This year's Spring Tweak is an inexpensive boom tent.
Sucia Island's abundant camping, many of the other destinations we like to visit have limited camping. Saddlebag island, for instance, only has 5 campsites. Hope Island, only 4. Next week is the "Pocket Yacht Palooza", followed by a 4 day "Crooza" to several destinations which may or may not require sleeping onboard. It's also nice to have the option to tie up at a marina. And there's always the possibility I could be late getting home and have to anchor who knows where for the night. Having a boom tent onboard at all times really is a necessity. It doesn't have to be fancy in my opinion. A quick and cheap one made from a tarp will do just fine.
So here's my version of the classic tarp-type boom tent.
After quick trip to the local Harbor Freight Tools store, I returned with this 11 x 15 foot cammo tarp for a mere $16.49, and a grommet kit for another $4. $20 for a boom tent. Can't beat that.
They also carry the classic blue and silver tarps too, of course, but let's be honest. There's really only one choice here. Not only does cammo look good, in a far-less-tacky sort of way, but it also enables one to go Stealth Camping. Stealth Camping, in case you are unfamiliar with the term, is the practice of arriving late at night, mooring up to someone's private dock, boat, or any other no-camping area, and stealing away early in the morning before anyone realizes you were there. I, of course, would never do such a thing ;-)
To support the tent I needed a ridgepole. I lashed my boom and gaff together and use them as the ridgepole. My topping lift/jackstay line, and my peak halyard both prevent draping the boom tent over the ridgepole, so they get disconnected. To support the ridgepole, I disconnect my mizzen halyard and connect it to the aft end of the ridgepole.
The next part is simple, as the famous sculptor Michelangelo allegedly once explained:
So I got out my scissors and trimmed away everything that didn't look like a boom tent.After marveling at Michelangelo’s statue of Goliath-vanquishing David, the Pope asked the sculptor, “How do you know what to cut away?”Michelangelo replied “It’s simple. I just remove everything that doesn’t look like David.”
I left some flaps at the front and rear of the boom tent so I could seal both ends off in a rainstorm.
The flaps can be rolled up and secured with a clip to keep them open, or tied down with a bit of rope to keep them closed. I trimmed the sides even with my lower rubrail.
When I removed the tarp and laid it out flat, it looked like this. Not an easy shape to define on a drawing. You can see why it really needs to be cut in-place.
I didn't have enough time to make sandbags before our annual Sucia trip, so I improvised. I used 500ml plastic water bottles instead of sandbags. They actually worked quite well.
Sucia Small Boat Rendezvous. It rained off and on the entire weekend, but we were cozy and warm under this humble boom tent, using our sleeping platform.
When we awoke in the morning, there were no signs of condensation or leaks anywhere inside the boom tent. We were very pleased with the results. Well worth the $20 to be sure.