Boat cover

I need a new cover for my Mirror. Which one do you suggest, make and material?

It is number 156, so quite old, certainly the oldest boat I’ve seen sailing! I remember my father constructing it in our living room in 1964.

I sail it on the river at Orford, Suffolk, where it gets a battering from the weather when sitting in the dinghy park. I want to buy a boom over cover that fits well, because it doesn’t have a self bailer, or scuppers, so doesn't drain any rain water that might get in. It also has all the original fittings, mast etc and sails - even battens. I want to preserve it in the best way possible, so am willing to pay for a good cover.

Any other help or ideas would be most welcome.


PuffinInTegel's picture

Welcome to the forum, Penny,
156 is not on the Roll Call yet, would you like her to be added? It's certainly a story to be told if you still sail a boat that your father built so many moons ago!
As to the cover question: all "boom-over" covers have the disadvantage that they have to have slots where the forestay and the shrouds pass through them as well as a split section (usually over the foredeck) so that they can be wrapped around the mast. All these points will allow rain water leakage to some extent. I learned that the hard way when I discovered that this had led to water ingress into the top edge of the plywood at the gunwale (minute cracks in the varnish) and subsequent rot, invisible from the outside. Everything looked fine until one day, as I was happily sailing along in a light breeze, the port shroud fitting pulled out of the block of completely healthy-looking wood (clear varnish on top, no darkening but totally rotted inside!) and the mast fell overboard.
After the repairs, which included having to replace the entire outer port gunwale rail, I switched to using a flat cover with some low hoops to prevent rain water accumulating. That also allows me to leave the sails on most of the time (provided they are dry before putting them in the boat) and simply drop the complete rig in the boat, which in turn means less time getting back on the water.
The pictures show my arrangement a few years ago, in the meantime I have acquired a pair of carbon-fibre hoops to raise the rear portion of the cover a bit higher.
boat contents
Complete rig inside the boat
Flat cover
Flat cover, mast down and rig in the boat
My boat's tarp is made of "non-breathable" synthetic which is a disadvantage as everything has to be bone-dry when I put the cover on. I believe that you can buy covers made of "breathable" but impervious materials nowadays.
I hope this helps. I'm sure we shall have a discussion here, as different folks have different views and experiences ;-{) .

DavidH's picture

a pump to remove water which has found its way into the boat, despite your cover. I've tried over-the-boom and flat covers, and the flat keeps more water out. Available on ebay for less than £50.00. You can buy a kayak pump for around £14.00. These look a bit like a bicycle pump, and you will need a length of hose. But very effective and you can move it around the boat to make sure it is all completely dry.

My view is that the boat is going to take in some water no matter how good the cover. Buy a cheap one, and a pump, and check the boat frequently for water ingress - including the front hatch.

I bought a flat cover from ebay which lasted a year but unfortunately it leaked last year and I ended up with the rear tank full of water. Water had run along the side tank and instead of exiting through the drain hole in the transom it found its way through a small gap into the tank which had at least a gallon in it when I realised and pulled the plug.

So for the rest of the winter I stored the boat upside down with the cover over the Hull to protect the dagger board box. I'm now repairing the damage which is thankfully light.

I'm thinking I will store it this way in future. If the cover leaks the hull is painted and if its off the ground there is plenty of ventilation around the boat.

Red Kite's picture

Hi Penny, having had both mast up and mast down covers, I feel happier with the latter, for the same reasons that Gernot has mentioned. I will post two photos now if I can (but I seem to remember that that isn't straightforward), showing my arrangement. In case I can't upload them, I bought a cheap tarpaulin from a DIY shop (B&Q) and drape that over the boat, before then putting the cover on over the tarp. I bought it from Trident UK. I use bent bamboo poles from our garden, covered with that grey water pipe insulation that you also by from B&Q, to create arches. They are higher than Gernot's, but don't have to be. There are four arches which are held in position by a piece of line, with two very cheap carabiners - the only useful gifts from a Christmas cracker that I've ever had!!! All that has kept Red Kite completely dry for nine years. Gernot, can you please remind me how to put photos on this site?

62816inBerlin's picture

Hi John, I hope you're able to enjoy the season up to now.
For you and others reading this thread, the instructions for posting pictures are at .
As mentioned there, if you do not use or have access to another web location that allows you to store pictures with web access, you can send me the files by e-mail and say what the á-propos is. I'll put them on our picture archive and publish or send you the addresses. This is the method you last used (for the conversion process pictures).
Gernot H.

Red Kite's picture

Hi Gernot. I did use it as you say, but unfortunately I didn't keep a record of how it was done. There are only two photos, so I'll email them to you. Thanks.
PS, if I store them on Google drive, does that count as storage with web access? If so I could do that.

PuffinInTegel's picture

I tried doing this with the Telekom Magenta cloud, but found out that the contents are not accessible by URL (makes sense, the contents are private, only to be shared with authorized persons).
Probably the same mechanism works for Microsoft OneDrive an Google Drive.

Red Kite's picture

Dear Penny and Gernot, I've just signed up for PostImage, which apparently gives a URL, so let's see if this works:
John's tarpaulin

PuffinInTegel's picture

Hello John,
I've taken the liberty of editing your post to fix the issue.
The html tags required are < img src = "(Url)" width = "(nn%) alt= "(brief description)"
Normally the pictures are the same resolution, but the URL you used showed the fuzzy version (probably the thumbnail). I then called up the URL you gave and clicked on the original and selected "copy graphics address" and put that in the html tags and this shows a clear downsized version.
Anyon wanting to see the full-sized original can click on the picture and select "Open graphics in a new tab" which then accesses the original version.

Gernot, this is a belated thank you for editing the image.
Best wishes, and fair (cool) winds,

PuffinInTegel's picture

We have warm winds at the moment but should cool down tomorrow.
Happy to get any rain that comes along, our "lawn" is beginning to look like an African savannah in a drought as we are conserving water supplies.

Im just about to buy a new flat cover and wonder if anyone has used the trident ones?

Red Kite's picture

Yes, I use a Trident cover. I’ve used it for five years and it’s been very good.

PuffinInTegel's picture

Someone recently put up a picture of his boat under a Trident cover, saying it fits perfectly. Sounds as if he's satisfied with it.