Storing a Catalina 27 for Great Lakes Winters

Updated on August 31, 2019
Mike Hardy profile image

This author has been sailing on the Great Lakes for over 20 years. He loves relaxing on the beach, day sailing and cruising.

Storing a Catalina 27 for a Great Lakes Winter

Hoisting a Catalina 27 out for winter
Hoisting a Catalina 27 out for winter

We have a wonderful “Good Old Boat”. The Catalina 27 is the Chevy of sailboats. They are a wonderful day sailing craft with the capacity for cruising ports up and down the Great Lakes. We bought her used in Bay City Michigan and sailed her almost exclusively in Saginaw Bay. She was built in 1973 when they weren’t sure how much fiberglass to use. Consequently, her hull is pretty thick, and she has fared well for a 45-year-old boat. We are proud to keep her in near original condition down to the 1970's era golden plaid cushions in the saloon.

Long Term Storage for a Catalina 27 on a Budget

Catalina 27 wrapped up tight
Catalina 27 wrapped up tight

Last year we decided to take her out of the water for an extended time. We had some overseas travel planned and weddings to attend so we knew we were not going to get much sailing in. We had her moved to our spare lot and covered her with some heavy canvas tarps. The canvas tarps offered a bit of protection by covering the cockpit and over the companionway hatch but didn’t completely cover the entire hull.

After a year of storage, leaves and other debris had found there way in and filled the cockpit. It left a soupy brown waterlogged mess on the deck as the leaves blocked the water outlets. Acorns and sticks littered the deck. Tree pollen coated the entire surface with a fine green hazy powder. The heavy waterproof canvas left a yellow residue on the hull in spots where ever it rubbed. It was a mess. We power washed and cleaned her up vowing to not let her get into such a sad state again.

I needed a solution that could completely cover the entire hull. Shrink wrapping the boat wasn’t a practical option. The high cost and environmental waste of a one-use solution didn’t sit well with us. The old canvas tarps we had used become stretched and tore after a full season of a Michigan winter.

A Well Measured Tarp is Like Shrink-Wrapping a Catalina 27

Stern with a snug wrapped tarp
Stern with a snug wrapped tarp

I did some measuring and started looking for a poly tarp that is specially made for boats. It needed to be a lightweight, inexpensive and waterproof solution for covering an older Catalina 27 with the mast dropped and stored on deck. I needed grommets approximately every 18 inches for tying down at many spots. The tarp had to be mold and mildew resistant and stay flexible in extreme cold conditions. Lastly it needed to be resistant under windy conditions of the winter and ultraviolet treated so it won't fall apart after a single season. Searching online I was able to get a 30x16 tarp specifically made for boat storage shipped for under $100.

Covering a Catalina 27 is a Snap

Catalina 27 Ready for Winter
Catalina 27 Ready for Winter

The hardest part of covering up the Catalina 27 was unfolding the tarp. The hull was able to be completely covered by draping the tarp over the mast and safety lines to create a tent-like space. I was able to shape the tarp snugly around the bow and stern by using light line like a shoelace. Then as a final touch I tied down the sides with an attached line under the hull.

To protect the gel coat finish on the hull I used foam pipe insulation over any line that touched the hull to prevent line chafe. The pipe foam insulation can be found at most hardware stores.

I was able to completely cover and tie down the tarp on the Catalina 27 in about 30 minutes. While there was still a small opening in the stern the tarp completely covered the entire boat.

The result was more than satisfactory. While there are certainly many methods to cover and protect an old Catalina 27 from Great Lakes winters, this solution offered a practical sailor’s way without the high expense.

30x16 Tarp for a Catalina 27

16'X30' EXTRA Heavy Duty White Tarp
16'X30' EXTRA Heavy Duty White Tarp
This 30x16 tarp is similar to that illustrated with the same features and specifications. If you want to cover the entire mast look for a 40x16 tarp.

Sailboat Storing Preferences

How do you store your boat?

See results

© 2018 Mike Hardy


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)