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Old 02-15-2003
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Boat covers

Do you cover your boat in winter? We recently bought a sailboat (Chesapeake area) and right now it only has a wheel cover & sail cover. This winter weíve had several snowfalls -- and Iím wondering what damage can occur to a boat that isnít covered.

We will definitely get a cover for next winter. Whatís a good cover to get, and where is a good place to get it? Also, wouldnít there be a lot of damage from the UV rays in summer? How do you protect the boat from the UV rays? This is our first big boat, so we have a lot to learn.
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Old 02-15-2003
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Boat covers

Most people don''t worry too much about a boat cover in the summer, unless you''re talking about a dinghy with lots of varnish and they''re really finicky. Sails that are left rigged on board should have sailcovers because the material (even dacron) will degrade in the sunlight, and it makes sense to protect them when they''re not being used so they''ll last longer when you are using them. Winter covers are important wherever it freezes. Water will get into even tiny cracks on a boat, such as the place where the shrouds go through the deck, or where bolts fasten cleats or other fittings. If this water freezes, the expanding ice makes the hole bigger, like a pothole in a Vermont road. The bigger the hole, the more water gets in, and pretty soon you have a problem. We are also careful to make sure our boat is stored for the winter so that the cockpit drains completely. Water trapped in the cockpit might crack it apart if it were to freeze -- quite expensive to fix. The more water you can keep off the boat, the better. We use heavy duty tarps over a pvc pipeframe; a system that has held up for five years so far. The nicest covers I''ve seen are made by Fairclough, but they''re likely to be quite expensive. An awning or canvas company, or sailmaker would be good places to ask for ideas or quotes. Shrinkwrapping with plastic is another option, but it ends up being more expensive in the long run besides being ecologically unsound.
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Old 02-16-2003
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Boat covers

I also keep my boat in the Chesapeake on the hard over winter. As you know this winter has been particularly hard. I shrinkwrapped my boat this year but will bite the bullet and have a cover made for next year. The covers must be well vented or you can have damage from dampness trapped inside. Shrink wrapping a 35'' boat should cost around $500.
A custom faircloth cover perhaps 2500. In the long run the better cover is probably worth it.
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Old 02-23-2003
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Boat covers

Our Catalina 34 is currently under a Custom Canvas cover with the mast up on the shores of Lake Erie and we are very happy with the cover. There is some steel framing and a support for the boom. Based on the price mentioned above for a shrink wrap cover, the $2200 looks like a good deal since it is expected to last for 8-10 years. The stern zipper makes for easy access.

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