Boomtent click here to read or make an observation about this  article
By John Leathwick - Auckland, New Zealand

Several people expressed interest in knowing details of the boom tent I had made for my Navigator, so here goes.

I've sent three pictures as examples: one with the fly right over and tied down for the night, one with the sides tied up, and the third inside (not very ship-shape) showing the attachment details. This has full standing head-room at the forward end, and we sleep on a couple of air beds placed in the back with a frame filling in the aft cockpit opening. We were caught out in winds gusting to probably 20 knots the night before last, and although it shook and shivered, it stayed intact, helped I think by the giving nature of the frame that allows the whole structure to flex before the wind.

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with the fly right over and tied down for the night

(click images for larger views)

The frame consists of four lengths of 14 mm wide sail batten material with standard glue on ends, that enable each piece of batten to be set up in a semi-circle like the hoops of an old-time covered wagon. I have short pieces of cord on both ends of each length of batten, and these are used to attach each to the boat as follows, going from back to the front:

Batten one (2300 mm long) attaches to a pair of horn cleats mounted on the decks either side at the back of the boat about 120 mm forward from the transom;

Batten two (2800 mm long) attaches to a pair of raised rowlock mount blocks that sit about 70 mm above the deck and 1200 mm forward from the transom;

Batten three (3100 mm long) attaches to the jib cleats, 2000 mm forward of the transom;

Batten four (3000 mm long) attaches to the jib sheet fairleads, 2800 mm forward of the transom.

with the sides tied up

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The cover is made of rip-stop nylon sewn from two pieces with the seam running across the boat – important for avoiding leaks when it rains. The length of the ridge line is 2650 mm. Four sewn-in pockets for the battens run across the fly parallel to the transom at the appropriate position, but are only sewn into the central 1500 mm of the cover (750 mm either side of the centre line). This means that the fly is not attached to either of the lower ends of the battens so that the sides of the fly can be raised for ventilation, a very nice feature on a warm evening or for a relaxed but protected breakfast – Velcro ties keep them in place when raised - see photo above.

The fly has a full width door at the back with a vertical central zip, an insect-proof inner door, and Velcro ties to hold them back when not needed. A similar door is located at the front set on the same side as my anchor roller – in theory I figure I could get at the anchor at night or the outboard out the back without dropping the cover, but this remains untested in practice.

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inside (not very ship-shape) showing the attachment details

Once the battens are tied on at one end, I thread them through their pockets and tie the other ends of the battens down to their attachment point. An offset Velcro strap then goes around the mizzen mast at the back, and a tape and nylon snap clip go around the main mast.

Finally, a piece of bungee that runs right around the outer edge of the fly is clipped under standard tie-down hooks placed on the outside of the boat just below the gunwale in line with each batten. The bolt-rope runs across the deck at the back but is not attached to the doors. At the front it is sewn in all the way the edge of the fly and runs up over the gunwale, forward diagonally across the deck and sits snugly around the front of the coaming, the forward angle of the latter holding it firmly in place.

HauTai, our Welsford designed Navigator with a bone in her teeth.

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Ventilation is no trouble with the insect proof doors, although it encloses such a large volume that even with the doors all shut, and the bottom edges of the back doors sealed off with a towel to keep out any errant mozzies, I don't have ventilation problems - well not on warm nights anyway.

Happy sailing