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Old 11-01-2009, 18:28   #1
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Completed - Inexpensive PVC Frame and Cover

The cover for our Beneteau 50 is finished. The yearly cost will be $200, instead of the $1500 the marina charges for shrinkwrap. Total cost this year was even less than $1500. Much less. Here is a picture of the frame.

Here's a shot with the cover, before it was really done. (It was dark by the time she was completly covered and everything was tucked in tight.)

The whole thing disassembles into some managable pieces, for easy reassembly next winter. For instance, the 1.5" PVC ridge has a very taught 1/2 inch nylon line running in the center like a "spinal cord". This means by loosening (but not removing) the line, all the pieces at the top come apart, but stay in the same order for next winter. Likewise, the 13 PVC "wings" fold in (or fold up and over) so they can be easily moved. There are a few experimental aspects of the design, like arched ribs (tensioned like a bow-and-arrow's bow), side supports and mid-arch supports. I want to see how they fare over the winter.
The fore section was really the simplest part of the design, since she's less beamy there.

By keeping all the ribs at 10 feet, it worked well with the 20 foot wide tarp. this picture was before I gathered-in all the excess material at the bow. (The same thing that heat guns do to shrink wrap, can be done to tarps with some light line from the inside.) Note also this picture was before finishing-up where the tarps meet.


Each year, we'll need a new 20x30 cheap tarp for the bow, and a tarp for the stern as well. For the stern, I used a 50x30, so what you see is one piece, without any cuts. The tarp actually folds at the topping lift and covers the stern quite well.
I may using a 30x40 in the future for the stern if I change the design a bit or if I take the mast out. (The design does not need the mast and boom in place, the frame is self-supporting.)
If anyone wants more details, please let me know. There are a bunch of things done to make it easily removed, stored and reassembled.

Regards
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Old 11-01-2009, 18:29   #2
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Here's another picture taken from the inside after the tarp was tightened-up and gathered. Note the cardboard box over the BBQ (to protect the tarp from hard edges).

Below the folded, stainless arch is a separate 8'x10' tarp to protect the storage compartment in the transom from water-turned-ice. So everything in the picture is one large tarp, except for right behind the dinghy engine mount.
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Old 11-01-2009, 20:10   #3
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Neat Idea!

You just gave me the inspiration on how to improve the cockpit cover for my Irwin 38! Right now, I use a grey tarp that hangs from the boom, and is held in place by bungies. A few well placed strips of PVC pipe would improve the situation a bunch!

Thanks,

Don W.
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Old 11-01-2009, 20:20   #4
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And if you put them under tension into an arch, they ought to provide some very good support indeed. And at under 30 cents a foot, those tubes are cheap. Connectors actually cost about the same (each) as a 10 foot tube.

Please post pictures

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Originally Posted by donw_s11 View Post
You just gave me the inspiration on how to improve the cockpit cover for my Irwin 38! Right now, I use a grey tarp that hangs from the boom, and is held in place by bungies. A few well placed strips of PVC pipe would improve the situation a bunch!

Thanks,

Don W.
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Old 11-01-2009, 23:15   #5
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Great idea putting nylon line in the ridge. I made a similiar frame from pvc years ago and its still going strong. If it will help, several points that have worked well on my frame...I drilled 2 holes in center ridge about every three feet
for 3/4" ribs which pass though center ridge and connected 2 pieces of the 3/4"
rib material as needed then cut to desired size , they fit into pvc that run along
(inside) port and starboard toe rails.(ribs and all numbered) This creates tension that works well and can be carried all the way back to the stern. Another big help is using plastic ties to hold things in place when setting up and from wind, come spring they cut off real easy. I will post some pictures in the next few days. Hope this helps.... Hugo
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Old 12-01-2009, 00:42   #6
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Hugo, can't wait to see your pictures. Do take the excess material and tuck it under the toe-ral pipe? Or does it hang down?

I need to get a permanent marker and start numbering everything too.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:27   #7
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I ought to get a picture of how the excess material is gathered up and tied off. That's the real allure of shrinkwrap IMHO, by heating it, you gather up all the excess material.
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Old 13-01-2009, 21:31   #8
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Numbering ridge pieces and ribs make for fast assembly, I drilled holes in joining ridge pieces and dropped a large headed screw to keep ridge pieces together while inserting ribs. Next year I will put in a line to keep together thanks to bene. Before my cover was made I just gathered up excess tarp...but always thought about cutting off excess tarp and rolling edge and inserting gromets but never did- just a thought. I've added some pictures- hope they'll help.
Hugo
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