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Old 01-05-2008, 09:25   #16
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A dodger is an absolute; after using full canvas in the wintertime in Oregon, I think it is also a must.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:11   #17
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What about the bimini?

So far 100% for a dodger but what about the bimini? This seems a little more prone to foul weather abuse but right now we don't have one and are perhaps a little envious of those that do....
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:53   #18
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Bimini and dodger are the first pieces of luxury gear. After safety, anchoring, and other essential items I would say a dodger and bimini are the first place to spend money. After doing a 1 week charter in Florida I thought, "I'll never charter a boat without a bimini again." After 6 weeks of cruisng the PNW I thought a dodger was something I would not do without. So I guess it depends on where you are cruising that you decide whether or not to get the dodger or the bimini first.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:24   #19
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If you are talking about the typical Mom and Pop cruiser, then you are sailing short handed. Fatigue is one of the biggest reasons for accidents, lost boats, injuries and various other things that ruin your day. A dodger is in my mind a major safety item, in that it reduces crew fatigue.

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Old 01-05-2008, 11:38   #20
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We're wanting a dodger - WaveStopper. BUT; finding someone with the skills to do an excellent job is daunting! We're in Fl but most likely will go up the E coast to the Annapolis to have a quality canvas man do it. So, with all the comments on dodgers being the end all needed for cruising, how about including who and where, and if you're satisfied with the work or know someone "better".
After 6 years of totally refurbishing this boat I don't want to ruin it w/ sloppy work.

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Old 01-05-2008, 11:48   #21
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Dave,
To me there are two parts to the dodger. The quality of the build and the aesthetics. The aesthetics are in the eye of the beholder, but in my mind where many dodgers fall down. It is very hard to get a good looking dodger with the fixed nature of the Wavestopper. I've seen one that matched the boat really well, most of the others just look like they are glued on add-ons. Not to pick on Wavestopper, as many canvas dodgers look as bad or worse. If you want to find someone to install a dodger for you, I'd be looking at the boats in your area and picking out the ones that just look like they fit the boat and complement the boat. Find out who did them. It is a crime to put an ugly dodger on a pretty boat.

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Old 01-05-2008, 12:46   #22
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I agree, funny thing is though....

Funny thing is that dodgers seem to me to be much better quality and build from business' up north. Southerners (like FL) don't seem to be as picky about them. In gereral, they're flimsier and the detail isn't there. Maybe I'm biased being an old yankee, but the yankee work effort seems to have something to do with it here. I tried contacting Johnson Sails that has a canvas shop and some actually represent WaveStoper on three occasions. They never even gave me the courtesy of a call back. Obvsously if they don't have any concern for the inquiry they won't do a quality job no matter how much money I throw at them.

I will consider a soft dodger but really don't want one. If somehow we can't figure out how a WaveStopper will look right it may have to be a soft one. I liked the Taratanga dodger from the individual in the NW USA but alas, can't get one here.

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Old 01-05-2008, 13:19   #23
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So far 100% for a dodger but what about the bimini? This seems a little more prone to foul weather abuse but right now we don't have one and are perhaps a little envious of those that do....
Tom,

I have to say that I love my dodger and bimini, and the "bridge" of canvas with a window that connects the two. I was concerned at first about sailing offshore with the bimini up, but it worked out fine. I have vinyl side curtains that stay rolled up until needed, and then down they come.

On our Bermuda trip, we had squall after squall, with winds gusting up to 50 kts in some, and the dodger/bimini/side curtain combo held together without any problems. Same result in gale conditions during November passages from Virginia to Tortola. It made a big difference to be out of the weather, dry and warm, compared to wind-whipped, soaked and freezing. I experienced the latter on a passage to Tortola on a friend's boat that did not have a dodger, and his bimini was stowed. Miserable!

The only minor disadvantage is that you can't "feel" the wind with the curtains down, and you have to peek through a sewn-in window or around the outside of the canvas to see the Windex and/or the set of the sails. I've become used to it, and find that I can detect the need to adjust the sails just by changes in the feel of the helm, the heel of the boat, and the sounds that it makes.
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Old 01-05-2008, 14:55   #24
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Wow -- thanks for all of the thoughtful replies!

It was me -- Schoonerdog's wife who posted this question. And I was the one who WANTED the dodger. yes, we have a bimini... just re-did that a couple of years ago and they built it specifically to attach to a dodger. But my sweet husband has recently come up with the idea that the dodger was not needed (yes honey, I am throwing you under the bus here)

So I especially appreciate all of your replies!

As for a good shop here in Annapolis.... we've worked with three different ones over the years with both of our boats.

Our first choice is Annapolis Custom Yacht Canvas
Annapolis Custom Yacht Canvas
Dan and Donna do a first rate job, very small shop they do all the work themselves. They really know their stuff and stand behind their work, and they are reasonably priced.

We have also used Cover Loft, also good work.... but ACYC I think is better.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-05-2008, 15:02   #25
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definitely dodger. Cant leave the companionway open in the wet otherwise...
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Old 01-05-2008, 15:49   #26
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I won't cross even the Molokai Channel without a dodger. Essential to any offshore work in my humble opinion.
The 3 things required of a boat before I'll sign on to crew, dodger, windvane and I can't remember what the other was. : )
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Old 01-05-2008, 16:00   #27
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Funny thing is that dodgers seem to me to be much better quality and build from business' up north. Southerners (like FL) don't seem to be as picky about them. In gereral, they're flimsier and the detail isn't there. Maybe I'm biased being an old yankee, but the yankee work effort seems to have something to do with it here. I tried contacting Johnson Sails that has a canvas shop and some actually represent WaveStoper on three occasions. They never even gave me the courtesy of a call back. Obvsously if they don't have any concern for the inquiry they won't do a quality job no matter how much money I throw at them.

I will consider a soft dodger but really don't want one. If somehow we can't figure out how a WaveStopper will look right it may have to be a soft one. I liked the Taratanga dodger from the individual in the NW USA but alas, can't get one here.

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I think it's because us Yankees are so damn anal about everything. We never sit back and say, "that'll be alright." It's in the culture.
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Old 02-05-2008, 00:16   #28
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I won't cross even the Molokai Channel without a dodger. Essential to any offshore work in my humble opinion.
The 3 things required of a boat before I'll sign on to crew, dodger, windvane and I can't remember what the other was. : )
JohnL
Regarding dodgers, biminis and windvanes (and VALIS has all of these), be aware that the bimini may affect the wind reaching the windvane, especially if you have the dodger connected to the bimini. This will depend on the bimini design and the point of sail. Not a huge issue, but something to be aware of.

For that matter, on certain points of sail our outboard on the stern rail also disturbs the airflow to the windvane. Most of the time it has no effect, but when things are just right the flow becomes chaotic and it is impossible to hold a tight course.

Still, I wouldn't give up the dodger, and the bimini is very nice to have in the tropics.
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Old 02-05-2008, 00:40   #29
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this has proved an interesting read for me as we seem to be devided by a comon language.
in the uk a dodger is a flat peace of cloth placed over the gard rails at the sides and back of the boat.
a spray hood is a pram top type frame with windows, what you seem to be caling a dodger.
a bimini is mostly only found on cats as a roof over the cockpit
but would be a frame and roof that extended arft from the spray hood (dodger) to the transom, this then could have walls to make a compleat enclosure.
i also have a big problem with bisuits and gravy.
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:30   #30
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Left: Dodger or Spray Hood.
Right: Bimini or Sun Shade.
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