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Thread: Boom Tent

  1. #1
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    Default Boom Tent

    Hi,

    I am new to this forum, and have looked without much success for a plan for a boom tent rigged on such boats as Beetle Cats and other open cockpit gaff rigs. I have a cockput cover that I have to reinforce with a center rib, and frankly, that center rib takes up too much space. I want something that I can easily reeve around the boom, and then snap down around the cockpit coaming.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Keep in mind that, at the end of a day's sail, the bundle of furled mainsail will be dripping and wet. If you simply just throw the tent OVER the boom, it will be "raining" on you sleeping bag.

    Better to rig the tent UNDER the boom. A line stretched tightly along the bottom of the boom and cleated off at both ends can serve as the "ridge" of your tent, and two or three "spreaders" (depending on the length of the tent you're building) with the ends clipped into grommets can spread the roof wide for more headroom. For ease of storage, the spreaders can be made simply from 1/2" or 3/4" PVC with a coupling in the middle. Glue the coupling to one half and just slip the other half of each spreader into the coupling during setup. A line from the end of each spreader down to a cleat or something convenient will keep the whole thing on an even keel.

    The side and end panels can be made as part of the roof, or can be separate panels. How you attach them around the coaming will have to be invented by yourself, but short pieces of shock cord or something to some sorts of small hooks would work. Remember to allow for some means of ingress and egress (maybe make each side panel out of two slightly-overlapping panels), and for opening some or all of the side panels up for ventilation when needed.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Several good threads on that topic, worth a search of the Forum for "tent". The snaps will be a problem, as during sailing they'll get in the way, bent or damaged, and corroded. Some folks use lines passed under the hull, others weights hung on lines, and other methods to secure the edges of the tent.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    A neat solution I saw was a thin line under the rubrail fixed with ss screws. The cover had bungees with hooks along the side. These were hooked onto the line. It was not really noticable until you looked.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Many thanks to you both. I will look for those other posts. I am thinking of something that can double as a cockpit cover-- rather a pitched roof for my cockpit cover that won't invite rainwater and encourage the local ducks and geese to roost in it!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Those two functions are fairly different - a tent comfortable enough to camp in will be too tall and possibly too delicate to be left on the boat for months as a cover.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    I respectifully disagree with hanging a boom tent under the boom. If you are using a dacron sail the moisture factor is not problematic. If using cotton sails it is, and they should be fully dried before covering with anything. Going over the boom is a major strength factor for the fabric and easier to put on, take down or adjust. It also helps preserve the boom and sail this way.

    You weren't specfic if you want a storage boom tent or one for anchoring. The major difference betwee the two is width and length. At anchor you may want to walk on the side decks, so the fabric needs to be cut to just make it past the side combings to drain outboard. The length will likely be shorter for fore and aft access. You also want to be able to put it up without getting off the boat. The storage tent will be wide enough to span the beam (and down the hull) and long enough to cover as much as possible.

    Now you have to choose fabric and construction. Heavy sumbrella type fabric with at least 1.5" hems...double or tripple. Use 1/4" braided boltropes all around with nickle plated spur grommets every 12" or so. Put a boltrope down the centerline. If you want to get fancy, put batten pockets in and use a minumum of 3/4"x 2-2/5" wood battens. They seem big but aren't and they will endure hostile weather. The tent can be rolled up with them. Drill a hole in each batten end to secure it to the fabric. PVC always sounds like a winner but in reality is too flexible and sizes that are stiff enough for the long term are to large.
    Last edited by BillP; 11-14-2010 at 11:18 AM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    I respectifully disagree with hanging a boom tent under the boom. If you are using a dacron sail the moisture factor is not problematic. If using cotton sails it is, and they should be fully dried before covering with anything. Going over the boom is a major strength factor for the fabric and easier to put on, take down or adjust. It also helps preserve the boom and sail this way. Quote

    Well now, the reason I posted is a sailing friend is making one for next season. He has an open gaff cutter, so going over the boom is not practical due to lazy jacks and halyards.
    So a piece of pvc conduit will form the ridge, with a few ties over the boom. He also saw the 'line under the rubrail' idea and liked it. Material will be heavy polytarp. It is sun degradable, but how many weekends will it be used on? (and cheap, €8) My cover in in light polytarp has just disintergrated after a full year in the weather.
    Also being considered are those springy GRP rods used in tents, as curved frames to offer more volume than a simple inverted V tent.
    The biggest problem is the closure around the mast, with lots of ropes coming within the cockpit. He might have to accept some drips. The aft closure is easy, as there is a stern deck. Along the sides the decks are about 9". This is on an LOA of 15ft
    BTW, we are talking camp cruising here, not simple covers.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewe View Post
    I respectifully disagree with hanging a boom tent under the boom. If you are using a dacron sail the moisture factor is not problematic. If using cotton sails it is, and they should be fully dried before covering with anything. Going over the boom is a major strength factor for the fabric and easier to put on, take down or adjust. It also helps preserve the boom and sail this way. Quote

    Well now, the reason I posted is a sailing friend is making one for next season. He has an open gaff cutter, so going over the boom is not practical due to lazy jacks and halyards.
    So a piece of pvc conduit will form the ridge, with a few ties over the boom. He also saw the 'line under the rubrail' idea and liked it. Material will be heavy polytarp. It is sun degradable, but how many weekends will it be used on? (and cheap, €8) My cover in in light polytarp has just disintergrated after a full year in the weather.
    Also being considered are those springy GRP rods used in tents, as curved frames to offer more volume than a simple inverted V tent.
    The biggest problem is the closure around the mast, with lots of ropes coming within the cockpit. He might have to accept some drips. The aft closure is easy, as there is a stern deck. Along the sides the decks are about 9". This is on an LOA of 15ft
    BTW, we are talking camp cruising here, not simple covers.

    Hey Andrewe, if you read the the original poster's question it had nothing to do with camp crusing...He was asking about a boom tent and my reply was to answer that. But yes, lazy jacks are a problem. I slacked them to put the boom awning over the gaff on a past owned 42' ketch...and on every other boat that had "stuff" in the way. I avoid under boom awnings because they aren't as weather resistant as ones snugged down tight over a boom. There are more ways than one to make boat canvas so I'd say follow your own ideas.

    About 30 yrs ago I built a 14' camp cruiser and covered it entirely different (fully enclosed for cruising weeks at a time) than a simple boom tent. Been there with various pvc battens and it works just ok if used for a short time but gradually bends and is not stiff except in large diameters. For hanging under the boom I would put a boltrope down the center of the awning and clip around the boom every 2'-3'. A long batten of any sort is a storage problem, especially on a camp cruiser, and an awning like this could be folded up and used without battens. I don't even use battens on my big boat sails due to the hassle.

    bp

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Bill, I thought it was both. Camp cruising plus winter cover. Then moved on to our local ideas. Sort of the way these forums work. The PVC ridge battern was flexable enough to tuck under the sidedeck with the tarp rolled around it. Yet to try it. The guy we saw with the line under the rubrail used a couple of golfing brollies with triangular bits to seal the gaps. Sounds odd, but he had used it for several years and was a bit 'stoical'. While we camped in the offered areas, he was completly independant in any bit that looked interesting.
    A

    Just looked at the Original post, you are quite right. Not necessarily about camp cruising, just sounded like it(to me).
    A
    Last edited by andrewe; 11-14-2010 at 02:56 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    The first poster asked specifically about boats like Beetle Cats. The Beetle cockpit coaming arcs around aft of the mast. So most covers use a pole between the boom crutch and the coaming and snap around the coaming. To go over the boom and gaff, one needs to wrap around the gaff peak halyard saddle and the boom, or go even farther forward and wrap around the gaff saddle and the mast. It isn't an elegant solution. I leave the the pole and cover when I head out. Howard Boats can provide a boom tent (as a cover, not a camp cruising cover,) but don't recommend it.
    www.howard-boats.com
    John

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    I use tonneau cover hooks as used by pickup trucks ( they come in several sizes, you need the small ones) and put a line under the rubrail , a length of shockcord along the edge of the tent and just hook it under with a little tension on.
    My favourite material for those tents is light guage Hypalon.
    When you go to make up your tent, get some craft paper and sticky tape and mock it up, then take that apart to create a pattern.
    John Welsford

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewe View Post
    A neat solution I saw was a thin line under the rubrail fixed with ss screws. The cover had bungees with hooks along the side. These were hooked onto the line. It was not really noticable until you looked.
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    One factor with a boomtent, if you're thinking of it for protecting the cockpit in a slip or on a mooring rather than for camp-cruising, is the added windage.

    I rigged a boomtent on a Hartley 14, on a trailer at a yacht club. During a stiff southerly (this was on South Island NZ) I drove over to check on my boat and the force of the wind was actually tipping it up off the trailer, which had slewed around. So I de-rigged the boomtent and things settled somewhat. I replaced the tent with a tight-fitting cover.

    If the boat's on a solid mooring and can swing freely it's not a great concern. But in a slip, it might be bashed to one side or other by the additional windage of what is, in effect, a sail.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Thank you all for your insight. I am planning to create a boom tent for storage only. I am in a protected salt creek on the Upper Chesapeake, and while I am in a slip, I do not worry too much about windage, although the thought that my little boat might get battered about by a high wind gives me some pause to reconsider. I plan to have a cover that snaps around the coaming, with a bolt rope or a series of eyes along the upper leading edge that I can reave through the boom somehow. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to do this, I would love to hear it. My reason for wanting a boom tent instead of the cockpit cover that I have is that, with the cockpit cover that I have, I must use a center rib for support- I have to leave that center rib on the dock when I head out, and as some of you have pointed out, this is sort of a hassle. If I were to use some sort of looping system, I don't see how the lazy jacks and halyards would get in the way.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    I leave my 23'er all winter with an over boom tent. 4 corners pulled tight ,and a few other ties that go a few inches beyond the coaming to convenient spots (jib sheet blocks) . I do not have lazy jacks only cuz they would be a hassle with the awnsl' (as I call it). I untie the peak hlyd to get it outta the way. (gaffer obviously). Good ventilation too!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    If it's just a cockpit cover, I often find that a single-point halyard lift does a better job of holding it up than bows, hoops, etc. and with no extra parts to stow. When the mast isn't up (like for winter storage) a single vertical strut inside the cockpit does the job.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Boom Tent

    Ten years and one boat later, I finally got around to it. Thanks to everyone for your help.
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