Undercover: winter togs
Undercover: winter togs

Undercover: winter togs

November 2010

To cover or not to cover.

I read lots of forums, blog posts and asked the sailors I knew what they did with their boats for the winter. There wasn’t much consensus, some say why bother, boats are leak free anyway, others warn of the dire actions of snow loads and ice, not to mention the unrelenting assault on bright work from UV.  The simple reasons I choose to cover was 1) the windows are a bit leaky, a cover will keep water out 2)  I’d like to do some simple maintenance, like bright-work and winch overhauls, digging through snow and ice doesn’t sound fun. 3) six months less UV sounds like a good idea.

I decided on a simple tarp from Princess Auto, it just fits.  Four 10′  x 3/4″ electrical  conduits from Home Depot fit into the life-line stanchion bases, the mast as cross beam.  I’m not sure if there are enough supports, the spacing is about 4′, looks like it might sag between if there is a snow load – we’ll see. I underestimated the amount of rope needed to cover the Tanzer 7.5. Seems looping under the sailboat back and forth is not the most efficient use of line.

I like the fact that the cover seems to funnel air into it, much like an air sock. Not sure if this is a fluke on the location, wind direction or the fact I have the bow open a bit and pointing towards the water? The upside is it stopped the flapping motion and I hope this will extend the life of the cover and help the grommets stay put.


    1. admin

      Snow build up wasn’t an issue, I think with the wind flapping the tarp combined with the angle it just fell off. Of course I tried to make sure there weren’t any pockets for water or snow to collect in. I did remove the lifeline stanchions as the pipes fit in perfectly and made a nice arc. However on other boats I’ve tie wrapped the pipes to the stanchions with the stanchions acting as the lower part of the arch. So either works. In that photo the tarp was a hair short, but it created a nice air scoot and there was a good breeze blowing under the cover, a nice bonus to keep things dry and reduce mold.

      I didn’t cover my new boat last year but definitely will in the future, Ice is the biggest concern, water gets into cracks and crevices and can loosen what you thought were tight joints from freeze thaw cycles. Reducing UV exposure to the top side, lines, plexi windows and teak trim as well as the obvious of keeping water out are also good reasons to cover your boat.

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