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Old 06-12-2013, 12:20   #1
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Hard Bimini Arch Davit Combo Catalina 36

I need a bimini and a place for solar panels to mount. I do not have davits. Rather than have a canvas bimini made and retrofit it to hold solar panels I was thinking about making a hard bimini arch davit combo. This would be made of aluminum anodized pipe. Look at these two pictures and imagine the arch/davit combined with the hard top and solar panels flush mounted in the hard top. Seems like if you have the dinghy that high up you won't get many waves in it.
What do yall think?
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:07   #2
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Re: Hard Bimini Arch Davit Combo Catalina 36

Are you sure you want all that weight up so high? The cost to do what you outline will be considerable.
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:32   #3
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I built exactly what you are describing over my cockpit. It was simple and inexpensive and it works very well.
Can provide details if you wish to copy.
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Old 06-12-2013, 18:56   #4
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Re: Hard Bimini Arch Davit Combo Catalina 36

I am about to do something similar, but without davits. I would love the details.
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Old 07-12-2013, 00:33   #5
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First step find solar panels the size that cover your cockpit, or the largest you can find. I used two panels 6x3 which were just right for my cockpit. If the panels do not cover the whole area make "blank" panels to fill the holes.
Build a SS frame to house the panels. Cut the curvy part of the Bimini structure and weld the stumps directly to the frame. I also added a teak strips around the frame for esthetic reasons and to add strength.
Place the panels in the frame and secure them to the frame. The last part is to inject a sealer between the frame and the panels and between the panels. This part proved to trickier than I expected. My suggestion is to use quality sealer and make sure it fills the gaps completely.
The end result is a hard top which produce tons of power.
In the pictures you can see the frame before installing the panels (sorry for the pic quality) and the finished project from the inside.
Will be glad to answer more questions.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:52   #6
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Re: Hard Bimini Arch Davit Combo Catalina 36

Thats sweet. Maxed out the panel size.
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Old 07-12-2013, 15:05   #7
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Re: Hard Bimini Arch Davit Combo Catalina 36

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Originally Posted by bgallinger View Post
Are you sure you want all that weight up so high? The cost to do what you outline will be considerable.
I don't know if I want all that weight up high. I have heard if the dinghy is low you drag it when heeling, and also the swim ladder is blocked.
It seems logical if I build a strong frame for the hard bimini that davits would be a few simple welds to add to it. I got a 5K stainless arch with add ons it came to 7K.

Aluminum for me. I will talk to the people who make wakeboard towers here in TN. There are no marine arch builders around Knoxville that I know of.
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