Heavy Duty Trailer cover

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Titan
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Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by Titan » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:10 am

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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Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by RGSP » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:14 am

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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Lopez Mike
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Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by Lopez Mike » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:31 pm

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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Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by TahoeSteam » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:35 pm

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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Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by TriangleTom » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:17 pm

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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Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by DetroiTug » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:52 pm

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.

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Re: Heavy Duty Trailer cover

Post by Titan » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:44 pm

Many thanks for the responses. In the past I have found that flapping can destroy a tarp in minutes, so I have been concentrating on that aspect. Plenty of evenly spaced tie downs and good support helps. Probably going to go for the heavy duty truck type.
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