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Old 15-01-2021, 14:14   #1
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Location: Sail out of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
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Folding Dodger Forward

My Bayfield 29c has a dodger. My previous boat did not and although I got used to the visibility and the breeze, and the occasional splash I appreciate the protection a dodger provides. My question is: are some dodgers designed to fold forward and some not? In the enclosed pic you can see a piece that seems to prevent folding. If I made it removable (there is one on each side) I think I can just push the dodger forward on fairweather days and pop it up when needed. Do you see any issue with doing this?
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Old 15-01-2021, 20:46   #2
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Re: Folding Dodger Forward

Do the clear"windows" unzip? There are 2 different materials commonly used and the stiffer on doesn't like to be folded. In the summer we unzip our windows and store below. The canvas doesn't obstruct too much so we don't fold our dodger. I don't know if this helps your query, I hope so.
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Old 15-01-2021, 21:45   #3
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Re: Folding Dodger Forward

The dodger on our Amel is absolutely designed to fold down, and it can be released and dropped to a neat package over the windscreen in about 30 seconds. It is a great feature, that more boats should have.

If it is freezing cold, or we are running downwind in rain, we can add side panels and a drop curtain across the back of the cockpit, but we strip those off as soon as the weather allows.

I drop the dodger:
  • When anchoring to have better communication with the foredeck crew.
  • When docking to have better visibility of the ends of the boat.
  • When sailing on a clear night to enjoy the stars.
  • Any other time when the sun isn't too hot, nor the rain too wet.
Why people sail in a fixed plastic bubble surrounding their cockpit is a mystery to me. Enjoying the outdoors is one of the reasons I go sailing.
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Old 17-01-2021, 16:34   #4
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Re: Folding Dodger Forward

The strut that you have that keeps the dodger taut also keeps it from folding, as you note. Removing the bolt that holds the lower end to the cabin trunk would allow the whole thing to fold, as you suggest. The biggest problem with doing that is the possibility of losing the bolts. When you take them out, make sure you screw them back in to the fittings on the cabin trunk tightly, so they don't get lost. That's what we do.
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Old 17-01-2021, 17:29   #5
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Re: Folding Dodger Forward

Quote:
Originally Posted by and4ew View Post
My Bayfield 29c has a dodger. My previous boat did not and although I got used to the visibility and the breeze, and the occasional splash I appreciate the protection a dodger provides. My question is: are some dodgers designed to fold forward and some not? In the enclosed pic you can see a piece that seems to prevent folding. If I made it removable (there is one on each side) I think I can just push the dodger forward on fairweather days and pop it up when needed. Do you see any issue with doing this?
Most people don't fold their dodgers even if it is designed to be folded. Fresh air and visibility are not high priority for them. The next step is a hard dodger.

However I don't usually trust a sailor who never needs fresh air in his(her) face.

For ten years we had no dodger, and that was sailing 90 times a year in the Pacific North West. We had good foulies though.

Then we made a dodger and made sure it was foldable. We fold it quite a lot.

It take 30 seconds to fold it. The windows are foldable material, you just have to know where to crease them so that they fold cleanly. No un-zipping required (zippers let water in when they are doused, it doesn't seem like much but after 24 hours of it you are wet inside). So sealing it against the water coming back from the bow is essential, and ours is well sealed.

But in Mexico, during racing season, the dodger comes off entirely and is in storage. The air is warm and there isn't much wave action.

So, foldable dodger and even better, removable dodger, is best of all.
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Old 18-01-2021, 19:10   #6
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Re: Folding Dodger Forward

The centre window is removable, i.e. the one above the companionway. The rest aren't. I too prefer the wind and the visibility. I guess I'll be taking out that strut (and keeping the bolt safe) and folding carefully. Thanks for all the advice.
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