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Canvas Work

Carpe Diem  BeforeCarpe Diem  After
The time to dress up the boat with her canvas was way over due.  There is a certain comfort and coziness in having the proper protection from the elemnts.  Be it the scorching sun of the tropics and/or the very hot and humid,  Anywhere Sound USA.   The most important part of making a dodger or bimini is to look around for a certain design and "look".  Then come the compromises: with the Mariner's companionway being to the side, headroom is affected.  A rounded bows dodger looks great,  a low clearance blends nicely with the cabin top shape but.... if it means crawling in and out, from/ and to belowdecks then looks be damned for a minute there.  I designed ours with enough clearance so the getting in and out doesn't demand anything more than just bowing to the "goddess"  a little.

With the mainsail hoisted all the way the topping lift was secured and the clearance defined.  What takes place then, is a long time of figuring out where the two bows of the dodger will be placed.  The forward bow is best if it's located almost right above of the sliding hatch's aft end.  This way you get maximum clearance when you step on the first step in the cabin going below.  Copper tubing was fine in setting a mock-frame to get an idea of how the frames would look.  Two 12' ss pipes were used for the bows.  The attachment to the cabinsides was a bit complex and finaly I'd dedided to mount them high enough so that they will be aligned with the horizontal frame,  that spans the distance of the top part of the cabinsides belowdecks.  I've also used the most robust fittings I could find.With the fittings in place the tubing was bend using a 3/4" tube bender (instructions were included) from Home Depot.  The trick in bending is,  after you make the first bend, you have to have someone hold the tube in line so that the bends are perpendicular.  Time to install the tubing on the fittings and make a pattern out of plastic material to get an image of the finished project.A few tips:   make sure the forward side of the dodger it's not too vertical (it looks BAD).  Which creates another problem....the blocks for the mainsail sheeting, won't allow for that.  Solution?  I moved the cabintop foreward block arrangement fore, about 6".  You can do that later (after the dodger is finished) so that you can tell exactly what has to be done.  Using that pattern the sunbrella is cut allowing for hem and the sewing proccess begins.   Sewing is at times frustrating and others a breeze.  Some skills in handling the machine are in order.  Notice I said "some".  Having used a machine in the past it was fairly simple.   One book I would recommend as reference is Don Casey's " This Old Boat".  He can carry anyone through the whole project.The bimini was alot faster and easier to make.  So were the weather cloths.Oh, when you're ready to buy the grommet set (hole puch etc.) for any purpose,  go to your nearest hardware store.  West Marine sells some sets but they suck.
BeforeBefore                          After