My last boat didn't have a dodger or bimini. My current boat does. The dodger really saved my bacon when I had to bring the home. A trip from Newport RI to Mt. Sinai, New York at the end of November is not when you will have real warm weather. By sitting forward in the cockpit, under the dodger, we were able to stay warm. In the summer, with the bimini open, the cockpit is comfortable in the August heat.
If you don't like your dodger (or bimini) it's because the unit is not designed or built right. My dodger has zippers around the center panel. In warm weather I open it up and fold it over the top. Now I have an unobstructed view, and cool air can flow past. When it gets cool or wet I can lower the panel to provide protection. And, when it's cold or nasty I have side panels that zip in and provide even more protection. I have plenty of room to swing winches and pull lines.
The bimini easily folds up or folds open. It takes about 5 minutes to open it and snap the straps down. It takes about the same to close it up and let the sun shine in. When open, the bimini does block the view of the main, so it's harder to trim the sail. Mine is also a little too high and blocks the boom from being trimmed in real tight. I am willing to live with those bad things to have shade on a real hot day.
I have attached two pics, both from when I first saw the boat (fall, 2006). In one you can see how the dodger is constructed, with the removable panels, etc. in the other you see the bimini folded up and covered.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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