I received an email yesterday from 2 fellas who really should be working instead of reading this blog. They were wondering what it is we do to get the schooner through the winter unscathed. The single most important part of our annual maintenance cycle is the winter cover. Without that shrink wrap cover the schooner wood be open to elements, namely rain and snow, with no ability for the crew to work through inclement weather getting the boat painted. The schooner actually spends more of her year under cover than open to the weather. I have an old picture, from the 50s I guess, of the schooners left open to the weather chained together in a snow storm, rigging in place. I guess schooners were less expensive those days and the old timers would laugh to see the lavish care we provide. It takes us 2 full days to cover the boat. We use the same framework of PVC bows and laminated purlins each year. The shrink wrap comes in a roll 40‚Äô x 149‚Äô and is white to reflect the UV sunlight which can make the place like a green house some days. We wait for a calm day and roll it on (imagine the wind catching that kite and sending it up over the bay. The FAA would have a field day with that one.) A special propane fired blow dryer on steroids is used to shrink the plastic so that it is literally pingin‚Äô tight. You can weld the plastic back on to itself where it over laps. Braces inside the cover keep everything rigid. Imagine the forces when the wind is gusting to hurricane strength as they will these next few days. Needless to say we double up our extra big winter lines in the stern and attach chains to the beach in the bow. I won‚Äôt be able to get to the schooner tomorrow but will sit here miles away with a prayer in my mind and the knowledge that we have done the best we can to see your schooner through the long winter. The lonely rocking chair sits empty waiting for someone to come warm her up.
Have a great day. Be well. Do Good.