Oct 25, 2018

Build a Ridgepolebuild a ridgepole of 2x4’ and 1x2’s on the foredeck of a cruiser

DIY Shrink-wrap

Last time, I described the importance of covering your boat to protect it for the winter, and listed a few options and discussed their pros and cons.

This edition, I’d like to delve into the process of shrink-wrapping. Many find this to be the optimal method of winter protection.

Shrink-wrapping is a bit of a mystifying art to a person who has never done it before – and I have yet to see a first-timer wrap a boat perfectly. That said – it is highly gratifying, and quite cost effective (over time) to shrink-wrap a boat yourself versus paying a contractor to perform this work

The Tools:

a) A roll of Shrink-wrap – Purchased through a contractor, marine supply store, or wholesaler. Along with the wrap itself purchase a roll of shrink tape and adhesive.
b) A heat shrink gun (or any sort of propane torch): I use a torch designed to burn off weeds, purchased from a farm supply store!
c) Propane hose and Tank (such as can be used on a BBQ)
d) Cordage: can be bought along with shrink-wrap – but high-quality, low-stretch and heat resistant twine can also be used. I prefer flat, braided cordage, designed to be used with shrink-wrap
e) Lumber: 2x4’s and 1x2’s – from a lumber yard
f) 2” wood screws
g) A power drill
h) Padding: pieces of carpet, cardboard, foam or pad
i) A jig-saw or handsaw for cutting lumber to length
j) A measuring tape – preferably the flexible roll type

The Method:

1) You’ll need to take a few measurements aboard before buying your supplies. Shrink-wrap comes in a variety of widths and lengths. What you’ll need to buy will be dependent on the ridgeline, or ridgepole that you’ll build with 2x4s on the boat’s deck.

The Ridgepole supports will be vertical 2x4s, and the length of the ridgepole will be of 1x2s. The ridgepole will be curved, running from bow pulpit to transom, with supports every 8 feet or so. Therefore, a 12’ boat will only need one support, but a 35’ boat will need 3.

Amidships, the ridgepole supports should be tall enough so that the angle from ridgepole to gunwale is anywhere from 30-45 degrees (so that snow, rain and ice will slide off the wrap)

2) Use cordage and tie from each ridgepole to cleats or stanchions, providing lateral support (we don’t want the ridgepole to fall over or collapse).

3) Next, use cordage to wrap around the width of the hull. The cordage should be as tight as possible, and mid-way between the waterline and gunwale of the boat.

Shrink Wrap Measured Shrink-wrap has been measured and draped over the boat

4) Once the ridgepole has been built and supported, we can measure to determine the length of width of shrink-wrap required.

Length – from the cordage at the bow, over the bow, along the ridgepole, over the transom to the cordage on the transom’s hull.

Width – at the boat’s beam (the widest point), measure from port to starboard, over the ridgepole. Add about 18”.

5) Once you’ve sourced, purchased, and cut to length your shrink-wrap, it needs to be draped over the boat, with the ends tucked under the cordage on the hull. Keep the wrap hand-tight (there shouldn’t be a lot of slack), but don’t use excessive force at this point. The wrap has yet to shrink – if it’s pulled too tight too early, it will shrink and put pressure on stanchions or deck hardware causing damage!

6) Next – use the heat gun to tighten the folded edge on the hull. Work your way down one side of the boat, then the other – heat up the wrap, and tap it with a gloved hand, creating a seam

Wrapped With Cordage The bottom edge is wrapped around cordage, creating a seam or hem

7) Use cordage to tie the seams together from port to starboard, under the belly of the boat. As the shrink-wrap tightens, this cordage will prevent the seam from rising.

8) Continue heating the wrap. Work your way slowly from seam to gunwale, from bow to stern.

9) Once the lower section has tightened up, move again from bow to stern, but from gunwale to ridgepole. Try to hit every part of wrap with heat, until all the wrinkles are out. Sometimes it’s helpful to heat once, let it cool, and return again in ten minutes or so to re-heat.

10) During this process, you may see that seams, holes or marks have developed in the wrap – these can be fixed by covering over or repairing using shrink-tape which works the same way that tape works, but also shrinks and tightens as it’s heated.

11) Add vents at high points on the wrap to allow airflow and any humidity to escape.

 

A few extra notes:


Completed Shrink Wrap Completed smaller boats

Try to make sure that the boat is clean and dry before shrink-wrapping. If bilges have water, if damp or wet covers or lines are left inside the wrap, they can lead to mildew or mould over time.

While shrinking, you’ll be working with a live flame – please keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case. Shrink-wrap is designed to heat and melt, not burn – but accidents are possible. Please take care.

If you find that shrink-wrapping isn’t for you, there are likely many contractors available who can do this work for you.

Ask Andrew

 

Andrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program.

Questions or comments for Andrew? Email him directly via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related Articles

Destinations

  • Prev
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...
After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...