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fmueller 08-25-2012 02:47 PM

Winter under a tarp
Hey All,

I'm looking for opinions about wintering under a tarp rather than shrinkwrap. We are in Maine and it seems like atleast 90% of the sailboats I see are shrinkwrapped in the winter (and that is what we did last winter too).

But why is that? It seems like a lot of work and then an awful lot of waste to throw the plastic away each spring. It seems to me that a good big tarp would be cheaper and re-usable. so why not?

If I build a decent frame for the tarp and secure it well, what is the downside? Is it less weather proof? more prone to blowing away?

We'll be on the hard (it is Maine, after all) and I'll probably keep the boat in the yard so I'll be able to check on it every day or so.

Thanks for your thoughts.

1969 30 ft Dufour Arpege

AmorylTheWanderer 08-25-2012 03:48 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp
heya! I'm brand new here so I've no actual or practical advice on shrinkwrap vs tarp, BUT, I did come across this other topic about just such a question. hopefully something in there gives you the answers you desire.

lapworth 08-25-2012 03:58 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp
If you can check on it each day use the tarp. I believe the shrink wrap is so you can put it out of sight and out of mind but what would I know. I leave my boat in the water year round without a tarp even.

CalebD 08-25-2012 04:16 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp
Had our boat shrink wrapped one winter. I wasn't all that happy about the waste of materials and I found that the shrink wrap held as much water inside the wrap as it kept on the outside. If the job of shrink wrapping is not done properly with adequate ventilation then your boat can become a mold palace.
I've used tarps ever since. Cheaper, reusable and much better ventilation. Gotta' check on it though.

Ulladh 08-25-2012 05:27 PM

I tarp over the boom only, to cover cockpit and companionway hatch, to top of stanchions. On hard or in water.

<a href=" mbedwebsite"><img src="" height="640" width="480" /></a>

nauticalrich 08-25-2012 05:34 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp
I don't tie my tarps to the stantions. I've seen a couple boats with bent stantions due to the weight of a tarp when water or snow puddles in it.

I use tarps and always check them.:)

Ulladh 08-25-2012 05:55 PM

It is a 20ft boat, not a lot of tarp to hold snow, if snow load is a concern tie to base of stanchions. The intent is to minimize snow in cockpit that may melt and re-freeze to block scuppers.

S/V Dutch Treat 08-25-2012 08:38 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp
I used a tarp last winter and we had a few big wind storms. The tarp got shredded whilst the shrink wrapped boat near it (also more protected spot though) was fine.

I will still use a tarp again this year, but maybe a better one and try to tie it down tighter.

CatMan22 08-25-2012 08:58 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp
I built a frame much the same as trusses on a house that I covered with 5/8" OSB then placed a tarpaulin over everything and secured it. Not only did it keep everything dry but the height of the peak allowed me access to to cockpit and cabin when I needed. One of my neighbors called it 'The Ark ' when I was building it. Plan on doing the same this winter.

asdf38 08-26-2012 07:59 PM

Re: Winter under a tarp

Originally Posted by lapworth (Post 914153)
If you can check on it each day use the tarp. I believe the shrink wrap is so you can put it out of sight and out of mind but what would I know. I leave my boat in the water year round without a tarp even.

It all depends on how well you do the tarp. I've done tarps two years and it's fine and a lot cheaper. I'll say I liked it last winter when I had the mast down. Then I had one 30' (32 or 24 would have been better for my 26) over a high wood frame. It was perfectly dry although I had a problem with a large storm disrupting the frame.

With the mast up the year before that I had 3 tarps. That was more difficult and less sealed off.

Use a combination of tying the tarp down and weights. I mostly used milk cartons and coke bottles although I definitely have a problem with them puncturing and leaking. Personally I like the idea of the weights because it seems a little like a release valve. If wind gets under the tarp they can lift up and spill it out.

The trick for anchoring lines to the tarp is to wrap the tarp around a golf ball and string a slipped knot around that. It's far more secure than the grommets and you can add them anywhere. Never tape the tarp with any load and expect it to hold. I watched the boat next to me try that and it was shredded shortly ("Oh we live nearby and will check it all the time" - didn't happen).

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