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Old 13-06-2024, 13:27   #1
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Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

I'm repairing stitching on the bimini of our Tartan 34, which we are setting up for some coastal, and eventually broader cruising.

I have been contemplating a solar arch for a few months and I have pegged in in my head as a "someday" project, but I am also realizing that I can do it now.


Being a 1977 tartan 34, we have the short boom on the main, so I have a full 8 feet of space to cover before I get to the stern, and about 8 feet of beam towards the fore of that space. If I overhang at all, that's even more potential space, but at that point it's a bit too much of a sail.


In my head I was going to put in a hard top rigid dodger frame with snap in fabric panels first- because the existing dodger is about 5 inches too low to deal with coming up the companionway.

But the solar arch, even with a dinghy lift built in, is a much easier project, I think.

I'm feeling it out right now and I think it's probably going to end up close to 7x7 feet, possibly tapered in width to match the boat, possibly just 6 feet carlins with a 3/4 inch overhang.

I'm considering aluminum for the frame, bolted and not welded. painted, with plywood cut carlins with moderate curve (I'll match the house, maybe) and a glassed ply roof. I might do the carlins out of oak if I can find a decent price out here in virginia.

I can brace and do corners and make it all very strong without adding a bunch of weight, that's not the problem at all.

My problem is trying to make it look at least as shippy as the tartan herself. She's no wooden boat, but the 1960s S&S design is clear and I don't want to just chunk out a big cube of aluminum and anodize it purple and stick it on Seven Bells.

I am planning to square the frame up with a few degrees of taper upwards, and shape pads for mounting to match the angles, then through-bolt to backing plates. so, 6 aluminum rectangle uprights with a beam across each set of three (fore and aft) and just.. paint.

I feel like leaving the carlins as stained wood, even play, will help keep the look, along with some curve to the roof.


any thoughts? (beyond the "don't do it, no matter what")
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Old 13-06-2024, 15:14   #2
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

Quote:
Originally Posted by koyote View Post
which we are setting up for some coastal, and eventually broader cruising.
Tartans can be quite attractive boats. As you move more towards broader cruising utility can start to outweigh visual aesthetics to a degree. I would much rather have a largish arch on the back of the boat that gave me plenty of solar power rather than have a pretty boat but have to run the generator every day to keep the batteries charged.

For your question the dingy lift may be key. If you plan to lift and carry your dingy on the stern, with either an arch or davits, then a well executed arch is the way to go. If you are not going to carry your dingy on the stern then perhaps something simpler and more aesthetic, like flexible panels on the bimini top, could be very unobtrusive. That is what we did when we had our Tartan, though it already had a bimini.
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Old 13-06-2024, 17:42   #3
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

I have a 38' Tartan and have been quite happy with the two solar panels on my bimini. They are held in place by Gemini fork mounts. I'm having the bimini canvas replaced this year and they'll add some leather reinforcement under the mounts. Minimal windage, blend in well (from aboard or from the dock you don't see them at all),
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Old 14-06-2024, 03:56   #4
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

I don't think- and it may be the specifics of the bimini and dodger we have- but I don't think that I'm better served by trying to tie flexible panels to the dodger we have. it's not awful in design, but it's a bit small and the multiple uprights really crowd an already cramped stern.

I like Jammer's solution- on a bigger boat

I think Doug has the other part of it- having any sort of lift or function besides "tie 200 watts of solar on" makes the bimini top a lot less useful.

I do think I'm going to have to look at trying to just make it "look" right to my eye.

Still torn on the materials, I'll have to look at some data and cost sheets.
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Old 15-06-2024, 11:01   #5
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

If you go all aluminum tube or pipe you can bend curves that match your boat.

I will be making a combo, dinghy davits/solar arch/bimini/rain catcher/outboard mount/ stern rail, for my aluminum boat. My ideal is one structure to do it all and less clutter. My plan incorporates two arches that will be the base and then telescoping members for and aft that will be retractable dinghy davits and shade support on the forward end. My end goal is no clutter and less windage.

I hope it will look good but I value function first.
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Old 15-06-2024, 14:47   #6
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

I think my problem with aluminum pipe is attaching other things to it.

It seems like, outside of the Pacific Northwest and the workboat world, everyone wants everything to be fabric and temporary- and I do understand windage is a consideration, but my experience is that the bimini stays up 95% of the time (either sun, or rain. comes down when a storm is coming on a sailing day, sometimes.) - and as much fun as sunbrella is to work with---- why?

I find the idea of two lightweight arches with modular Lego stuff intuitively attractive-- removable davits and adjustable shade and side panels and grill rails and stuff

but how often am I going to change configurations? am I removing the stern pulpit? rerouting safety lines?

I have a sense, in the drawings, that I'm going to be pulling off a bunch of stuff and replacing it with a single construction. lifelines, the opening of the lifelines, grill rail, pulpit railing, and it just makes sense to my construction side to have it all one piece if I'm going to cantilever even a small dinghy, rather than have two arches unconnected.

I suspect whatever I make is not going to look like the current trend in fat al tubes.
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Old 15-06-2024, 15:47   #7
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

It might be worth considering Atlantic Tower in a Box, if for nothing more than design ideas and pricing. They claim to fit a T34, and have some pictures of their arch on a T37.
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Old 04-07-2024, 07:40   #8
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

Atlantic is a bit spendy for our budget, though it's always nice to not DIY, but... in this case I think I want the DIY.

here's an older hard bimini/arch on another vessel int he marina that I find I like. I know the windage is a thing, but I really like how this was made, but I'm unsure about the stainless versus using alu square tubing
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Old 04-07-2024, 08:11   #9
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

To aid in design and make it look right....
I downloaded my boat's drawings from that datasail place , scaled it (several times!) And made lotsa copies.
Kept every sketch or difference on seperate papers for comparison.

Used bits'n'bobs from derelict rigs, fashioned/cut as needed to size/shape and sewed up the covers; dodger with zip out fore wdw and bimini w/zipper for backstay. Velcro for wraparound "tubes" to fasten to frames.
Try as I might, I could not figger a way to davit the 8' dink across the5'+ stern and have it work/look good...oh well
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Old 04-07-2024, 09:22   #10
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

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Used bits'n'bobs from derelict rigs, fashioned/cut as needed to size/shape and sewed up the covers;

.....


Try as I might, I could not figger a way to davit the 8' dink across the5'+ stern and have it work/look good...oh well
I'm really mentally stuck on making some nice plywood carlins and doing a hard top that way, and using the "2x4" aluminum square tubing, but it probably would be easier to frame with used/discarded stainless. reuse is better than recycling and all that.

I'm hoping to not have to deal with carrying the dink most of the time, i'd rather tow it, and it's gonna look ugly no matter what. Tartan 34 isn't a very beamy boat to start with and the stern is pretty narrow.
64 inches on center will get me good bases, three per side, just forward of the sternpit rail and avoiding the jib winches and cleats.


you mentioned the dodger, but for me that's got to be a separate thought process. the canvas one that is on now is just short enough to be worse than nothing when using the cabin, though it's fine for daysailing.
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Old 05-07-2024, 05:14   #11
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

If you want maximum energy while at anchor maybe this is the way to go? https://flin-solar.com/flinsail



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Old 05-07-2024, 05:22   #12
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

The electric drive is powered by an integrated system of Valence U24 lithium phosphate batteries and a 600W solar panel array. The solar panels are laminated right into the mylar sailcloth in the mainsail, which charges while sailing, and bimini for charging at anchor or dockside. In the J-88 configuration that we tested, the mainsail had 9 solar panels on each side, and the bimini has a zip-in 6-panel array. The thin-film solar panels are as flexible as the sail itself, shape smoothly when hoisted and flake easily over the boom. The panels can be placed in the lower third of the main for racing configuration, or in the mid-third for a cruising main to allow for reefing while keeping the panels in the sun. Thin wires run down the luff along the mast into battery bank, similar to wiring from wind instrumentation.

https://jboats.com/2016-blog/sailors...ustainable-j88


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Old 05-07-2024, 05:51   #13
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

it's a GREAT ad and makes absolutely ZERO use of solar inputs when anchored or at dock or any other time the sail is doused.

but, on the off chance that's a serious comment and not just an ad-

While this is, indeed, a solar arch, I have one of those super complicated brains that allows for multiple purposes to various things. So I'm also thinking about shade, foul weather protection, possibly dinghy davits but certainly a pot/purser davit, beyaing pins and other nifty stuff.

even the people whose sole suggestion is to Velcro panels to the existing bimini are allowing for the shade component to be part of the engineering function.
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Old 05-07-2024, 06:27   #14
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

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Originally Posted by koyote View Post
it's a GREAT ad and makes absolutely ZERO use of solar inputs when anchored or at dock or any other time the sail is doused.

but, on the off chance that's a serious comment and not just an ad-

While this is, indeed, a solar arch, I have one of those super complicated brains that allows for multiple purposes to various things. So I'm also thinking about shade, foul weather protection, possibly dinghy davits but certainly a pot/purser davit, beyaing pins and other nifty stuff.

even the people whose sole suggestion is to Velcro panels to the existing bimini are allowing for the shade component to be part of the engineering function.

I have a ketch and I currently have two small 80W panels (in series 24V) directly under the mizzen boom. They probably get 3-4 hours unshaded sunlight/day but that is enough to keep the batteries charged. I've thought about mounting panels on top of the push-pit as well as on both sides of the main cabin roof.



But I wonder if portable solar panels are acceptable also?
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Old 05-07-2024, 06:33   #15
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Re: Shippy solar arch for tartan 34

portable solar, quick mounts on the bow pulpit, mounting surfaces on the deck aft of the mast - all of that is TOTALLY cool. Depending on my location and power needs at a given time I'll probably use any and all of those.

in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out a shippy looking thing in the back over the cockpit and I should not call it a solar arch even if I put panels on it.

but right now it looks like about 68 inches x 86-96 inches will do the job nicely and that's a lot of available square footage even with the backstay cutout.


not sure I'm going to have to solve the problem of 2 80 watt panels shaded by mast and rigging - if I was to do so, I's probably suggest a hard rail midships on either side and some good wing mounts for the panels. might help you a lot with available energy
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