Our Haines V19R project boat had neared completion. It was now a ripper fishing boat with a 200hp Yamaha outboard motor, an amazing Raymarine electronics package showing us the way, and a host of options.
Our styles of fishing on our Haines V19R are many and varied as well. We are just as inclined to soak a pilchard or toss a soft plastic as we are to drag a skirted lure off the continental shelf. There has also been many a fun-filled family escape towing a donut in some sun-drenched watersports action.
Yet no matter what it is you’re doing on the water, the ever present sun can rip the skin off you in both northern and southern Australia. Not only that, but wind chill can combine with Antarctic freezes to make you wish you were at home in a cosy bed instead of rocking around in some southern icecapade!
The solution, of course, is protection from the elements. We previously walked you through a fantastic stainless steel frame, fitted to our Haines V19R from the crew at Quality Marine Fabrications. The next step was to fit a canopy.
Canopies and stainless steel fitouts go hand-in-hand so you need dedicated tradespersons who talk your language. Thankfully, we knew just such a person, and Michael from Avtek Covers was there to help us out.
Technology has come a long way, even in canopy materials for boats and manufacturing techniques. Gone are the days of a simple aluminium framework with lightweight canvas or vinyl canopies that press-stud down to the windscreen frame. Alloy-framed canopies are still quite okay for smaller, not so serious craft but not for an offshore warhorse like our Haines V19R. There are even some reasonable aluminium rocket launcher-canopy frame combinations available but they are not suitable for the weight of large game fishing boat outfits and the huge impact of loading that can happen offshore.
I’ve actually had to rig a makeshift gantry off a rocket launcher in the past to lift a 160kg striped marlin into the boat, and some large barrels (tuna) to boot!
Avtek Covers uses and recommends Sunbrella acrylic materials for longevity. They have very little stretch or shrinkage and last years, even in direct exposure to sunlight with excellent UV resistance. The new materials are so good that Sunbrella provides a 10-year colour fade warranty! While there’s a huge range of colours available, as well as variance in weight and quality, we chose a tough, hard-wearing material in black with yellow piping – and no, it wasn’t because the project manager (me) is a Richmond AFL supporter.
Although we still loosely refer to the material as canvas, it is actually a synthetic acrylic that wears so much better in the marine application.
Michael (left ) trimmed the edges with yellow piping to define the sharp lines and it certainly stands out, saying “look at me”, whether under the lights at boat shows or in the line at the boat ramp. He only uses premium quality YKK zips and Saint stainless steel fittings for such structures. There are quite a few variations available in the clear vinyl material as well and Michael uses and recommends Achilles Extruded 1mm clear film for strength and longevity.
Part of the secret to canopy longevity is getting the construction really taught. Flapping material causes stress which inevitably results in rips and tears (so does reversing under a protruding anchor, as did our illustrious team not long ago – but thankfully Michael gave it some quick repairs and she’s as good as new).
So we are well and truly on the road and on the water with our Haines V19R project boat. Next we need some creature comforts and some more storage wouldn’t hurt either. Stay tuned.
PRO TIP: HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR BOAT CANVAS
Michael from Avtek Covers shares his six top hints for looking after your boat canvas cover.
• Bimini clears are very precious and need to be stored in a dry place, preferably not rolled up and jammed in the sidepockets of your boat.
• Salt is a boat’s worst enemy and without maintenance to the bimini it will cause trouble. This can be avoided by rubbing Vaseline in between the studs to stop them corroding and sticking together.
• Moving the zips frequently will stop the build-up of salt. Also recommended for lubrication is spraying silicone on them once or twice a year.
• Cleaning the salt off your bimini is very important and easy. Just use freshwater and a slight scrub, not high-pressure washers.
• A can of Plexus or Vuplex to polish the clears is a great investment. It will double the life of the PVC, as it extracts the salt out of the pores and keeps them nice and clear.
• When making the decision on who is going to manufacture your boat covers, make sure the candidates specialise in marine trimming because the days of a trimmer doing everything are long gone.
See the full version of this story in Trade-A-Boat #463, March / April 2015.