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Thread: boat covers

  1. #1
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    Default boat covers

    Hey fellas,

    What's the preferred material for boat covers on wood-epoxy boats. I was thinking of getting a 600d polyester cover which will do a good job of keeping the moisture out, but it will also keep the moisture in (if and when it does get in). As a work around, I was going to work out a screened vent at the transom.

    What are you guys using? If you have any semi-custom brands, I'd like to hear them (custom is to rich for my blood). Right now I have my eye on a Cabela's cover made of 600d that has good customer reviews.

    by the way its for a 14'4" flatbottom skiff.

    steve
    I tried.... and it worked! I'll keep trying...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: boat covers

    This is "Sunbrella"


    I got some realy cheap fabric and made a full size mock up using a paper stapler and hotmelt glue.

    I took this to a local upholstry shop who had some Sunbrella left over from a previous job. I did the grommets.

    Total cost probaby about $300
    the wall on which I keep hitting my head is getting harder

  3. #3
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    Default Re: boat covers

    thanks for the reply. I see you're in BC, so you get more rain than I would in a normal year. Does the sunbrella do an adequate job of keeping the water out? What about in a pounding rain? In the winter here, it can rain/drizzle for up to a week and in the summer we get severe dumping thunder storms. Does it keep it bone dry, or are there times when the fabric gets saturated and water gets 'pounded' thru?

    Sorry for all of the questions, I have no practical experience with any covers except the 'blue' tarps on my previous ol' glass runabout. The blue tarp definately won't be going on this boat, she deserves a proper cover!

    Anyone else use sunbrella or the 300d/600d polyester covers, I'm interested in hearing others experiences too, the good and the bad! Nightmare stories welcomed

    thanks!

    steve
    I tried.... and it worked! I'll keep trying...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: boat covers

    I use it as well. It is ideally suited to the job. And yes, it keeps the rain out.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: boat covers

    Denier is kind of a misleading reference term for cover fabric (though it wouldn't surprise me if it's all they give you in the catalog descriptions). It is the weight of 9000 meters of the fiber used to weave the cloth in grams. Thus, a 600 denier fabric is woven with yarns twice as heavy as a 300 denier fabric. Theoretically, it should have twice the tensile strength, maybe twice the abrasion resistance and most likely reduced elongation when placed under tension. For rough reference, typical ripstop nylon and polyester, like you might see on a down jacket are around 70 denier. Stuff bags, flags and tent floors are usually around 200 denier. Backpack fabric is about 400 denier and ballistic nylon is around 800 denier, so your 600d cover is probably a pretty substantial piece of fabric. 300d for a boat cover would seem rather light-duty in most cases.

    Unfortunately, other than a general indication of the fabric's weight, the denier figure doesn't really tell you much of anything about it's in-use characteristics or its suitability as cover fabric. How tightly woven is it? How is it treated, finished or coated and with what? Does it breathe or is it sealed? etc. Most of the premium boat cover fabrics don't even list a denier weight. Instead, they list the weight in oz. per yard. Those like Sunbrella acrylic and Top Gun polyester are around 11 oz. (600 denier polyester is typically about 9 oz. so they would be a little bit heavier than that).

    Especially in the case of wooden boats, breathability is probably just as critical in a cover as waterproofness. Trapping moisture under a cover that won't let it out once the weather clears is a formula for mildew and rotten wood. If your cover fits well enough that you aren't getting pooling, a good breathable acrylic or polyester fabric cover shouldn't leak much at all and will allow moisture to pass out when the rain stops and the sun comes out.

    If you go the pre-manufactured route, the most obvious indicators of the quality of the cover are generally the price and how long the guarantee is good for. These places aren't going to guarantee a cover for five years against sun burnout if it's going to be toast in three years, and the fabric that will last that long won't be cheap. I would lean toward the heaviest polyester or acrylic I can find (like the 600d stuff in this case) and get the one that's guaranteed longest.
    Last edited by Todd Bradshaw; 06-17-2010 at 01:35 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: boat covers

    Sunbrella.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: boat covers

    You don't say what sort of frame you'll use for the top part of the cover.

    The Cabelas covers are designed for fiberglass boats, and fit relatively tightly around the edges. But wooden boats need some air circulation -- so you might consider building your support frame first, then buying a cover to fit the frame as well as the boat.




    One option is to make one from old tent poles. I found that taking some old 2x4 blocks and drilling holes for the pole ends allowed the tension of the poles to hold the blocks out several inches from the gunwale, giving plenty of ventilation.





    Others build frames from PVC, curved wood slats, etc. Whatever you build make SURE it can handle the weather and winds -- many wooden boats are damaged during winter storage when the frame or cover fails.
    Last edited by Thorne; 06-17-2010 at 09:55 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: boat covers

    I have been using the 8oz poly tarps in the link below for a couple years and they are working well so far. Leave plenty of ventilation for a wood boat. The only color is white. Roughly 10% of the cost of Sunbrella material alone.
    http://www.tarps.com/white.htm
    Tom L

  9. #9
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    Default Re: boat covers

    Would a cover made of PVC (e.g. 18oz or less?), with a couple of hooded vents also be an acceptable solution? If the cover prevents water getting into the boat - assuming a trailor daysailer with mast stored horizontally forming the apex ridge - would the vents not provide enough air circulation in order to prevent mildew and rot conditions? A cover setup similar to what is shown in Get's post #2 above, but with attachment directly to points below the gunwale on the boat.

    Lance
    Last edited by Songololo; 06-17-2010 at 08:04 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: boat covers

    I recently got a new cover from an online company called Mighty Covers. I have been very pleased with it so far. Mine was a couple hundred dollars and well worth the investment. They do stock and custom. I would definately give them a call: http://www.mightycovers.com/Boat-Cover.htm

  11. #11
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    Default Re: boat covers

    Cosmic synchronicity, dude! I will be making a cover for Rowan sometime in the next two weeks. I have already ordered the Sunbrella fabric. I'll post a step-by-step journal of my misadventures for sure.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: boat covers

    And remember there are two types of covers with a little crossover - covers for trailering / transport, and covers for storage outdoors. The Cabelas covers may be primarily for the former function...
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: boat covers

    OK, this is great.

    First, Tom thanks for the background on the denier cloth. It looks like that cloth can get 2 kinds(probably more) of water resistance treatements. One is applied after the cloth is woven, the other applied to the thread. The latter provides a higher level of water resistance.

    Thorne, That is the cover I was looking at, I couldn't remember if commercial links were OK or not, thanks. I recognized that those covers are really designed for FG boats with a very tight fit, thanks for explicitly stating that. I had planned on putting a screened vent over the transom area, perhaps that is not quite enough ventilation? The discussion and seeing your pics of your setup makes me think I should plan for more.

    As far as internal tarp structure, I was going to use pvc pipe.
    I tried.... and it worked! I'll keep trying...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: boat covers

    update: I went ahead and ordered the 600d rachet cover from Cabela's. The water treatment is applied to the threads prior to weaving, per the sales rep. I pulled it up yesterday to take another look and it was on sale for 1/2 price! That made the decision that much easier. Now I'm working out the ventalated support structure. I'll post a pic when I get it setup.

    thanks!
    I tried.... and it worked! I'll keep trying...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: boat covers

    I'd go with the heaviest sunbrella that I could afford with grommets every foot, plenty of room around the outside for air and save all your one gallon milk cartons and fill with water and toggle them to the grommets. I used 1 gallon collapsible jugs to cover my 44 footer while at anchor. The Sunberella cover lasted 6 years and was still good when I sold the boat. I had an opening to reach around the mast so in the tropics it was suspended above the boom with the edges just about boom level with lines holding th water filled jugs, it survived some good winds.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: boat covers

    SurLast would be my first choice for a boat cover. Sunbrella will chafe thru real easily whereas SurLast won't.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: boat covers

    It wouldn't be mine for a wooden boat. SurLast is urethane coated polyester (7.5 oz. 600 denier made by the same folks that make Sunbrella) and the coating means that it's not going to breathe as well as Sunbrella. It will be more prone to trapping humidity inside. It is tough stuff and polyester is generally more abrasion resistant than acrylics like Sunbrella, but for wooden boats I want something more breathable. As far as chafe goes, reinforcement for chafe is just part of making any good cover and any fabric should get proper reinforcement. Chafe may not wear through the coated polyester fabrics like SurLast and Top Gun as quickly, but it will wear off the coating that's on the inside in short order.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: boat covers

    I use an old fashioned canvas tarp with an overhanging ridge pole, at least a foot at each end, leaving the ends slightly open. The pole is mounted in "crutches" in the mast steps. Sunbrella does not seem as waterproof.
    A light color, grey or natural is best. The boats are stored most of the year and they are always dry and smell sweet when we uncover them.
    Of course this won't work when trailering but for storage canvas is the best ( in my opinion!)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: boat covers

    I have nothing but good to say about Truth's Fairclough cover. They are the green ones you see in boatyards. In the spring I step abpard and every thing is dry, no mildew smell.
    Truth is cold molded w epoxy.
    Good luck.

  20. #20
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    Question Re: boat covers

    I'm contemplating a "working boat cover," over the boom, that will serve as a tent for sleeping out in a wonderfully relaxing placid cove, only moving with the tides. The new mosquito clips seem to do a good job, eliminating that pest, so an open end will assure good ventilation. I like the 9+ oz, 60" wide Sunbrella, in a natural color. Does anyone have experience in designing and attaching the sides both inside and out? What would you recommend? I'm experienced with lightweight ash curved 2 inch slatts to hold up canvas, underneath. Do these work as well on Sunbrella? Any ideas are welcome.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: boat covers

    thanks for all of the suggestions on providing ventalation for the boat while covered.

    Here's what I came up with, basically a pvc frame that extends 4-5" around the gunwales. The picture doesn't show it, but I added a 10" extension at the stern in the Tconnector shown. By the time the cover is cinched down there's a good 1-3" gap between the cover and the boat all the way around, leave the bow.

    The frame is easily removed. To keep it in place, I have pins that lock into the oarlocks on the middle cross member, and the bow and stern cross memebers 'lock' (wedged) into the cleats, by way of small holes.

    I have the engine cover on, and the boat cover will ride up half way over the engine. I suspect there will be little water to 'creep' in even in a heavy downpour. The stern extensions mentioned above help keep the cover over the engine.

    not the best angle, it's hard to see the ridge line




    cost of frame $25 and about 2 hours work.

    steve
    I tried.... and it worked! I'll keep trying...

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