Fitted covers versus mass-produced. What’s the advantage?
There’s no doubt that mass-market covers for dinghies and RIBs keep the rain off, but usually these covers are obviously a “one-size-fits-all” product which “fits where it touches”. Fitted covers, as they tend to flap and chafe less, and collect no standing water, will last longer, look better and protect what they are covering better. They also add resale value to your boat.
Can you make items to measurements I supply?
Certainly, but always with the proviso that your measurements are correct. Please see the Measurements page for the guide on how to measure for your item.
What materials should I choose?
For heavy use and to cope with heavy seabird soiling, a smooth finish PVC is best for Tonneau cockpit covers. This will be hard wearing and easy to clean, and may also be used all year round.
For Sprayhoods, Acrylic is more usual for yachts, being easier to fold and lighter, though a soft matt finish PVC can also work well. Both acrylic and PVC sprayhoods are reinforced where necessary with PVC panels.
Do you still use “Canvas”?
If you have a wooden boat, there are some advantages to having a cover made from actual Canvas, as this is more breathable than Acrylic or PVC. However, the cloth can change colour with age and look very worn quicker than Acrylic or PVC. Canvas works well for large winter lay-up covers, partially as the material is quite inexpensive. Canvas will put up with a lot more wear than Acrylic, but will not look as good for as long.
How can I keep my canvas-work looking good?
The big killers of fabric outdoors is prolonged exposure to sunlight and mould/lichen growth. If you have invested a lot of money in a sprayhood or canopy, you can extend the life of the item by folding it down and keeping the stowed hood covered with a far cheaper UV proof cover. Even a square of old tarp will do. If you have to leave the boat for long periods, fold the canopy down if you can, and just cover it. The same goes for “best” covers and cushion covers. Cockpit cushions can be made with a working inner and Best outer covers.
For the same reason, never leave a sprayhood, canopy or even dodgers on the boat over winter. Remove all fabric items when laying up and store in a dry place. That way, they’ll last at least twice as long.