Today we got the first snow of the season, mixed in with a little sleet. The winter storm warning, or advisory, or whatever it is continues until ten AM tomorrow morning. I figure this is a good weekend to stay aboard!
I have completely fallen in love with my cockpit enclosure. Throw a little electric space heater in there (or, if away from the dock, a little propane catalytic heater) and it stays pretty comfortable even when the temperature outside falls well below short sleeve weather. Unfortunately, I’m pretty certain that it isn’t designed to withstand the weight of what winter has to dump. So yesterday afternoon I purchased some 1/2″ PVC pipe, and a 10’x16′ tarp, and built the little bowed shelter you see in the photo. Frankly, I was less than convinced it was strong enough, as it only has three bows along the ten foot length; but at least for this storm it is doing well. The snow and sleet just slide right off of it! Do to the geometry of the rig, it wasn’t easy to cover the aft part of the enclosure; but at least a ton of snow isn’t falling on the more vulnerable top.
I have to say, it was a pleasant day spent reading, listening to football games, and just generally screwing around out in the cockpit while watching the snow fall. While, given the choice, I’d prefer to find myself halfway to the Bahamas, if I absolutely must remain where winters get cold, this is the way to do it!
The brown tarp does impede the view out the sides of the cockpit; but I can enjoy the world fore and aft. Unfortunately, it does further complicate the already not so easy process of getting on and off the boat; but I don’t really see a reasonable solution. I take extra care as going for a swim this time of the year could well have unpleasant consequences.
I can’t wait for spring.
OH, and just for a little fun, I copied the labels that where on the tarp packaging. The label on the back clearly warns against using the tarp on automobiles. The eye-catching front label naturally shows the tarp wrapped around a … well, guess.