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
Ask the Experts
  • 05 December 2018
  • By Ethan

Ask Andrew: Boat ventilation

I passed by a person doing some shrink-wrap work recently, and as he installed a vent in the shrink-wrap he was completing, he muttered satisfactorily to himself ‘Air flow isn’t just for sail boats.

Destinations

  • Prev
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 New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.

Grenada: It was all so inviting...

The Large Island of Grenada

By Katherine Stone

Anytime a Canadian is asked to travel south in the beginning of our spring, which this year was far from inviting, is a dream worth living. The thought of a sailing adventure, tropical breezes, the smell of spices and the warmth of the sun was too much – we HAD to go! The first thing we did was to dig out the copy of Ann Vanderhoof’s book, The Spice Necklace, we had acquired several years ago and to re-read the seven chapters of their adventures in Grenada. Not only should this be your required reading, but the book is loaded with scrumptious Caribbean recipes that are a must-try.

Read more about Grenada...

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
We are home for Christmas this year. Soon we will be heading back to Adamant 1 for another winter ...
This past October we drove to Telegraph Cove with friends and spent a day of wonder cruising the ...
We have kept our subscription to Canadian Yacht Onboard as we have traveled the South Pacific over ...
Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
Michele Stevens pointed us to this interesting project which recently came to fruition in Cape ...
Our Photos of the week this time come from BC where our friend Rob Stokes sent us a very nice ...
Our little treasure: Montague (Monte) taken at Pirate's Cove in the Gulf Islands. Monte is a ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
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 ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...

Leader 9.0

Leader 9.0By Andy Adams

In the case of baking a cake, Betty Crocker and Julia Child both start off with the same eggs, sugar and flour, but the results can be very different. Naval architects, designers and engineers in the boat business also have many of the same ingredients, but the trick is to make the cake unique and desirable.

With a huge history of innovative design in boatbuilding, Jeanneau brings the sort of skill and artistry to their boats that can set them apart. Their new Leader 9.0 model is a case in point.

Read more about the Leader 9.0...

 

 

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...