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Old 24-02-2019, 21:55   #1
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Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Just bought a Crealock 37 with plans to go bluewater cruising full time, double-handing with my girlfriend. Currently in Anacortes, WA but planning to sail south 'till the butter melts and head to the South Pacific later this year.

The former owners of my boat had a custom full cockpit enclosure made (at great expense, I imagine). I'm sure its great to be in the cockpit and be able to be out of the weather, but it makes it difficult to access the stern lines/anchor. It's also tricker getting in and out of the cockpit.

So here's the question--which panels (if any) are worth keeping on board? Would we be crazy for getting rid of everything but the bimini and dodger? We hate to toss perfectly good stuff, but if we're not gonna use it and space is limited...

We are a couple of cruising noobs so hopefully somebody with a few miles under there keels can offer some wisdom!
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Old 24-02-2019, 21:59   #2
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

That photo is a little small. Here's a video clip
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Old 24-02-2019, 22:02   #3
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Since the panels store best flat, you can store them under a bunk without taking up significant storage space. We have a full enclosure that very rarely gets used. We do, on occassion, use the first panels on each side when a passage is expected to be rough and cold.
The other place a full enclosure comes in handy is when you end up wintering over somewhere that is rainy.
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Old 24-02-2019, 22:12   #4
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Personally I'd look real hard for a good place to stow them before I got rid of them. I bet you can find one.
Give a heads up when you get down to Channel Islands! The butter will just be starting to melt by then.
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Old 24-02-2019, 22:24   #5
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Good advice, Don. I was worried about laying them under the berth cushions because they might get scratched. But I guess it beats throwing them away! haha
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Old 24-02-2019, 22:50   #6
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Had the same problem with the boat I bought a few years ago. The bimini frame was mounted on the cockpit sides and I would often hit my head on them when mooring or using the winches and could not sit on the cockpit sides, which I like to do when under sail.

In addition five solar panels were mounted on the bimini which was only fixed down with four 1" x 10 screws and a couple of braces with a single 3/16" grub screws holding the end fittings on. There were also a number of wires and cables strung about which also interfered with mooring lines.

I have now gotten rid of the entire mess, added to and remounted the solar panels in an alloy frame which is supported on the sheer at it's corners, installed a "ceiling" which is sealed to the frame around it's edges to collect rain water and will be installing roll down curtains which store on the panel frame when rolled up. All the wires, cables and water drain tubes are pass down through the forward supports.

A lot of that "storable" stuff is OK for marina boats which only get sailed on the occasional weekend but totally impractical for the cruiser who might want to reconfigure things two or three times a day.It drives you nuts zipping it on and off and folding and storing it and pretty soon it's only used to take up valuable storage space. If you're going cruising and will be working your boat a lot, work towards ditching the lot and replacing it with something more practical.
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Old 25-02-2019, 01:09   #7
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

We had a full enclosure made with our new Bimini, and have Sunbrella covers that cover the windows too. We shower in the cockpit and the Wife likes the privacy.
We just roll ours up when done and leave them installed even in warm weather.
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Old 25-02-2019, 06:14   #8
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

If youíre on a long passage, even in warm weather, and you run into a few rainy days youíre going to be *really* happy you have that enclosure. Being able to sit for three hours on watch in shorts reading a book vs. sitting there in the rain. Done both and much prefer the first.

Yes it does make getting in and out of the cockpit more difficult but after a time muscle memory for the required contortion will set in and you wonít think about it.

Itís also nice for when youíre at anchor and the wind is against current and blowing up the boatís butt and raining. Keep them all and find a place to store them. Youíll be glad you did even it they stay stowed 95% of the time.
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Old 25-02-2019, 06:35   #9
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Don't think I would ditch the enclosure panels until you find out how wet of a boat it is under way. Always more comfortable being drier with the side panels up than continually doused by waves.

Biggest problem with the plastic panels is visibility. Can't tell by the pics but having clean/good clarity IMO is a must.

When you get into warmer areas, change out the side panels to Phifertex. This will provide extra shade, can be rolled up and adds privacy in an anchorage if needed (as long as you don't back light them). Best of all they can be used underway (can easily see thru) and cuts down glare.


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Old 25-02-2019, 06:51   #10
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Keep all of it, it will cost more money to replace than you want to spend when you realize you should have kept it. It isnít all cocktails and beeches, and Mother Nature always gets the last word. 😄
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Old 25-02-2019, 09:40   #11
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

I agree with those who suggest you keep the full enclosure and find a good storage location for the panels. Hayden Island Canvas, here in Portland, made our full enclosure last year. Greg, made a flat storage bag with soft leaves that separate each panel and allow the total package to lie flat. When full the total height is approximately 2 1/2" and it fits nicely beneath aft double berth. Perfect.


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Old 25-02-2019, 09:48   #12
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Whether a full enclosure makes sense/gets used heavily depends on the type of sailing you do and the location. We had a custom "semi-full" enclosure made for our boat, but soon realized that the advantage of the protection from the weather did not make up for the awkwardness associated with it (hard to see the sails when the enclosure was on, and overall we like to sail "with the wind in our faces", sort to speak, even if it is cold). I since removed it from the boat and put it in storage.

I think if we were in a colder climate, the trade-off would be different and likely we would have kept it onboard. So, +1 on removing it, but not throwing it away.
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Old 25-02-2019, 09:52   #13
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

I have a full enclosure on my Catalina and could not live without. All Sunbrella attached to bimini that came with boat. In the heat of the summer I may take the side panels and back panels off and roll them up but I never go without dodger and bimini. I could not imagine early season and late season on Lake Ontario without and crews love as well. We think of the enclosed cockpit as our Florida room when weather not great. In fact, even in winter, on a sunny day it heats up enough to take outer clothes off if we happen to be sitting on the boat on the hard. Also did Gulf of St Lawrence in mid summer and it was absolutely necessary to enjoy the passage. Could not imagine the people we passed with open cockpits.
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Old 25-02-2019, 10:09   #14
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

Keep it. Our full enclosure is awesome when it's cold out. All the side panels stay on and roll up when we want it open.
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Old 25-02-2019, 10:28   #15
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Re: Would you keep the full cockpit enclosure?

We have a full enclosure that came with the boat also. I didn't see the point when we first moved aboard but have been converted since.

It adds more living space in the rain and you'll likely get rain wherever you go.

I'm a freckled redhead and my dermatologist (also a sailor) said it's the only thing keeping me from some serious skin damage/skin cancer.

I've also debated what we'll do when we leave the PNW so I'm interested in all the answers. Good luck to you!
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