Taking advantage of the last clement temperatures of the fall, I sacrificed my lunch hour to the wrapping and decommissioning of my sailboat for the winter ahead.  This is my first “considerable” piece of Fiberglas, and it hulks, ominous and white, in the nook between the old tin garages, propped up by four stands, a big block of wood beneath its keel. The plastic came in a big hernia-inducing roll, and was melted onto the boat with a heat gun that roared like a horror movie sound effect. The tactile pleasures of ironing out wrinkles with a jet of blue propane is up there with the fun of popping bubble wrap until you remember that bubble wrap doesn’t melt and stick to your skin like magma.

My buddies Jim and Bruce did the hard work, changing the oil in the diesel Yanmar engine and flushing the water system with pink non-toxic antifreeze. All hatches are opened, all drawers, doors, companionways, lazarettes and bilges have been exposed to the dessicating winter air and now it sits, drum-like and pulsing in the gusts of wind, a white plastic reminder that the days are about to get longer and I will be afloat in five months or so.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

6 thoughts on “Shrinkwrap”

  1. I worry about the environmental impact of those boat condoms. If you’re putting a boat up on land indefinitely (years), then maybe. But for seasonal winter storage, that’s an awful lot of plastic to simply throw out in the spring — every single year. We use a canvas cover for our boat, if it’s not in the tropics during the winter season, and we’ve gotten 10-15 years out of them.

  2. I concur Max. The plastic is expensive as well. A canvas cover is in the future — after a new suit of sails and a binnacle mounted GPS plotter.

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