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Making a Tent for a Sailboat


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  • 1 month later...

I dunno.  I don’t see a lot of attention to securing the bottom of the tent to the boat.  When I did something similar, I had problems.  The one time I used the tent, the wind was blowing around 15.  Look at this video, especially around the bottom edge of the tent.  If it had been raining, I would have been drenched.

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  • 2 months later...

Ah… it looks like an effective design. 
For this coming season, on my CS15, I will stick with a small, cheap tent I found on line ($29) that… it “works.”
A guy I know in town who is retiring from the local police force and wants to pick up his hobby of designing and making custom boat covers, or whatever somebody wants.  Might connect with him someday.  (I did his wedding.)

I spotted this photo today (June 5) and decided to insert it here. 

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Cruising on Avocet this winter has introduced me to sailing with a wonderful group os small boat sailors, tje West Coast Trailer Sailing Squadron (Florida).  It has inspired me to have a go at a second design iteration for a tent.  The list of attributes must include:

1) Being able to sit up inside.

2) Being able to make my morning coffee out of the rain.

3) Being weatherproof enough to withstand a 20mph breeze.

4) Being able to adjust the anchor without dismantling the entire tent.

There are other fish to fry right now, but I’ve already started sketching.

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  • 1 month later...

OK, boys and girls, here we go again.  After a very successful two months of hanging out with the WCTSS (www.wctss.net) in Ted Johanson’s Avocet, I have decided that I need an inexpensive way to repeat last winter’s adventures.  I need to revisit my camp-cruising options with my own boat. Local Honey.  You may recall that I started out with a commercially-built tent.  That concept got scrubbed, when I realized that I would eventually have to make and drink coffee in a pouring rain.  Forget that!  Plus, that side entry was a little precarious, especially for an un-caffeinated skipper.IMG_4843.thumb.jpeg.2c360dd7a85cd468bf2d9c45a6f835da.jpegIMG_4848.thumb.jpeg.a565ff50f5e169d92df880e9abe0ced3.jpeg


So, I sewed up a custom tent of my own design.  I did not make it tall enough, for starters.  Secondly, since I could not bring myself to screwing a row of snaps into the sides of my beautiful Honey, retention was an issue.  (See video.)  I gave up.IMG_5836.thumb.jpeg.5ae07a4aac789b0a8af023fbcec0fb9a.jpeg




But the members of the WCTSS are as nice as all of you!  Imagine a cruising weekend outing every other weekend with people as pleasant to be around as those at the B&B Messabout.  So, here we go again.  I’m hearing Peter Noone’s “Second verse, same as the first!”  In my case it is “Third verse nearly the same as the first.”  I bought another tent.  This one is front entry, which would be terrible in a blowing rain.  But the plan is to make a rain fly to deflect the onslaught.  It should also make my “kitchen” a little drier for making that vital cup o’Joe.  IMG_9513.thumb.jpeg.7f793ccb3c1bcc5540eba6ec18357167.jpeg

Now, I must put it all away until mid-September.  We are a few weeks away from leaving for our summer travels.  But I now have a plan, and something to ruminate on over the summer.

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  • 1 month later...

Just to try it again

I used this set up last year once, but with no wind I didn’t bother with the sails.  The mizzen mast was placed into the forward thwart, and I was rafted up with my sons in Avocet, my CS17 mark 3.  My putting things together to camp on the lake that night provided them great entertainment and they needed to help. 
So, can I easily set up my tent on the water alone with the mizzen left in the normal spot?  I decided to try this last week.  Not much wind that day so I might as well throw the anchor and give it a shot. 

I stored the raised floor between the centerboard trunk and the port seat. I might need to come up with a way to make the pieces a little more secured, but it’s a great spot to use. 


I fairly easily set up my raised floor. Some slots in the under-framing are a bit tight after I coated the pieces with epoxy… a little attention is needed to make the pieces fit together more easily.   A really nice sized flat area in the back results.  I left the mizzen mast in place. Will it work with the tent?


My $27 tent is up. The corners were jammed into the aft corners which let me raise the two support poles, but I need to figure out a way to secure the corners back there (I need to prevent the tent from getting blown away.)


Plenty of space in the front part of the boat to lounge, do some cooking or enjoy a beer.  I realized I can tie the support poles where they cross to the sprit that I have hoisted with an extra halyard above the tent… it provides a bit more stability and security. I should also secure the forward corners of the tent, perhaps lashing them to the gussets.  I realized that I should remember to get needed stuff out of the seat storage before raising the tent.  I knew that the mizzen mast, if left in place, would intrude into the door area but I believe that the tent will still shed rain sufficiently.  And it’s easy to open the door for tent access even with the mast in the middle of the door.  It’s cavernous inside compared to Avocet’s headroom.  I have plenty of space to stretch out (esp. corner to corner.)  I didn’t bring a camp matress or sleeping bag so I didn’t spend much time lying down. But it has potential and I had slept comfortably in it last year. 


Take down of the test went well and I could even fold it for rolling to get it back into the tent bag. 




Now to pull the raised floor apart.  Yep, I am using duct tape to hinge the yhree floor pieces together.  It seems like an adequate approach. 

This the support structure in the aft cockpit. A couple of the joints are too tight for easy assembly and disassembly.  I’ll get to it. 


The pieces are back in the stowing spot in the smaller forward cockpit are. Ah, the tent bag holds things nicely (but could easily get wet… gotta keep thinking’.)

I played around with my bungee cord Anchor Buddy.  (No photos of this stuff… another time.)  I could stand on shore with a line to the transom, pull the boat all the way to me while it was anchored 40’ out, let go of the line again and the boat heads back out on its own to its mooring point. Might be nice to have this available as an option. I realized that if the transom line is tied securely on shore, I could pull myself onto shore while being anchored out in the boat… but I didn’t try setting that up… I guess I’d need to tying to secure the line first and then take the boat out a ways to set the anchor with the Anchor Buddy.

I tried boarding the boat for the first time from deep water… not so easy. I did buy an emergency strap ladder and mounted it to the transom (when using it the ladder gets under the boat making it very hard… I had figured on that happening.)  Climbing in using only one leg with one foot in the strap ladder seems too difficult for me.  I tried a number of other boarding approaches, including tying the bow line to the transom eye to create a sagging line along the side to possibly stand on… ehhh, not so good.  Just muscling up onto the side deck made the sides seem a lot higher than I thought (it felt like trying to muscle up out of a pool that has 2 foot high sides. I used to do that just fine, but my big 7–0 is a’comin’!)


My most successful boarding approach so far is having both feet in two steps of the strap ladder to use both legs to power up and in.  It was awkward but successful. 

So, I’ll look again at how to provide a not too difficult method to board from deep water.  I have another extendable stainless boarding ladder to try.  It was all fun stuff to try out in a beautiful but very still afternoon. 

By the way, three of us in the local sailing club took out this week about 10 kids from the local Boys and Girls Club for their first time in a sailboat.  I had four kids with me in my CS15. They all steered with the tiller.  We did a bit of steering with the sails only, just for fun. The wind faded after a while so we did reefing, man-overboard drills (a cushion, not a kid), raised a pig-stick with a red ribbon, and they all tried a bit of rowing, plus they helped me rig and launch the boat.  They were really sweet and happy kids. 





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To attach the tent to the floor of the boat, how about some attaching some screw eyes to the side seat surface, very close to the hull sides?  They’d be out of the way, and solid.

Does your tent have a front entry?  Otherwise, I’m not sure about ingress/egress.

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Screw eyes, exactly my plan. I installed 4 under the side decks (way back before getting sails) from which I hang side bumpers. 

The tent door is the entire side facing the bow. It opens where the mizzen mast is making full ingress/egress. That’s why I bought it (and due to the $27 price tag) since it’s the only small tent I found with an end door. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Note that on the shelter shown above in PPs post, on the Sea Pearl, the main boom is removed to allow room for the tent.  They tie the boom to either the mizzen boom or the main mast with velcro straps.  On my Core Sound, I tie the main sprit up to the mizzen to keep most of it off the dodger. 

(Even though I'm just motoring in the picture below, that's how I tie up the main sprit in order to raise the dodger and crawl under for sleeping.)



I was giving some thought to some sort of dodger extension that would run out to the mizen mast and then drape down over the top sides, probably with some sort of horizontal pole at the mizzen to hold it open.  My dream tent would also have netting in the back, with canvas storm closures.  But it would be hard to justify all that for one or two rainy nights a year.  Right now I just sleep under the dodger with a waterproof tarp over the foot end of my bag to keep the dew off.  If it looks like rain, I put up a tarp tent off the back of the dodger to complete the enclosure, either alone or with some tent poles for extra space.  It does the job, but if it's dewy, it gets pretty damp inside anyway. 



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
On 12/1/2022 at 8:12 PM, PadrePoint said:

A Tent for a Core Sound 17

This boat was beautifully built by a guy in Michigan and sold to a Florida person who has created a tent. I hope to see it some day, at least more photos and maybe a video of putting it in place. 







Hey, thats me!!


The tent works well. My goal was easy up and easy down. While some sort of spreaders would help it to feel more roomy, it would add complexity and time to setup. I go on trips pretty regularly, some up to 6-7 days and 5-10 minutes of extra set up really adds up!


My biggest complaint is that I have to remove the sails for space and the stern entry/exit is a little tighter than ideal.

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