Winter posed a bit of a problem. We were prepared for heat – with our Dickinson Pacific diesel stove, and a cute Newport woodburner stove we had in the saloon, not to mention unmetered power at dock. The problem was the crappy structure improperly built onto the decking that funneled water down hidden pathways. Summer down-pours (with dry superstructure), while Damon was gone on expedition, had me chasing the rivers back and stuffing them with rags, narrowing point of entry to two major locations. Fall had everyone pulling out the super-tarps and fish netting and milk jugs to really batten down the hatches, we needed a plan. Damon hated the thought of being “tarp-trapped”: our wheel-house sat so high, and had not had the opportunity to receive the attention it needed, that we knew it wouldn’t last an exposed winter in the rains and howlers we get here.
We needed to build a ribbed structure, that wouldn’t ATTRACT the wind, to wrap the tarp or plastic around. Which is essentially building a garage, on top of our project (backwards, eh?). Unconventional as we are, we thought, “Why not just buy the whole she-bang?” With cement decking and gunwales, we were limited to what we could build. So this is what we did:
We bought a “portable garage” – which was exactly what we needed!!! A Canadian Tire sale, on the perfect size we needed for the frame to fit just inside the gunwales, while the tarp of it runs over top of the gunwales. The framing is all metal, there are a million bolts and screws holding it together, and straps to cinch it down. Damon has it literally tied down through the cement scuppers, and reinforced through the framing. The “garage doors” attach and zip down right to the deck, so it doesn’t scoop air, but still allows us to roll it up for, as Damon calls it, Outdoor Living.
To prevent any flapping, which is ultimately what destroys a tarp in under a season, we got some free fish netting, and covered the structure, keeping it down with water-filled jugs tied along the perimeter of the netting. We did this in September. Though we have been living off-site since October, I still stay on the boat one to two nights a week for work, and have been inside through some of the wickedest storms. She creaks and groans, but that thing isn’t going ANYWHERE.
I’m appalled at how ghetto the Lady’s exterior appears in the photo below, and almost hesitate for that reason in posting this picture, but it really illustrates how the “shed” perfectly fits and is securely tied down to the scuppers if you look bottom left – we used a green rope. Damon even has his white-water kayak stored on top of the wheel-house roof!
With one problem solved, too perfectly, we see another — our chimney is ALSO under-cover. Timing has been on our side this season- save the trip to the Ways, with this boat. We were offered a care-taking position over the winter on a near-by private island, (tough life eh!?). While we waited to find out the final word in getting the position, we decided Plan B was venting the stove pipe through the tarp using traditional roofing methods – a flange. A shot in the dark, so we really hoped Plan A panned out. So did our big dog, who would find winter months at dock a little confining. Plan A did indeed pan out, and what sweet relief to know that through some of the wildest weather, topside is protected, and her hull is solid as a rock!!
This summer, it’s time for some major top-side renos: fixing the superstructure problem by cutting it back to rest on the lipped cement supports it was meant to be built on, and replacing all the rotted tongue-n-groove paneling around it, replacing the windows, and re-roofing and painting the wheelhouse.