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Old 23-05-2019, 06:33   #1
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Location: Sanibel FL
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Solar vs Awnings

In the process of installing a dodger, which will have solar panels on top to serve my modest needs- no refrig or other power hogs. In doing some on-deck painting in preparation for the dodger, I rigged up an awning and the difference was remarkable. Subtropical S Florida now, but I am planning on heading to the tropics. It occurs to me that an extensive awning to keep the boat cool and my planned fixed mount solar panels are mutually exclusive. I do not have an arch or davits. I have an old Air-X wind generator that I would prefer not to have aboard (windage, clutter and noise) as an alternative. Fiddling with movable panels is not terribly appealing.

Has the new solar revolution largely resulted in the abandonment of deck awnings?

John Churchill Sanibel FL
NURDLE, 1979 Bristol 35.5 CB
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Old 23-05-2019, 15:14   #2
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Re: Solar vs Awnings

We have both and all is fine. Our solar is on the bimini, the awning is designed to not cover the solar.

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Old 23-05-2019, 16:28   #3
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Re: Solar vs Awnings

shade is underrated

sitting here in Sarasota we have 2 awnings up to shade the deck
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Old 23-05-2019, 18:10   #4
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Re: Solar vs Awnings

In hot and sunny climates shade will help you AND your boat enormously. UV damage is the most significant factor in aging of boat materials from wood to paint to fiberglass.

Solar heat gain into the cabin is ENORMOUS below latitude 30 or so. the resulting interior heat bakes the brains of the crew and destroys materials.

Many, many boats could do without AC if they just took a few minutes to rig a proper sun awing. If not a full awning, at least shade the hatches and ports. It makes a huge difference.
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Old 23-05-2019, 18:54   #5
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Re: Solar vs Awnings

Panels on the bimini, shade (rain) cover from the dodger to the bow, I have coverage over the cockpit........
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Old 23-05-2019, 19:37   #6
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Re: Solar vs Awnings

Awnings over the boat are the only way to go in the tropics unless you have a long extension cord to run the A/C. Spent the summer in French Polynesia and had no heat issues on the boat with an awning aft of the mast and an awning/windscoop over the foredeck. Actually should have said no heat issues except when forced to Med Tie on the Quad in Papeete to handle paper work issues.
Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
'Ms American Pie', Sabre 28 Mark II
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Old 23-05-2019, 20:22   #7
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Re: Solar vs Awnings

Our new solar panels are on the top of the solar panel arch. They offer shade to the aft part of the cockpit at noon, if the boat's facing the right way. We have a zipper on the aft end of our fabric dodger, that we use to zip in the cockpit awning. It is supported by bungee that goes to buttons installed for the purpose (like the buttons pickup trucks have for bed cover bungees). For us, that has been enough shade for where we have taken this boat. In addition, we have a half awning that we use under way when it is too hot for me. It also zips in, with bungees for support. It is not too hard to rig a shade for the foredeck, it is just that they slow you down, getting to the anchor, and so, we've never had one. It is even easier to make an awning for above the forehatch, and you will find that the air that comes in, even at midday, will be slightly cooler than ambient, from passing under that shade.

I think the answer to your question is that awnings or hatch dodgers can indeed co-exist with solar panels. And people enjoy shade.


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