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In the interest of inspiring ideas in others, I thought I would post pictures of one of my spring projects–making a boat cover support for my Sea Nymph 14R.
Rather than provide too many specifics, these pics should be enough to inspire you to build a setup that will work for your boat.
I hear what you are saying, but expensive custom work does not always work out, at least the first try.
The best material for humid areas is Sunbrella, because it breathes, and is a lot less subject to allowing mold to live inside your boat. The earlier post above about the strap problems and the poles falling over is due to two reasons. My cover completely eliminated the need for poles or straps by simply integrating the motor cover into the design.
I got some realy cheap fabric and made a full size mock up using a paper stapler and hotmelt glue.
I took this to a local upholstry shop who had some Sunbrella left over from a previous job.
Sorry for all of the questions, I have no practical experience with any covers except the 'blue' tarps on my previous ol' glass runabout. Denier is kind of a misleading reference term for cover fabric (though it wouldn't surprise me if it's all they give you in the catalog descriptions).
Unfortunately, other than a general indication of the fabric's weight, the denier figure doesn't really tell you much of anything about it's in-use characteristics or its suitability as cover fabric.
Especially in the case of wooden boats, breathability is probably just as critical in a cover as waterproofness.
If you go the pre-manufactured route, the most obvious indicators of the quality of the cover are generally the price and how long the guarantee is good for. The Cabelas covers are designed for fiberglass boats, and fit relatively tightly around the edges.
I have been using the 8oz poly tarps in the link below for a couple years and they are working well so far. Thorne, That is the cover I was looking at, I couldn't remember if commercial links were OK or not, thanks. I'd go with the heaviest sunbrella that I could afford with grommets every foot, plenty of room around the outside for air and save all your one gallon milk cartons and fill with water and toggle them to the grommets. I marked the center section where I wanted to add a leg to support the spine and rest on the middle seat, and added a T-fitting there.


Whether you're researching a new boat, or are a seasoned Captain, you'll find The Hull Truth Boating & Fishing Message Forum contains a wealth of information from Boaters and Sportfishermen around the world. I paid a custom canvas shop (Karen at Allan Lucas Marine in Wilson, NC) $1200 for a custom fit sunbrella cover. Most t top covers don't go over the t top because there are usually antennas and other objects extending through the top. All I do is lower the motor and the top pulls up nice and tight creating a slope for water to run off. When you decide that you are ready to have one made, take a few minutes to decide exactly what you want out of the cover.
To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions. Trapping moisture under a cover that won't let it out once the weather clears is a formula for mildew and rotten wood. These places aren't going to guarantee a cover for five years against sun burnout if it's going to be toast in three years, and the fabric that will last that long won't be cheap. Just glue a 48" section into the T-fitting that fits the bow and a 4-way fitting onto the other end.
Ending the cover under the t top works well because it allows the free flow of air inside the boat. The poles fall over because there should be a grommet with a re-inforced patch in the cover which will allow the tip of the support pole to go through, preventing them from falling over. How far down the sides should the cover extend, should it cover the motor, how should it attach, etc.
If your cover fits well enough that you aren't getting pooling, a good breathable acrylic or polyester fabric cover shouldn't leak much at all and will allow moisture to pass out when the rain stops and the sun comes out. I would lean toward the heaviest polyester or acrylic I can find (like the 600d stuff in this case) and get the one that's guaranteed longest. If the cover prevents water getting into the boat - assuming a trailor daysailer with mast stored horizontally forming the apex ridge - would the vents not provide enough air circulation in order to prevent mildew and rot conditions? 600 denier made by the same folks that make Sunbrella) and the coating means that it's not going to breathe as well as Sunbrella.
Sure they make support poles for such things, and they were right there in the same store isle I found the cover in. Theoretically, it should have twice the tensile strength, maybe twice the abrasion resistance and most likely reduced elongation when placed under tension.


A cover setup similar to what is shown in Get's post #2 above, but with attachment directly to points below the gunwale on the boat.
I had an opening to reach around the mast so in the tropics it was suspended above the boom with the edges just about boom level with lines holding th water filled jugs, it survived some good winds.
For rough reference, typical ripstop nylon and polyester, like you might see on a down jacket are around 70 denier.
It is tough stuff and polyester is generally more abrasion resistant than acrylics like Sunbrella, but for wooden boats I want something more breathable. You pay for what you think is good and 2 years later your looking to purchase another cover. As far as chafe goes, reinforcement for chafe is just part of making any good cover and any fabric should get proper reinforcement. First problem is the straps that suspend it from the T-top frame were just velcro, and they broke off; could not begin to support the weight. Backpack fabric is about 400 denier and ballistic nylon is around 800 denier, so your 600d cover is probably a pretty substantial piece of fabric. Chafe may not wear through the coated polyester fabrics like SurLast and Top Gun as quickly, but it will wear off the coating that's on the inside in short order. It came with two poles that are suppose to put tension on the cover from underneath so water sheds off. Someday I am going to buy an industrial walking foot sewing machine to do these types of projects myself.
Those just fall over when the cover moves in the wind, and then the back end fills with water. Now I have the boat back up there for probably 3-4 weeks so Karen can rework it and make it right. I wish I could start over and I would just buy the proven off the shelf cover that goes over the T-top. A good Subrella is a man made acrylic and can last 10-15 years with re stitching every 4 to 5 years.



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