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post #1 of 5 Old 11-14-2004 Thread Starter
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Winter Covering

I''m in the northeast of the USA and am in the process of covering my Capri 25 for the winter.
Since this is the first year I''ve had her, it is a new project. I am wondering how other people handle this. Pros and cons of various options. Any general or specific insights or pointers would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-14-2004
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Winter Covering

ES, one suggestion I''ll make is to be clear in your mind over what period of time this cover will be used.

Option A: Use inexpensive materials, learn in Year 1 how to improve your results in Year 2, and never experience much annual cost while not investing a lot of money in ideas that over time to prove themselves.

Option B: Use quality materials and greater expense in the hopes that you''ll get the best of protection multiple years while potentially having another boat asset that can improve the selling price (or at least the attractivenss) of the boat to the next person.

Your own plans, budget, and general personal preferences may suggest one choice over the other, which in turn will shape your reactions to the ideas that are suggested.

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post #3 of 5 Old 11-14-2004
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Winter Covering

The option I chose to cover my new boat for the first winter season, will cost very little. Reason being, situations will change next year requiring a different stategy.

The boat has been hauled and is currently on the hard, but next week it will undergo extensive bottom work by my boat yard. Therefore masts will be unsteppped prior to transporting the short distance to the paint shed. Since the shed is scheduled for other jobs upon completion of my project, I will need to provide quick cover when she moves back outside.

Upon completion of the bottom work, the yard manager offered use of the shed for me to fabricate a one-time use, temporary wood frame and tarp cover. The simplest structure is to build three vertical supports consisting of 2x4 A-frame assemblies using galv. or stainless deck screws, one at the mid foredeck trunk roof, the center support over the pilothouse roof and the third at the mid aft-deck. This frame will be steep enough to shed the deadload of typical New England snowstorms, but also needs to be strong enough to withstand strong snowladen gusts.

These vertical supports will be supported laterally by ropes tied off to the teak handrail caps at stanchion connections. Two or three 1x3''s, laminated to allow for bending, will connect the top of all three A-frames for fore and aft support and to serve as a ridge beam. The ridge ends will terminate at the bowsprit and canoe stern aft rail.

I will make a field judgement as to how many lateral 1x3 "ribs" will be needed to support a 40 x 20 heavy tarp, used for my prior boat. Strips of carpet will fit between wood/metal/glass and tarp, to prevent chafing. I may have to trim the tarp edges to prevent excess and reduce flapping against the hull. This, of course, will require the insertion of additional grommets around a newly formed perimeter hem. Lacing lines through the grommets and around the hull bottom seems like the best temporary approach. However, I will need to provide hull abrasion protection at all grommet locations.

Next season things will change; I plan on keeping the masts stepped with all standing rigging in place. I may even choose to stay wet in my slip for the winter. For this, more planning (and money) is required. It is extremely important for this boat to be covered during the winter months, due to the teak decks (overlay over solid glass, subject to frost heaving) and exposed brightwork.

More than likely, I will construct a reusable frame out of electrical conduit or pvc pipe. Most definitely, the cover will be custom made from fabric such as Oddesey III, zipped in three or four sections and incorporating laced or zipped slots for the stays and shrouds. I also envision wrap around boots fitted over intersecting stays/shrouds to minimize water intrusion. It is important that the height of the frame is high enough off the deck to allow full access to all areas without having to crawl about.

This will require months of planning and leisure fabrication, but since I have the heavy duty sewing machine and suitable skills to pull it off, the final costs will be far less than what a sail maker will charge. In addition, this custom accessory will sweeten the package for the boat''s next stewardship.

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post #4 of 5 Old 11-19-2004
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Winter Covering

Strongly recommend using electrical conduit for the frame. I bought about $100 worth of framemaker clamps and used 110 ft of 3/4" galvanized electrical conduit to build what I consider to be a very sharp looking and functional frame that may be easily assembled and disassembled every year for my 30 ft sailboat. It took me about 4 hours to make only tools needed are 2 wrenches, a hacksaw and a pipe bender.

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post #5 of 5 Old 11-20-2004
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Winter Covering

Would have to vote for option B, above, within reason. Your boat will need covering EVERY winter until the keel falls off. Buying cheap blue poly tarps that disintegrate in the sun & wind, or going the shrink-plastic route mean continuous, and increasing payouts every year, besides the environmental costs. We purchased three heavy canvas tarps. One covers the bow to the mast, one does the mast/boom area, and the third is aft. The cost came out even with shrink wrapping after two seasons. After three seasons, we figured we''d come out ahead of using blue tarps (without having to re-rig blown-out tarps in February) . After seven seasons, I''m looking for a canvas guy to hem a couiple of frayed edges. Our frame is pvc piping with elbows, and it works ok. Conduit, with curves, might be better . But it may be another five years before we need to even consider a different frame. If you take your mast down each winter, you might easily be able to do something with arches, ā la Conestoga wagon, with a couple of overlapping tarps tied together underneath.
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