Installing Dodgers - SailNet Community
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Installing Dodgers

I am thinking of installing a dodger—what is involved?

Mark Matthews responds:
There are generally two kinds of dodgers—hard and soft. Either one involves some applications that will alter the aesthetics and the function of your deck, so it's good to think them through thoroughly.

Soft dodgers are usually supported by a framework of pipes, which are custom-fabricated for each boat. (SailNet's Custom Canvas Shop has a lot of experience in making these products and installing them).

I've thought about installing a hard dodger on our vessel for a while now, but I haven't gotten around to it yet—maybe this spring. I have seen a number of homemade hard dodgers and I am actually compiling some information about them.

As with any enterprise, the first thing to do will be to make a mock-up of what you're shooting for. Some hard dodgers actually have hard tops and canvas sides. Others are hard all the way around.  Once you have decided what you want to make, then it will be a decision of how to make it.  One of the best I've seen was executed in a foam core, and glassed over, faired, sanded, and painted.  Another one that springs to mind was sculpted out of masonite to find the shape, and then sheathed, glassed, faired, sanded, and painted. Those sailors that have hard dodgers swear by them. They not only provide protection from the elements, but they offer a great place to mount solar panels.

I'd recommend taking a look at one of the articles we've published in which Beth Leonard describes her hard dodger, Hard Dodger Designs, (albeit made from aluminum). I'd further recommend subscribing to our Liveaboard e-mail discussion list, which is full of insight from our viewers. You can sign up for it by logging on to the homepage ( On the left-hand rail under Members' Center, click on E-mail Discussion Lists. That will take you to the index page where you can click on L for Liveaboard. Here you'll be able to query one of our most active lists.

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