I'm a hard dodger fan, big time. But that said, regardless of how you build your enclosure, it'd be wise to include a clear overhead panel or three. Either Acrylic
, or Isenglass, depending on the dodger material. That way, you don't have to get out from underneath of the shelter of the dodger, in order to check your mainsail
trim. Ditto on locating see through panels so that you can check headsail trim.
You can also inlet your companionway
slider (lid) for a piece of Acrylic
, or Polycarbonate, to serve the same purpose. And for all of my boats, I always made a replacement insert for the top 2+ companionway
boards out of plywood
, & bolted a piece of Acrylic over a cutout in it, to let more light in on those drab, dull days. It helps a LOT, especially in the Winter time.
It's also nice to have a dodger which extends about 3' aft of the companionway, so that you can sit underneath of it in all but the worst weather
, & still reach all of the important sail controls. As well as keep watch, while staying dry & semi-warm.
Although, to make this work perfectly, you need an autopilor with a remote
which you can operate from there, or while sitting in the companionway. So that you can steer around the worst waves, & use the best following ones to your advantage.
For easier companionway access with a dodger, if it's really low. Sometimes you can design them with a sliding, companionway type hatch
lid, into the top of a hard dodger.
Or as something like a fixed wind screen
, on say, a Malo, with a Cabriolet, canvas
And for soft dodgers, you can incorporate a dual zippered panel, over the companionway.. Although on the latter, such requires a bit of creative tube design, in the dodger's bow structure.
I made a traveler for my Dad's 29, & it was further aft than yours. Just in front of the helm
(his boat had a wheel).
Doing so is a simple mod.', & while it does break up cockpit flow a tiny bit. It lets you run a dodger which is deeper fore & aft, as denoted above.
That, & try attaching the mainsheet to the traveler car with a snap link (locking carabiner). So that in port, you can just clip the sheet over to the toerail somewhere, & have the cockpit 100% free of interfering lines.
For the showers thing, you could always make some zip in panels out of bug netting, or sun screen
mesh, which fit inside of the Isenglas panels. Thus, you'd have some privacy, visually. To avoid a visit from Five-0 ;-)
Also, when choosing colors of canvas
, it's tempting in the PNW to consider using something dark, in order to "help to warm things up". But my experience there has been that the Sun's rarely strong enough to accomplish this, even when using black.
Where as, with a lighter color, it brightens the enclosure up a lot, which definitely helps, mood wise, given the weakish Sun, up North. Especially from now until April'ish.
Maybe go with a beige, or light tan? And if you decide you want something darker, simply make a stout awning out of a used tanbark sail. They're cheaper than Sunbrella!
And if this is going to be a semi-permanent structure, build as many solid hand holds onto the underside & outside as possible. Like, say, a full length for & aft rail P & S, on the underside, inside. As well as grab bars on the back of the dodger; underneath, & on it's outside. As well as some fore & aft hand rails on it's outside as well.
If you do an online search for dodger pics (hard & soft), you'll gain a lot of good ideas. And I ran across some good pics of a hard dodger, by CKD Marine
, in South Africa
, made out of a few laminated layers of 3mm bending plywood
IMO, hard dodgers are the way to go. Just be sure to make a "window" or three out of opening hatches. Preferably ones of the sort where you can fully remove the hatch's opening panel, simply by pulling a couple of fast/quick pins.
PS: The Sailmaker's Apprentice
is worth WAY more than it's purchase price
. You'll recoup that $ in your first DIY repair or project