REASON FOR THIS THREAD?
I am starting this thread because I happen to like to see well made Hard Dodgers on boats. I consider them a valuable addition to a cruising boat
. The focus of the thread is on HARD Dodgers because they are more uncommon and pose additional cost and consideration ("How will it look?").
is one of the most highly suggested additions to a cruising boat
. While some racing
and purist day sailors will dismiss or discourage them because they affect the appearance of a boat, I think their practicality is undeniable. Some of my favorite cruising boats have hard dodgers.
My Point of View or Experience?
I am no boat expert, and I have not built or bought a Hard Dodger
, but I do have experience that influences my Point of View.
I know from personal experience while on a long passage offshore
(2,500 miles nonstop) it is nice to have some shelter from the spray that comes from the bow or crosses the cockpit
. I spent many hours with hard driven cold spray and rain in my face to appreciate that a dodger would make my time at the helm
or on watch much less unpleasant. One night at the helm
, as the salt
spray was stinging my eyes and the rain felt like needles in the face (due to high winds) I wished the boat I was on had a dodger behind which I could shelter while on watch. It was at that moment I decided I really wanted one on my future boat. Harsh experiences or unpleasant hours doing something tend to make that kind of impression.
This will be an ONGOING Thread:
I intend to add many examples of hard dodgers to this thread as I come across them while researching boats. I have many examples in my files, and as I have time I will add them to this thread so it can become a good "Illustrated Guide" and I hope it will be a good contribution to CF and useful to members now and in the future.
I also encourage any CF Members to participate by adding photos and descriptions of your own Hard Dodgers too. In particular, mention the boat you have it on, whether it was a custom build, or if you bought a kit or fabricated it yourself. Include recommended changes or tips. Include your estimated total cost. Feel free to add your opinions on your own dodger and its success or usefulness and value to you. Please post a PHOTO
of your HARD dodger, if you have one so members can see their style and appearance on your model of boat.
Hard or Soft Dodger?
I think a HARD dodger has some advantages over a SOFT dodger. A few I think important are:
1. A HARD dodger can have tempered or laminated GLASS window panels
that are less likely to be scratched and may provide a clear view forward for many years. This means the viewing forward can be clearer, compared to many soft dodgers that use soft vinyl. In addition, I have noticed that most HARD dodgers have more clear viewing area, while many SOFT dodger have large sections of solid canvas
, which can block the helmsmans view forward. I consider maximum visibility (clear sighting) to be important and prefer that. Some Soft dodgers use all vinyl or all clear panels
, but they seem rare.
2. The HARD dodger structure can include secure handholds (for leaving the cockpit
in transition to the side decks), ports
for viewing the sails
above the dodger, and a more protective structure for the crew to shelter behind when facing green water
over the bow or sides. Some dodgers also include solar panels
(though they can be added above some soft dodgers too).
What about a SOFT Dodger?
Many boats have a soft dodger made of canvas
and some clear vinyl. Those are ubiquitous and also useful. The advantage they offer is that the dodger can usually be folded down when not needed. It is also a more "temporary" addition to the boat. Some sailors don't want ANY dodger affecting the appearance of their boats lines.
In short, if I could not afford to add a HARD dodger, I would add a SOFT dodger.
The shortcoming of the SOFT dodger is that it is soft and made of materials that do not last long. The canvas is subject to UV damage and may need to be replaced after a few years. The stainless steel
frames may be damaged over time and may not survive a breaking wave. The soft clear vinyl window panels may become scratched or hazed due to abuse, use, or sun damage or age. Some older SOFT dodgers have clear panels that are difficult to see through due to hazing or discoloration (due to age and UV damage).
I will post a few examples of SOFT dodgers too. Some are unusual and noteworthy.
There can also be a HYBRID dodger that has a HARD top and soft sides. I will post some examples of those too.
Finally, I hope you find this thread interesting and helpful, and I already know it will take hours of work
to get it where I expect it to be. I am confident that over the next few months you will see it populated with many examples and opinions. I hope you will subscribe to it because it will take some time to upload all of the photos and examples I will be adding. If you subscribe, you will see those new examples as they are added.