Cover your boat in style
  |  First Published: December 2010

Leaving Monduran Dam last September with the TABS 4.2 Bullshark in tow the heavens opened up as we entered Gin Gin, setting the scene for a very slow and wet run home.

‘No worries,’ I thought, ‘The rear bungs are out and the water will just make its way through the hull and down onto the road.’

Once we got home I found a lot of water had ended up in unwanted places and after sending about half an hour cleaning the boat, I decided right there and then that a boat cover would be next on the list of acquisitions.

I briefly considered a proprietary after market cover but I wanted a cover tailored to the boat so that it would be absolutely weather proof, unlikely to flap itself to pieces when travelling at highway speeds, and most importantly would allow me to leave valuable items within the boat (out of sight out of mind, but ready for action) as we travelled.

I also planned to store some of our camping gear on the Bullshark’s wide floor space to lessen the stack within the rear of the vehicle.

There are plenty of other pluses associated with having a well fitted boat cover such as protecting upholstery and paintwork from sun damage, excluding nasties like tree sap, twigs, leaves and from creating havoc, keeping fittings in as- new order as well as preventing cushions and squabs from being damaged by mildew or mould.

Further, if the boat cannot be kept under a roof at home a well made cover will see it stored outside with complete peace of mind.

With their reputation of some 30 years in the business Rowland Street Boat Trimmers were my natural choice for the project and the very first look at the cover after its completion told me that I’d made the correct decision. All upper areas plus sides of the Bullshark were fully covered: right from the bow to the skeg on the 25 E-Tec astern.

Water exclusion was a given but the protection to the hull’s side areas means stones thrown up from the road will not mar the Bullshark’s excellent paint work, which pleases me greatly. Arguably the cover is just as dust proof as waterproof.

The tailor made cover features stout rubber straps connecting lower sections to the craft’s trailer, while an easily accessed draw rope right at the rear of the cover pulls it tight around the bottom of the hull just below the junction of sides and bottom.

To ensure ample rigidity plus ensure easy water deflection a pair of alloy (cross hull) bows were set into fittings on the Bullshark’s fore and aft grab rails to lift the cover up from the hull in a functional and attractive configuration.

A neatly padded rearmost section covered the outboard so that it also formed part of the water and dust proof package while a full length zipper, a cross strap at the bottom of the material zipper and a rubber tie down over the engine’s skeg ensured that the cover fitted tightly all round.

The cover, constructed from Sunbrella fabric with a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty against UV light damage, is something to be really proud of and has certainly attracted its share of admirers. All heavy duty stitching is perfectly aligned with not one stitch out of place and in the best Rowland Street Boat Trimmers’ tradition no holes have been drilled in the hull; the connections between boat and cover taking place independently of the hull via the rubber straps and draw rope aft.

In practice, once the bows are set in place in their fittings on the side rails the cover takes around two minutes to set up and tie off aft, around the same time to remove by unhooking the stays and moving it forward and inwards as one proceeds.

Since bringing the cover home we’ve had the boat in tow in heavy rain on several occasions with all of our gear stowed within it and not one drop of rain has intruded. Call Rowland Street Boat Trimmers on (07) 32089511 if you’d like your pride and joy protected in the same manner.

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