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Making a Tent for a Sailboat


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Norma T is in the Dinghy Cruising Journal  —  (A 2nd time!)

I just opened my copy of the Dinghy Cruising Journal that just arrived (Roger Barnes’ organization).  I quickly flipped half way through the pages, making very quick glances.  Norma T popped out at me on page 43!!



This is the photo I had posted 2/3 the way down page 1 of THIS thread, stating that the newly purchased red tent shall be my camping solution for the boat (for now.)



And this is a snapshot of the journal posting my photo:



SO… I guess, given such attention in this “World-Wide” publication, I am even more “pressured” to actually follow through with camping out on my CS15 next summer using this setup. 

I have already been planning to do so.  I find that I enjoy thinking about where and how to pull it off… and to do so more than once… even though I recently purchased a CS17 Mark3 (Avocet).  I’ll bet my boys will give the red-tent-on-platform camp/cruise approach with Norma T a shot as well. 


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Interesting Article: Cabin or no Cabin?

Starting to look more closely at the 90 page winter edition of the Dinghy Cruising Journal, that just came to my house (all the way from England), the first article I noticed and read was about the matter at hand in this thread.  I thought I would post a photo of the read:




Consider joining the Dinghy Cruising Association.  (Roger Barnes is the organization’s president.). They produce a high quality, beautifully done quarterly journal.  It’s printed on heavy paper with great articles and photos… and no commercial ads within. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

A Way to Anchor a “Clothesline”

I spotted this on an article (Click Here) by a lady in New Zealand about the Nesting Spindrift 10 she built.  I am posting her approach to anchoring away from shore (or dock) so I don’t forget about it.  It looks clever and I might find it useful.  I’ve come up with a similar idea but not with a loop.  This approach could be more effective, and it could bring in a boat bow first.  ?



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  • 2 weeks later...

Roger Barnes — New Dinghy Cover Video


(About 20 minutes)

Some thoughts from watching:

Hmmm… adding weight to some of the seams, like chain or other, could be helpful. (Curtain weights?  Weighted cord?)
I still want to NOT have permanent hooks or eyes around the sides but the video sparks more ideas. 
End flaps still seem challenging, to say the least; some value, I s’pose, in making them overlap. 
And remember, cold water can cause… shrinkage.  (Fabric choice.)



I still plan to play around with making a tarp/tent for both of my sail boats… ‘cause I’m retired and enjoy these sailboat hobbies.


Here’s another video that just popped up from viewing Barnes’ video above:

Interesting and simple way to make a sleeping platform, and the vestibule extension (without a floor) could provide a space to sit with feet on the bottom of the boat.  Interesting. 

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I think Roger let nostalgia and British pride cloud his fabric selection process.  Ventile (cotton) is not waterproof until it gets saturated.  Sounds like it is heavy when wet, and prone to mildew.  I’m using coated ripstop nulon, which he calls “plastic”.  OK, nylon is try a plastic material, but I believe it is more practical than Ventile.  Granted, his fabric has a nice feel to it (when dry).  But mine is going to oack down real small.  We’ll see how it goes.

I watched the video below yesterday.  I’ll be cruising with this guy in February.  By then, I’ll have made mine.  

I’m well on my way.  Right now, I’m on the verge of having something photo-worthy.  I’ll take photos in a few days.  


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Rip stop nylon is the kind of thing I would want, being light and compact.  And, anything I’d make would not be used all that frequently anyway.  I’ve got a decent occasional overnight set-up for the CS15 (yup, the platform and tent, as I worked out last fall.)  The CS17 has a cabin. A tarp/tent for either boat is, at this point, a fun sounding challenge to see what I could do.  Being that both boats are in storage for three more months means I really can’t do much more for now than use my imagination, which I enjoy.  Well, I guess I DO need to work out effective rain covers for Avocet and Joe next summer since they’ll be outside, like Norma T. 


I look forward to seeing what you come up with in your project.  You have great ideas and do exellent work on things.

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There are a lot of great ideas in this video from Sailrite.  Have a look.  But be forewarned— it’s a long one.  


Also, in the previous video from “Dan”, notice how he attaches the cover to the boat.  On Wayfarers, they often have a line running just under the gunwales.  This is primarily to aid in capsize recovery.  But Dan Roeder uses it also to attach “most” of his tent to.  He still uses a girth strap amidships.  I hope to cruise with him in March.  Maybe I can pick his brain about it then.

As a warmup for sewing my tent, I made an awning.  I’ll use it whilst (a Brit word I NEVER use, until now) anchored.  We’ll see how that works out in real life.  It is made of a heavier weight ripstop than my tent.  We’ll see what this year’s cruising season tells me about these concoctions.



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

OK, I’m pretty much done, except for a few tweaks. I’m considering this a prototype, which I will use for this season.  I will probably try different things on this tent throughout the year.  But it will do for my upcoming event.  I am joining the WCTSS (West Coast Trailer Sailing Squadron (Florida)) on their weekend trip to Cayo Costa State Park north of Fr. Meyers, FL next weekend. 

One thing I’ve discovered is that it is too low.  There is no headroom.  I wanted to keep a low profile, so as not to adversely affect riding at anchor.  But this will not do! Also, I shied away from including zippers, due to lack of experience sewing them.  I think I need to get over that.  But ingress/egress is going to be nasty with this design.  If you have any other observations or suggestions, please share them.  It will be interesting to see how this 1.1 ounce coated rip-stop nylon fabric performs.  Coated Oxford cloth is a lot more bulky, and space is limited on my boat.





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  • 1 month later...

I Got to Work on ALL Three Boats Today!


It felt like winter again today… 30’s… snowflakes… ?.  But, I cut and fit my my last plywood piece for my ski-boat build: the starboard front deck:




(Ski-boat build blog:)


I spent some time with Avocet, finishing the two mast cradles. Where I’m parking this boat this summer the mast needs to be up and “sail-ready.”  With two cradles, I can have the main mast up (for proper appearance) and the mizzen mast horizontal in the cradles over which I can place a rain-guard tarp:




(I’ll likely get a longer tarp for more protection.)

For fun, I then tried raising the front of the horizontal mast using the main halyard.  Didn’t take a photo… but the mizzen was angled up from the stern to bow.  I wanted to see if a tent-tarp could be thrown over the angled mizzen mast for camping.  Nah… didn’t like it. 


Then I remembered that the guy from whom I bought the boat last year was already playing around with designing a tent-tarp and he had tossed into the cabin his experimental inexpensive trial tarp. I got it out and tried to figure how what he had designed so far.  He had installed some strap eyes along the top. 

HEY!!  Nice!!  
Using halyards, the tarp could be hoisted something like this:





I could likely fit a longer tarp… providing more cover… maybe foot or two all the way to (or past) the mizzen mast.  Plus, perhaps the aft end of the main sprit could be hoisted with the mizzen halyard (maybe with the mainsail tied up to the sprit?) to provide a ridge over which a tarp could hang down to be tied to the strap eyes.  I could move the strap eyes on the top of the coaming tank to the top of the yellow rubrail, preventing a little sitting surprise to someone trying to hike out on the coaming tank for balance. ?


On to the Norma T to finish my sleeping platform.  I started this project last year and intend to place a small tent onto the platform and side seats… plenty of room.  (A photo of this is at the top of this page.)


So, from my last piece of plywood that I bought for my ski-boat, I cut a single piece to fit on top of the honeycomb support I made last year to make a large platform:





I then cut it longitudinally into three long pieces. After a couple coats of epoxy, I will use a “tape-hinge” to allow me to fold the platform.  I think I’ll start with duct tape and see if it’s enough. 



With the large platform folded in three and the honeycomb pieces disassembled it all nicely fits in the skinny section of the front cockpit, between the centerboard trunk and the seat. 

I’m really pleased with how everything turned out today.  If the weather is good tomorrow (it’ll be sunny, hopefully warmer) I’ll start getting coats of epoxy onto the ski-boat deck underside and the sleeping platform pieces. I just got a weather report indicating record lows for tomorrow morning. Luckily, I bought a large enough propane heater for my ski-boat build. 



Warm summer IS coming. And, I’m looking forward to trying out my two new boats, exploring lots of lakes and river systems, and trying some overnights and camp-cruising. 



  • Haha 1
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