Assuming that we are bypassing the question of leaving the boat in the water or putting it on the hard, boats in colder weather climates will likely benefit from a winter boat cover. We’ll also bypass the debate on shrink-wrap vs. a reusable cover since one reader specifically asked about making a reusable boat cover. A cover can be a great tool for reducing wear on the boat in any weather if you won’t be using it for long periods of time as well.
It looks like the key to a successful covering is the frame you use underneath. The Practical Sailor article and the blog noted below describe that. Also be sure you have a way to get some air flowing through the boat periodically over the winter to avoid dreaded mildew come spring.
Our canvas fabricator (yes, I use one for really big projects) says as a small shop he likes to get orders for boat covers well in advance – several months in fact. He can’t whip one up if you come to him in October! So that means plan ahead.
Here are a few resources that I found. Who else has information on boat covers to contribute?
Canvas for Cruisers by Gifford has a 12 page section on considerations when designing a cover, patterning and making a cover.
http://www.sailrite.com/Boat-Cover-Instructions-Downloadable ($5, 13 pages)