Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prepping for snow

Another slow week but at least I have something started.

For my excuse this week I will say that I have had a hard time getting much done with the constant stream of people that come over and want to talk about my boat. The color really draws them in. Hours every day are spent talking about it. Its nice to be congratulated but frustrating to have to keep stopping.

Every year I have to reinvent my winter cover. Over my first winter, I had stanchions and pulpits. I was able to build a simple ladder structure along the stanchions with strapping. Then, I built a curving ridgepole with 2 layers of 1x3 strapping screwed together. The curve allowed me to have standing headroom inside where I needed it and reduced the total windage. I kind of liked the look too and it was no harder to build. With the sides and top secure, I ran short sections of strapping from the ridge down the the stanchion ladder. This gave me room to maneuver (note that I didn't say walk) down the side decks or over the top and the roof pitch was steep enough to shred every bit of snow. I built a cover with a lower pitch on my old boat and had problems with melting snow collecting in the tarp and re-freezing, creating 200 pound blocks of ice supported by the tarp. Not a great result.

The second and third winters I didn't have stanchions. I built a similar structure and just wrapped the tarp tightly to the hull. I didn't have any room going forward but I didn't need it either. It worked okay. For these two years I used 3-4 tarps to cover the boat with the idea that I could remove just one for some fresh air and light while keeping most of the boat covered. I had issues with rain blowing sideways under the tarp and I only used the multiple tarp system a couple of times in the early spring and late fall. Leaving the ends open was nice but having to deal with the water ingress over the rest of the winter was annoying. This spring I ordered one big tarp and simply covered everything. That made everything much drier inside but pulling it all on and off was a pain.

For now I am going to stick with the one big tarp idea. I don't have much, if any, deck work to do over the winter so I don't need access or need to remove the tarp again until spring. My real issue is that I can't wrap the tarp against my freshly painted hull. I was going to stake the ends down or build a framework on the ground to tie the tarp down (and out) with.

I tried drawing it all out but, just like every year, I find once I start things don't go according to plan and I wind up just building stuff until it all looks about right.

This year I built a couple of free standing supports for a ridge pole. I was going to cut notches in them and fit them to the toerail but now this seems like a lot of work for little gain.

The ridgepole itself is made up of strapping with 2x3 spacers every 4 feet. The idea was to build a rigid pole that was lighter than solid wood. I only half succeeded. Its definitely lighter but it isn't as rigid as I had hoped. Its good enough though.

I had some water pipe insulation around the house and I found that it fits over the toerail nicely to protect the toerail from the ridgepole supports.

I was hoping to build one side out so I could leave the ladder in place permanently and have a ready opening to get into the boat but that doesn't seem to be working out. First, I am limited to 12 feet wide. Second, I don't want to create one big sail to catch all the wind. Keeping the tarp close, but not on, the hull is my best goal. I even toyed with using shrink wrap and having a door glued in. I am still considering it but I still need to anchor the shrink wrap down to something and keep it from blowing off. I really wish I had stanchions right now. They would solve a lot of problems. What really kills me is that I could probably get stanchions installed in a day or so if I had the materials and if the weather was warm enough to pour some epoxy in the mounting holes. Alas...

That's where it stands at the moment. Tomorrow I plan on taking my old strapping and running short pieces from the ridgepole to the gunwale to support the tarp. By then, hopefully, I will have decided on how to anchor down the tarp. As a bonus, I expect most of the boatyard people will be working and I will be able to work without interuptions.

So, if you have nothing to do tomorrow, stop by and chat. I should have some time :-)

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