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Old 09-26-2016, 11:09 AM   #1
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Winter Storage Advice?

I am about to store my 38' trawler outside this winter for the first time, and I am debating whether to pay the $ to have her shrink wrapped. In our marina, I have observed that about 20% of boats on the hard are fully wrapped for the winter. Most of the rest have various home-grown canvas or plastic tarp arrangements, most of which appear to be doing the job.

Waterthrush has full canvas for the flying bridge. So I am thinking I could leave that canvas in place, then tarp the fore and aft sections of the boat and she would be pretty well protected. Am I crazy?

So - experienced northern folks - what are the pros and cons of wrapping? Is the $600 worth it?

Thanks,

David
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:56 AM   #2
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I had a conversation with the yard manager at our marina about this very issue. He sad that shrink wrapping has two purposes:


1. Keeps snow off which can melt and with the scuppers still packed with snow and ice, flood the cockpit and the engine room.


2. Keeps the snow off the side decks which can leak down the stanchion bases and soak the core when it slowly melts.


So, I shrink wrapped the aft cockpit for $200 to avoid the former and took the risk of the latter happening.


David
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:07 PM   #3
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"2. Keeps the snow off the side decks which can leak down the stanchion bases and soak the core when it slowly melts."

Yes agreed - and have that water go through a hundred or so freeze & thaw cycles which will work into every crevice and crack as it happens.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:09 PM   #4
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Shrink wrap is a great solution to wrap a boat in the winter, but it's an expensive, recurring cost. Canvas or reinforced plastic (the blue, green, or brown stuff) tarps are OK, as long as they are properly supported and tied down. You'll get a couple of years out of plastic, and a little more out of canvas, maybe 10 years. If your boat leaks, or you want to limit gel coat or wood damage, they'll need to be covered.

I'm in Southern Rhode Island. I've always kept my boats uncovered. My 19-season Island Packet, and current 11-season old Nordic Tug are both dry boats (no leaks). Once hauled, I'll wash down the boat and cover all fiberglass and metal with a thick coat of wax. I use Kit paste or liquid carnuba wax. Last couple of years I've used liquid Kit, squirt it on the fiberglass, and spread it around with a soft (yellow) wash brush. Again, I'll put it on pretty thick. It will dry, protect the gel coat, and the wax holds up over the Winter. In Spring, I'll wash off the dry wax with Dawn detergent, then go through the normal Collinite cleaner and waxing exercise.

Depending on the boat, cockpits may have to be covered. The snow will pile up and scuppers will freeze up. I have a small plastic cover over the NT cockpit to keep much of the snow out, and I check the boat after any significant snow fall. I've even stored the boat in the water this way.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:13 PM   #5
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So what have you done in the past? Stored indoors? And is your boat actively for sale? If it's on the market I would put it indoors or shrink wrap it, for a couple of reasons: a) it will be easier to show and likely show better, and b) it conveys the message that your boat is well kept.

I would never leave the "summer canvas" up all winter. Too much wear and tear on an expensive piece of kit.

I've ordered a custom cover from Genco. Not cheap, but for me the alternatives were shrink wrapping or indoor.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:28 PM   #6
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I don't know about your area, but around here with snow, ice and wind, canvas enclosures can take a real beating over the winter. I wouldn't leave the canvas up.

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Old 09-26-2016, 12:33 PM   #7
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Greetings.
Mr. DR. Take down all your canvas AND associated framework. It only takes one heavy wet snowfall to cause big damage when something not meant to take the load collapses. We had a "custom" cover made for a 34' Marine Trader with aluminum pipework and an ill fitting heavy plastic tarp. While the tarp lasted, it was nice to work under but being poorly fitted, eventually beat itself to death in the wind. Subsequent coverings using the frame and a well lashed down commercial rectangular plastic tarp work did the job for the remainder of the time we had her.

IF you decide to make your own frame and use a plastic tarp, keep in mind you can probably re-use the framework year after year even if the tarp dies. The key is keep the tarp tight.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
IF you decide to make your own frame and use a plastic tarp, keep in mind you can probably re-use the framework year after year even if the tarp dies. The key is keep the tarp tight.
This is what I have always done and it works great. I get 3-4 years out of a *good quality* tarp and the framework lasts forever. Note that the "sharp edges" on the frame were trimmed off before the cover went on. A bonus to a good cover on the boat is you can work inside and when the sun is shining it gets a lot warmer than the outside temps.

Ken
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:59 PM   #9
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Shrink wrap is totally worth it in my mind. You can go the makeshift route but might end up with dammages costing a lot more than the price of the shrink wrap. Whatever you do take off your canevas. It's not made to withstand winter conditions and will deteriorate very quickly.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:12 PM   #10
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On boats stored in the water over the winter and covered with a tarp, I have seen he tarps kept tight by gallon jugs or buckets of water tied to the tarp and suspended underwater. I shrink wrap mine in the water mainly due to wind driven rain and snow. I have had water intrusion over the winter through port lights. With the shrink wrap coupled with a dehumidifier running in the galley and electric heat set at 45 degrees, the boat smelled fresh when opened up in the spring.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:16 PM   #11
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Shrink wrap = no worries

Handmade coverings = checking on after every storm, snow or otherwise.

Shrink wrap is expensive but it prevents a lot of expensive repairs and cosmetic wear.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:37 PM   #12
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Tried the blue tarp/frame thing; lasted 'til the first major winter icy blast. While I don't like the $$ outlay each season, I do like the dry interior of the boat, & the fact that my investment is being protected. Shrink wrap is easy & reliable, all I've gotta do is put in the door, climb in & go to work.
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:14 AM   #13
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The key to me is how long you intend to keep the boat.

A fitted canvass cover is pri$y , but will last a dozen winters , or even in FL a dozen summers ,where plastic is gone in months.

Canvass is bulky and heavy to store , but does a great job , year after year.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:37 AM   #14
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If you tarp the boat one caution I haven't seen mentioned is...
never tie tarps to jack stands!!!

I have seen this done often and is a disaster waiting to happen.

I have done DIY shrink wrap and was able to reuse the cover for 2 seasons.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:03 AM   #15
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Our boat went a year without shrinkwrap due to a miscommunication with the yard, and we suffered water damage to the aft cabin. Water accumulated in low spots and the the freeze,thaw cycles did their thing. If you have older teak decks and aren't 100% watertight, it's worth it. I used to not cover when we had our Blackfin SF, and it held up well, but that was a totally different style boat with no place for water to pool and get into anything.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:47 AM   #16
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I have covered boats with both tarps and shrinkwrap ourselves. The group of boaters we cruise with have chipped in and we have our own shrinkwrap tools and often do it ourselves. IMHO - there is no comparison between the two.
If you have not had some form of damage due to the tarps not repelling water, flying off, hitting the boat or otherwise damaging your topsides and or hull it is only a matter of time. You cannot predict the weather and tarps will fail when you least can afford it and mostly when you cannot get back to the boat.
Boats that are not protected suffer some form of damage over time whether it is slight or severe it builds up over the seasons. Kinda like the old commercial that said " pay me now or pay me later".
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:55 AM   #17
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Well, I just got our bill for shrink wrapping.
$900 !!
I can't believe how much it went up this year.

That is a LOT of incentive for a custom made canvas cover in my opinion if you have the help available to install it.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:09 AM   #18
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David, I would ABSOLUTELY shrink wrap a 38 ft boat for $600. Well worth it and 600 is a deal! I shrink wrap in Florida as well. I was the only one when I started to to store my 501 Chris but when others saw the result, many started doing the same. Down south there's other things you have to do, like dehumidifier, charcoal inside, but it's all worth the effort. Gary Cambria Lady
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:36 AM   #19
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Shrink wrap .... $130 - Last yr. this yr. I'm in Cape May enroute to Bahamas
Gun rental .... $30
Stoopid dog .... priceless
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:31 AM   #20
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Whatever you do,visit the boaat often to brush away any snow load
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