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 Post subject: Heavy Duty Trailer cover
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:10 am 
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Just Starting Out
Just Starting Out

Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:38 pm
Posts: 11
Boat Name: Undecided
I need to make a bespoke cover for my boat to protect it from the elements whilst being towed. I am looking for a suitable material. Years ago I had a small trailer with a heavy duty cover which was somewhat stretchy. This material would be ideal but I do not know what it was, and I am struggling to find something that would be similar on google!

The stretchyness would be very useful as the boat has a VFT boiler, so the cover would need to go over the funnel-less boiler and be attached around the gunwales with turnbuckles, making the cover somewhat pyramid shaped, and getting the shape spot on with a non-stretchy fabric so that it stays tight enough not to flap in the slipstream when towed, yet not too tight will be tricky.

Does anyone have an idea of the best material to use?


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:14 am 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:12 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Very eastern England
Boat Name: Platypus, Shelduck
You can certainly get the heavy-duty PVC used for curtain-sided lorries, and there are plenty of sailmakers and tent/awning repairers who have the really heavy-duty sewing machines needed to hem it, or indeed the heated rollers needed to make welded hems and seams.

The PVC is slightly stretchy, as long as you buy a type which isn't fabric reinforced (some are, some aren't), and if kept under long term tension it will creep quite a lot, which can be helpful, or a real nuisance.

Turnbuckles need to be fairly accurately aligned, with no adjustment possible. I myself would try to arrange an adjustable fixing system, either using bungee loops, or short lengths of cord. Sailmakers often make a lot of boat covers, and may have their own pet suggestions.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:41 am
Posts: 1571
Location: Lopez Island, Washington State, USA
Boat Name: S.L. Folly
Good luck with the cover for towing. I think I've tried everything and the buffeting and flapping eats it up in no time.

I don't even cover the boat tightly when in my back yard. I have an open portable carport that keeps rain and most leaves out but lets the breeze through. Once in a while a bird nest but I take that as a sign that I'm not using the boat enough!

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:35 pm 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:38 am
Posts: 477
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Boat Name: Wayward Belle
The heavy tarps over the road truckers use are incredibly durable. If you can get a cover made from that material it would be ideal. Keep in mind even when taut as a drum there is still movement and chafing on brightwork or anything else in direct contact with the cover.

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler

Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:57 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Norman, OK
Boat Name: No Boat Yet
Alright, keeping in mind that virtually all of my experience is in moving furniture;

If you want to do this on a tighter budget, look at using a few tarps instead of just one. I'd recommend wrapping the VFT by itself,with a liberal amount of ratchet ties to keep flapping to a minimum. The biggest killer of tarps when I haul furniture/tools/other stuff is flapping in the tarp which melts at the fibers, gets them all over everything, and is generally a huge pain to clean up.

Also, use multiple layers. Tarps are great for water resistance and general protection, but the inevitable flapping back and forth tends to wear on whatever's underneath. I recommend a large sheet of cotton as thick as possible. I've had good results moving furniture with thrift store sheets, or you can look at something bigger and nicer.

Obviously, this isn't as nice as having a dedicated cover, but this is probably the fastest solution to get ahold of, and for a pretty low cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:52 pm 
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Full Steam Ahead
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Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:56 pm
Posts: 1514
Location: Northwest Detroit
Boat Name: Iron Chief
The secret to towing something with a tarp is bungee cords and lots of them. Around the edge of the tarp either cut holes to hook in or cut holes and add eyelets. As long as it's pulled tight and folded over the folded over material facing the rear it will withstand quite a bit of wind. Heavier tarp material is better too. Those blue poly tarps are difficult to hold down, but it can be done with lots of bungee cords. Once moving, if you see it flapping, stop and add a bungee cord.

-Ron


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