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Old 04-12-2022, 09:53   #1
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Solar arch - thinking out of the box

Hey all!

So we require a solar arch / targa or however you want to call it.

Naturally the first approach was to find workshops that can fabricate one - alas we only got two types of replies:
- quotes so high, they are from another planet
- statements like "I have enough work, no thanks." Talking of workers shortage...

So we are starting to think a little outside the box. I am aware of the following options:
- Wood/fiberglass (I don't want this)
- Ready-to-glue fibergalss / carbon parts (not sure I trust this)
- Ready-to-glue aluminium fittings
- Ready-to-glue stainless fittings

Now the aluminium (or aluminum) and stainless versions are my first choice - call it conservative.
However, aluminium is difficult to come by in all the shapes I require. Stainless is easier, but when I limit to 1.4404 / V4A / AISI316 stainless i can't get the parts I required "polished". Only brushed, and allegedly that makes it catch rust?

So here my questions:

1. Anyone with an aluminium arch that is built from pre-made parts, no welding?
2. Anyone with a stainless arch that is built from pre-made parts, no welding?
3. Anyone with brushed 1.4404 / V4A / AISI316 on deck who can report on getting rust?

Much appreciated!
Best Jan
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Old 04-12-2022, 10:12   #2
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

I've seen "stainless-no-welding", made up from lifeline/stanchion parts (elbows, T's,...) - it looked godawfully ugly. You don't want to spoil the looks of the Hanseat!
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Old 04-12-2022, 10:20   #3
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

I don't know how viable it would be to ship from the states to Germany, but have you looked into Atlantic Towers? Or is there a similar company in Europe?
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Old 04-12-2022, 10:20   #4
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

There are marine solar arch manufacturers out there. I found several, this is one of them:

https://www.atlantictowers.com/products_sail_arch.php

no personal interest.

edit: same posting time, see now du bist in Deutschland.
You have Nautinox in Italy closer by.
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Old 04-12-2022, 10:41   #5
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

Pending on the size and fiberglass skills, you could start with a bunch of old windsurfing masts...
We had ours custom build by a local welder in France.
The guy specialised in pipework and was a pleasure to work with.
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Old 04-12-2022, 10:55   #6
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

I’m in the same state of mind as synonym.

I’m going to install solar too, but wondering how to go about it.

I’m almost leaning towards flexible panels to get away from fabricating a solar arch.

Hoping for some ideas!
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Old 04-12-2022, 11:13   #7
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

Is this just a solar arch or do you plan to also hang a dinghy? If the former, it's much easier. You don't need much strength and the solar panels are aluminium framed so corrosion is no problem. Hanging a 400lb dinghy is not really an amateur project.

Make it from aluminium 6061 tubing. Cheap and easy to cut. Take your cut pieces and a drawing to a metal fabricator far from the ocean. Even better, cut thin plywood with the wood the same width as the tubing that he can use as a form for bending. He'll bend the tubing and weld. Paint it yourself - being meticulous about prep and primer. Will last as long as the paint on your aluminium mast. The welder will be able to put bases on - although best to build a mockup on the boat to get the base angles right.

Here's an example of a welder near me. "ABC Welding". The "ABC" strikes me as a good sign that the pricing will be reasonable

https://abcweldingservice.com
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Old 04-12-2022, 11:20   #8
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

Here's another option. Forget about the solar arch and attach flexible panels instead. The Hanseat Kommodore doesn't have a lot of surface space, but you can attach at least two large panels above the bimini with velcro, and you can also put some on the cabintops (yes, the good ones are strong enough to walk on).
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Old 04-12-2022, 14:41   #9
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Is this just a solar arch or do you plan to also hang a dinghy? If the former, it's much easier. You don't need much strength and the solar panels are aluminium framed so corrosion is no problem. Hanging a 400lb dinghy is not really an amateur project.

Make it from aluminium 6061 tubing. Cheap and easy to cut. Take your cut pieces and a drawing to a metal fabricator far from the ocean. Even better, cut thin plywood with the wood the same width as the tubing that he can use as a form for bending. He'll bend the tubing and weld. Paint it yourself - being meticulous about prep and primer. Will last as long as the paint on your aluminium mast. The welder will be able to put bases on - although best to build a mockup on the boat to get the base angles right.

Here's an example of a welder near me. "ABC Welding". The "ABC" strikes me as a good sign that the pricing will be reasonable

https://abcweldingservice.com


Interesting, so what radius you recommend? 1”? 1.5”? Or?
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Old 04-12-2022, 15:53   #10
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

I made my stern arch from 1.25" OD sch 40 aluminum, I believe it was 6063 alloy (better corrosion resistance than 6061). I bought 2 20ft lengths, found a shop that would let me use their benders then rolled the arch and bent the corners, then cut the ends to match the deck camber. I then paid an aluminum fabricator/welder to weld feet, 1" tubing stern rails/ stanchions/boarding gate, a mounts on either side for a wind generator pole and a radar pole and cross-bars to mount solar panels to. I later made an outboard lift "jib crane" for the 10hp outboard out of ABS sewer lashed to the the wind generator pole. I feel the arch was perfect - 1" main tubing would have been flimsy, 1.5" would have been too clunky.

Total cost was $1400 in 2004.. I'm sure it'd be at least 3x that now.

Check with shops that make architectural railings. They usually work with mandrel bent elbows that they weld to tubing.

You can polish brushed or mill finish SS with sandpaper, scotchbrite pads and polishing compounds (and a fair bit of labor). 304ss isn't as corrosion resistant as 316 but will still probably last 15-20 years without issues with a bit of periodic cleanup/polishing and is likely much more available...
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Old 05-12-2022, 00:04   #11
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

any "Schlosserei" can weld you up a nice arch, there gotta be some near you.
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Old 05-12-2022, 00:36   #12
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

Hi all!
So firstly thanks for the many answers in such a short time!

I should have mentioned: it will have to function as davit as well. The tender is 90 kg including motor and fuel.

@double U: Thanks for the feedback on the pre-fab parts!

Yes, any metal worshop that has welded stainless can do it. I know. But you have no imagination how the situation is. I have been quoted 12k € (!!!) by workshops known to build arches. Workshops that don't specialize in it have quoted me 5.5k.
I got a quote from a stainless tubing supplier, the material is about 800€, ready to weld.

The issue really is, that none of the metal workshops reply. And trust me - I am my best charming self. I inquired with more than a dozen. Either they said right away they are booked or they took weeks to decide the same thing. This is starting to become a threat to our departure planning - hence my thinking about alternatives.

If we can't get this thing done, we'll have to make do with solar on the sea rail and perhaps the deck - I doubt that we can fit the wattage required, per my calculations and the dinghy would still be homeless...

I'll keep digging...
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Old 05-12-2022, 01:27   #13
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

in 2018 we had an arch done in Arzon, Bretagne. Not perfect, but pretty good.
Decades ago we found, that similar fabrications (sprayhood) were practically impossible in Cherbourg but got done quickly in Southampton (fwiw).
I guess you personally went to the fabricators, right? So many inquiries were (& still are here in Austria) left unanswered if by mail ("Wegen Reichtums geschlossen").
& of course you know:
"for pleasure boat" =price x 3!
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Old 05-12-2022, 01:28   #14
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

have you tried "inland", away from the coast?
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Old 05-12-2022, 01:40   #15
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Re: Solar arch - thinking out of the box

OT: while sometimes a 90kg dingi would have been very useful, most of the time it would have been a right royal pita
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