Today we put the winter cover on the boat. I neglected to get a photo of the giant green tarp with little tidbits of trailer noticeable under the bottom edge, but you can see the frame in the photos above. Now with the tarp on, when we start getting snow it will fall right off, and it’s all very satisfying.

In the previous two weeks, the boat and trailer went up on the winter blocks. This keeps the tires off the ground, and makes it possible to turn them now and then so the brakes don’t lock up with rust. Normally the boat is not so high off the ground, jacked up just enough to take the weight off the tires. But this year one of the big projects is rudder repair, so the cribs that support the trailer are built higher, and last week we let the rudder down and completely off the boat.

Originally I had the silly idea that the rudder repair would be quick, the rudder would be reinstalled, and we would put the boat back down in its normal lower winter position. Alas, as these things often go, more is going to be involved to put the steering right. With the prospect of the boat staying up high for the winter, catching wind on the giant tarp, we added those extra supports made out of two by fours that you can see nearer the front of the trailer. Now the boat is much more solid all the way around, so we should be good even in the winter storms, while still being able to fuss with the rudder.

The tarp frame is made from inch and a quarter PVC pipe, using some special fittings made specifically for building frames out of PVC pipe, rather than for plumbing. These fittings come from Peaceful Valley, and the really special ones are called “slip T’s” which mean that you can have one very long ridge pole, with easy connections for vertical supports. The tricky thing is that it works best if you get inch and one half slip T’s, if you’re using 1 1/4 inch pipe, so the slip T’s can really slide easily. Otherwise, they freeze in place over time, and it’s really hard to take the frame apart and reassemble it the following year with any new adjustments. (Yup, that would be the voice of experience…) Using the larger ones, they are a bit loose, but it’s easy enough to tie some lightweight line to anchor them in place. Here’s what they look like:
And then there are these, after the tarp is on, which make a real difference in keeping the tarp and the ridge pole from shifting around in relation to one another:
(same as always, these references are included for folks’ convenience, and I am not receiving anything for posting them.)

Meantime, the rudder project will get its own proper post, as we make more progress. Digging into this has been inspired by deterioration at the top of the wooden stock, and the discovery of a farm for marine growth, from barnacles and mussels to tubeworms, inside the rectangular well that serves as a rudder tube. Between the farm, and the wear taking place on the lower part of the stock and on the epoxy/dynel/plywood where the stock passes through the bottom of the boat, adjustments are in order! Additions of copper may be involved…

Anyway, for now the boat is snug. I miss getting to see its details out the window, but am delighted at the thought of watching all the snow slide to the ground, all by itself. We have lately been having some really cold weather – one night with single digits, and incredibly cold wind – so I’ve been particularly happy to be home!

February 2014