Score – Winter Cover

Good things happen to those who look in free-cycle bins.

Several days ago I was looking in the free-cycle bins at a local marina. I lifted the lid and noticed armfuls of material. Huh! I wonder what that is. After digging around a bit, I determined that it was a full cover for a sailboat – I had no idea what size. I hauled it out and decided to sort it out later.

Yesterday was later, so I spread it out and measured. 34′-36′ x 14′ depending on how I count the sprit cover. My boat is 27 x10. . . Wow – that might work. It was designed for a cutter, as there are cut-outs for a forestay and inner stay, replete with dimensions for the rollerfurling drums. It has a couple of small tears – really, not difficult to repair at all – and one zipper that’s broken. The cover will have to be adjusted to fit perfectly, but that’s okay.

2016-10-17-17-47-13 2016-10-17-17-46-27There are reliefs for stanchions – all in the wrong place, as far as I can tell – but the edges are bound and tabbed with turn-buttons; the tabs are reinforced; all the openings are set with turn-buttons or zippers, and potential chafe areas are bound with leather edging. This was thoughtfully put together, and it doesn’t seem like any expense was spared. It has been used, obviously, but the fabric is by no means worn out. I don’t know how water-proof it is anymore – treatment with a waterproofing compound would be a good idea regardless.

The boom will have to come off and a lower ridge pole set up, otherwise the width won’t extend to or past the gunwales. The forward section is fitted first up to, and around the mast, then the aft section is buttoned into it, and it also wraps around the mast. There is a full-width zipper about 25% forward from the stern, which will allow access while covered.

2016-10-17-17-46-52This forward section has three reinforced lifting points, currently joined with a continuous line, and terminating at an adjustable ring – it looks to be “self adjusting,” meaning that you can slide the ring along the continuous line for optimal positioning after a halyard is attached and the section is lifted from the deck.

2016-10-17-17-46-46The after section has a large pocket to accommodate its rise up and around the mast, while the area over the cockpit has two straps underneath to go around the ridge pole, assuring that it won’t flap too much in windy conditions.

And here’s what it looks like draped over the boat:

2016-10-17-17-32-46 2016-10-17-17-34-03 2016-10-17-17-33-43 2016-10-17-17-34-21Pretty sure it’s got to feed under the safety lines to reach over the gunwales, and that improves the slope for shedding water and snow as well. I don’t think it will be a “set up and forget it” type of thing.  I’ll still want to come and check for water pockets, and clear off significant snow falls – good thing I live a mile from the boatyard! Still, I think it will be a huge improvement over what I’ve done in winters past, which includes ill-fitting, wind-shifting tarps, and . . . nothing.

  1. Anonymous said:

    Good for you. One never knows when one mans is his discard will be another mans treasurer

    • In the boating world, truer words were never spoken. So many boat owners spend lavishly on their boats, then cast away serviceable “obsolete” gear.

  2. Good on you, Rick! Getting that Sailrite machine is getting closer…

    And good on your marina for actually having a freecycle bin. Around here, if someone is discarding something that they think might be useful to someone else, the leave it BESIDE the dumpsters. But thjis depends on someone making that call. Once something goes into the dumpster, it is virtually certain to make it to the landfill… our dumpsters are so tall that you really can’t see into them, let alone retrieve anything from them.

    • It’s not my marina – I just go free-cycle shopping there ;). There are two separate bins at this marina/boat yard – one at each end. This is a very large marina – so large, in fact, that Ruth and I walk there for exercise and don’t get bored with the scenery. It’s also a very nice marina – really nice, large resort-style marina with every amenity. We really admire the owners, who constantly invest in the property to make it attractive, practical, service/user friendly and environmentally low-impact. And all the slips are full, as is the boat yard in the winter. I bet they have 500 slips, and even more space on the hard. Literally acres and acres of some of the nicest level gravel ground for hauling out, replete with water and power. It’s just too expensive for us to keep our boat there!!

      The free-cycle bins are low, top-opening dumpsters. The lid hits me just above the waist, so they are designed to be easily accessed.

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