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jetdrvr393 10-29-2009 07:39 PM

Winter Cover
Hey All.

This is going to be my first winter as a sailboat owner. I am planning on going the blue tarp route for now. I am going to build a frame of some sort but I'm not exactly sure how I want to do it. Can anyone with pics of theres poste them up here so I can get an idea for a starting point? I was thinking of using PVC, my boat is a 79 S2 7.3 and the mast is down. Thanks for any help you can give.


whigmaleerie 10-29-2009 07:54 PM

if you get some very heavy and long battens from your local sailmaker then bent them in an ark from tow rail to tow rail then strap one from bow to stern then cover it, not sure about windage is boat is exposed location? do you need to build a frame carnt you just have a big sheet

klem 10-29-2009 08:36 PM

The simplest frames that I have built have involved a ridgepole and hinged rafters. By hinging all of the rafters on the ridgepole, the angles don't really matter. You build it by putting up the ridgepole (2X6 or something) then attaching measuring each rafter(2X2 or something) and screwing it into the ridgepole. The key to the setup is making 2 or 3 good mounts for the ridgepole so that it cannot twist. When you want to remove the cover, you simply lift up and all of the rafters swing together.

rikhall 10-30-2009 03:15 AM


Where do you live? If you live where they get two metres of snow each year you might want a different frame than if you never get snow and want to keep the rain off.

I just built a frame for our Irwin Citation 34 - but we live where we can get a lot of snow. I used inch and a half PVC pipe. There are lots of good ways to built a frame. At our club some use PVC, some 2 x 4s, some metal conduit.

If you need pictures, send me a private message.


cormeum 10-30-2009 10:42 AM

What's common here is using EMT (electical metallic tubing). The tubes are bent with a hand bender and coupled together then lashed to the lifeline stanchions.

jetdrvr393 10-30-2009 09:11 PM

Several people here have said that they use electrical conduit, I was planning to use PVC pipe only because I am familiar with it and have used it many times in the past (not to build a boat cover though). Is EMT better for this than PVC or easier to work with? Would I be asking for trouble if I used PVC?


rikhall 10-31-2009 09:33 AM

pictures of boat covers and frames
Hi all

I spent a few minutes at the boat yard yesterday and here are the pictures. There are no captions and I am happy to answer any specific questions about any specific picture.

Picasa Web Albums - Rik - Boat covers

There are examples of conduit, PVC, using the mast as a ridge pole and one with a wooden frame.



paulk 10-31-2009 02:57 PM

We've used a variety of materials for our winter cover frames. We see shredded blue tarp stuff blowing all over the place in January around here. It doesn't stand up to the UV degradation and wears through at any chafe points. This allows the wind in, which stretches the tarp and allows it to chafe more. It isn't worth buying because it needs to be replaced more than once a year. We tried pvc pipe and thought it was great until it got brittle and started cracking all over, after about two seasons. We've now gone to electrical conduit arches, bent as described above. We bent matching shorter sections for the feet and joined them to arched longer pieces with standard conduit joins. Then we tape 1x2 furring strips fore & aft to hold them all together (they bend easily to match the curves, and are available everywhere pretty cheaply) and to hold up the heavy canvas tarps. To hold the tarps down we run old jibsheets along the outside of the lifelines along the toerails, tighten them with the winches, and then tuck the canvas around the line; outboard, then up and in, where we tie it off to one of the conduits or furring stips. This will be our twelfth winter with the boat, and the third year with this setup. We think we've learned some things.

captbillc 11-06-2009 04:26 PM

i use three 2X6 planks for the ridge poles on my 30 ' boat. they are supported by vertical 2X4 s . for the rafters i use schedule 40 1 &1/2" plastic pipe. i heat the center with a heat gun & press it on the garage floor with the edge of a short 2X6 to flatten it allow it to lay on the 2X6 s at the proper angle to rest on the lifelines. i make a step cut in the ends & heat & bend them down to grip the lifelines. i place them about two feet apart & pull the heavy tarp over the boat & tie it down. i have enough room under so i can go up on a ladder & get inside to do work. i sanded & varnished all the brightwork & painted the deck & cockpit last spring between rain showers while under the tarp with a fan to blow out the fumes.

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