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Old 28-02-2020, 11:26   #1
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Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

We have a 10 foot Bombadier dinghy with a pretty big outboard. We're currently using the dinghy cover from our previous Caribe (9 feet?) that had a small outboard.
The cover is old, stained and too small for our present dink.

I bought a car cover at Walmart for US$25 and it fits just fine. My husband came back from a business trip and told me the reasons we need a "real" dinghy cover which will run at least $100.

* Blocks UV rays
* waterproof

Now I can be convinced, but my cheap inner child is screaming "but what if it works?" Has anyone else successfully used a car cover for the dinghy?

As always, thanks.
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Old 28-02-2020, 11:31   #2
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

Well my question is ........ where are you going to get “real” dinghy cover for $100?

I got a cheap cover once (more that$100) and it fit so poorly and was so hard to get on that it was worthless.
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Old 28-02-2020, 11:35   #3
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

If it fits, is waterproof, and blocks UV rays, it's brilliant.

Normally this is the kind of thing husbands applaud. If it doesn't work, you get a more expensive one next time.

I'm just curious, what what his reason for not wanting to try it out?
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Old 28-02-2020, 11:46   #4
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

The package doesn't say "waterproof" or "blocks UV" so his conclusion is that it doesn't. He's probably right. My question is: is the car cover only a dust cover?

And SB1, I just googled "dinghy covers" and one came up at Defender that was about $100. I really haven't researched it more than that.
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Old 28-02-2020, 12:49   #5
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

We added a dinghy to our previous boat and did the same thing as you, picked up a car cover from WalMart. It worked fine for the year we had it before we sold the boat.
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Old 28-02-2020, 12:54   #6
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

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The package doesn't say "waterproof" or "blocks UV" so his conclusion is that it doesn't. He's probably right. My question is: is the car cover only a dust cover?

And SB1, I just googled "dinghy covers" and one came up at Defender that was about $100. I really haven't researched it more than that.
If you can't see through it, it's blocking UV rays. And if it's not waterproof, you can fix that in 10 minutes with a can of spray waterproofing. The seams may not be waterproof, but it's a dinghy, right?

I'd think you'd be getting Kudos, but if he wants a custom sunbrella cover, go for it. Sounds like he hasn't embraced the frugality potential of cruising.
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Old 28-02-2020, 13:21   #7
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

Rehead, i'm thinking I'd give it a go, unless it is really important to him to have the looks of a sunbrella cover. Especially since you now have it.

There are good instructions on the SailRite website for making dinghy chaps, and if you have a sewing machine, there is nothing on a dinghy cover that demands a fancy machine to sew one. Silly me, I didn't find the website instructions till after ours was done. There's a pic of it in the Sewing Group (under Community). Sapient Sue, another member here, used SOLAS reflective tape near the bow and on each tube near the stern, so that a flashlight quickly shows where your dinghy is at night. Her cover looks great.

The car cover is probably a dust cover, because car paint is very durable to the elements, which dinghies are less so. However if it is dark and you can't see through it, it should protect the dinghy okay for a while. To me, the downside to dinghy chaps is that they can harbor spiders, and dust, but the rains seem to discourage both.

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Old 28-02-2020, 13:49   #8
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

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And SB1, I just googled "dinghy covers" and one came up at Defender that was about $100. I really haven't researched it more than that.
Well that must be the one I was talking about as that is where I got it.
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Old 29-02-2020, 10:32   #9
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

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If you can't see through it, it's blocking UV rays. A
Sorry not True certain UV light will leach through , just being pedantic, I have vitiligo and I can assure you that not all cloth is the same
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Old 29-02-2020, 10:49   #10
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

Reading through the thread to date, I see there are two definitions used: "cover" and "chaps" - which are altogether different things.

A cover merely has to go on top of the dinghy (and motor, presumed), and cinch up. If you wanted to get fancy, you might use some sort of prop in the middle to make it "tent" a bit to shed rain.

That's all you really need for the elements while in storage, whether aboard or ashore or something else. Hanging it from davits will be problematic, however.

On the other hand, chaps are designed to protect the tubes, and won't do a thing to prevent it from filling in a good rain. Furthermore, they are a royal pain to fit (sewing is pretty straightforward, but matching all the curves and bends not so much, not to mention how you'll keep it ON the tubes), and to have it done professionally may well involve several hundred dollars of labor.

Compounding that is finding a fabric which is both abrasion resistant, puncture resistant, and UV strong. We thought we had it covered (pardon the expression) with Tough Stuff (Miami fabrics or some similar name) but it is virtually useless for UV as it (now the second one, too) flaked into pieces in only a few years of S. FL or Bahamas sun. Miami sez there's a new one coming out which is the answer, but we've not tried it.

The advantage to both is/would be (if we got the new stuff) that it doesn't need hemming; it doesn't unravel as woven stuff does. So all the handles/oarlocks/eyebolts and valve openings merely need cutting with scissors, saving LOTS of construction time (read: money).

Because we use our dinghy on a daily basis other than when we're traveling away from the boat, what we need is chaps; YMMV and instead need a cover ...
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Old 29-02-2020, 11:00   #11
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

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Sorry not True certain UV light will leach through , just being pedantic, I have vitiligo and I can assure you that not all cloth is the same

For sure, you're right.

But how significant is the uv light going through an intact car cover? I'd suggest you're OK until the cover degrades.
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Old 29-02-2020, 11:02   #12
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

Having a shitty cheap looking cover is a plus in my book, attracts a lot less attention
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Old 29-02-2020, 11:10   #13
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

Not sure what the problem is in using the $25 car cover until it falls apart. Hubby can Paypal me the price difference between your decent solution and a proper, super-duper Marine suncover if that will make him feel better.
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Old 29-02-2020, 11:28   #14
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

The fellow is a JERK. He has a wife who with her good heart was trying to save money for her Hubby, and he has a S-FIT. Girl, kick the rascal overboard.

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Old 29-02-2020, 11:52   #15
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Re: Talk Me Out of Being Cheap, ahem, Frugal

Cover vs chaps

Right now we need a cover. We're in the Pacific Northwest. 10 inches of rain in January. So keeping the mold down and the rain out of the boat is the primary need. Sun protection is just not an issue.

We're heading south at the end of this summer (fingers crossed) and when we reach the Sea of Cortez, we'll probably have a greater need for chaps. Then rain protection won't be the issue.

Another reason, in my mind, to go cheap for now.
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