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Old 12-21-2015, 11:20 AM   #1
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To shrink wrap or not

This is my first season in Connecticut with the boat on the hard at Portland Riverside Marina on the Connecticut River. I agonized over shrink wrapping the boat. Here are some of the pros and cons I considered:

Pros:
1. Keeps the snow from blocking scuppers, freezing and maybe causing a flood when it thaws.
2. Keeps the snow from working a thaw, refreeze cycle on deck fittings causing water to get into the laminate.
3. Keeps winter grime away.

Cons:
1. Costs $500 to do my whole boat, $200 to do aft 1/3.
2. Limits access to the boat for winter checkups.

So, after some thought I decided to do the aft third. This deals with pro #1, which is a real issue on my boat as if the aft scupper freezes, water will get down in the bilge, dilute the antifreeze, refreeze and damage the bilge pump. OTOH replacing the bilge pump costs 1/4 of the aft shrink wrap job.

I am still subject to pro #2. I am hoping that well bedded deck fittings won't get water in them and then refreeze.

Any thoughts for next year?

David
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:24 AM   #2
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For as much damage I have seen done by canvas and shrink wrapping...I believe it should not be the whole boat for the most part.


Dirt washes off....bent rails do not.


I would only shrink wrap areas that might collect snow/water otherwise and only if a heavy snow/wind load wouldn't destroy anything under the wrap.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:37 AM   #3
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The vast majority of people that store their boats outside here shrink them. If it is done correctly, there should be no damage from snow load. You do need to make a frame on some boats to make a slope in the shrink. The shrink is very slippery and usually the snow slides off on a sunny day. As to getting access, you can put in a zipper door so you can climb into the boat.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:09 PM   #4
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We did it when we left our boat in WA and went to AK to return in 6 mo.
It was expensive but we found the boat just as we left it months later in the spring.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:44 PM   #5
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Well yes...like anything done correctly.....


The trick is the unusual or mistake for what I see as very little gain except frozen drains.


The sun is so weak that time of year in the Northeast, UV damage is almost non-existent and washing a little in the spring to remove dirt is definitely easy enough and worth it when it comes to the price of wrapping many boats.


Again...my complaint is with what happens when it fails....and what little benefit I see in doing it over the whole boat. Cockpits or needed for winter work is another story.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:59 PM   #6
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I have always enjoyed spring in the boatyard. Some of my favourite "boat bonding" times have been sitting under the shrink wrap, warm and dry while there is still frozen stuff on the ground. Here in Canada after a long winter it's nice to be able to go aboard in comfort to putter around, clean and do maintenance a month earlier that would be possible if the boat wasn't covered. And WRT con #2, a well done frame and zippered door allows access to most areas under cover. Count me among the supporters of the full wrap.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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I've done full wrap for 25 yrs and like it.
Cleanliness & protection from the Wx biggest + in my book.
Hatches & portlights sometimes leak - I'd hate to find one that's been leaking for several months.
You can save $ if you DIY - a few of us did ours for many yrs. Material isn't insignificant but if done correctly we reused our wrap for 2 - 3 yrs...then the real savings are gained.
Agree you need to do it correctly or you can get damaged... it's not rocket science - observe & talk to some experienced folks.

To each his own but I prefer full cover.
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:58 PM   #8
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I have a friend in Michigan who uses inside heated storage which is probably the best choice for winter storage. But I wouldn't trade my in the water, covered slip winter storage for his shorter season, I was still boating in December when his was put away in October and I'll be out in March when his is still packed away with a bunch of other boats.


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Old 12-21-2015, 03:07 PM   #9
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I would shrink the whole boat.

I don't know who shrink wraps at Riverside, but Justin who works out of Yankee Boatyard does an excellent job and is extremely neat meaning you won't find sawdust or shoe marks. And he doesn't shrink the material too much so he won't screw up railings.
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:04 PM   #10
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It's worth the peace of mind to me to get our boat out of the elements. So far, this winter has been mild, but when the weather turns to s**t and I can't get down to the boat to check on it, I sleep better with it wrapped. Have them add an extra large door and access is not an issue.

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Old 12-21-2015, 06:14 PM   #11
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Anyone have any experience with winter thaws letting snow melt get inside deck fitting fastenings, refreezing and causing damage?


That is my big concern.


David
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Old 12-21-2015, 07:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Anyone have any experience with winter thaws letting snow melt get inside deck fitting fastenings, refreezing and causing damage?


That is my big concern.


David
Water has intruded into my boat deck (roof over the sundeck). It's ribbed and mostly hollow, I'm told. Last winter, in the deepest cold in northern Delaware, it froze solid and damaged the underside in two places. So I guess it can happen. This was not a problem for the boat's previous owner in Florida. I plan to drill weep holes to let any water out and rebed everything on the sundeck with butyl rubber.
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Old 12-21-2015, 07:46 PM   #13
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I've been shrink wrapping when in cold climates. I think the biggest threat to the boat is accumulated snow and ice and the resulting freeze thaw cycles cracking gel coat and who knows what else. It also makes it much easier to work on the boat which I typically do over the winter. The shrink wrap can be fitted with a zipper door that makes entry easy, and vents can be installed to ensure good air flow. To me, it's worth every penny.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:38 PM   #14
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Up here a good wrap job includes multiple vents and a zippered door. The yard crew opened most of the windows in the boat under the wrap so it breathed inside and out. I wasn't going to do it, but the yard crew messed up and wrapped it for me "for free". After a winter with it, I will wrap it every year. Keeps people and critters out, dry as a bone inside, and you can heat it right up to a comfortable temperature with a small electric heater if you have projects to work on inside. I did not see a down side except cost, about $400 for my 30' boat. They provided all the framing to support the shrink wrap free of charge. JMO
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:19 PM   #15
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This from Alwgrip's Application Guide.

Do Not

Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 winter storage

Do not "shrink wrap" or tightly bind Awlgrip or Awlcraft 2000 Topcoat surfaces with plastic wrappings.

When tarping a boat for storage, the cover system should be ventilated to allow the coating system to "breathe". Covers and tarps, whether synthetic or natural fiber, should not be pulled tight to surfaces painted with Awlgrip or Awlcraft 2000 Topcoat. This condition can trap and hold moisture on the surface and may result in loss of gloss, blistering, or delamination of the topcoat.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
This from Alwgrip's Application Guide.

Do Not

Awlgrip and Awlcraft 2000 winter storage

Do not "shrink wrap" or tightly bind Awlgrip or Awlcraft 2000 Topcoat surfaces with plastic wrappings.

When tarping a boat for storage, the cover system should be ventilated to allow the coating system to "breathe". Covers and tarps, whether synthetic or natural fiber, should not be pulled tight to surfaces painted with Awlgrip or Awlcraft 2000 Topcoat. This condition can trap and hold moisture on the surface and may result in loss of gloss, blistering, or delamination of the topcoat.
Hogwash.... I've been shrinking my awlgripped center console for years with absolutely no issues.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:56 AM   #17
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"Anyone have any experience with winter thaws letting snow melt get inside deck fitting fastenings, refreezing and causing damage?"


Yes - absolutely , many years back before we began shrink wrapping each season we saw many affects of freeze/thaw cycles on any gaps that were left to be exposed and wetted down. Some of these were not so obvious with just ne season out in the open but after a few the problems with lifted bedding and compromised caulk joints became much more obvious. Keeping the boat dry and avoiding all the crud that comes along with the leaves and other 'stuff' has become well worth the efforts and/or costs.
A good shrink wrap job will not have the wrap against the hull area at all and shed the snow and rain easily - sometimes we have done it ourselves and sometimes a boatyard handled it depending upon the area.
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Old 12-22-2015, 07:02 AM   #18
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Shrink wrap or not the key to successful winter or long term storage must usually be added to most boats


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Old 12-22-2015, 12:57 PM   #19
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Used to shrink wrap my last few boats every year but when the cost got to the stupid level I decided to make a reusable tarp cover. The plastic tarp cost $75 and took me a few hours to make. I simply draped the tarp over the boat, then walked around the boat & trimmed off the excess about a foot below the gunwale. I then double folded over the raw edge and ran it through the sewing machine. I then folded the seam one more time with a light poly rope tucked inside & sewed it again. The poly rope was used as a draw string. In the fall I would simply drag the tarp over the boat & pull the draw string tight & was done. Each custom made tarp would last about 5 seasons.

You may also need to make a simple light frame to keep the tarp sloped for run off. Note that even the plastic tarps are very heavy and not likely feasible for boats over 35ft unless you had help. Over this length the draw string is also difficult to pull tight enough and requires several ties spaced along the length running from side to side under the hull.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:14 PM   #20
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In our area up north the price was going over $700, the problem was I hauled in Dec and relaunched the end of March, not much protection time. We had sunbrella canvas made up for the cockpit and bridge, 15 years later and the canvas is still good and plenty of money in my pocket and no environmental mess with all that plastic and wood. In my grandfather days they had no shrink wrap and somehow they survived, piece of mind and all!
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