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Old 04-06-2015, 19:26   #1
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full boat awning use?

A new to me sailboat came with a two piece full boat awning. It is obviously an expensive piece of kit made from sunbrella and still in excellent condition. I have never had a boat so equipped. I am wondering as we begin the hot season here in Charleston, SC what the limitations are typically to these awnings? Do people tend to use only at anchor or in marina? How about knowing when to take down? Should the awning come down at certain levels of wind strength? I am currently in in-water refit mode so using the boat only rarely and not sailing at all. I would like to just put this up and leave it up but dont want to see it damaged. The boat is a Bombay Pilothouse 31. Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2015, 20:09   #2
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Re: full boat awning use?

In the tropics and sub tropics, you put an awning up if you are sittitng for a long time. It gets so hot, you need to open your ports but it rains all the time so you put up the awning so you can leave the ports open. Those with nice awnings like you probably have, put them up more often. Those of us who use tarps don't, as it's a pain to rig tarps.
We have 14 opening ports on the whole boat and I thought what a pain that is when it starts raining untill I saw a big Morgan with 14 on each side.
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Old 04-06-2015, 21:32   #3
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Re: full boat awning use?

rbyham,

Sorry, no easy answer for that. We used to have a 3/4 boat awning, mast to stern. We usually took it down over 25 knots. It was heavily reinforced, and once survived 45, but was not designed as a 45 knot awning. If you want to be cooler while you're working on the boat, why not put up the forward part of it while you're there, and if your bow's to windward. It will cool the air coming in through the forehatch.

Some such awnings make it difficult to get forward when you're at anchor, making folks less likely to deploy them at anchor.

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Old 04-06-2015, 23:12   #4
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Re: full boat awning use?

On my first cruising boat I had a mast to back stay awning that I made, and I put a REEF POINT in it, so that when the wind kicked up, I reefed it back to the dodger and had a dodger to backstay awning. It kept the cockpit dry in squalls or steady rain. Worked great. ______Grant.
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Old 04-06-2015, 23:24   #5
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Re: full boat awning use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbyham View Post
A new to me sailboat came with a two piece full boat awning. It is obviously an expensive piece of kit made from sunbrella and still in excellent condition. I have never had a boat so equipped. I am wondering as we begin the hot season here in Charleston, SC what the limitations are typically to these awnings? Do people tend to use only at anchor or in marina? How about knowing when to take down? Should the awning come down at certain levels of wind strength? I am currently in in-water refit mode so using the boat only rarely and not sailing at all. I would like to just put this up and leave it up but dont want to see it damaged. The boat is a Bombay Pilothouse 31. Thanks.
The wind strength your awning will cope with depends on its size, style and construction.

We have a 5m long boom tent that slides onto two tracks on the boom that take 6 mm luff tape. It rolls up and is secured with velcro tabs when sailing or if the wind pipes up above about 25 knots at anchor. The force on it when you try taking it down gives you some indication of the wind strength it can handle.

Awnings are absolutely brilliant in summer. With the boom tent up on our boat, the shaded cockpit becomes the living area and the cabin is kept significantly cooler:
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:40   #6
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Re: full boat awning use?

An awning makes aboat sitting in the hot sun in the tropics quite liveable especially if you leave 3 or 4 feet of space between it and your deck to allow breezes to pass through ----but think of them as would your sails ---you wouldn't leave your sails up and leave your boat unattended because they would flog to death when strong winds come up --- so leave the awning up when you are on or close to your boat and take it down when you aren't (or someday after a gust rolls in you will be re-sewing it or looking for it downwind somewhere ��)
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:48   #7
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Re: full boat awning use?

Are you talking about an awning or a full boat cover? A cover has sides that go down to the toe rail and are designed to shed snow and rain as well as heat and sun. Some are quite sturdy. All should have thoughtful ventilation. I've seen boats left unattended in marinas for long periods with full covers in place.


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Old 05-06-2015, 08:58   #8
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Re: full boat awning use?

i leave mine up and place lines over em to prevent removal spontaneously in winds over 30 kts.
i keep them under the booms.
i remove em for winds over 50 kts, which are rare here, despite our frequency of named storm formations.
when anchored i make sure they do not catch wind so i can leave em up in windy conditions with protection from sun on my hot coachhouse roof. makes a 10 degree difference in temp.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:48   #9
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Re: full boat awning use?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
The wind strength your awning will cope with depends on its size, style and construction.

We have a 5m long boom tent that slides onto two tracks on the boom that take 6 mm luff tape. It rolls up and is secured with velcro tabs when sailing or if the wind pipes up above about 25 knots at anchor. The force on it when you try taking it down gives you some indication of the wind strength it can handle.

Awnings are absolutely brilliant in summer. With the boom tent up on our boat, the shaded cockpit becomes the living area and the cabin is kept significantly cooler:
Where'd you get that boom tent? Looks awesome. Are there battens running the length of it?

-Chris
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:00   #10
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Re: full boat awning use?

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Where'd you get that boom tent? Looks awesome. Are there battens running the length of it?

-Chris
I made it . Sunbrella Plus is the fabric and it has been sewn with Tenara for longevity.

There were tracks already on either side of the boom that take 6mm luff tape and there was an existing boom tent that slid into these tracks, the dimensions of which I could roughly copy.

It is a system that works absolutely brilliantly. There is a baton about 2/3 of the way down to help it hold a good shape and this slides into a pocket. Each side simply rolls up (easier with two people, but with the baton it is manageable with one) and is secured with 5 velcro flaps. It is easily deployed by one and takes only a couple of minutes to tie down.

We leave it rolled up on the boom while sailing, except with very long passages.

I am surprised this system is not in use more often.

SWL
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:08   #11
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Re: full boat awning use?

I sure love full awnings when it gets hot or when it gets too rainy.

If it gets too windy, you may be forced to remove the awnings but then again it will depend on whether you are anchored out or at the dock. I found that at the dock I tend just to lower the awning rather than remove it, even when conditions get pretty gusty.

b.
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:35   #12
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full boat awning use?

Imagine your car parked in a parking lot vs. a carport to realize the benefits of an awning. Rig it, and use common sense as far as management. Good guidance here from folks that learned the limitations of their gear through trial.

Don't leave it up with a real storm forecasted. It could risk your boat rather than the awning.


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Old 05-06-2015, 12:44   #13
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Re: full boat awning use?

It will be a PITA, wearing thru lifelines, varnish, sail covers etc....if you are not uber careful... but will keep the heat in the boat down a lot. Should come down in strong winds.
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:50   #14
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Re: full boat awning use?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
I made it . Sunbrella Plus is the fabric and it has been sewn with Tenara for longevity.

There were tracks already on either side of the boom that take 6mm luff tape and there was an existing boom tent that slid into these tracks, the dimensions of which I could roughly copy.

It is a system that works absolutely brilliantly. There is a baton about 2/3 of the way down to help it hold a good shape and this slides into a pocket. Each side simply rolls up (easier with two people, but with the baton it is manageable with one) and is secured with 5 velcro flaps. It is easily deployed by one and takes only a couple of minutes to tie down.

We leave it rolled up on the boom while sailing, except with very long passages.

I am surprised this system is not in use more often.

SWL

Nice work!!!

The way you stow it is really compelling too.... Seems I keep finding new reasons to migrate away from my roller (boom) reefing main.. I suppose its possible I could still reef the main with the tent wrapped up nice and tight.
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Old 05-06-2015, 13:59   #15
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Re: full boat awning use?

Being a cheap skate, I bought a mesh hay bale tarp with grommets and bungee cords over the boom. It gives enough shade and in storms lets the wind blow through. Works for me.
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