Tennis Ball Grommets

When covering my boat for the winter, I like to use heavy gray-green poly tarps, as they are inexpensive and last several years if they are protected against chafe and are properly secured.
Author:
Publish date:

When covering my boat for the winter, I like to use heavy gray-green poly tarps, as they are inexpensive and last several years if they are protected against chafe and are properly secured. I’ve learned that just tying down the cover won’t keep it from catching wind, so I also fill jugs with water and tie them to the edges of the cover. That way when a gust lifts the cover, the weight of the jugs immediately pulls it back into place.

tennis-ball-grommets_0

There is just one problem with this setup: the weight of the jugs tends to tear out the tarp grommets over the course of the winter. I tried putting in stronger grommets, but they didn’t last much longer than the originals. Plastic tarp clips don’t work very well either. Not only are they hard to install on the heavier tarps I prefer, but the plastic fractures during the winter.

The ultimate solution was to get some old tennis balls, which I rolled into the edge of the cover and tied in place as shown in the photograph. The balls spread the loads created by the harsh winter wind without ripping the tarp and do no harm to the gelcoat on my topsides. A similar arrangement should also work well if you want to use a poly tarp as a low-budget awning when out cruising.

Photo by Bill Bleyer

Related

190219NEEL51

Video Tour: Neel 51 Trimaran

At this past fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, SAIL magazine had a chance to corner Neel Trimarans founder Eric Bruneel and have him give us a tour of the accommodations aboard the new Neel 51, winner of the “Multihull over 50ft” category in the 2019 Best Boats contest. For a complete ...read more

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more

Sail2010_597

How to: Find Good Values on Charter Vacations

So, you want to find a great deal on your next charter vacation? Sure, you can scour the internet, hope for Black Friday deals or ask friends. But an even better way to find good prices on charter boats is to go to a boat show. Not only do charter companies like The Moorings, ...read more