needs to be recycled or landfilled.

    I've had both a Fairclough cover and a locally produced one. I love it, especially in the late fall and early spring. Work can be done on the boat in shirt sleeves when everyone else is bundled up. The boat stays dry and rain does not interfere with getting work done.
     


    dziedzicmj likes this.
  8. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    2,996 posts, 216 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Allamuchy Barnegat, NJ
    I think that I would rather leave it uncovered than try to tie down a tarp & risk damage. But, I agree with Rick about the shrink wrap. If you are going to do the cockpit, may as well do the entire boat.
     


  9. Dalliance

    Dalliance

    Joined Oct 6, 2007
    574 posts, 47 likes
    Hunter 1982 H30 Cherubini
    US Chicago (Burnham)
    Half the tarps I see used in my yacht yard are flapping in the wind and doing more damage than good by January and you definitely don't want anything laying directly on the deck and holding in moisture. Good ventilation is critical. Take all the canvas off and store it. Protect your investment. Spend the money on the full (well vented) shrink wrap this year and get the custom cover you want for next year. Yes, you'll be out $650 this year but you'll have the piece of mind that the boat is well protected.
     


  10. shemandr

    shemandr

    Joined Jan 1, 2006
    2,913 posts, 224 likes
    Marblehead Skiff 14'
    US Greenport, NY Greenport, NY
    I have to say that most the "Blue tarps" I see are flapping in the breeze after a good storm. Last year there was one by my boat that didn't make it to Thanksgiving. In addition to the wind getting under them, pooling of water occurs and stretches the tie downs and then the wind can have at it. And grommets pull out.
    But, if you do it, use gallon jugs of water to apply tension to the tarp to fight pooling. Also, I make risers out of PVC pipe sunk into layers of plywood about a foot square with bubble wrap on the end to hold the cover where it sags.
    If you have a cover made I Rx Wm. Mills in Greenport. I've walked around boat yards locally and they are the best fitting I've seen. Far, far better than the often mentioned company. If you pay a boat yard to erect and take down the cover you will spend more than the $600 for the shrink wrap. Not to mention storage of the cover and poles and the chiropractor bills for after you hump that cover around. My custom cover did not keep a patina of dirt from covering my boat.
     


  11. Rick486

    Rick486

    Joined Oct 1, 2007
    782 posts, 78 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Pt. Judith
    BTW my shrink bill has been around $900.
     


  12. LakeOntario270

    LakeOntario270

    Joined Jan 4, 2013
    126 posts, 5 likes
    Catalina 270
    US Rochester, NY


    RoyS likes this.
  13. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,166 posts, 266 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    A common mistake with the plastic tarps is to rely on the grommets at the edges to hold the tarp down. Use the grommets to hold the tarp close to the boat. Next take lines and go over the top of the tarp to keep the tarp from flapping. Depending on boat size, it takes 4 to 6 lines to keep the tarp down. Tarps last longer this way and are less prone to damaging boats.

    The boats shown on photos on Post #12 are only half done.
     


  14. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    827 posts, 230 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    I use a pretty simple system here on the coast of Maine. A high ridge pole is all that carries a 30' x 50' plastic tarp. The reasoning: A steep enough pitch to shed wet snow.

    The oversized tarp goes beyond the topsides to eliminate chafe on the painted topsides(my glass hull is nearly 60 years old and way past gelcoat). I run the tarp under the jack stand pads and tie it around the keel. I enclose the ends by rolling up a piece of 2x4 and screwing another 2x through it, which holds the tarp in place by containing the hull.

    Compared to an elaborate frame, this is pretty easy (a few hours) to erect and cover. Caveat: My stanchions slide in and out of bases for removal. I always take my mast(s) down for winter.

    It's not perfect but is about 95% effective shedding snow (I live nearby and can check and clear it easily). I can get a couple years out of a tarp. It keeps the boat very dry over the winter.
    Xmas covered.jpg
    And gives some room to work below in the off season. I enter through a laced end at the stern.
    Tarp 2200 wide.jpg
     


    Parsons and oldlaxer1 like this.
  15. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    946 posts, 52 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Another viewpoint:

    We have stored Lady Lillie uncovered outside for 18 winters with no damage to her. Fiberglass, aluminum, and stainless are impervious to cold and snow. Ultraviolet which does deteriorate our gelcoat is minimized by snow, clouds, and short days. I do pull the wood and replace it with pine so I can maintain it as required over the winter. Just sayin’...
     


  16. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,166 posts, 266 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    Many boat in my neck of the woods, (upstate NY) are not covered. Most seem to fair reasonably well, although the wood does get beat up by the weather. My concern is water getting under fittings and then freezing and thawing. While sealants work well repelling water, any water that seems under a cleat, winch, mast step, and so on that freezes may work the fitting loose allowing more water to get under the fitting and possibly into the core.
     


    dziedzicmj likes this.
  17. Wednightracer

    Wednightracer

    Joined Jan 13, 2009
    189 posts, 16 likes
    C&C 29 II
    US Sandusky
    I use the Harbor Freight $30 solution. I have an awlgripped hull so no cover for that part. I use a heavy HF tarp that only covers the forward hatch to and over the companionway hatch. A number of HF shock cords attached to slotted tow rail forms a suspension system that holds cover down. a couple of wood blocks keep air from getting underneath the forward end of of tarp. Works great. Cords last 2-3 years and are cheap to replace. It keeps inside of boat dry and water out of the bilge. tarp.jpg
     


  18. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    507 posts, 148 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Michigan Port Huron
    I was lucky enough when we purchased the boat it came complete with a custom cover it is job to erect the aluminum tube framing and then get the (3) piece cover over the framing. The first time it took us all of (2) days to complete the task this year we were finished in just over a day we would have finished in under a day if it had not been for the 25 gusting to 30 mph wind. Pictured is the job completed. If the boat did not come with a custom cover I am certain I would have bought one, are they expensive sure, but with all that is invested on purchasing the boat it is a very small investment in comparison.
    Wintering Sapphire.jpeg
     


    Parsons likes this.
  19. Parsons

    Parsons

    Joined Jul 12, 2011
    424 posts, 97 likes
    Catalina 36
    US Bay City, MI
    Great advice above, but here's some more tips on tarps: (1) Running a 2x6 board on your foredeck from the front of the mast at the boom level down to right near the anchor will give that steep 'roof line' that @TomY talked about. Cut the 2x6 on an angle at both ends to match, and secure it by drilling some holes near the end and running bungees or sail ties though. BTW: This is a common installation of custom tarps as well, so even the $15 is not wasted. (2) Tight is better than loose - like a trampoline, tight! Using a tennis ball inside a fold of tarp gives you a securing spot for your ropes without using the grommets, that will pull out. (3) If you're not going to build a frame for this year, prior to buying the custom-fit, consider running your tarps under the lifelines straight to the toerail and leaving the stanchions outside, essentially just covering the deck as shown in @Wednightracer 's photo. Depending on your location, the weight of snow that may accumulate on your tarp can bend stanchions in. (4) Check on your boat periodically during the winter. It's amazing the number of do-it-yourself tarp jobs that come apart at Christmas that are not repaired until Easter. Tarps flapping against topsides, and pieces blowing across the yard in storms. I guess the people are in Florida, or something. (5) Shove some cut-up dish scrubbers (open weave plastic, not sponges) up your open through-hulls and exhaust to prevent the birds and bees from making a home in your outlets - don't ask how I found out. You want through hulls and scuppers open so everything drains well. No trapped water.
     


  20. LakeOntario270

    LakeOntario270

    Joined Jan 4, 2013
    126 posts, 5 likes
    Catalina 270
    US Rochester, NY
    :plus:
     



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