to get my boat prepped for storage over the winter this year, I wanted to come up with a way to keep the inspection ports fully open to allow natural airflow through the (2) inspection ports I put in (I’d prefer a small fan, but the one I was using crashed out – to much constant running, maybe?). I wanted to try to create some sort of barrier to keep rodents and bugs if possible from making a nice winter nest on the interior of my Sunfish, though. I spent a few hours making these little screen covers for the inspection ports:
now before you criticize me for that piece of fine wood-working, keep in mind 2 things: it was quick and dirty, and I really really really HATE using a jigsaw. I didn’t really have any other tool in my shop that would work any better, though, so that’s what I put together, and I think Norm Abrams would be mighty proud.
anyway, it’s made from a piece of 1/4″ plywood, with a piece of window screen stapled to the back. I also added these little pieces of foam around the back perimeter to sort of seal the edges. the 2 screws are attached to little blocks of wood, each with a small piece of the foam, and a quarter turn of a screwdriver from above will “clamp” the bug/rodent cover down over the inspection ports.
another thing I did towards the end of the summer or early fall was order a sail/spar bag from the Sailboat Garage (same folks that help run the Sunfish Class). they recommended one a bit heavier duty than the “official” Sunfish version from Laser Performance, and so far I’m quite happy with it. it is a full length zippered bag constructed of rugged, water resistant nylon, with the white webbing handles that make it easy to throw it over your shoulder to carry the sails, spars and mast down to the beach (order # MSF558 from the Sailboat Garage).
I had my usual helper that fall afternoon – Luke is modeling his lovely Burger King crown while sitting on top of the Sunfish.
for winter storage, I just keep the sails, spars and mast zippered up in the sail bag, and use bungees to hang it all from the roof of my garage:
last year, it was brutal ordeal to wrestle the Sunfish up into the 2nd floor of my dad’s barn (it really was brutal – I wrote about it here, if you want to re-live the pain), so I was really hesitant to try that same route this year. instead, over the holiday break a few weeks back, I trailered the Sunfish up to my dad’s again, but this time decided to just hang the Sunfish from the floor joists of the barn. the ceiling is pretty high, so it shouldn’t interfere with any of his stuff in the barn (unless he tries to wire up that extra ceiling fan hanging there!).
my brothers and brother-in-law helped me out this year, and we used my dad’s John Deere a little more wisely this time: we lifted the Sunfish laying flat and balanced it on the tractor front bucket, and used the tractor to lift and hold the Sunfish horizontal up near the joists. after we screwed the (4) hangers into the floor joists, we had to only lift the Sunfish slightly and install the 2×4 cross beam. I also threw in some scraps of fiberglass insulation as padding. I’m sure there are better alternatives than that, but it was handy, and better than having the boat rest directly on the 2×4 cross beams. I haven’t put a fan on it, but left the inspection ports open with the bug screens I talked about above.
we’ll see how it holds up over this winter, and it should be pretty easy to reverse the process in the spring!