Winter Cover

Cay of Sea was hauled for the season in the first week of December. Winterized and ready for freezing weather, she sat and patiently shivered for a month before I had time and inclination to work on the canvas cover I acquired several months back. So two days ago, knowing that rain and snow were in the forecast, I got to work.

If you’ve looked at the link above, you know that the cover itself is in two sections. Already stored on board the boat, I wrestled both sections on deck and began the process of sorting which end went which way.

I first spread the aft section over the boom and deck – not knowing for sure if the cover would reach down to the gunnel if tented at boom-level. It didn’t, but I wanted it to, so rather than build a set of crutches and ridge line pole, I thought I could perhaps suspend the boom with a piece of line a foot lower than the gooseneck would ordinarily allow. This would allow the edges of the cover to extend just past the gunnel. This worked well, but I needed a way to suspend the aft section of the boom also, as there was no cut-out provided in the cover for the topping lift. I made a cut-out in the canvas, and reinforced it with some .25 inch cow hide that I had on board. The 3″ x 6″ piece of leather was hand-stitched into place around the outside of the patch. After it was sewn to the canvas, I cut a slot just where the topping lift shackle would go through to attach to the end of the boom. Then I sewed around the slot attaching the canvas to the edges of the slot – this was with a locking stitch. Following the locking stitch, I went around the edge of the slot again with a continuous loop stitch.  Wish I had a photo of this . .  .  Most of this sewing was accomplished with my Speedy Stitcher (no sailor should be without one of these tools).

After adjusting the end-of-boom height, I was able to get the after end of the cover sorted. The bow-end presented a different challenge. There are three lifting points above the deck on the bow and getting these semi-balanced was difficult – in fact, I didn’t really get them right, but I think it will be okay for this year. In the spring when I remove the cover, I’ll mark it for alterations which I can accomplish without the press of bad weather bearing down on me.

Fortunately, I have a great deal of extra line on board, because I needed a lot of it to secure the edges of the cover. I passed the line from side to side to pull the edges taut, and was able to identify the sections of cover that will have to be changed for future seasons. Most of the cut-outs for stanchions and shrouds are in the wrong place, but I don’t think it will be difficult to add the right cut-outs and grommets for pulling down the edges. I’m sure there will be some water and snow accumulations in baggy pockets where the cover won’t allow me to pull it taut, but it’s not too bad, and certainly a lot better than leaving it uncovered again. Here are a few photos:


Stern needs a few more grommets and a cut-through for the backstay.


All that sewing and custom fitting is why these things cost so much.


Big saggy pocket at the mast. I can just take a fair amount of material out of this section to tighten it up, and add a couple of rings to lift the mast accommodation until it’s taut.2017-01-05-15-59-332017-01-05-15-59-582017-01-05-16-00-33


Got the cover on just in time – we had three inches today.


    • Yeah, Me too. Getting the thing on and sorted out was a surprising amount of work. Are you back living in Maryland now?

      • Yes, going between Maryland and Delaware for now. We’re set up with an in-law suite at our son’s in Sykesville, but also staying with our daughter in Middletown, DE. We’ll be hanging around both for a little while, daughter is having a baby in February, her first, our third! :-)

  1. Johadel said:

    Nice find and it fits surprisingly well! You mentioned that it took a “surprising amount of work”. I guess the payoff is the surpising amount of work that you won’t need to do when it’s time for the Spring clean up.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the projects you come up with during the down season, and seeing them in person in June!

    • So far, the cover works great. We’ve had several significant rain and snow days, but no accommodation or pockets of water, ice or snow on the cover. I’m pleased and surprised! Next year, when it get the thing shapes correctly for our boat, it will be much easier to install and even more effective. Hope you you’re correct about clean up work in the spring. It also may allow me to do some projects before the weather is actually project-friendly.

      • Johadel said:

        The thing to watch for is critters trying to get out of the winter weather under your cover. We often had trouble with ducks and otters at the marina in Yorktown. They can make a real mess at minimum and do considerable damage at the worst. Good luck and enjoy the offseason as much as you can.

  2. And last week (just after your strolled down and we met–that was nice), it was 75F!

    However,last week I went out for 3 days, across to Warehouse Cove, and after the wind blew across 35-40F water for 20-some miles, it never topped 50F. Reliable heat and good weatherproofing is a requirement. Nice enough, though.

    We’re destined for an early spring. Shake off the cover!

    And Johadel is right. Every spring I have to watch out for birds in the boom or under the sail cover. They can make a whole mess. There is no substitute for visiting the boat frequently in the spring.

    • Yes, the weather has been amazingly warm this winter, and this week promises to be the same. I think it’s definitely time to get to work on the spring projects.

      I checked the boat a week ago, after a day-long drizzle. Very little water inside compared to previous years, so the cover is really a big improvement.

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