October 28, 2014


This past weekend Ernie and I covered our boat for the winter.  This is a challenging ordeal, for a variety of reasons.  The fact that we are trying to cover a roundy sailboat with a rectangular piece of plastic is the first reason, of course.  Also, there are often issues with timing and weather.  We are usually scrambling to get it done, and it gets dark earlier now so there is even less time.  If the weather is clear, then it is nice and warm during the day, but as the sun sets, it gets really cold and all of the jackets and gloves are trapped inside the boat that is now covered in a layer of plastic with no door.  If it is raining or snowing, then it is wet, cold, and unfun.  And hopefully not windy.  The other big challenge is that Ernie builds things all of the time for fun and profit, and I do not.  He has plans and ideas of how things should be done, and in the absence of direction, I just make things up as I go along.  And I get distracted easily.  I am not a good flashlight holder.  That is Chris' job.  Also, I am not psychic.  So when we start to build he expects me to do things without telling me to do things and then gets frustrated when I don't do them.  It takes a little while for us to figure out our groove.

This year took us about 2 half days, which I think is the current speed record.

Our current protocol (updated every year):
  • a framework of pvc pipe is installed to hold up the plastic.  Hoops are formed by bending the pipe across the top of the boat
  • reinforced polyethylene sheeting is put over the hoops, cut to size, and stapled to a row of wooden battens along the bottom (just under the cap rail)
  • straps are run under the keel in several places to pull down on the plastic 
  • a door, windows, and a stovepipe are added
 It takes longer than it sounds like it should.

The first day we got the pvc skeleton (which we reused from last year) in place.  We also got the cover on in front of the mast.

The framework.  The bent pipes fit into another pipe running along the deck of the boat.

The first day.  The rain tarp is back on for the night, and I think it looks a bit like a covered wagon.

The second day we finished covering the boat aft of the mast, and added the fittings so the stovepipe for our diesel stove could go through.  Due to technical difficulties this did not get done last year and we couldn't use our stove for heat.  It will be nice to have it this year, especially if the power goes out.  We also got coverings up for a window on each side of the boat.  They are super nice to have, so we can see what is going on outside without leaving the boat.  We also got the (first) door up.  We decided to try zippers, like a tent fly.  They might work out, but we may have to add in a wooden door.  The cat is disappointed about the cover, since it separates her from fresh rain water and her crow friends, but that's life.

The finished product.  Ernie is really a master at getting the plastic tight and even.  Our cover always looks the best.

So the cover is on, and my car is at the shop waiting for snow tires.  We are just about ready for winter, although we haven't had any snow yet.

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