Covers, Carts and TrailersBy Eric Comstock #759 (11es 13eo 12ea 12ad 53ar)
I've been thinking about some of my experiences over the last two years and decided they they might be worth sharing.
Spring of last year, my PDR lost it's coveted spot in the garage and was delegated to the back yard. The first thing I did was put a tarp over it and stretched tight with bungee cords. This would keep most of the water off, but invariably it would collect leaves, water would begin to pool and before long there would be gallons and gallons in the indentations in the tarp and a some would eventually find a way into the boat.
Next I set up an 8' EZ-UP over the boat. It really didn't cover the length of the boat very well so I placed a tarp over the EZ-UP that draped down over 3 sides. This worked better, it kept out most of the leaves and more of the water. But some leaves would still get blown in through the open front and some water would land on the foredeck and collect in the boat. It also made it difficult to maneuver other trailers around the yard as the "cover" was stationary and had to be completely disassembled in order to move it.
Finally I had the idea that what I needed was a boom tent. A boom tent, with a high center peak has the advantage of easily shedding leaves and water, even if the tarp is not particularly tight. It is also attached to the boat, not the ground, so it could be rolled around with the trailer, with no take down or set up. Here is how I constructed it:
First, when on the trailer, the bottom of my mast rests in a hole in a 1"x6" that is screwed in, vertically, inside the rear transom. There is also a hole in the 1x6 where the end of the boom normally is secured for transport. I also have a mast crutch that drops into the mast partner. The mast rests on the crutch, the boom is held onto the mast by the goose neck and both are lashed down to the crutch, holding the entire assembly in place during transport. This setup only uses one line to secure the entire assembly and that line is secured by a "jam cleat" on the foredeck. It is quick and easy to put together and take apart and has never come loose. The only extra part is the mast crutch and I'm working on how to use that as a bow sprit (so it will have two uses).
Next I made a "Boom Crutch". This is dropped into the gudgeons and supports the back of the boom. It has an eye-bolt in the top that fits around the boom so that it can't get knocked loose in high winds. When the mast is up, you just slide the eye bolt over the back of the boom and drop the boom crutch into the gudgeons. Next the front of the boom is raised with the halyard You then have the framework for a boom tent. When the mast is down, resting in the crutch, I re-rig the line that secures the mast and boom to the crutch, so that the boom is free and only the mast is lashed down. The boom is still attached to the mast by the goose neck, so it can not come loose, but it is free to rotate and slide up and down the mast. When you place the boom in the boom crutch, the boom makes a nice peak support for a tarp. I secure the tarp with a couple of bungees going under the boat and close the ends around the bow and stern with carabiners and/or bungees. The tarp has enough height that water, leaves and small branches slide right off. Since my boom is 10' long (3/4" electrical conduit), it extends 1 foot past either end of the boat.
Unfortunately, I don't have a pc
My days of launching Jet Ski's on the beach convinced me that a good cart is indispensable if you are not always going to use a trailer and a boat ramp. A cart should have several characteristics. First it must make it easy to push your boat over rough terrain, deep sand or mud. It should be easy to transport with your boat (on a trailer or in a pickup bed). It should be easy to store while your boat is in the water. Finally, if possible, it should be useful for moving other types of boats, ice chests or misc. stuff over the same type of ground (everything should have at least 2 uses).
I've used my old home made Jet Ski cart several times (seen in the attached picture from a day on the Texas City Dike) but it presents several problems. The flat bottom of 759 means that it tends to slide off the side of the cart. The narrow cart places all the weight of the boat in the center of the bottom of the boat, where it is not supported by the sides and causes significant oil caning. Finally, the height at which it holds the boat makes it very top heavy and awkward on rough terrain.
I think that the best type of cart will be a simple board that crosses under the hull with braces on each side that will grab the sides of the boat. Something shaped like a capital "I". Then have large wheels on either side and lines from the ends of the cart to the bow and stern to hold it in place. I'm going to make a prototype using a 2x4 and some 16" lawn mower wheels that I have laying around. I'll let you know how it works.
For any of you who need a trailer, I strongly encourage you to look on Craigslist for old galvanized jet ski trailers.
- They can easily be converted to PDR use.
- They are galvanized and welded so they last.
- They have larger wheels than the HF trailers.
- They are longer than the HF trailers, so easier to back up.
- They are reasonably easy to find for about $250 on Craigslist.
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