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Old 27-03-2017, 21:11   #1
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Rigging Shade structure on 400S2

I am looking for any advice/thoughts on rigging a shade structure on a 400S2 (or similar cat) which I am chartering in Caribbean for 8 weeks (May/June). I am looking to protect the cockpit from low angle (morning/afternoon) sunlight. Similar to most other charter boats, it does not have any shade structure.

As a charter, I've not seen the actual boat, and will have to rig everything on site. Also, I will have to carry (check as baggage) all materials (awning, grommet kit, lines, etc.) and "build to suit" onsite with limited tools. So, I need something which is relatively light and easy to travel with, and then relatively easy to construct onsite. I'd deploy the structures as needed and take them down when necessary (longer passages, etc.).

I'm thinking of buying an REI type awning which I can then cut and modify for shade panels (basically, thinking of at 1 side structure or possibly both sides and 1 aft of cockpit hardtop awning.). Another option I've seen (on another CF thread) is to buy actual semi-opaque shade fabric which allows some airflow. Again, it would have to be light and easy to transport - and of course to modify to suit once at the boat. And, I'd want the whole thing to be relatively low cost (roughly no more than $100-200 in materials) since it would be abandoned at the end of the 8 week charter period.

Lastly, I'd also like to know whether others have rigged large shades over the cockpit hardtop to cut down on salon temperature in the tropics. While not as important as the cockpit side shades, I thought this might help reduce heat. However, once again it would require making an educated bet on what to bring with me and then just improvising.
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Old 28-03-2017, 14:58   #2
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Re: Rigging Shade structure on 400S2

It's a bit difficult to make recommendations as none of us, or you for that matter, have seen the boat. Assuming that it has not been fitted with cockpit clears or side curtains, you may desire some extra shade. If these are fitted, sun can still be a nuisance if it shines through the clear panels.

I'd suggest that you take along a spool of strong VB cord. This will be useful to hang towels, clothes, etc. as well as your shade structure. You'll find enough anchor points to rig up horizontal lines for shade attachment. As you say, morning and afternoon sun can be annoying at anchor, assuming that your holiday will be blessed with plenty of sunshine. A nylon tarp or tent fly will provide a lightweight shade material. Sometimes we hang a large sarong temporarily if the sun is at an annoying angle. The maximum height of the cockpit bimini is 6'6", so don't buy anything too big. Most times you will only require the shade for an hour or two, so I wouldn't try to rig anything more permanently. Attach the shade to the cord with sturdy pegs and/or bungy straps.

Don't worry about shade over the bimini top, as very little heat penetrates through to the cockpit below.

Saloon curtains will usually be fitted. These can be drawn to reduce internal saloon temperatures should afternoon sun intrude. Hatch covers or towels can reduce heat from sun in cabins.

Enjoy your time on the Lagoon.
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Old 29-03-2017, 11:08   #3
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Re: Rigging Shade structure on 400S2

Thanks Tuskie. I've a question for you - does your 400 have the "bolt rope extrusion" rail mounted on the underside of the perimeter of the cockpit cover?

The owner of the boat I'm going to be on reports that there is a factory railing installed on his boat, though there's no shade structure on the boat. That railing would, I'm told by a Lagoon dealer, would almost certainly be a factory installed bolt rope rail which is intended to allow for a shade structure.

I'm almost considering trying to buy some luff tape which would easily and very securely insert into that "sliding rail" system. Using luff tape with velcro along the top edge, and grommets along the bottom, would provide something very easy to put and pull down, or slide side to side, as necessary.

However, this is a bit of a gamble on fit. So, I'm curious if your boat has that, and whether its a fairly standard factory add (with a standard size).
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Old 29-03-2017, 19:14   #4
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Re: Rigging Shade structure on 400S2

Hi Breck Sailor,
Yes, our L400 has the factory sail track aluminium extrusion around the perimeter of the hardtop bimini. I can't tell you whether or not all L400s have this fittment or whether it is installed as part of the cockpit enclosure option package. That's why I suggested making a jury rig of shades using VB cord. Depending on the wind direction at anchorage, you may not even require shades.

I've also seen beach umbrellas used as temporary sun shades for the cockpit. Also quick, easy and cheap. These boat modifications should not interfere with your precious Margarita sipping vacation time!
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