Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Remains of Winter

A stormy week and cold temperatures this weekend. What the boat really needs is a good interior scrub and fresh paint and the temperature was not going to make that easy. I contented myself this weekend with other household chores instead.

We have had an awful lot of wind this winter. Twice this past week the winds have been above 50mph. Under these conditions I have been very impressed with my bow shed boat shelter. It has taken a lot of abuse, including the 90mph winds last month and 10+ days of 50mph winds over the winter, and the structure has held up well.

There are two areas where I think I could improve the structure.

One is how the structure is anchored down. The sections under the boat have held the structure down quite well and kept it from blowing away. On the other hand, the ends have been pushed around a lot; sometimes into some very odd shapes. Its not uncommon on a weekend to see one side set in an 'U' or 'S' shape. The little garden stakes I used were not up to the task. I think I need stronger ones - the front edge of the structure actually flattened a stake as it pushed over it in the 90mph winds- more of them, and on both sides of the edge rails to keep it all in position and aligned correctly would be a big improvement.

The second weakness has been the covering. A better manufactured tarp might have made all the difference. In general, the heavy duty silver tarps hold up well. At the moment, I am using a tarp that is on its third -very roughly handled - season. Its just this latest tarp which the poor quality grommets and holes right from the start, that couldn't handle the conditions. I haven't forgotten that the conditions included a near hurricane so I am not completely condemming my lastest tarp.

If I knew the boat was staying put for a few years I might consider shrinkwrapping which seems to be a stronger alternative. What I like about the tarp though is that it can be removed in nice weather or opened on the ends. Plus, a tarp is tons cheaper than shrinkwrap. I haven't tried greenhouse plastic which is what is recommended. That would probably be the best option if I knew the structure was going to be in place for a longer length of time.

Overall, the bows have held up well and show no signs of fatigue. Considering the winter we have just had I am very impressed and can't recommend the bow shed structure enough. By the way, I spent less than $400 in materials for the structure.

What I REALLY want is a spot of land for a permanent/semi-permanent structure. Just a roof would be nice. Maybe next year.

I think this weekend might be Winter's last gasp. That's what I hope for anyway. I am looking forward to packing away the structure for the summer and having free, wide open access to the decks again.

No comments: