Shrink Wrapping for Winter

A step-by-step guide to shrink wrapping to keep put the winter chill.

February 1, 2011


Fashion a two by four to extend from the mast aft to the backstay.


Use an upright lashed to the steering pedestal to hold the ridgepole aloft at the back end.


Screw a 4-inch-square plywood base onto the foot of the upright. On the top, use two short pieces of strappingto form a cradle for the pole. It should be high enough to be able stand up on the cockpit seats; its forward end should be lashed to the mast.


On the foredeck, clip the spinnaker pole into the ring on the mast forms the forward ridgepole; the forward end should be set high enough so that dock lines and chocks are easily accessible. Lash the forward end of the pole to the extrusion for the roller-furler.


A pair of half-inch PVC electrical conduits can be used for each of the uprights. Set them in place by using wire ties to attach one piece of the conduit to a stanchion on one side


Then dry-fit the second piece of conduit and bent it over the frame and down to the stanchion on the opposite side, making sure it was long enough for the lower portion of the conduit to run parallel to the stainless-steel tubing. Cut the conduit to the correct length with a hacksaw. Repeat this along the rails of the aft pulpit and at the other stanchions; additional uprights should be added as needed to keep the distance between them at about 3 feet. Secure the additional uprights to the lifelines with wire ties and lash their bases in place so they couldn’t move from side to side.


To install straps to hold the bottom of the shrink-wrap in place, tie pieces of webbing to each stanchion base, letting about 18 inches hang below the rail. Then use a heavy shackle to sink longer pieces of webbing so that they could be slid under the boat and tied to the ones installed earlier. Once they were set, you can then run a single strap around the boat , about a foot below the rail, and tie it securely in place.


Three is a good number of bodies to help in the actual wrapping process. This allows one person to work on the outside of the cover with the heat gun, one to remain inside to support the cover when needed and make adjustments, and the third to act as standby. For a 38 ft boat, we used about a 40-foot-long piece of shrink-wrap that was 24 feet wide. (The plastic is sold in varying widths, so with a little homework, you can cut your waste to a minimum.) From this, a piece can be cut that would cover from the bow to the upright that was set just past the mast and behind the aft lower shrouds .


Use a razor knife to slice the wrap so it fit around the shrouds and mast; then use pieces of shrink-wrap tape to tack it to the upright and to cover any slits made in the plastic.



Working with the heat gun, the person on the outside uses the flame to fuse the tape and shrink-wrap along the seams, employing a gloved hand to press tape and plastic together. Wearing gloves, the person on the inside supports the inner side of the seams.


With the shrink-wrap sliced to fit past the forestay; then it can be wrapped around the front of the bow pulpit and sealed .


From the outside, trim the shrink-wrap so about a foot of material can be folded back up between the webbing and the hull; then the heat gun can be used to fuse the material to itself, using pats from a gloved hand


Shrink Wrap

Mark fashioned a two by four to extend from the mast aft to the backstay Mark Pillsbury

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