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Old 08-05-2002
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Boat Covers

I have a Catalina 36. What kind of boat covering would you recommend for the off season in Long Island, NY, and where would you suggest it be purchased?

Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for getting in touch with us regarding a winter cover for your boat. I used to own a 24-foot boat that I kept in the water in a fairly cold climate. I had a canvas cover made for the boat, which worked very well in terms of keeping the sun off the brightwork and the dust and dirt of the deck, not to mention unwanted visitors of a winged nature. The cover was ventilated so it helped minimize the growth of mildew and mold that can occur when boats are enclosed. What was really nice is that it was custom-fit to sit snuggly over the deck and the lower portions of the rig. Anyway, it's just that kind of cover that you should get for your boat.

What's important is that the cover you get fully spans the deck and hangs over the hull-deck joint by several inches all the way around the boat. It should also seal well around the mast and the shrouds and stays if your rig is to remain up. Covers like that are often weighed down around their bottom edge by way of small plastic bottles filled with water or sand. Of course you'll want ventilation openings in the bow and in the stern, and since your boat is fairly long, it wouldn't hurt to have them in between as well. The material that the cover is made from needs to be water-resistant and protected against UV degradation. Of course the cover itself really should be form-fitted to your deck and rig.

So what you're asking about is a custom item because it's unlikely that anyone stocks a cover that would fit a Catalina 36 exactly, particularly if your boat is set up slightly different from other Catalina 36s, which is quite possible. I'd recommend you contact a firm that specializes in this kind of work. One place to start would be a local custom canvas maker, or you could try SailNet's Custom Canvas Shop. The professionals at the latter build a variety of custom items, and because of their experience they can help answer whatever questions you might have as you decide how you'd like to go about this. They can also quote you a price on the cover in short order. Just call them at 800-234-3220 (ext. 1235) or e-mail them at

Regardless of who ends up supplying your cover, make sure that they guarantee UV coating on the stitching and the canvas (or whatever material they use) so that your cover will last a reasonable amount of time.

Here's hoping that this information is helpful to you.

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