1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Tent Collapse!

I arrived at the boat on Saturday with a full day planned out only to find the tent over the cabin top and foredeck inverted into a swimming pool. We’ve had a series of nasty thunderstorms nail the Mid-Atlantic region over the last month or so. On Friday, we got hit with 3″ of precipitation in two storm events over six hours! But since they were thunderstorms, all of that rain was actually packed into downpours lasting only 30 minutes each. The winds were pretty severe, too, gusting to 53mph. During one of the storms, I’m guessing one of the center tent frame fittings snapped, which caused the highest point of the plastic to sag. Water flows downhill and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well…that’ll ruin your day.

Fortunately, the toe rail was protected by four heavy coats of Imron MS1 on Wednesday and four more on Thursday. Nothing on the boat was damaged and, looking at the bright side, I had an opportunity to test the runoff capacity of the scuppers at the aft end of the toe rail. When I put a shoulder to the plastic and pushed up, several hundred gallons of rain water drained very quickly down the side decks without flooding the helm area. Yea!

Center PVC pipe joint failed.

I originally used 45° joints on the upright PVC pipes and 22° joints at mid-span and the center. This combination gives a fairly flat roof and less sail area, with just enough arc that normal amounts of rain run off easily. While the 45° joints are deep, with 1.5″ of pipe glued inside the joint, the 22° ones only have a 1/2″ glue joint. The combination of torrential rain, high wind and relatively weak joints on a roof with inadequate pitch proved to be problematic.

With a bunch of new PVC connectors (the deep kind!) and 45° fittings, I repaired the tent frames and repitched the roof. My concerns about sail area from a tall roof have been trashed; let’s see if a steep pitch makes the tent more durable.

Steeper pitched new roof line.

I still have to replace the joints on the one flat-roof frame that didn’t break, but the four steep frames re-tensioned the tent plastic reasonably well. I was able to close up the torn section of plastic at the front of the boat with 4″ shrink tape. On par for the season, two more storms came rolling through on Sunday, the day after I finished the repairs. So far, it looks like she’ll hold.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Final Sanding and Primer on the decks


2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Tent Collapse!

  1. bryan says:

    Buddy, you are totally insane. I’ve got a ton of respect, having completed a much, much smaller build. But seriously, this is crazy. I can’t even start to imagine how many hours are in this thing. Holy cow.

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