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Old 12-03-2020, 18:50   #1
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Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

I have a 2010 Leopard 46 with clears around 3 sides of the helm. The stbd side is open to the weather but I will fix that soon.

I don't have any enclosure for the cockpit. We are in San Diego now but will head to Mexico in November and then to the South Pacific. I am looking for thoughts on what type of material to use for cockpit enclosure. I see options for 3 requirements:
1. Keep it cool on hot sunny days. For this I am thinking opaque or heavy screen. The bottom of the panels would be useable straight down or with bungees out to the life-lines to allow airflow.
2. Keep the weather out. For this I am thinking I'd like to have clears. Keeps out wind and rain but I can still see around me.
3. Keep bugs out but with max air flow. Here I'd want bug screens.

I don't see myself getting all 3. For people who have wintered in the Sea of Cortez and cruised the S Pacific, what would your priorities be? Would you have fabric panels with zip-outs that can be opaque, clear or bug-screen?
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Old 13-03-2020, 03:15   #2
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

In Australia the insect life is disappearing at an alarming rate so we wouldn't bother with a bug-screen.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/a...hy-it-matters/
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Old 13-03-2020, 04:41   #3
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Can't remember which YT channel it was, but they had silver mesh see through panels to reflect the heat, but also able to see out. Seemed a good idea, not that we will need it at 50N. More likely to need double insulated thick quilted variety

See this thread, post 15.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ce-231197.html
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Old 13-03-2020, 05:27   #4
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Carefull you don’t create the “ million dollar Cover “

Zippers, and removable panels are expensive , heavy , fragile and noisy when it’s windy and your cover is moving

The most common repairs are zipper

I prefer two covers Lightweight Sun shades and robust foul weather covers

As for insects

Turn lights off and use those mosquito coils that you light

Put the coil in a metal cookie tin

Put the burning coil ... over there

Works just fine

Remember to bring your mosquito coil ashore at dinner time

Put it under the table

The mosquitos will take fright , move to the next table and suck the blood out of the tourists next door
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Old 13-03-2020, 07:42   #5
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Before you spend all kinds of money on this (and it can get REALLY expensive) try using your cockpit as an outdoor room. Maybe a roll down sunshade. Bugs are not often enough a problem at anchor to justify screens, if they are just move indoors. Raining? Move indoors. You have a large cat. You do not need to use the cockpit as living area.

If you have a full enclosure it will be such a hassle that you will either never put it up, or you will leave it up all the time. You will enjoy your boat more if you don’t have it... Seriously, we go sailing to be in nature, Right?
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Old 13-03-2020, 09:10   #6
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

First, if you are at anchor you should not have a big bug problem either in Mexico or SoPac. Bugs tend to be a issue in marinas and crowded anchorages or too close to land.

Second, I would advise against a full enclosure. They are great in the PNW and cooler latitudes; but stifling in hotter latitudes. You're not going to "keep weather out" with a full enclosure...you will create a stifling greenhouse.

The number one thing you want given your stated travel plans is shade.

The material you want for shade panels is Phifertex. They make essentially 2 grades (70% shade, and 92% shading). This material allows air flow as well as sun protection in the cockpit at anchor.

Over the cockpit in my boat I have a light gray colored sunbrella bimini. On the sides of the bimini down to the top lifeline, and the back of the radar arch I used 70% light gray Phifertex. I used 90% white Phifertex over my hard dodger and pilot house windows.

Underway, the Phifertex comes down, gets rolled up (or folded) and is easily stowed.

(BTW...learn to sew and you save yourself a bundle.)
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Old 13-03-2020, 10:35   #7
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

On your situation I recommend the 70 percent shade factor Phifertex. We find this material provides great sun protection while also allowing airflow. The Phifertex also sheds a light rain and greatly discourages bugs.

We use the clears mostly for closing the boat up for storage but also in heavy rain or winter sailing. Adding the Phifertex provided a big improvement in comfort in the warm season.
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Old 13-03-2020, 11:22   #8
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

I want to support the view that you don't need total enclosure to enjoy the cockpit at anchor. I'm not in the topics but bugs have never seemed to be much of a problem even in our slip in a marina. We have a full dodger with removable clear side panels. When at anchor there is a sunbrella panel that connects to our bimini so we have full overhead coverage. The item I especially like is a Sunbrella side panel that is a cream color and has a line of alligator clips attached to the top. This can run the full length of the cockpit. This is our sun shade. We move it where ever it needs to be. It simply clips to the bimini at the top and has a couple loops on the bottom corners to bunge cord to what works on deck. Our experience is that shade is what we need most and this makes it easy without drastically reducing air flow.
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Old 13-03-2020, 12:22   #9
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

I was in a hurry (and cheap) and needed some bug protection for our cockpit. Bought a mosquito net "room" 9'x12' that covers our entire cockpit for roughly $30 on ebay.

It works awesome.

We only have it out at anchor at night when no wind or light offshore breeze. It has weights (little plastic gorillas if I recall) on the bottom to hold it down. It is basically a 9'x12' tent. In the morning, I squeeze it back into the small bag for the next use. Doesn't take up any room, I don't have to deal with it while sailing. It allows a fresh breeze through. Most important, it keeps the bugs out. I like to sleep in the cockpit but hate the buzzing around my head. This little cheap item works better than expected. All of our hatches have screens and most important, we can open the boat up with light breeze without the threat of bugs.
It takes about 2-3 minutes to put over hardtop and drape down over cockpit.
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Old 13-03-2020, 12:31   #10
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Phifertex- Good Airflow, huge reduction in UV exposure, and best of all, it's transparent enough that you still get to enjoy the view of your beautiful anchorage. -Matt
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Old 13-03-2020, 12:36   #11
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by funjohnson View Post
Phifertex- Good Airflow, huge reduction in UV exposure, and best of all, it's transparent enough that you get to still enjoy the view of your beautiful anchorage. -Matt
I have Phifertex plus on some windows. Lowers the window surface temp by over 20c but you cannot see out of it.

The regular non-plus you mention is probably the one to get
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Old 13-03-2020, 19:59   #12
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

I have used a lot of phifertex, great stuff, I like the 70%, can see through great blocks a lot of sun and folds up lighter and easier than the 90%. dark colors hold up better stay cleaner and you can see through them much better, when I was told this I didn't believe it so I bought a yard of each and took them home and taped them up on my picture window, big difference. with all that said, I now use black fiberglass screening that sailrite and home depot sells, cheaper, lighter and takes up less space when folded up, works just as well. I don't try to keep bugs out, very rarely a problem, just need to keep out sun, also screening keeps out a lot of breeze which you usually want to let in. get a sewing machine, this one job will more than pay for it.
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Old 14-03-2020, 21:24   #13
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Thanks for all the input. I will be prioritizing shade and convenience, using something like a 70% mesh. I will make the side panels so that they can be bungeed out to the life lines to allow airflow. I may even rig something so that they can be bungeed several feet above the life lines so I can walk up the sides of the boat.

jharding - thanks for the input about darker colors being easier to see through. I had not considered that and was going to use a lighter color because it would be cooler. I still may, but will look at both options.
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Old 15-03-2020, 09:29   #14
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

So I guess that like many things sailing it’s all about depends on where you are and the local conditions.
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Old 15-03-2020, 10:42   #15
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Re: Cockpit enclosure material - shade, weather protection, or bugs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Looking4Neptune View Post
jharding - thanks for the input about darker colors being easier to see through. I had not considered that and was going to use a lighter color because it would be cooler. I still may, but will look at both options.
Darker colors may be easier to see through (although I can 'see thru' the gray and white Phifertex 70% just fine), they are better for hiding some stains, and they do tend to last a bit longer than lighter colored fabrics (but not by a factor of years).

However, they are also "hotter." Dark colors absorb (then radiate) heat; light colors reflect it. Not only is this basic physics, it is also psychological.
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