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Old 01-11-2013, 13:30   #1
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Suggestion for Sunshade

Really hoping someone could lead me in the right direction on this one.. You guys have all been so helpful so far.

We have an outside, semi-enclosed cockpit area with some seating. Unfortunately it is completely exposed to sun, rain, and whatever other elements there are. We would absolutely love to have some way of atleast protecting this area from the sun, but given that it cannot really extend higher than the existing cabin top I think we need something retractable or something that can be easily removed so that you can push it out of the way to enter/exit and load/unload as well as docking, etc.

Attached is the picture of the area, basically would like to put something over that enclosed area where the seating and the cabin entrance is. It can be slightly higher than the cabin top there but not much because as it is now with the sail up and the topping lift let out the boom sings about 2 inches off those solar panels.
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Old 01-11-2013, 13:43   #2
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Re: Suggestion for Sunshade

We just made a cloth one and clip it on and off. It's not perfect but it works; there are probably some shots of it on the videos we have the on the blog. I wanted something we could tear off quickly for high winds and when I need visibility for close quarters stuff. Our boom is really low too and our mainsheet is on the end of the boom. Great for lots of reasons, terrible for stern enclosures.

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Old 01-11-2013, 14:14   #3
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Re: Suggestion for Sunshade


It's a little hard to tell how big this guy will be, but one way to approach it is with a center zip (covered by a flap) so you can separate it and shade 1/2 at a time. I'd look at making my first one out of Weather-Max 'cause it's lighter than Sunbrella. It will give you at least 5 yrs.

Now, along the sides of the cabin top, install bolt rope track, stopping about 1" from the fwd edge of the cabin top and the same aft. The forward inboard fabric bit will have the boltrope sewn in it, so it will be well attached there. You'll have to decide the angle needed, but the forward edge will need a batten spreader sewn into it, and a bungee to a location forward of it on the lifeline. The side edge will want roll up clears zippable onto it than can also be zipped together. You will want to place ss grommetts for bungies along the side, to go to the lifelines. Set up the aft edges similarly, with battten spreaders, and bungees to the back stay. If you work it right, you'll be able to fold and roll it back, and just have it rolled against its back spreaders, when you want uncovered, or split in half when that suits. This is a medium big project, but definitely home do-able. Remember to first make a drawing (I make mine to scale on quadrille paper), then add enough for seam allowances that you will be able to manage, on the order of 1/2 inch, or 1.5 cm (not at all exact equivalents for each other, but easy to work with. Measure twice, always, at least, before cutting.

Battens are nice and flat, but dear. You can use heavy wall pvc tubing, too, with a few carved styrofoam circles pushed down it to stiffen it, and end caps glued on (so it floats if it gets away from you). And if you're going somewhere very hot, I'd consider white fabric, even though it's a major pain in the neck for mildew and bird stain. If you do use white, use tailor chalk to mark what you need to mark, not indelible marker. Use a chalk-line to mark the longest pieces. Or, consult a proper dodger or awning maker.

Free advice is worth what you paid for it. But as to can it be done, of course, and your own thinking about exactly where you need the protection is the most important part. A bunch of work with the measuring tape, and you can be in business. You can do this on a home sewing machine, using the #18 needle and V-92 dacron thread. You should think of it as Mark I, because afterwards, you'll have ideas for improving it, trust me.

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Old 01-11-2013, 15:28   #4
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Re: Suggestion for Sunshade

Thanks Ann and Rebel.

Definitely looking for something along the lines of what Ann suggested. I am not sure I (or my wife) is up to the task of building this entirely ourselves but at the very least want to have an idea of what I want before asking someone to come out and fabricate it for me. Though, as always, depending on cost DIY it always an option.
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Old 01-11-2013, 18:24   #5
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Re: Suggestion for Sunshade

I would start with building a mock out of pvc tubes and polypro canvas. Use it at the dock, see how it interacts with other equipment, etc.

Then build the real thing in alloy and acrylic.

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