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Old 06-11-2015, 08:35   #1
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To Wrap or not to Wrap

I just purchased a 1980 O'Day 30 and now that it is out of the water and on a cradle outside at the marina, I am wondering if I should have it shrink wrapped for winter. The winters here in Wisconsin can be brutal but is it worth is to wrap a 35 year old boat? (the previous owner did not wrap)
I'm new to sailing this size boat and any and all opinions are welcome. I'd like to know what others in Northern climates do and why.
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Old 06-11-2015, 08:49   #2
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Save your money unless you have some really bad leaks or intend to do a lot of work on it during the winter. I have had my boat for 27 years, never been wrapped and it doesn't seem any the worse for wear. But I do notice more and more boats in our club get wrapped every winter. These are usually the new boats joining the club.
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:02   #3
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

We put a tarp over our boat. We're still able to access the boat during the winter, and we can get more than one season out of it (unlike the shrink wrap).
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:04   #4
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Thanks Vasco. Even the marina admits that more than half of all boats stored there do not wrap. I would imagine that the ones that do tend to be newer ones.
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:06   #5
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

I was told by my marina that the summer sun does far more damage to fiberglass than the winter cold would ever do...
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:07   #6
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Thanks CTHoops. That idea is one worth investigating. Does your tarp go over the boom? Any problems with winds getting under and ripping or letting in snow?
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:23   #7
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

If you get a lot of snow, or you get freeze/thaw cycles (yes in both counts I suspect) the I would definitely cover the boat. It's virtually impossible that your 30 year old boat doesn't have some deck leaks. Water sitting on deck or in the cockpit can cause damage if it freezes hard. And then there's the snow load. Water is heavy. A loaded deck or cockpit will add significant force to the boat.

Building your own cover is not hard. I made one out of pvc conduit pipe for our 34' ketch. Conduit for the arches, tie-wrapped to the toerail, and tied it all together using a run of 3/8" line for the backbone. This kept the structure solid but flexible. I used cheap blue tarp for the cover, and I usually got three seasons out of each using this set up.


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Old 06-11-2015, 09:25   #8
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Be careful with a tarp. Lots of sound answers here on not shrink-wrapping that matches my experience of 15 Connecticut winters. I lived in Wisconsin for three years, and your winters are comparable or worse. The tarp solution can cause as much trouble as it cures. Typically, unless it's a really good tarp that's tied down tightly, it will shred itself with winter winds. It can trap water and block drainage, too. The grommets and straps chafe and rub wherever they touch. If the tarp is led over the boom, the force of the wind on it can cause a lot of problems, too.

I cover my helm with a big canvas bag, and my instrument panel with a piece of plywood. And that's it.
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:39   #9
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

For the first ten years I used tarps over a PVC frame I built. Have to use special snap-in gromets because the integrated grommets won't hold up in the winds. Here are the grommets http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=sr_1_7&sr=8-7

The second decade I stored indoors.

There is a marked condition between my boat and like boats stored w/o cover.

Water will get into the tiniest cracks and make them bigger. And, while the sun isn't as bright as summer, keep in mind that an uncovered boat is exposed to sunlight- some of it quite bright- for the next six to eight months. This also takes a toll on brightwork.

Shrinkwrap is expensive. If you compare the price of a decade of shrinkwrap to the total of typical winter damage/ resale loss, you'd be better financially to skip the shrinkwrap. I would though make a PVC frame and cover with tarps.

An uncovered boat also runs the risk of water/ snow intrusion through the doorboards, freeze-thaw cycle if it gets into the mast step (bad), scuppers plug with leaves and then cockpit fills with ice/snow, etc. All of this can cause expensive damage.
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Old 06-11-2015, 10:06   #10
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garymadhatter View Post
Thanks CTHoops. That idea is one worth investigating. Does your tarp go over the boom? Any problems with winds getting under and ripping or letting in snow?
We remove the boom, and then build a frame using wood and pvc as a few other posters have mentioned.

We haven't had any problems with the wind, but we have an abundance of tie down points and are particularly careful about making sure the tarp at the bow and stern is properly gathered and tied down.

Last winter was extremely harsh - tons of snow - and the whole system made it through with no problem. The tarp itself also was fine, but we had made a point of buying a high-quality tarp. I can easily see a cheaper one getting shredded after a winter.
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Old 06-11-2015, 10:14   #11
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Unwrapped/uncovered: If there are any leaks in the boat, you could have a smelly moldy boat if not covered. If there are bad leaks in the boat, or if it not appropriately level, you could have water damage if you don't have a drain plug in the keel.
Shrink wrapping can cause damage by allowing moisture to hold under the wrap I guess.... especially where it contacts the fiberglass intimately.

If tarping, be careful where you tie the tarp etc, lines can rub grooves in lifelines, or wood rails etc as the wind works the tarp constantly.
If it's a good dry boat, just remove the sails, winterize and leave it, would probably be my approach. Less risk all around.
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Old 06-11-2015, 10:25   #12
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

You should get estimates from local canvas shops on a custom fabric cover. You might find it doesn't cost that much more than shrinkwrap and can be re-used for years.
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Old 06-11-2015, 11:16   #13
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Agree with others who warn about properly tying things down. If using the cheap tarps, definitely use the add-on tie-down hooks. DO NOT rely on the silly little grommets provided in these tarps. And do make sure nothing can bang or scrape against the hull. All these things are easy to do though.
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Old 06-11-2015, 11:33   #14
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

Thanks to all for your thoughts, advice. It is greatly appreciated. I'm still pondering my options but now I have some solid information to consider.
This is a GREAT forum. Someday I hope to be able to contribute as well!
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Old 06-11-2015, 14:41   #15
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Re: To Wrap or not to Wrap

I shrink wrap my boat myself. The materials are inexpensive. You can buy 6mm construction tarp at home depot. Its the same stuff they use but they charge you more. Fortunately I have access to a propane powerd shrink wrap torch. I am sure you can find one or borrow one. Its very easy to do. Only cost me about 50 a year to do it. I think it's worth it. As posted here on an old boat those little cracks that you don't notice now will open up with the freeze thaw and great problems in the spring when you are working on repairs instead of sailing..

Good luck.
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