Wednesday, July 2, 2008

To Cover or Not to Cover

Of the roughly 35 gondola operations in America, I would guess that about half of them cover their boats when not in use.

We've got a lot of different variations in the US - both in gondolas and covers.

So the question, my friends, is do you or don't you cover your gondolas?

I know some of you who read the gondolablog aren't the ones who decide whether or not to cover. I'm more interested in IF and HOW it is done.

Please don't worry about "giving up some trade secret", chances are half the readers here have either already figured it out for themselves, or have seen you do it. And besides, one of my all-time goals regarding communication between gondola operators, is to have healthy discussions where everybody benefits from the exchange of information.

Here's a gondola with cover that I shot a few years ago near the Campo San Maurizio in the San Marco district.

Having operated gondolas for over fifteen years, I've subscribed to several different views at different times, based on maintenance, cleanliness, visibility, practicality and yes, even laziness.

I promise to share my thoughts on the subject, but first I'd like to hear yours.
And of course, we must remember that each location and approach to operating gondolas will have an influence on what makes the most sense to you.

So spit it out!
Step up.
Not everyone has had the guts or conviction to comment on my posts but I know you're reading them, and I thank you.

Now is the time to speak your mind and make this a forum.
If it makes you feel better, you can start your comment with "Hey Greg, I think you're a jack-ass!", just please follow it up with some opinions or wisdom on the subject.

Come on! Comment on my blog!

I know you're out there.
Come on pal, throw your two-cents in!


DG Beat said...

Hey Greg. I'm commenting from Portland, Or.

Covers huh?

Well, in my hood we cover our boats and let's just pretend for a minute our covers are in good condition; let's pretend they're rip-free.

The covers fit tight and keep natural elements from entering. (i.e. rain, sand, birds)

The only problem with our covers, since we're pretending right now, is sometimes they are not put on correctly.

Not putting on covers correctly causes real-world rips. Which, in turn, allows natural elements to party hard on the water.

Personally, I like covers. Especially on gondole made in Seal Beach.

They call me "Maximus" said...


This is a good one... I think we should cover some experiences and try and remeber what the covers (a complete cover or the Venetian two-piece style), for this any style will work...

Light Rain: keeps out a bit of water

Heavy Rain: doesn't matter you need a pump

Light wind: keeps some of the dust out

Heavy wind: get the hose and a pump and a few sponges you've got a dirty boat

Well, let's see for the price and the pain of putting them on doesn't seem so good yet doese it?

That was my thought out part. Now I ramble...

We all know that the Earth will take everything back eventually, and really we're just trying to find the quickest easiest way to slow that process down on our Gondole. I really think it depends on what you're covering and how. If it's a good storm a Gondola will be full of water and everything aboard will be wet. Unless you want to add snaps down both sides of the vessel and snap down a button every 18" or so down both sides of the boat, and I don't. Also the snaps on the boat are bound to rust far to quick (unless you polish them too! But they'll still get rusty, and then they don't work and you have to replace them! argh!!!). So without rambling too far I've come to the conclusion that polishing painting and cleaning is a constant and the covers are only truly there to keep some of the heat from the sun during the day off of them and to take the damage of the nightly dew.

Sean Jamieson said...

Hey Greg,
I think you’re a jack-ass! Well, you asked for it and I couldn’t live with myself had I not obliged.
At first I thought we were going to be discussing a Felze or some similar version of passenger cover, but since we are talking about the boat cover, it’s simple; you are crazy not to cover.
Advantages of not covering are one; you don’t have to buy a cover. Two; you don’t have to uncover your boat before use, and three; you don’t have to cover it when you are done.
Believe me, those are some really desirable benefits, however, you will spend a lot more time cleaning the boat before each use and your upholstery and paint will suffer greatly. As for rain, it’s gonna get in. Invest in a good shop vac.
The type of cover is up to you. The type of boat and access to each end of the boat may determine its design. I use a full length Sunbrella cover which is tied around the ferro and stern similar to the Venetian covers but it covers the passenger area too. I had a green, white, and red one like yours once but I recommend blue or green.
Thanks for the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Heat and moisture are the great enemies frati.
Any jack ass knows that heat expands things and cold contracts them.
The gondoliers at P. San Marco rarely remove their covers completely even on a cruise. The constant sunlight on the black surface does bad things to the fasteners and wood.
The gondoliers at B. Orsielo, almost always in the shade only cover at the end of the night and even then only the seats. They would also tilt the starbord floor boards to facilitate the escape of moisture. Moisture causes rot.
So my conclusion would be to cover the boats especially if they are in direct sunlight as the cracks in Michela's trasto di prua will attest.