View Full Version : Opinions On Cockpit Covers
10-22-2004, 01:53 PM
I have an open cockpit sloop. I am looking for opinions. Is it better to: 1) Use a cockipt cover to prevent rainwater in the bilge, but instead get humidity trapped inside by the cover, or 2) Don't use a cover and get great ventilation, but instead collect rainwater int the bilge?
Thanks for your thoughts.
10-22-2004, 04:15 PM
NO argument - fit a cockpit cover. You can easily arrange the cover to provide suitable ventilation, but you will be amazed how many open boats come to a premature end because of rainwater swilling about in the bilges and rotting the floors and frame ends.
The Herreshoff 12 1/2's have effectively no ventilation under the foredeck, but some are almost a century old...
10-22-2004, 06:43 PM
A cockpit cover that tents over the boom and lands near but above the gunnels outboard of the combing, closed at the front but open under the eves and wide open at the stern will be just lovely and will not cause any trapped moisture problems.
If you must put the cover snugly under the boom, use athwartship battens (there are nifty end fittings for this) to keep it nicely arched and leave the back end open. It'll vent just fine.
Use a treated canvass - even sunbrella well siliconed will work - rather than plastic. It'll shed water just fine but will also outgas moisture on a hot sunny day.
10-22-2004, 07:08 PM
If your boom is on sailtrack with a tackle downhaul it gets easier. Lower the boom as low as you can, drop a line from the end of the boom in a straight line to the backstay (a small pendant with a caribiner permanently bent on here, pendent being about six inches long, will work great...throw the cover over this line and bring it just over the lifelines, or gunnel...and attach milk bottles full of water...or similar to hold it down. Same trick works if you wanna cockpit shade cover or rain cover while you are on the hook and sipping a cooler of your choice....
10-22-2004, 07:59 PM
This has worked pretty well for me. Just the small opening at the aft end of the cockpit coaming formed by the "tent" shape to provide ventilation seems to keep things nice and sweet below... Keeps the rain, (AND sun, btw) out just fine. Snow too! ;)
10-22-2004, 10:31 PM
Don't "silicone" Sunbrella. It isn't compatable with the fluorocarbon treatment that the factory puts on it. My wooden Starboat sat outside year-round under a tightly-fit Sunbrella cover for years. The only vent was a small triangle about 6" across under a little hood on the stern end. I never got water in the boat and never had any mold.
10-23-2004, 08:24 AM
Thanks for the timely warning, Todd.
I can't imagine what I was thinking of since I've used sunbrella as the fitted winter cover for Goblin and it she water and snow melt just fine.
I guess I was going back to the really bad old days when (age 11) I made a pup tent and waterproofed the cotton canvass with parrifin - and made an amazing mess of the kitchen. Mre recently, I retreated the fabric on some gortex clothing so I just had silicon on my brain.
Anyone else old enough to remember when we'd get new campers to draw designs on the inside of the tent roof when it rained?
10-23-2004, 09:55 AM
Absolutely yes for a boom tent to cover the cockpit.
It will keep the rainwater out and it will protect the varnish from the sun.
The result is much less maintenance and repair work.
Ours was quite a bit longer than the cockpit and had two flaps at the rear end. It was closed at the rear end with a rope threaded through eyes, leaving little gaps between the flaps. That was absolutely enough for ventilation.
Material was heavy sailcloth, reinforced against chafe with lorry tarpaulin where it sat on the boom.
A tent rigged over the boom will give you steeper sides than one hung under the boom, so that for instance snow slides off easier.
[ 10-23-2004, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: Henning 4148 ]
10-23-2004, 10:46 AM
And if you make the cover to fit when the boom's topped right up (or in high gallows,) then you've got extra cabin-space if you ever need it.
10-23-2004, 10:58 AM
"Designs on the inside of the tent." :D :D :D
We used to tell them to be sure to draw them where they could look straight up at 'em. :rolleyes:
10-24-2004, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the replies .... Cover it is.
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