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View Poll Results: When do you take your bimini down?
Never 17 23.61%
Only when the boat is laid up 18 25.00%
Very seldom, e.g. extreme weather 22 30.56%
More often 15 20.83%
Voters: 72. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27-05-2020, 08:58   #16
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

When laid up, every time.
Maybe once in anticipation of a big blow while cruising.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:12   #17
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

Originally Posted by zstine View Post
When we were living on the boat, we would roll our Bimini up several times a week to watch the sunset and chill for sundowners. We have solar on an arch and the soft bimini takes 30 seconds to roll / unroll. Having it rolled up and stowed under the solar panels gives a nice view of the sky and almost feels like the difference between inside and outside.
If I were doing ours again, I would ensure that the canvas could be easily removed from underneath the solar panels. I do like the feeling of an "open" cockpit.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:21   #18
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

Originally Posted by Bill Seal View Post
Always!! before we leave the dock. We have a complete cockpit enclosure (not even side windows) for privacy when in the marina, but how can you set the mizzen if you can't even see it?

Same here.

On the previous boat, cruised in subtropical waters, the bimini never came down in anything short of a hurricane. Because of the intensity of the sun, we needed it every day, but it was a shame not to see the sky in the evenings. But at those latitudes the pleasant evening between broad daylight and dark night was short, so we didn't miss ALL that much.

This boat, cruised in much higher latitudes, has a full cockpit enclosure with side and back window, which can be rolled up or removed to make a quasi-bimini. I very rarely use it underway; basically only in pouring rain or temps below freezing. The spray hood (dodger) on this boat is big and has a pretty good overhang, so one can escape the sun or not too hard rain under there, and just move back into the main part of the cockpit when you want to see the sky.

I love being able to see the sky and I love the unobstructed view of the sails. I feel rather claustrophobic under a bimini.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:45   #19
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

We designed our hard dodger & insulated bimini top since we sail more in tropics, so sun protection is very important. Due to its construction, we never take it down and provides excellent shelter even in tropical storm force winds (60+ kts so far). Another consideration for the hard bimini was not having to replace the canvas every several years, which can get expensive after several replacements. Also having the bimini top insulated and white, it doesn't get as hot underneath it even in 100+F days as compared to canvas.

We designed the forward dodger windows to open for air flow at anchor and have a hatch in the bimini to see the main trim and the mast head from the helm. Have 2 x 135W hard panels mounted on the bimini and most people don't even notice them.
We like it so much, we would do exactly the same thing again if we ever get a different boat.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:45   #20
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

just about every night at sea.

Can't imagine spending my watch without seeing the stars above. The sky is beautiful at night and on a crossing one learns the stars and planets.

It is a major part of the pleasure of sailing.

You do not know how much you are missing if you leave it up all the time.

May as well go below and watch a movie..

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Old 27-05-2020, 09:51   #21
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

Iím hauling the boat out for this years hurricane season and because I donít plan to stay with the boat Iím removing not only the sails but solar panels,Bimini and dogger. The boats going to be stored in Virginia on the hard so thereís much less change of a serious hurricane then Florida but it just seems prudent to be proactive. Plus i would imagine the owners of vessels stored near mine would appreciate to know there is no chance my solar panels shall be flying through the air striking their boats. Yes, itís a hassle to take all that crap down and I donít really want to but..... it seems each time I get lazy and over confident that things seem to go sour.
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Old 27-05-2020, 10:15   #22
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

In addition to the points above, we drop the bimini when anticipating a long upwind passage. The reduced windage translates into noticably more speed upwind - somewhere between .5 and .8 knots. That makes a difference.

We've been in the Caribbean for the last two years and have pretty much done away with the dodger. Much better airflow in the cockpit, and the brief rain/spray really hasn't been a problem
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Old 27-05-2020, 11:21   #23
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

I built a very solid Bimini using SS pipe. Later, like you I mounted solar panels and later still, welded davits to the aft verticals. This frame is not going anywhere. I like the look, and in rough conditions the horizonal structure can be used to grab for personal security. I have a heavy displacement ketch, so the affect of all this on the boat is minimal.
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Old 27-05-2020, 11:56   #24
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

I like being outside, a cool breeze on a hot day feels nice! So dodger goes up and down with the temp. Also while sailing, motoring' especially docking, I love the unobstructed view. Same with the bimini on passages, down at night, up at noon. I like the view. In higher latitudes, it's never set. The air has a chill and the sun feels good. The pv panels stay up over the helms, thats unavoidable, but like a pretty woman, she looks sexier naked.
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Old 27-05-2020, 14:24   #25
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

Like most of the posters above, we leave ours up almost always. Besides bad storms, the other exception is late summer in our harbor (Northeast Harbor, ME).

The local cormorants seem to get bolder once the transient harbor traffic thins late August. They can do a job on a bimini that can be a chore to clean up. So,
if we plan to leave the boat for a few days, we fold up the dodger and bimini, and activate the Army surplus flame thrower that toasts the birds in a few seconds.

Just kidding.

Y'all have a great, if somewhat restricted, sailing season in New England and elsewhere.
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Old 27-05-2020, 18:43   #26
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

I agree with captmikem completely!! take the dodger and bimini down and enjoy the world, put them up only when needed.
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Old 27-05-2020, 19:18   #27
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

I have two 160 watt solar panels that act as my bimini. They are mounted to a bimini frame and I don't take them down. They have survived 60 kt winds at the slip without damage.
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Old 27-05-2020, 20:44   #28
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

For my bimini, I think that the OP question is not quite right.

My solar panels are attached to both my stern arch and the bimini. So the one bimini frame that the solar panels are attached to doesn't move. The frame pieces fore and aft of that can fold fore and aft. Since the panel mounts penetrate the canvas, it doesn't work to remove the canvas so easily. I unzip the bimini from the fore and aft frame pieces and wrap the canvas into a boot made just for the storage, all on that middle frame rail. All the canvas is stored in that boot, which uses 2 zippers. That middle frame rail is right at the backstay. So the backstay, and the 2 rigid solar panel attachment all penetrate the boot.

My bimini hides the underside of my solar panels, and provides shade where the solar panels don't go that far forward.
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Old 27-05-2020, 21:25   #29
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

Originally Posted by SY Kelpie View Post
I'm contemplating using rigid solar panels to make a bimini. One of the potential downsides would be that it would be quite impractical to take it down, so I would be stuck with the weight and windage.

But is this really a problem? Outside of winter storage, does anybody really take their bimini down anyway? And if so, is it a routine thing for cloudy days, strong winds, or an occasional thing like needing better access to the end of the boom, or just something that's useful in more extreme conditions?
Only for winter. We have had ours up in 60 knots with the wind coming in straight from the stern. Very stable, but ours is supported by a Targa arch - not just the usual stainless steel tube frame and stays
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Old 27-05-2020, 21:50   #30
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Re: Do you ever take your bimini down?

It seems a lot of people miss the point about why it is recommended to removed things like dodgers and biminis in a storm. It is not to save the canvas, it is to save the BOAT! In hurricane prep you strip off EVERYTHING that can be removed above deck to reduce the force of the wind on the boat. EVERYTHING. Even the things that are annoying to remove, they get removed.

When we prep for a major named storm, we remove ALL canvas, and fold down the frames. All sails are removed and stored below. External halyards are taken down. Booms are removed and either stored below or lashed on deck. Solar panels are removed. Nothing is left on deck. We do everything we possibly can in the time available to reduce her cross-sectional area presented to the wind. It's a day's hard work, but our boat is our home, and worth it.

Leaving any of these things up just give the wind more to push against. The more the wind pushes, the more risk to the boat. If you are tied up or anchored upwind from me, I'll happily help you do the same. If you refuse, I'll politely ask you to move.

It seems to me just prudent to do the same for winter storage. After all, who knows what storms will come by in the months the boat is on the hard?
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