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ddilman 11-14-2006 12:35 PM

shrink wrap VS. no cover
I dry store my boat in New York. The boat is only 2 years old and doesn't have any deck leaks. The shrink wrap will cost $600.
Would I be looking at costly repairs if I don't wrap it or cover it at all?

TrueBlue 11-14-2006 01:40 PM

Up here in the northern climate, we all know what happens to roadways when water enters pavement cracks, freezes, expands and then thaws. The substrate is undermined, surface crumbles - resulting in potholes. This analogy can be associated to boats left exposed.

Most of the 500+ sailboats, in water or dry docked at my marina for the winter, are not shrinkwrapped or covered. They seem to survive the effects of ice, snow, freezing and thawing.

What is not immediately visible, is what expanding ice does to deck fittings and minute gel coat cracks. My boats have always been either shrinkwrapped or protected by custom fabric covers every winter. The risk of damage is just too high, especially with my current boat which has a forest of teak, including teak decks.

sailingfool 11-14-2006 02:23 PM

54 Attachment(s)
I live in Boston and over the past thirty years I have usually covered my boat. Several years I did not cover the boat and there were no ill effects, if the boat is water tight, which generally means the mast is removed. You do need a strategy for keeping ice from accumulating in the cockpit, as may occur with several cycles of freeze/thaw where the cockpit drains may become blocked. Visiting the boat after storms can deal with this risk.

I do think annual shrinkwrapping is too expensive, plus last year the crew put it up in a way that took down four stanchions in the winter. So I am trying something new this year - I saved the shrinkwrap frame and have cut a large plastic tarp to fit from the frame to the slotted toerail. I am having the cover hemmed and I'll add grommets, giving me a custom cover for the deck. In addition to being reuseable, it should shed snow completely, and leaves the painted hull uncovered and free of tiedown lines, and is costing less than one year of shrinkwrap. We'll see.

sailaway21 11-15-2006 12:55 AM

Saw an article on using PVC or cpvc pipe bent into arches using stanchions to slide ends over. Creates a quonset hut over boat when covered with plastic tarp. The stuff is cheap, easy to work with, and leaves room to move about the deck. As I have a trailer-sailer I'll probably go to ground level with it. Never liked the shrink rap idea from the standpoint of trapping moisture underneath where in direct contact with hull/deck and clouding paint. I know from car covers that if in direct contact with paint they must be of breathable material-no plastic tarps just laid over the top. I'll dig up the article and post tomorrow.
Can't emphasize enough the damage done by freezing water. Older boats all have some spider cracks, and capillary action will actually draw the water into the crack. No problem until the water freezes. The previous road example illustrates problem perfectly.
If you lay your mast across the coachroof for storage, 2x4s with a hinge between the ends will lay across the mast and prevent your tarp from sagging in those areas, such as the cockpit, and prevent the snow/water buildup in the sags.
For tarps; look around for a discount tool outlet-full of cheap tools. They all seem to specialize in gloves and tarps-cheap. You can get any color you want as long as it's either dark green or royal blue.

sailingdog 11-15-2006 07:39 AM

One of the problems with not shrinkwrapping or covering a boat in northern climes is the amount of snow and ice that can build up on the boat. If the weight of a heavy wet snow is enough, it can seriously damage the boat.

The issue of the water freezing is also one not to ignore. Water expands 10% or so when it freezes and can cause significant damages to your boat, especially if snow has piled up on the boat and you get a couple of warm days followed by a cold spell.

You also might want to check your insurance policy. Some won't cover snow/ice damage unless the boat is covered/shrinkwrapped.

Given that the boat is only two years old, it is really silly not to spend $600 to protect something that is worth far more. $600 is probably considerably less than your deductible...

Goodnewsboy 11-15-2006 08:18 AM

Shrink wrap is good for preventing weather exposure, but creating mildew within the boat. It is also becoming quite expensive.

My canvas shop is building me a full boat cover as an alternative. Simple, reuseable, and it provides essential ventilation. It will pay for itself in three seasons vs. shrinkwrap.

sailaway21 11-15-2006 11:28 PM

Sailboat Cover
Take a look at this system for supporting your cover.

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