Winterizing

It was very interesting watching the people at the marina shrink-wrapping all the boats for winter storage. After pricing it out ($12.50/ft was the lowest price I saw) and wondering how to get in the boat once it is wrapped (I'm sure doors are extra) I decided to go with the good old standby of blue tarpage. The problem I could see with that approach is any lines used to tie it down would chafe against the hull during high winds. Also, the stress points where the tarp is tied down could lead to tearing. I decided to look around the house and see what I could come up with.

I had some 1" conduit I had bought for a snowrake for the roof (short story, bad ice dams, leaking roof, no snowrake in the whole state so I built one). I used the conduit, along with some 2x4's, to build a ridge pole on which to hang the tarp. I removed all the lifelines and stanchions (need to be cleaned anyway). The pictures below better describe my solution.

   
Here is the base I made for the rear support. It has a hole drilled in the bottom that fits over the main sheet pin. I cut a notch in the top of the support so that the pole fits into it.
  Base of support fits over main sheet pin
   
Here is the completed frame. The ropes are tied to the turnbuckles for the lifelines, the jib sheet blocks, to some eye straps on the foredeck (I think for the spinaker gear), and to cleats in the cockpit area. I did not tie them to the grab rails because these will be removed and refinished this winter.
  Ridge support made from conduit
   
Another view. I wrapped the lines around the pole and overlapped them so they would not slip and cause the pole to go sideways.
  Lines tied port and starboard to provide support for tarp
   
Just another view showing the whole system. I had to bend the poles to get the curve but it is not critical (i.e. the knee system works fine)
  Side view
   
Here is the middle support connected to the tabernacle. I expect that the wood will break before the tabernacle rips off the deck (no, I didn't do destructive testing).
  Support bolted to tabernacle
   
I terminated the ridge pole on the bow chainplate. I flattened the end of the conduit in a vise and drilled a hole. Again, I expect the bolt to fail before the chainplate gets ripped out. The theory is that the snow will slide off so there will be no load on the pole.
  Bow chain plate connection
   
The same is done on the aft end.
  Stern chainplate connection
   
Top view of completed support system (OK, digital cameras are a blessing and a curse. How many pictures of this do we really need?)
  Top view
   
And now for a change of pace, my cabin all cleaned out for winter.
  Everything out for winter
   
Ready for some tarpage. Lines tied to the two corners will be used to pull the tarp over the boat as we walk from bow to stern.
  Tarp ready for raising
   
Presto, boat covered. Now what? This is where I had to stop and have a beer to figure out how to tie the tarp down. After much looping of rope and un-looping of rope I came up with the following system.
  Tarp pulled over ridge pole
   
I looped a rope all the way around the boat and pulled it tight, but not too tight, so it stayed up near the rub rail. I then tucked the tarp under the rope from the outside to the inside so that the tarp was between the rope and the boat. I then went inside and pulled the excess tarp up so that the cover was tight.
  Tuck tarp under rope tied around the boat under the rub rail
   
I rolled up the excess tarpage and pushed it down between the boat and the cover. This sort of forms a buffer between the boat and the tarp to prevent chafing. Most of the stress on the tarp is spread evenly against the rubrail (after all, isn't that why they call it rub-rail?).
  Another view from inside
   
Here we are, all tucked in for winter. Doesn't look too bad, almost as good as shrink wrap. And of course when ever you're dealing with tarps the wind has to howl (30-40mph).
  All tucked in
   
Here is the key to making this work. I used my boom vang tackle to tighten the rope so that it is just under the rubrail. It is very tight and does not move.
  Used my boom vang tackle to pull rope tight around hull
   
At the back of the boat there is enough extra tarpage to allow me to climb into the boat. When I am done, I just tuck the excess under the rope and it stays put.
  Tuck the rest underneath (can pull out to get in boat)
   
Most people use the mast for the ridge pole but I wanted to work on it during the winter (replace or clean the rope halyards and clean the mast). To get it out of the way I rigged a pulley system to raise the mast to the ceiling.
  Mast ready to be raised
   
I got the mast half way up and it was way too hard to raise and tie off at the same time. So I rigged the mainsheet tackle to raise the mast. I then was able to tie it off easier.
  Pulley system on ceiling
   
Top and bottom lines brought to the middle so there is only one thing to pull to raise the mast.
  Pulley system
   
All raised and out of the way. (OK, worst case scenario, mast falls, smashes car, bends mast, hmmm). I added two more eyebolts with just a loop to the mast so that if something fails there is a redundant system to hold the mast up.
  Mast up and out of the way

That's it. Next year should be a lot easier because I don't have to design and build the system. This page will also help me remember how I rigged things. Sometimes I think having a T22 is better than having a larger boat because I can do a lot of the stuff myself. No shrink wrap, no paying someone to store my boat or haul it to my house, no crane needed to step/unstep the mast. Small is beautiful!

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