Keeping Cool

Jeanie Jeep’s Awning

Whilst we were in the UAE Jeanie Jeep had a great sun awning purchased in Picnico (Dubai’s very own Aladdins Cave for campers) for less than it would cost to purchase that amount of fabric in Europe. Twenty five square metres of lightweight UV resistant canvas in a pale fawn colour with well stitched seams and eyelets every metre or so on each side. It covered the jeep roof when folded in half and attached to the mirror and bumper on one side whilst providing space for us to sleep under it on the other side of the jeep with the far corners pegged out on short poles. The air gap created over the vehicle though slight made a surprising reduction in the car’s internal temperature during short lunch stops too.

Full Flight’s Boom Tent

Our friends Pat and Tony have a boom tent for Full Flight and it works much the same way as the awning over the car. Air flow between canvas and cabin top successfully cools the cabin below. And cooling is something we think Temptress will need in hotter climes despite well placed opening portholes that direct the drafts along the hull into the cabins so ages ago we began pondering on a boom tent for Temptress.With the boom over five metres in length and Temptress being just over four metres wide at her beamiest we would need a lot of fabric. It made sense therefore when we left Dubai to ship our desert awning to the UK and repurpose it (in fact we have two, one well used and a second bought cheaply in Picnico’s moving sale).

Boom Tent Mark 1 was constructed at anchor off Croabh in Scotland over last summer (yes we did get a few hot days). It simply made use of the eyelets down each 5m side, two lengths of cheap polypropylene string and a bag of black plastic hooks. Then it was an hour or so’s effort by the pair of us to lace the string alternately through the eyelets and hooks.  The end result was not only a cooling gap over the main cabin but also a huge amount of extra shaded space on deck. With the sprayhood down the space under the boom is easily accessible and I can foresee a sprawl of cushions and blankets taking up residence here when in port or at anchor as it is almost certainly an extra room with a view for lounging in reading, knitting, snoozing or simply watching the world go by. To take it down and set the awning up now is a doodle, spread it over the boom, hook it on and adjust the tension on the strings. 

Shaded cabin top

Underneath view

Side view

5m of tape sewn in

We were already thinking of improvements and with time on our hands in Lanzarote, Boom Tent Mark II has 5m of tape sewn in along the central ridge on the underside and some D-rings attached to the top of the ridge so it can be supported fore, mid point and aft above the sail cover to avoid chafing the cover in any breeze. As yet these improvements are untested as the gusty, swirling winds that are a feature of our corner of Puerto Calero marina aren’t really suited to an attempt to manhandle swathes of fabric over the boom. Anyway with the temperatures being relatively cool at present, the interior of the boat needs every bit of warmth from the sun it can get during the daytime!

Other ideas gleaned from examining boat awnings in recent months may be implemented at a later date as the design evolves;

  • battens (bendy tent poles?) across the boat to lift the outer edges so you can walk rather than sidle hunched over along the side decks with supports from the lazy jacks and/or the topping lift
  • side curtains to keep the rain out making the space an ideal place for drying laundry on wet days. 
  • rain catchers to collect water for our tanks.

As for the second awning there are a number of ideas clamouring to use its 25 square metres of fabric:

  • A replacement dinghy cover – the one we have is rapidly succumbing to UV
  • Jerry can covers though the skipper has pointed out that they could cost more than replacement cans!
  • A triangular shade for the foredeck

All those are however projects for the distant future, for now the sewing machine is tucked away ready for going to sea if the new rudder ever arrives in Lanzarote.


  1. Thx for the tip but we already have a stock purchased in a UK camping shop just in case we should need them! One became Jeanie Jeep's flag pole whilst we were in the UAE


Comments are closed.