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Old 08-04-2014, 18:58   #1
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Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

We've got a center console ketch with a soft dodger. We're considering putting a hard dodger on and having a full enclosure made for the cockpit.

What we have noticed when looking at pictures of sister boats or boats in similar areas is they usually have a shade (soft or hard dodger) and no sides.

So is getting a full enclosure a waste of money? Does it end up making the boat too hot or keep in moisture? Or do they end up failing and not being replaced because they're too expensive to maintain?
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Old 08-04-2014, 19:07   #2
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

I would say definitely get a bimini that connects to your dodger. I love sitting under the Bimini on a rainy day... or a hot day when I want out of the sun but want to watch the harbor. If it's windy alot where you are on your boat at the dock, the side curtains can be nice, especially in the winter. Frankly I dont like them that much though for cruising and sailing. Especially if your dodger is designed to come aft some for spray protection.
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Old 08-04-2014, 19:20   #3
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

The difficulty in the tropics is the trade winds.
20 knots all day makes the cockpit untenable.
Get the full enclosure but ensure the flaps can be rolled up and the front clear screen can be too.
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Old 08-04-2014, 20:34   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
The difficulty in the tropics is the trade winds.
20 knots all day makes the cockpit untenable.
Get the full enclosure but ensure the flaps can be rolled up and the front clear screen can be too.
This is the voice of experience, adding a +1 to the voice of more experience.
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Old 08-04-2014, 20:37   #5
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

In over a decade down island we never put down the enclosures. We had them, but never felt the need. The spray was nice on a hot day.

A Biminie however is absolutely critical to allow you somewhere to get out of the sun.
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Old 08-04-2014, 20:53   #6
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

Here's a pic of a sister ship with a full enclosure. We wouldn't have a bimini, I would imagine that the hard top would have a soft top to shade the entire cockpit, or zip down the sides to cover the sides. Our cockpit is huge, and we have canvas that covers the lifelines to the deck next to the cockpit, which gives some privacy and wind protection. We've got a large dog, I was thinking the wife wanted the enclosure for mosquito protection (they prefer her over me on a 10:1 ratio), but I figured with the dog it would be more open than closed anyways. Great info if this triggers any more thoughts please share them!
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Old 08-04-2014, 20:54   #7
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

The full enclosure does take away from her lines though.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:24   #8
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

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The difficulty in the tropics is the trade winds.
20 knots all day makes the cockpit untenable.
Get the full enclosure but ensure the flaps can be rolled up and the front clear screen can be too.
Why is it untenable? the wind is always coming over the bow if you are at anchor? With a dodger and bimini you are good to go....or are you talking about being at the dock? Never had an enclosure throughout the caribe or mexico and never wanted it. In fact the problem was more about getting some fresh air in the cockpitafter about 9am! an enclosure would have the zippers worn off promptly from contantly putting it on and off..
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:43   #9
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

Had a hard dodger with zip down sides and an opening aft piece. Also put a hatch in the roof facing forward the best thing ever, especially for the Atlantic crossing. come rain or shine, the extra room made all the difference.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:53   #10
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

All our canvas sides are clean except for the outer edges and they can be roll up. I would go with the bungee cord hold down at the bottom as they are easier to fasten/unfasten and they have some give in the wind. The gates/entry has zipper.
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Old 09-04-2014, 13:19   #11
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

I've been living and sailing here in the islands off and on since the 60s and haven't encountered a fully enclosed cockpit boat yet. This is the tropics. As much shade (bimini) as you can rig to your boat is a plus but if it is enclosed it is a very hot greenhouse.
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Old 09-04-2014, 13:52   #12
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

We have a full enclosure and love it (on a catamaran). Granted, we are not fully in the 'tropics' here in Florida but it rains so often and it is cool enough in the winter, the enclosure was something we wanted. All windows roll up and there are screens that can be put in for bugs when anchored (when there is no wind).

It may turn out to be a bad idea since we have only had it since October but so far, it is great. It expands our living space and the cockpit can be an alternate place to sleep.

A dodger and bimini would probably be plenty though.
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Old 09-04-2014, 14:01   #13
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

Our full enclosure was at it's best on passages down to the islands, but we got some use of it in the eastern Caribbean as well. The front panels (attached to the dodger and bimini) were good for keeping spray out of the cockpit when on beats and close reaches in the Trades. When at anchor, the only time we dropped all of the vinyl panels was when we had a prolonged rainy spell.
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Old 09-04-2014, 14:18   #14
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

Let me second the opinion that stated shade is a must. We have zippers at the aft end of our dodger, into which we can zip our clear downwind rain "awning" (zippers at both sides
and center" or our underway sun awning, which is deployed over only half, so you can stand up and look out if you want, or seek shade if you want. For being at anchor, we have a weatherMax awning I made that also zips in. It can have mosquito netting attached to keep out mozzies (lots of malaria in the Solomons, and in Vanuatu); however it does not keep out sandflies. Netting that keeps them out is available, but it really cuts down on airflow, and I found gauze clothing adequate to prevent their biting.
The center panel of our dodger unzips, as well. Haven't made a net for it yet.

To me, how you address the situation depends a lot on where you plan on going. For instance, some of our friends have a complete enclosure all of which's clears are unzippable, on an aft cockpit sailboat. They went to Alaska from Australia with the setup, and think little of moving the boat in the rain. Sometimes we've felt a tad grumpy at having to suit up where it's otherwise warm, but raining.

It's sort of a trial and error deal, and if you and your good lady are clear on the priorities, dog, bugs, and so on, why not go with the least expensive option that will address your issues?

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Old 09-04-2014, 14:33   #15
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Re: Full enclosure worth it in the tropics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Why is it untenable? the wind is always coming over the bow if you are at anchor? With a dodger and bimini you are good to go....or are you talking about being at the dock? Never had an enclosure throughout the caribe or mexico and never wanted it. In fact the problem was more about getting some fresh air in the cockpitafter about 9am! an enclosure would have the zippers worn off promptly from contantly putting it on and off..

I dont have a dodger. Its one of the things on the list for this year, and i wont be able to afford the flappy bits.

Without a dodger I dont use 'upstairs' as much as everyone else as i get blown off the stern.

On other boats having sundowners when theres a squall they just roll the sides down and everyone is dry.
Also when they can leave all their cockpit cushions in place and drop their sides in squally weather and they will stay dry.

Finally, I wonder how a more enclosed boat would be to use a computer? My cockpit is too bright to see the screen.

So, if I had the $ I think I would get the full job, but be able to roll it up.

But as I dont have one, i dont really know ... I just look with envy!!
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