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Old 03-14-2004
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Hard dodgers

Hi Folks,
My husband and I are buying a new boat (Caliber 47) and would like to put a 6 ft. high hard dodger on it. We''ve been told to not go over 53 inches high and that a soft dodger is better. We want good visibility, we don''t want to have to unzip a connector from dodger to bimini everytime we come into the mariner or go out, and we don''t want to keep ducking everytime we go down the companionway or keep watching guests hit their heads. We''ll be going with a fully enclosed canvas cockpit system. Most of our sailing will be on the east coast between Maine and Florida. We do plan to go to Hawaii, Bahamas, and Azores someday. Are we completely wrong to want comfort and good visibility knowing the doghouse look is not as sleek looking as a lower profile dodger? Does anyone have a high hard dodger and are sorry they went with it? Do you believe a high dodger is not a good thing to have when on a long passage like going from Chesapeake Bay to Azores?
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Old 03-14-2004
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Hard dodgers

Consider the added ''windage'' that an ultra high dodger will add and the strength requirements to keep it from ripping away. Also consider what will happen to this when a boarding wave hits it. At least with a soft dodger, you can roll it up! With a hard dodger you have to wonder if it will still be there after the storm. Smaller (less vulnerable) is better on the open ocean.
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Old 03-14-2004
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Hard dodgers

I knew a couple who had a Westsail 42(center cockpit) with a beautiful hard dodger/binini. They had a canvas enclosure/curtain that attached to from the side and wrapped all the way around the back. These were mostly vinyls, so visibility was excellent. The dodger windows are lexan and superior to any vinyl I''ve ever seen and could be opened for added ventilation. The heighth (althought I don''t recall exact dimensions) was high enough that I could be reasonably comfortable, and I am 6''2". On a heavy boat like that, what ever little windage it added wasn''t much of a factor.

They loved it (so did I). It added a whole other "room" to their boat. It made their voyage to Alaska pleasant, as opposed to bearable. So I say that your desire for comfort and good visibily is great and can even be had with nice look, if you build one that compliments your boat the way that one did on the Westsail.

I know of one other boat that has a very nice custom hard dodger. They love it also. Sailing in colder climates, it adds months to their sailing season.

I don''t think you''ll be finding yourself wishing you didn''t have it.
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Old 03-14-2004
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Hard dodgers

I''m on my second year with a "Windstopper" from Seaview canvas in Bellingham, WA and absolutely love it.
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Old 03-14-2004
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Hard dodgers

Karen, I think you''re actually asking about a somewhat hybrid dodger type, altho'' these days it''s often referred to as a ''hard dodger''. Friends recently purchased and set up a Caliber 40 with the kind of ''hard top'' dodger I think you''re considering, with plastic front ''ports'' (more like windows) and a stainless frame to anchor it all down.

Nereus has described the benefits well, and Rich is pointing out the downsides (which won''t apply to you initially, but might when you head E or W to begin offshore cruising. The ''hard top dodger'' I''ve seen on multiple new Calibers isn''t really that different - structurally or in the kind of protection it offers - than a conventional Sunbrella + Frame dodger that''s similarly designed...and the frame supporting it is also similar. The benefit of the ''hard top dodger'' IMO is more about longevity. Fabric dodgers that use Strataglas windows can also offer long-term clear viewing. Hard dodgers cost more and you must live with them when e.g. you''re rigging the boat for an approaching tropical storm...but they last longer than the fabric kind. Offshore, I think both types are vulnerable.

I think it''s partly just my taste in boat lines, but I find the C47 LRC to already have too much windage and ''height'', perhaps defeating a bit the kind of performance you''d like to enjoy from a boat of that size. Adding another ''floor'' to the boat''s lines by virtue of a tall ''hard top'' dodger srikes me as going in the wrong direction...but as I said, this may be more subjective on my part. You might want to take another good look at your new boat, ask yourself what you think of her current appearance, and how you feel about that kind of mod.

Good luck on the shakedown and heading out, full-time!

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