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Old 23-08-2015, 11:53   #1
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Value of a Hardtop Bimini and Rubrail

I am currently in the market for an IP38, with which to circumnavigate. One boat has a hardtop bimini and the others do not. In the opinion of those more experienced than I, would the hardtop bimini be a strong plus? Advantages that I can see would include protection from the elements as well as a platform for solar panels. Is weight the only minus?

Also, how important are rub rails? Several of the boats have them and others don't.

Thank you very much for your imput.
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Old 23-08-2015, 15:37   #2
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

I love hard tops - place for the solar panels, protection from the elements (sun and rain). But they increase your windage in some fashion, and some have indicated they would not have them if they thought they would have to ride out a hurricane in a hole somewhere because of that. And you cannot easily see your sails and mast top with a hard top unless some provision is made for it. We found we could live without that. We like hard top (or permanent soft top) biminis and would rate that as a plus on a boat. They are expensive to add so it is a benefit if they matter to you.

You only need rubrails if you expect to rub on something. Fenders work too. I think some like rubrails to keep the fenders off of the gelcoat or paint on the sides. But it seems that wharves and other boats never seem to match up height wise to the rub rails you may have. There may be something else I am not imagining right now. Having them would not affect any decision I would make on a boat.
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Old 23-08-2015, 15:42   #3
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

One issue is what to do if you have to ever take it down. They're are nice.

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Old 23-08-2015, 15:58   #4
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

Rub rails are a bonus. It's not always you rubbing something. How about when you are not aboard or some event occurs which you had no time to prepare for?
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Old 23-08-2015, 16:12   #5
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

I am a fan of rub rails. More than once I have been forced to squeeze a boat somewhere that it really didn't fit, and without the rails we either would have had to find somewhere else to go or accept hull damage as a result. I don't like relying on them to prevent damage when I can help it, and always prefer bumpers, but sometimes they just aren't an option.

Having never owned a sailboat with a hardtop I can't speak for experience. But I like the concept a lot. Primarily as a place to mount solar panels. In fact these days I would probably just build a hardtop out of solar panels, perhaps with a frame around them.
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Old 23-08-2015, 17:19   #6
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 24-08-2015, 07:42   #7
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

For coastal cruising and short offshore hops I would consider a hard-top bimini to be very valuable. For a circumnavigation I would consider it a negative. In really serious weather all that windage becomes a liability. In that case, you want something that you can take down when you have to.

Just my opinion.
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Old 24-08-2015, 09:30   #8
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

Hardtop I have no opinion on, but rub rails I do. While they would be nice if the boat had them, it certainly would not influence my purchase decision. It is very easy, and cheap, to make fender boards. Put them down when you need them, stow them when you don't. You are going to have fenders anyway, so the addition of a 6-8 foot fender board would add less than $10 to your cost.
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Old 24-08-2015, 09:39   #9
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

I've never seen an IP without rub rails, are you talking maybe second rub rails, on the hull?

On the hard top, I was at the IP factory a couple of weeks ago and they were showing me a factory hardtop for an IP 420 I think? If I were up North a lot in cold weather, I think I would want one and I'd live with the disadvantages, but as I am and will be a warm weather sailor, I don't want one. Be a nice spot to mount some Solar panels though.


Know of course that a boat the age of an IP 38 may well be in need of an extensive re-fit before you take her on a Circumnavigation, mine was very lightly used, but almost certainly due if nothing else to age, needs new chainplates
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Old 24-08-2015, 09:44   #10
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Walsh View Post
Rub rails are a bonus. It's not always you rubbing something. How about when you are not aboard or some event occurs which you had no time to prepare for?
Rub rails a nice as protection from others.
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Old 24-08-2015, 09:44   #11
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

We like the hard top that ours came with. It's a Wavestopper and the windows zip out to reduce windage when you need to. I just mounted 3 solar panels on top of it- pretty easy.
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Old 24-08-2015, 09:47   #12
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

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Originally Posted by Captain-Avenger View Post
Hardtop I have no opinion on, but rub rails I do. While they would be nice if the boat had them, it certainly would not influence my purchase decision. It is very easy, and cheap, to make fender boards. Put them down when you need them, stow them when you don't. You are going to have fenders anyway, so the addition of a 6-8 foot fender board would add less than $10 to your cost.
I'm of a different opinion, I absolutely detest running boats without rubrails, or those with tumblehome... Especially for those doing any singlehanded sailing, the absence of a decent rubrail can sometimes seriously limit your options. It's not always possible to have fenders or fender boards positioned precisely where they might be needed in advance, or when having to perform some weird maneuver, such as pivoting off a corner piling when pinned on a face dock in a breeze, or whatever...

For a boat like an IP 38 that the OP is interested in, which tend to be not the most 'nimble' in close-quarter maneuvering situations, I'd rate the absence of rubrails to be a major liability...
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Old 24-08-2015, 10:00   #13
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
I'm of a different opinion, I absolutely detest running boats without rubrails, or those with tumblehome... Especially for those doing any singlehanded sailing, the absence of a decent rubrail can sometimes seriously limit your options. It's not always possible to have fenders or fender boards positioned precisely where they might be needed in advance, or when having to perform some weird maneuver, such as pivoting off a corner piling when pinned on a face dock in a breeze, or whatever...

For a boat like an IP 38 that the OP is interested in, which tend to be not the most 'nimble' in close-quarter maneuvering situations, I'd rate the absence of rubrails to be a major liability...
Jon, well put.
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Old 24-08-2015, 10:17   #14
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

As we have wandered around the world a surprising number of other cruisers have taken pictures of our bimini to gain ideas for the hard bimini they plan or are building for their boat enroute.

In the tropics especially, you need protection from the constant sun. In weather, being inside with the side curtains zipped down, means that the weather is "out there"!!

We have seen serious weather and not found it to be a negative; we have studiously avoided being in hurricane/cyclone areas in the wrong season.

We found that having a virtual "pilot house" has been a major plus.

Can't think of any negatives for rub rails.
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Old 24-08-2015, 10:36   #15
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Re: value of a hardtop bimini and rubrail

I do not have any data regarding the negative effects of a permanent bimini in a serious storm. I do know from huge experience that crew stay in better shape, are more rested, can see better, have fewer sun spots, etc. with a permanent large coverage bimini. It is no fun to be out in the elements with green water coming the full length of the boat and no shelter. But I am a wuss and don't care if the "lines" of my boat aren't nautical enough for some people. I say this last bit because for some people the esthetic of a boat is more important than its function and they don't even like dodgers.

My hat is off to those diehards who go out in all weathers in open cockpits with no dodgers. I have spent plenty of time hunkered under little dodgers while the rain is blowing hard or it is colder than hell without a bimini. And I have done it under the blazing sun too. I find that the crew on those boats don't keep as good a watch as they do trying to protect themselves from the elements.

As far as having to take it off, I would say never take it off. The little flimsy ones you see over some cockpits can be taken down with much effort but the first gale will take care of that for them. I might eat my words if I were to end up in a hurricane of cyclone somewhere and the bimini windage was just enough to pull me off of my moorage but I hope that never happens. It is a trade off. Personally the benefits of good helm protection outweigh the potential negative of that. Having said that, I find the motor sailors with inside helms to be awful as you really can't see well enough inside most all of them to provide a proper watch. And you double up your steering, instruments, and other gear. And it is hard to quickly get outside in a hurry if something fouls.

But permanent biminis are in the minority out and about so obviously they are not a requirement. A rub rail would be nice but to me not as helpful as a bimini (if that was the only difference).
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