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Old 13-03-2014, 20:41   #1
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Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Do you ever take your dodger down? Or do you leave it up all the time? If you ever did take it down, why? About how long does your dodger (canvas part) last before it's begging to be replaced?

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Old 13-03-2014, 21:04   #2
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Always up.

10-15 years.
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Old 13-03-2014, 23:54   #3
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

There are times some people will fold their dodgers down, to get more air in the tropics or to allow for a breeze booster to work better in the aft bunk or maybe its race day. Most often though they build them with a zippered panel so they can be opened and get the same results. The life of sunbrella in the tropics is generally not much longer than 5 years, in more temperate climates it will last much longer. One of the keys to longevity is how clean you keep it.
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Old 14-03-2014, 00:47   #4
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

G'Day Delancy,

First, on previous boats and dodgers we designed to allow collapsing... and then never did it! No longer part of our design criteria.

Their lifetime depends mostly on construction material. We long ago gave up on Sunbrella for dodgers. It has outstanding sun resistance, but very poor chafe resistance. Further, after a fairly short time the waterproofing degrades and rain starts getting through. The aftermarket potions for renewing waterproofing don't work terribly well, nor do they last long. Our experience is that in the tropics and high UV areas in the Southern Ocean Sunbrella will start to leak within three to four years, and can chafe in a few hours if a loaded line should inadvertently come in contact.

Our last few dodgers have been made from what Aussies call "Marine Hooding". It has a heavy fabric base and some sort of PVC calendering. Similar to convertible auto tops, it is stiffer than Sunbrella, very waterproof for years, and quite sun resistant. Our last one lasted around ten years (seven years after we bought the boat), and died mostly from dacron stitching failure. Our new one is stitched with Tenara and has shown no wear to stitching in around six years exposure. It needs new clears, but otherwise is in excellent shape. On that subject, I'd advise spending the extra bucks and getting one of the better quality clear material. We got talked out of it by the builder, and I regret it sincerely.

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Old 14-03-2014, 06:30   #5
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Thanks for the responses. I am considering a much lower profile dodger than would be typical and the geometry doesn't lend itself to folding down giving how relatively long it is front to back for how tall it is.

This got me wondering about taking them down, as I can't say I have ever seen one that wasn't set, while at the same time thinking you could make one a lot stronger if it was fixed.
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Old 14-03-2014, 06:38   #6
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

In my experience you see many dodgers in Europe that can fold down but in NA the dodgers tend to be heavier built and not set up to fold down.
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Old 14-03-2014, 07:05   #7
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Most of the dodgers I see have the zippered panel (mine is of this type), so no need to actually collapse it. There is a boat one dock away that has a folding one. I watched them collapse it once and it only took about ten minutes. Once they had completed the evolution, I really could not figure out any true advantage over the zippered panel type.

Does the lower profile one you are considering have a roll up front flap?
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Old 14-03-2014, 07:25   #8
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Thanks for the responses. I am considering a much lower profile dodger than would be typical ...
I agree. I hate lookig through plastic all day. Ours is lower than most, too.

Dodger Height
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Old 14-03-2014, 07:27   #9
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Delancy,

I'm with the others here.... Permanently fixed with center zippered panel... More than enough air flow....

I've been noticing a lot lately that the mfr ads for new models more often than not shows the boat without a dodger, or one folded down... I always think how unrealistic this is from real world usage.....
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Old 14-03-2014, 10:35   #10
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

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I agree. I hate lookig through plastic all day. Ours is lower than most, too.

Dodger Height
That's what I am talking about, just tall enough to protect you when seated in the cockpit. I like your hand hold solution on the back bar. Seems pretty functional with out the complication of adding and extra hand hold tube.
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Old 27-03-2014, 06:02   #11
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

I've sailed on a friends that is lower profile and it was a pain when coming or going into cabin.

I completely agree with your aversion to the plastic, but I think you will end up looking through it regardless.

What about having the dodger terminate further forward so you don't have to crouch coming out of companionway, allowing it to be lower still? Then add a zipper to attach a Bimini or boom tent of sorts for rain, shade etc?

Let us know what you do. I need to see one up next winter.

Definitely would use zipper removable panels...
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Old 27-03-2014, 06:35   #12
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Called spray hoods in the UK and perhaps the United States of Europe, dodgers tends to be the material attached to life lines on the sides to add protection to the cockpit area.

For a cruising yacht in NW Europe probably essential unless you like cold wind, rain and spray. We fold the spray hood down a couple of times a year by undoing to rear straps and un popping the button clips, say 30 seconds. Height is just right to bend and walk down into the saloon but I could see a different shape or size being a problem. Only downside is wifey needs a 4" wooden block to see over the top of the sprayhood. Life expectancy is probably 10+ years from sunbrella type material. They spray hood and dodgers have managed 6 so far in all UK weathers.

Lower fixed glass protection like some German and French yachts with soft top is an interesting idea.
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Old 27-03-2014, 09:23   #13
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Thanks for the responses. I am considering a much lower profile dodger than would be typical and the geometry doesn't lend itself to folding down giving how relatively long it is front to back for how tall it is.

This got me wondering about taking them down, as I can't say I have ever seen one that wasn't set, while at the same time thinking you could make one a lot stronger if it was fixed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I agree. I hate lookig through plastic all day. Ours is lower than most, too.

Dodger Height

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketchgould View Post
I've sailed on a friends that is lower profile and it was a pain when coming or going into cabin.

I completely agree with your aversion to the plastic, but I think you will end up looking through it regardless.

What about having the dodger terminate further forward so you don't have to crouch coming out of companionway, allowing it to be lower still? Then add a zipper to attach a Bimini or boom tent of sorts for rain, shade etc?

Let us know what you do. I need to see one up next winter.

Definitely would use zipper removable panels...
Delancy,

I think you're going to get the best of both worlds with a short height-short length dodger and have a "head room high bimini..."
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Old 27-03-2014, 09:36   #14
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

In theory dodgers were supposed to be easy to fold down. In reality they really dont work that way on many boats. Never foded mine down in 40 years.
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Old 27-03-2014, 10:43   #15
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Re: Question About Spray Hoods/Dodgers?

The only time my dodger comes off is when we are under a hurricane warning or when I am varnishing the coaming in the cockpit. I agree with the others about the short life of Sunbrella in the sun and the leaking issue. My current bimini and dodger were made of a product called Seamark. It's Sunbrella that has been bonded to what looks like vinyl. I'm not sure how many years it's been up but it still looks like new and with no leaks. Meanwhile the sail covers, binnacle cover and hatch covers that were made at the same time out of Sunbrella are shot and need to be replaced. The only reason I used Sunbrella was so the fabric could breathe and hopefully cut down on mold and mildew. The nice thing about the Seamark was that it only added about 10% to the cost of the bimini and dodger. They do recommend using goretex thread.

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