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Old 27-07-2014, 18:53   #1
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Bimini on a small cruiser

I've got a Tartan 27 I'm outfitting over the next few years for some serious water sailing">blue water sailing. Since I have such a small boat I pay attention to other small ocean cruisers, particularly those that participate in races like the Jester Challenge. I've noticed almost none of them have biminis. Why is this? I take protecting my skin from the sun seriously and I also want to hang solar panels on it. Does a Bimini present a danger in blue water conditions or in gales or is it often not installed to preserve a better racing trim?
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Old 27-07-2014, 18:59   #2
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

We have just fitted a Bimini on a friend's 27ft. Don't think you could seriously think of blue water cruising without one no matter how small the boat is. The sun is vicious and together with water reflection it is best to keep out of the sun as much as possible. We have been cruising for 18 years and although we have a Bimini my husband is now having to deal with skin cancers despite the fact that he always wears a hat and uses sunscreen and lip protection.

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Old 27-07-2014, 19:24   #3
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

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Originally Posted by sapient sue View Post
We have just fitted a Bimini on a friend's 27ft. Don't think you could seriously think of blue water cruising without one no matter how small the boat is. The sun is vicious and together with water reflection it is best to keep out of the sun as much as possible. We have been cruising for 18 years and although we have a Bimini my husband is now having to deal with skin cancers despite the fact that he always wears a hat and uses sunscreen and lip protection.

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Maybe it's not the sun.
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Old 27-07-2014, 19:35   #4
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

Well, I tell you, after sailing in Florida and even on the Chesapeake I can't imagine sailing without one. The only way I would consider not having one is if it posed a danger to me in a storm by acting as a parachute, for lack of a better term.
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Old 27-07-2014, 19:44   #5
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

A bimini catches wind, just like one of the sails, but without any controls. That can become dangerous in certain conditions and certainly wouldn't help you set any racing records.
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Old 27-07-2014, 19:46   #6
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

Me and my friend did big blue water sailing on a 26' westerly and we didn't had a Bimini, it worked fine for us. From Great Britain to Puerto Rico we survived without and then we decided to get more solar panels and the only place would be on top of a Bimini, so we installed both in Puerto Rico.

It's not impossible to sail without a Bimini and it's not impossible to install one on a small boat.

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Old 27-07-2014, 19:50   #7
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

I'm not looking to set any records, just want to get across big bodies of water safely. I can deal with the loss of speed as long as I'm not endangering myself unnecessarily.
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Old 28-07-2014, 11:06   #8
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

If you care about your skin, install a Bimini! My first cruising boat (26 ft) I had made a dodger, but not a bimini. By the time I got to Mexico, I sewed up a small rectangle of cloth to attach to the back of the dodger, and shock cord to a pole that was across the double backstays. It didnt work near shore, or for daysailing, but made a wonderful difference once we got in the trades, and didnt have to disconnect it for every tack. The shock cord was so that if we had to tack in a hurry, it would stretch and allow the mainsheet to cross the cockpit, without tearing the cloth. If I were to do it again, I would spend the bucks and have a proper one made, that could be left up all of the time. My last cruising boat (44ft) came with a bimini, and in 8 years in the tropics, I only folded it up once when we were anchored in a Hurricane hole, and expecting the worst. As cruisers, we are always making compromises about speed vs comfort, and a dodger and bimini make for much more comfort, at little difference in speed. A week from tomorrow, I go to get 25 stitches out from skin cancer surgery, which my doctor says Hell Yes, it is from too much sun. Whatever my next boat is, it will have a bimini. Just my opinion. ______Grant.
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Old 28-07-2014, 11:11   #9
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Re: Bimini on a small cruiser

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Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
A bimini catches wind, just like one of the sails, but without any controls. That can become dangerous in certain conditions and certainly wouldn't help you set any racing records.
Yeah, it's not a racing device for sure, and could catch a big wave also... having said that... it's just one of those necessary cruising items. Built properly it can be stripped of canvas fast. But with Solar panels all over it... no point in stripping it. Everything is a compromise...
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