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Old 11-11-2012, 18:51   #16
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I decided against shrink wrap and bought a cover through Kinder Industries in Rhode Island. Great quality and significantly cheaper than the quote I got from Fairclogh. They drove down to Long Island and installed it a no charge.

The only problem with winter covers is where to put the frame and cover when it is not in use...

The breakeven in cost vs shrink wrapping is about 5 years.

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Old 11-11-2012, 19:30   #17
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Re: Shrink wrap or not

I've only stored boats in NY/CT for about 25 winters, so I'm relatively inexperienced compared to some here.

I've used tarps, wood frames, metal conduit frames, and boom tents. I've covered, not covered, used only a cockpit cover. Never shrink-wrapped because I think it's a waste of materials and money, and was concerned about breathability. Boats MUST have ventilation or they mildew. A cover for your cockpit is also a must (unless you can be there after every snowfall to shovel it out) as snow/ice will otherwise block the cockpit skuppers and allow overflow melt-water into spaces it doesn't belong. In terms of preventing damage, if you only cover the cockpit you're 90% there, the next 9% is to cover cabin ports/windows, the next 1% is everything else.

Tarps do more overall damage than the freeze-thaw because the wind causes constant movements, and even small shifts will rub the finish over time and turn your shiney gelcoat to a matte-finish. If you do use tarps, use only heavy-duty ones and weight them with gallon jugs full of water or sand (even that won't prevent movement). Beware the small pocket that traps water, which freezes/thaws, traps more water, gets heavier and heavier, and eventually creates a huge ice pocket.

In the last five years I used a Fairclough custom cover I picked up cheap from the owners of a sister boat. A custom cover is the way to go if you plan to keep your boat more than about 5 years.

BTW if you do shovel a cockpit -- the best tool I found is a child's plastic snow shovel. They're sized properly for the space, and the semi-hard plastic doesn't scratch the fiberglass.

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