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Old 27-01-2019, 18:21   #1
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Struggling with dodger design decisions

I have been gradually planning a dodger for 4 years. I mocked up what I thought was a good design. Boom was off at the time for another task, but I made sure it cleared with several inches to spare. Made a hardtop for it, fg/balsa core. Wanted the rigidity for good handholds and ability to stand on it as well. Put it on recently and discovered it didn't fit. I had not accounted for sail hanging below boom. It would be ok while underway, but not when in port where chafe would be a big problem. Doh!

Back to drawing board. Rethinking whole rigid vs soft vs hybrid design. Planning on solar panels on top of dodger. I was thinking they would be easier to mount on a rigid top, but it seems they can go easily on a canvas dodger as well. As they would be off the centerline on the downslope, they would not raise the overall height. Part of the problem is that the sail hangs well below the boom when furled. Full batten. Boom is a deeper than stock section but I don't think that affects it. It has occurred to me to do a StackPak to get the sail above the boom, but that does not appeal to me. Don't want the dodger to be too low or squatty so it doesn't look right.
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Old 27-01-2019, 18:23   #2
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

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Old 27-01-2019, 18:25   #3
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

With new boom and sail/cover
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Old 27-01-2019, 18:29   #4
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

I have even considered making a completely rigid enclosure, with a hatch in the forward section to allow some ventilation. Advantage would be structural strength and the better visibility of Lexan windows. Considerably greater effort.
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Old 27-01-2019, 18:33   #5
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

Sail ties? Lazy Jacks? I have lazy jacks to keep the bundt of the sail under control until I secure it with sail ties which keep it secure on the boom, as opposed to hanging under it.
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Old 27-01-2019, 18:36   #6
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

And just to complicate matters, the swing of my port side cabintop winch handle, used for reefing lines and spinnaker halyard, will overhang the cabin top edge and interfere with the dodger. Shorter winch handle only somewhat better. Winch cannot be moved over easily due to centerboard winch placement.
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Old 27-01-2019, 18:50   #7
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
Sail ties? Lazy Jacks? I have lazy jacks to keep the bundt of the sail under control until I secure it with sail ties which keep it secure on the boom, as opposed to hanging under it.
I agree with Jim. You could also use a topping lift or boom gallows to keep the boom out of the way in port. Dodger design looks good.
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Old 27-01-2019, 19:00   #8
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

Do you have one of those old boom furlers where the sails wraps around the boom?
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Old 27-01-2019, 20:59   #9
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

no roller reefing on boom
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Old 27-01-2019, 21:11   #10
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

Some good dodger analysis:


Dodgers & Canvas 101 thanks to Maine Sail

sticker shock for dodger/bimini

Dodger Height 101 with Pictures and Links

Dodger Height with Flix


Have you considered just lowering it?; and adding handrails.
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Old 27-01-2019, 21:13   #11
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

I was just wondering why you have sail hanging below the boom. Maybe have a look at how you flake it, get some sail ties, look at lazy jacks and a sail pack. If you solve your sail issue you could build a boom gallows into your hard top so it won't move but your topping lift should be able to lift it up high enough anyway.
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Old 27-01-2019, 21:42   #12
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

My sail flaking is based on sail slide distances and getting battens to lie on boom. And it’s never perfect so there’s usually a bit more on one side than the other on any cold.
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Old 27-01-2019, 21:47   #13
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

Handrails are planned. The dodger frame I have has both bows attached to a deck mounted fitting. Change in height would require either mounting base further aft and extending to a longer fore/aft dimension, cutting and welding the frame or discarding it for a new one.
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Old 27-01-2019, 22:22   #14
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

Solar panels on a bimini work great, but I don't think they work well on a dodger.

Boom, sail, and standing rigging shadows are just too much. 5% shadow coverage can knock a panel's amps down over 80%. If you want solar, put it on a pole or frame at the stern where there's little shade.

On the dodger, you'll also always be worrying that something will hit the expensive and fragile panels. And standing at the helm -- you'll be looking right over the reflective panels. The glare will be no fun.

A couple of other things to consider.

After 40 years of Sunbrella dodgers, I switched to Stramoid and like it a lot more. Dirt, milder and bird poop doesn't get down into the weave so it is much easier to keep clean. Also stretches less so the fit is better.

And for the front windows, do consider acrylic. It's so much better than Strataglass and maintenance is much less of a chore. My last Strataglass dodger was starting to get hazy after just 18 months despite following all the care instructions. Do you really need "ventilation" when the entire back of the dodger is wide open? Mine has none. How often do you zip down the windows on your current dodger? The whole thing comes off the frame in 10 minutes to store below for hurricane prep.

After a lot of research, I went with EZ2CY for the front dodger window. It's preferred in the big sportsfishing boats flying bridge enclosures in Florida where you have serious UV. It is plenty flexible to fit the curve of my dodger. Three years after installation - with six months each year in Bahamas - it's still truly as clear as glass.
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Old 28-01-2019, 11:27   #15
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Re: Struggling with dodger design decisions

I understand how complicated it can be to get a good functional design for a dodger. We faced a similar situation with her Nonsuch 33. My suggestion is you find the best canvas maker in your area who will work with you, even to the extent of using a frame model to help you create the right balance of height, width and functionality for your particular boat. We were fortunate to find Hayden Island Canvas here in Portland and Greg did a spectacular job on this full enclosure. Good luck. Bob, S\V Shamrock
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