Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Rock Creek, Maryland
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Re: Hard dodger strength and weight limit ?
Having a hard dodger, I completely understand you wanting one! It's one of the most comfortable features of the boat. You are correct to try to figure out what you want it to do prior to installation as it is a feature that will grow on you!
Firstly, depending upon your boat's setup, you may find yourself wanting to stand on the dodger more than you think. Our boom is long and we need to stand on the dodger to properly furl the sail. Having that ability makes the process much easier. People will want to stand on it as well so when you have friends aboard, or other non usual guests, you will find that they will attempt to climb on top automatically, figuring they could.
To make it capable, you really need to have stronger supports than the ss bows found on the typical canvas dodger. The supports on ours are easily 1-1/2" diameter for the aft support and 2" for the forward supports. There is also diagonal braces up forward to support side to side movement. The top itself is made from fiberglass encased plywood, sealed top and bottom. The result is a 200# adult can stand on it with no deflection or movement. What is, perhaps, more critical is how the tubes are secured on the cabin top. The typical hardware supporting canvas bows are nowhere near the strength they need to be to support the fore and aft or side to side pressures of standing or even kneeling on the top. I'm certain that the jaws will bend and break with those forces. Our dodger has a solid foot that is attached through the cabin top with backing plates. The attached photo should give you an idea of our set up.
I was not the owner of the boat when this was installed so I can't provide cost estimates but suffice it to say, we have owned it for at least 12 years without any issues. It's an investment well worth the cost!
Sailing out of Rock Creek, Chesapeake Bay
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