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Old 29-09-2011, 12:35   #46
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
One thought about plexiglass is that it scratches very easily, you have to clean it with a soft cloth and special cleansers. Birds are going to **** on it. That said I've found it tough to get the stains out of sunbrella but at least I'm not trying to look through it.


I agree. Actually, I prefer Lexan but, I was in Home Depot at the time and they had the size I needed so I bought it. It will probably be replaced by a Lexan piece at some point since I think it is more durable though it is more $$$.
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Old 29-09-2011, 12:44   #47
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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Bash:
I put in a piece of plexiglass in between the two 12 volt solar panels I mounted on the dodger frame so I can keep an eye on the sail as I hoist it from the cockpit and whenever I need to take a look at it. Really helps a lot. You can catch a some shots of it here in this video:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: HAPPY AT THE HELM!
Though I still had some of the protective film on at the time but, you can get the idea. The solar bimini just survived the winds of Hurricane Irene this summer and also a brush with Hurricane Earl last year so I consider it tested. I doubt Sunbrella fabric would have done as well.
I've done the same thing with a piece of lexan around 4 inches wide that runs the distance between the two panels. From the helm I can see the masthead fly. What I can't always see is the mainsail luff for trimming.

I've only had my solar bimini tested to about 50 knots, so it's glad to hear that your's stood up to a more rigorous testing program. (Better you than me!)
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Old 29-09-2011, 14:10   #48
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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While there are notable exceptions to this rule, I've certainly noticed a similar pattern.

I once crewed a week-long passage on a center-cockpit Tayana 48 with a full enclosure. I found it quite difficult to sail the boat properly when I couldn't feel the wind. The enclosure compromised night vision significantly, and made us less aware of the sea life around us.

We were doing couple watches, four hours on/four hours off. Wonderblond and I would spend the first twenty minutes of our watch taking the sides off the enclosure, and the owners would spend the first half hour of their watch putting them back on. This went on around the clock for five days.

I'll take a good set of foulies any day. I'm fine with a spray dodger, and a bimini if it's hot, but beyond that it seems to me that sailing is best enjoyed as an outdoor sport.
+1

I have a full cockpit enclosure. The only good thing I can say about it is that it provides good protection for the cockpit and helm when I am away from the boat. I never sit in the cockpit with it up -- the cockpit becomes uninviting cave.

And it is horrible underway. I wouldn't even dream of trying to sail with it up. I have made two short passages (in two years) under motor with it up, once Yarmouth-Southampton, and once Torquay-Dartmouth, in pouring down rain both times. It sucked - you can't see anything. So now it is relegated to duty keeping the cockpit protected when I'm off the boat.

I'm with Bash -- sailing is an outdoor sport. Good foulies and sea boots are all you need.
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Old 29-09-2011, 15:01   #49
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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+1

I have a full cockpit enclosure. The only good thing I can say about it is that it provides good protection for the cockpit and helm when I am away from the boat. I never sit in the cockpit with it up -- the cockpit becomes uninviting cave.

And it is horrible underway. I wouldn't even dream of trying to sail with it up. I have made two short passages (in two years) under motor with it up, once Yarmouth-Southampton, and once Torquay-Dartmouth, in pouring down rain both times. It sucked - you can't see anything. So now it is relegated to duty keeping the cockpit protected when I'm off the boat.
I do not understand why you do not just take the enclosure/bimini down during passages if it is such a inconvenience to have it up? It seems like a very easy thing to do assuming it was put together correctly to begin with.
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Old 29-09-2011, 15:58   #50
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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What do you mean by big wind? Gales are routine here. Every winter we get several storms where the winds hit 70. My experince leans toward the sun doing the damage at first. I have been sewing up seams and will continue to do so to make sure everything is ready for winter but, like tenting in a boat, if you make sure things aren't flapping the wind doesn't seem to do much damage. The sun is going to get to it though and at some point it will need replacing.

It's failed stitching followed by big (or even not so big) wind if the bimini is cut well. Check your seams and your zippers. It's very cheap to have them restitched.
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Old 29-09-2011, 17:40   #51
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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It's failed stitching followed by big (or even not so big) wind if the bimini is cut well. Check your seams and your zippers. It's very cheap to have them restitched.
I restitch them myself as I go. I've been through 70 knots* on at least half a dozen occasions in the last two years without a failure.

*I'm not sure it was 70 knots right at my boat though it was around the area. One storm that lasted a couple of days was tearing boats loose from the dock where I was, anchored boats were on the rocks, boats were sunk and winds were clocked at 100 knots not far away.
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Old 29-09-2011, 18:54   #52
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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I restitch them myself as I go. I've been through 70 knots* on at least half a dozen occasions in the last two years without a failure.

*I'm not sure it was 70 knots right at my boat though it was around the area. One storm that lasted a couple of days was tearing boats loose from the dock where I was, anchored boats were on the rocks, boats were sunk and winds were clocked at 100 knots not far away.

Well, for those of us who don't have the sewing machines that can do the job ... it doesn't cost that much. The seams are under a lot of strain on canvas work (I know you know that). Once the thread starts to deteriorate, seams/zippers will start separating pretty quickly.
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Old 29-09-2011, 19:07   #53
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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Well, for those of us who don't have the sewing machines that can do the job ... it doesn't cost that much. The seams are under a lot of strain on canvas work (I know you know that). Once the thread starts to deteriorate, seams/zippers will start separating pretty quickly.
I use my sailmakers palm, sail needles and heavy thread. Works a treat but takes patience I admit.
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Old 30-09-2011, 15:32   #54
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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I do not understand why you do not just take the enclosure/bimini down during passages if it is such a inconvenience to have it up? It seems like a very easy thing to do assuming it was put together correctly to begin with.
That's exactly what I do!
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Old 30-09-2011, 16:37   #55
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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That's exactly what I do!

I saw an interesting enclosure called a "Habitent." I believe it was advertised in SAIL. Right now it's only marketed (and made) in England, but they are looking at entering the US market. You can find it on line. It looks to be very moderately priced for what it is.

Here's the link:

Habitent - Adjustable Cockpit Enclosures
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Old 30-07-2013, 12:03   #56
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

Here is a slightly different point of view. I have just recently become aware of full cockpit enclosures on sailboats, while taking a 10 day trip on Lake Huron. The flies were enough to make me a believer! We have a 23 foot Seaward that is equipped nicely, similar to a Dana 24, and would like to keep it, but more room would be nice. Therefore we are considering adding a full cockpit enclosure to make the boat seem bigger. The idea of sleeping in the cockpit on cool nights without worrying about being rained on and bugs sounds good.
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Old 30-07-2013, 12:34   #57
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

Maybe people are suited best with what they've become accoustomed.





We function best protected from the sun. If you plan to spend decades aboard in the lower latitudes, it's best be avoiding skin cancer.
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Old 30-07-2013, 13:19   #58
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

I thought id pitch in my 2 cents as a liveaboard and canvas worker. I have sewn makrolon in for my windscreen for the first time this year. I got a blem sheet from a supplier for $85 I will never use strataglass or anything else again. The clarity is so far and above vinyl you have to see for yourself. It beads water like rainx and is visible in heavy downpours.

Spring for the lifetime warranty thread. Restitched enclosures leak badly and the 200 a lb ends up a bargain in the long run

I have a design for a dodger that has 3 bows, one that barely clears the deck. This way the seal with all the lines etc. running through it is below the bow. With the ends properly fastened snaps are not needed across the deck, a very important thing to prevent soggy coring.

Ive sailed my boat in many winds exceeding gale force and never lost a panel Buy good material and spend the money and the canvas is capable of offshore use. I use topgun on my enclosure, it has its own set of cleaning and color retention issues but is about the strongest most resilent stuff out there.
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Old 30-07-2013, 13:54   #59
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

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We function best protected from the sun. If you plan to spend decades aboard in the lower latitudes, it's best be avoiding skin cancer.
Being blond-haired (what I have left), fair-skinned and of northern European decent, I could not sail without protection from the sun. Our bimini and dodger stay up all the time. I recently also invested in Textilene side panels that provide shade and help keep the cockpit cooler as well when the sun is lower in the sky.
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Old 31-07-2013, 04:22   #60
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Re: Cockpit Enclosure

Another thing i like about my full enclosure is i often will not wear any clothes the whole duration of offshore trips, weather permitting. This avoids much sweaty moldy clothes on the boat. Sitting in hot long sleeves witth long pants and gloves would be the alternative. Those who state they feel closed in and never sail with even a bimini up baffle me. Try sitting in the cockpit in the heat of summer down here when the time to burn is under 15 minutes. I think of the fisherman I know with skin cancer and lesions all over his forearms below short sleeve shirt level. Hes like the poster child for protection from the sun
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