David Witton replaces his coving line with a 'third hand' to hold the reel of tape

The gold coving line on my Vancouver 27 was looking a bit tatty. I last renewed it about 10 years ago and could remember the problems encountered removing the old line and laying the new tape accurately, so this time I decided to develop a new method.

To remove the old tape, I ground a scraper to the profile of the cove line, then coated the old tape with sealant remover. This softens the adhesive and makes it easier to scrape off.

I needed two reels of gold tape for my 8.2m (27ft) boat, as it comes in 15m (50ft) rolls. It is available from chandlers in several colours as well as gold, but don’t make the same mistake as me and pick up two slightly different shades of gold!

When fitting the tape, you need one hand to position it, one hand to pull it out straight and one hand to hold the reel. Unfortunately, I don’t have a third hand, so instead I devised a holder to support the tape reel as I moved along the hull. This was made from a toilet roll tube, which provides just enough friction on the reel, a disc of plastic for the base, some tape and a bracket to hang it on the rail made from thick, bent wire.


Working on an improvised platform enabled me to position about a metre of tape at a time, without the risk of twisting or dropping the tape as I moved along. Once the straight section was in place, the remaining tape was used to form the point at the bow and the tail at the stern. These are best laid oversize, then carefully trimmed with a sharp knife.

The finished line really does smarten up the hull, but rather highlights the tatty blue painted stripe above it – a job for next year!