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Old 28-09-2010, 02:28   #1
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To Roof or Not to Roof . . .

We are in Brisbane/ Queensland/ Australia and it gets pretty hot up here. Our yacht has no shade at the cockpit other than a small solar panel.
So I decided to built a roof( Targa frame?) over the cockpit to get some shade.
After I spend a lot of time looking at other boats in our marina I realised most yachts don't have a roof at the back. Here in the sub tropics I don't know how people can cruise for days in the sun without some serious shade.
Is there a reason for not having a frame and shade I have overlooked?
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Old 28-09-2010, 02:50   #2
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Windage is a consideration for racers. But shade is critically important in my corner of the world. This is an old pic and things have changed since it was taken, but you can see that shade is important to lots of folks. This little bit of shade is nothing compared to what I put up when I really want to hide from the sun. Canvas (Sunbrella) is the most common choice of material. Removable windows in the dodger help get a breeze thru, or keep spray out.
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Old 28-09-2010, 03:48   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reiner View Post
We are in Brisbane/ Queensland/ Australia and it gets pretty hot up here. Our yacht has no shade at the cockpit other than a small solar panel.
So I decided to built a roof( Targa frame?) over the cockpit to get some shade.
After I spend a lot of time looking at other boats in our marina I realised most yachts don't have a roof at the back. Here in the sub tropics I don't know how people can cruise for days in the sun without some serious shade.
Is there a reason for not having a frame and shade I have overlooked?
Windage as already mentioned but possibly the biggest reason is that most boats in most marinas simply don't go cruising
IMO, shade is paramount in a tropical cruising boat; whether it is temporary, permanent, hard or soft depends simply on the boat, its rigging and costs etc.

I prefer soft and semi-permanent.
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Old 28-09-2010, 04:31   #4
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They are not cheap eaither. Lots of stainless steel, needs a good design, needs the pipe bender to be on the boat (I think)... then the sunbrella (et al) canvas in custom size and design and made so it doesnt sag or flap... and so the whole lot can fold back.

An expensive job that could make you hit K-Mart for a new straw hat instead!
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Old 28-09-2010, 04:33   #5
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Lack of shade in the cockpit is a concrete threat to your health. So of course you need something.

Our last boat had a bimini which could not be taken down without major mechanical operation. I hated that, because it meant that you couldn't enjoy the open sky in the evening or when the sun wasn't blazing. Our present boat doesn't have a bimini, but has a complete cockpit enclosure which goes up fairly easily but which you simply don't want to have up in decent weather. So we bake in the sun when it's blazing down (admittedly not that often in the UK).

Neither solution is ideal. If I were starting from scratch I would try to have a bimini which could be easily folded down when the shade is not needed, and which can be converted into a cockpit enclosure in bad weather.
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Old 28-09-2010, 05:53   #6
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thanks for all the replies. I was wondering whats going on but I made a decision to go ahead and built a roof.
I did some work for a boatbuilder years ago and I own a mig welder but I'm going to buy a small tig welder and see how hard it is to get some decent welds done. I did some gas welding many years ago and should get the hang of the TIG after a few days playing.
I can buy a bigger roof of a 46ft motor sailor for $500 which has lots of curves and bows which I can cut to what I need.
My plan is to make a solid frame and get a canvas man to make me a cover that gets fitted with velcro to the pipe frame. In winter ( about 6 weeks here) I can take the canvas off and enjoy the winter sun.
The roof needs to carry 2 solar panels at 80W each too.
I'm searching for some good photos so I can get a design that would suit our Yacht. Plenty of photos in the yacht sales pages on the web.
Thanks again for your thoughts.
Cheers
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Old 28-09-2010, 06:24   #7
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Don't say roof, Reiner! It's called a Bimini Top no matter how ornate it is. As you have read so far, the greatest preference is for a folding Bimini, and virtually every Chandler carries one or two lines of hinges and bases for stainless steel tubing between 3/4" and 1 1/4" OD. A simple bender is the fanciest tool required. I have not seen a Bimini that required welding, but I too would buy a TIG just to know how to use it.

Try to design it with a set of simple curves or your canvas bill will choke a goat. Keep the spans down to the width of a bolt of cloth, with seams. In the US, most Bimini's are designed to be left up while sailing, which means you need to accomodate running rigging like sheets and travellers, but its not that hard. Some consist of two tops, one in front and the other behind the mainsheet, with a snap on panel between for motoring in the rain.

I have seen some built out of PVC plumbing pipe, and the visual effect is pure Hick, in case that's what you like. Individual tastes do vary!

In lower lattitudes many liveaboards stretch a sun cover over the cabintop too. They report a ten degree or more temp drop inside as a result. If you don't have a watermaker, you might try rigging a rain barrel!

Put your solar panels on a stand-alone frame that stays up when the Bimini is taken down. Make it sturdy enough to crawl on. This part is frequently called a Radar Arch, Targa Arch, or such. With a good bit of ingenuity, it can also be part of your bimini, giving you a good deal more shaded space. Keep in mind that lighter vessels can't carry a lot of weight aft, so don't get carried away with dinghy davits, antenna farms, vane steering and diving boards!
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Old 28-09-2010, 06:58   #8
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While in New Bern, I saw this bimini on a Slocum that I think cleverly incorporated solar panel supports. She also had "drapes" with loops sewn at the top that velcro around the aft support of the bimini to block the suns rays from the stern.

Both good ideas.
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Old 28-09-2010, 07:03   #9
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Hard to imagine, no shade over the cockpit..

IF biminis were outlawed I'd have to quit sailing...

After years of being in the sun, I'm 62, I seek shade whenever and wherever I can find it..
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Old 28-09-2010, 07:42   #10
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Thanks Sandy and I promise I call it Bimini from now on. I will look into fittings and ready made Bimini's but so far all I saw factory built had aluminium frames. Anyway I look into it.
Good point about weight. I had to shift bits already to get the stern lighter so I have no intention fitting davids or carry our dingy at the stern. our inflatable is on the foredeck.
Slowshoes, I like the drapes too, here in Queensland the sun is very powerful.
The design in my head is very close to the one in the picture with the solar panels sitting on a rack above the Bimini.
I agree with rtbates, that is why I asked in the first place. I still can't work out how so many Yachts get by without a Bimini.
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