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post #4 of Old 03-20-2004
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hard dodger vs. soft

As I may have mentioned in a related (or duplicate) thread, the term ''hard dodger'' as it''s used today seems to me a misnomer. It may sound like a quibble but I think the distinction is important. My attempt at defining dodger types would be:
1. ''Soft Dodger'' - stainless frame and fabric cover with various multiple ''ports'' (more like windows, really) made of soft vinyl up thru thick/hard Strataglas. Removeable, stowable. Cloth can have it''s bottom fastenings released in some designs to accommodate some solid water without damage.
2. ''Hard-Top Dodger'' - fiberglass or hard vinyl top supported by similar stainless frame and with similar (possibly removeable) ''windows''; removeable with more effort and more difficult to stow that large, rigid top; removal not really viable once the storm begins.
3. ''Hard Dodger'' - fixed-in-place structure that''s permanently tied into the cabin trunk and cockpit coamings. Not removeable.

IMO the biggest misperception re: the ''hard-top dodger'' is that its inherently strong and will handle offshore conditions. This is reinforced by some of these units being advertised with a vendor standing on top of the dodger top. Handling that vertical, static load looks impressive but a sideways, slewing hit by one or two tons of wet cement-like sea water will likely result in damage similar to that of a ''soft dodger'', it would seem to me.

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