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post #3 of Old 02-04-2003
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hard dodger vs soft

If my experience is any indication, you will quickly find the critical issue isn''t which dodger type you prefer but whether you actually have a reliable vendor offering both types in your area. Wavestopper franchises now exist thru-out the country (they are on the web) but some have been withdrawn as the local vendor found there were issues both with their supplier (folks who have the molds and hold onto the production rights) and with their own limited experience with such a product. I tried to get one large local vendor interested in this product (JSI and later Sailnet) but they decided against it (perhaps because they got my business, anyway), yet later were soliciting this kind fo work, then finally withdrew altogether from my area so it became moot.

I found some creative vendors eager to build a hard dodger for me if a) I was in there area (I wasn''t), of if b) their molds fit my boat (they didn''t) but it seems even today that this has tinges of ''experimental'' unless you own a current production model with which they are familiar.

Hard dodgers have much to offer, especially where a Sunbrella product is stretched across the top of an inert laminate material that will last as long as the boat. The whole dodger (and bimini) can be the same color of the same cloth, and redressing the dodger top isn''t very expensive, while replacing the side panels is mandated more often by the windows needing replacement. I''m on my 2nd dodger aboard WHOOSH now and still couldn''t find a local ''fit'' between product, vendor and boat, so perhaps scouting out a viable vendor in your area is the best starting point. Explore the fit and feature issues and I think you''ll quickly determine if you have a reasonable choice.

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