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View Poll Results: Tarp or shrink wrap
tarp 16 51.61%
shrink wrap 9 29.03%
other 6 19.35%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 18-11-2009, 21:22   #1
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Shrink Wrap vs Tarp

Do you shrink wrap or tarp your boat. What are some of the benefits or drawbacks of both methods. Does anyone have any horrible experiences with having their cockpit fill up with ice and getting damaged?

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Old 18-11-2009, 21:53   #2
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i use tarps have them setup like a boom tent with 1.5in pex pcv piping. works great for me. no experience with shrink wrap but from what ive read supposed to help with insulation.

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Old 19-11-2009, 03:25   #3
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Usually tarp

Had the boatyard install shrinkwrap one year when I didn't have time to cover the boat myself.

Improperly installed shrinkwrap can blister the topsides, so make sure there are spacers between the hull and the plastic to allow air circulation.
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Old 20-11-2009, 05:45   #4
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I'm sure that there is already to much 'packaging' around. Shrink wrapping to me, is a step too far in our consumer society.

The message is the journey, we are sure the answer lies in the destination. But in reality, there is no station, no place to arrive at once and for all. The joy of life is the trip, and the station is a dream that constantly out distances us”. Robert Hastings, The Station
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Old 20-11-2009, 06:06   #5
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Tarp. Cheaper by far and way better for the environment. They used to recycle shrink wrap around here but not anymore. Built a nice frame to cover and close in the boat, tubes at ends for ventilation, takes less than two hours to put up or take down. Makes it nice for working on board during the off season. We store with mast down.
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Old 20-11-2009, 06:10   #6
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I use a custom canvas cover. In the Great Lakes, some pretty good wind storms come through during the winter that tend to wreak havoc on tarp installations. I've seen even the best and most secure arrangements damaged. Nevertheless, many people attempt to use them. Its always interesting to watch how the various attempts make out by Spring.
Shrinkwrap jobs tend to do much better. They're done with venting in serveral places, and its rare to see any damage to the boat (but does happen if the install was poorly done).
For me, the canvas cover is best since it's re-usable every year, completely protects the boat, and has excellent ventilation. More $$ initially for sure, but I rest easier knowning the boat is better protected, and I don't have to pay for new tarps or new shrink wrap repeatedly.
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Old 20-11-2009, 06:33   #7
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After a rather bad winter in which I ruined two tarps (well, winds and snow did the trick, really), I have had the boat shrink-wrapped for the last two winters.

Upside has been I have good access to the boat and can work on projects all winter, with the judicious use of space heaters.

Downside is the recurring cost and, of course, the environmental impact. At our club, we mitigate the environmental pain by sending the plastic and wood to a recycling company.

I may try to tarp again next winter. If so I'll use a trick I saw this fall .. plastic angle joints meant to hold 2x2 lumber. One of the other members built a frame using them and then tarped over that.

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Old 20-11-2009, 07:04   #8
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I would think it would depend on enviroment and duration. I am gone for 3 years and have elected to shrink wrap. The guy did a great job, has ventilation and zippered access.
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Old 20-11-2009, 10:32   #9
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Does "tarp" include fitted covers? For wood boats, ventilation is key so shrinkwrap could cause problems. Ours is a large sunbrella cover on frames.
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Old 20-11-2009, 13:55   #10
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Options abound

My understanding, for a sailboat the goal of a cover is to keep water out of areas where it may freeze. Water around a stanchion freezes and creates a lot of pressure to split. (Dirt protection is just a benefit).

A tarp has slack from putting a square panel over a odd shaped item (boat). Unless you go hog wild and strap, bungee and tape every possible gap, you will have rubbing and water leaking in. Can it be made secure - yes. But most of us will fail to do a sufficient job and we pay for it later.

Shrink wrap has environmental issues, but not as bad as people think. A recycling process is in place for the type of plastic in use. Venting is a must and if you build a framework, it can be a nice area to work inside. The recurring costs are a factor with prices all over the place.

I am looking to a custom cover. It is shaped to fit, reducing flapping and rubbing. Stress points can be made to match the boat and increasing its lifespan. This year - my first winter, I plan to shrink wrap. It will get me through the season while I locate someone to price/make a custom cover.

Costs :
Tarp and wood - cheapest option. I question total cost over time however as most tarps die in a couple of years and then need to be replaced.
Shrink Wrap - cheaper than a custom cover, but recurring costs. Custom fit, with little chance of rubbing.
Custom Cover - most expensive, but should have a 3.5 year ROI, depending on my cover options.

The custom cover disadvantage is during the sailing season when it has to be stored, because of size and weight - which is plenty. I am also looking at options to better seal around the waterline, perhaps neoprene or maybe the solution is to put a cover on and run shrink wrap around the bottom myself. It would lock everything down on the hull.

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Old 20-11-2009, 14:05   #11
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Where we winter (Port Clinton on Lake Erie) most boats are shrink wrapped. The facility we use recycles so I feel the enviromental impact is somewhat mitigated. We make sure there are numerous vents installed and going back the past 3 boats moisture (condensation, molds, etc.) has not been an issue.

I would love to have a custom made tarp for Fair Wind, but on my last sailboat, a C&C 32, the custom tarp for it was so heavy that installing it took 3-4 strong men.

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Old 20-11-2009, 15:48   #12
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buy the right tarp

If you're buying those cheezy blue things you're wasting your money. You need to buy a good, heavy duty tarp. I get the hay bale tarps, they are silver outside, black inside, double layer, have webbing loops around them as well as grommets and it takes 2 people to carry one big enough to cover a 36 footer. I used the same tarp for 4 winters and it was still in good shape when we sold the boat. It cost less than what 1 year of shrink wrap would cost.

Contrary to what some folks have printed here, a little bit of flapping is a good thing, it shakes the snow off. You need to have a high enough ridge to encourage the snow to slide off, we do and it does. The boat does not accumulate moisture like shrink wrapped boats do, the tarp does let air exchange occur.

We are on the north shore of Lake Ontario and totally exposed to the wind and have had zero problems with it (touching wood as I type that).
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Old 20-11-2009, 16:55   #13

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Since I do canvas work I vote for a fitted cover. Manart Hirsch sells fittings that use electric conduit for the framing. Then upon disassembly the poles, fittings and canvas fit in a pretty small package. There are some fabrics available out there like oddysey III that are extremely strong and lightweight and durable. I recently made a sunshade that covered the whole of a 46' hunter that fits in a smallish sailbag that had no problem with the summer squalls with no framing ,attaching over boom to lifelines, zipping apart at mast and tension line running to forestay.
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Old 20-11-2009, 19:46   #14
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For years I went the blue tarp route with water and ice
collecting if I did not get it set up just right....over the years
I refined a home made PVC frame and then went for a custom
cover...that weighed almost 70 lbs...until I had it cut in half to
enable mast to be left up and cut cover weight so I could still handle alone...nice and warm in winter...if sun is out I can work in shirt sleeves...not as expensive as one would think if boat is
kept over a number of if I remember how..
s/v Little Jumps
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Old 20-11-2009, 20:14   #15
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check out previous thread
"completed-inexpensive pvc frame and cover"

s/v Little Jumps
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