The title of this article pretty much says it all. As I described years ago in A Celebration (and condemnation) of Tents!, on a project like this you’ve got to build a strong structure from the get-go or waste a bunch of time, like I did, fixing shredded tarps and tents. Tent Model XXX was the result of many, many tent failures, and it held up even to direct hits from thunderstorms, hurricanes, and snow storms that dumped 20″. But the winds from the 2018 Nor-easter proved to be a bit too much. Several roof frames broke, then the broken bits slammed over and over again into my brand new Awlgrip paint that has only been directly exposed to sunlight twice since we finished that part of the project.
The first sign of trouble was the aft tent frame leaning up against the hardtop
Normally that upright frame is at least six inches from the aft edge of the hardtop. It had moved forward and the plywood gusset rubbed back and forth against the edge of the hardtop roof.
The next sign of trouble was the broken 1-1/2″ PVC pipe frames
The leaves on the deck were surprising, too.
What a mess
Scratches on the cabin top paint and leaves that blew in through the open top
More cabin top scratches
Chunks of shattered 2×4
The shot above is from the bow seat looking forward. See how the tent center backbone support on the blanket is off-set to the port side? See how the big, front-most upright frame member is also off-set from the centerline where the two mahogany toe rail sections meet at the pointy stem of the boat? Yeah, well, I centered the forward upright when I last reskinned the tent. The Nor-easter pushed the nose of the structure about eight inches to the southeast. I believe that’s what pulled the aft frame on the starboard side forward until it came into contact with the hardtop.
More broken frames and roof punctures
Another broken frame and the scratches it caused to the paint
Abraided powder coating on the new windshield frame
There’s so much dirt and PVC debris on the glass, I can’t tell if it’s scratched or not.
The frame broke here, and a 3″ deck screw that secured the vent fan remained in the part that was still attached to the tent structure on the NW side. The wind pummeled that side hardest, and the PVC pipe whipped back and forth, over and over again, driving the tip of that screw into the paint like an icepick on steroids.
More than a square foot of destroyed paint
The leading edge is ripped up deep into the fiberglass
Looks like somebody took a pneumatic needle scaler to it
Tent backbone over the hardtop was broken
Top side of the hardtop is also beat up at the front
Once I finished surveying the extent of the damage, I went and got some paid helpers and set to work pulling down broken frames and cutting the ends square. With the frames out of the way, the tent top skin was flapping around pretty badly in the gusty leftovers of the Nor’easter. But that allowed me to adjust the rearmost frame and pull it off of the hardtop.
Rear frame is back where it should be
The plywood gusset got scraped away pretty well
The hardtop back edge took a beating
The hardtop is a clamshell…there’s a top and a bottom half, and they join together at this edge. The plywood gusset rubbed away 1/4″ of paint, primer, fairing compound, and fiberglass. The damage is extensive enough that, by the end of post-Nor’easter cleanup, Day One, I realized I’m going to have to make an insurance claim.
QUICK UPDATE: I have to say, Lynn at Heritage Marine Insurance (email@example.com) and Chubb have treated me very well.
This is killing me. I was just talking to somebody a week ago who asked if I was splashing this year. I explained that I might if I can keep up the pace. But, I said, it’s been a few years since the last disaster hit my Roamer project–when the rat bastard thieves cleaned me out–and these things seem to happen on a cycle. I was joking but…when am I gonna learn not to tempt fate???
The following morning, I picked up a bunch of PVC pipe couplers and we got busy cutting and gluing new sections in.
Frames are patched
Aft backbone restored
4″ shrink tape patches the tears
Dr. Frankenstein would be proud
I need a whole new top skin. But with the gusts still blowing, there’s no way to do it. Patches will have to hold for a while. Since shrink wrap tape doesn’t stick long to dirty old plastic, these patches won’t last long.
Vent fan reinstalled
I found the vent fan assembly halfway across the boatyard. It was in surprisingly good shape. After patching up the shredded top skin around the opening, I reinstalled the fan.
End of post-Nor-easter cleanup, Day 2
The top skin has practically no tension, so it really gets to flapping when there are gusts. I know from experience that flapping plastic doesn’t last long. But it’s March, so it’s too windy to put a new top skin on and it will be for a while. I may try my luck re-tensioning the shrink wrap with the heat gun again. But I’ve found that debris, even dust, on used shrink wrap has a bad habit of superheating, popping holes in the plastic and even causing it to catch fire instead of shrinking. That’s the last thing I need to have happen. Also, as I’ve said before, reskinning the tent is young man’s work. I think I’m going to have to turn this over to the pros.
This is one of those times when I really, really, really regret having ever started this refit project. That said…
Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More Salon Plywood Panels