Shade Tree Awnings, a poor review - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-22-2007
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Shade Tree Awnings, a poor review

I just purchased a set of Shade Tree Awnings and I have to say, I'm disappointed in them. We are circumnavigators, not weekend sailors, so we have elevated requirements that the Shade Trees just don't support.

First of all, they're big, heavy & complex. Next, they come nowhere close to our 10 min up, 10 min down requirement. I can't tell you how many times we've had to get up in the middle of the night to take down the (old) awnings in a surprise squall. The Shade Tree is so big & complex, they take at least 20 minutes to get them down & stowed on a nice day. ...Not looking forward to dousing the new awnings.

The material & workmanship is good, but the design doesn't cut it. Long story short, they're not ment for long-distance cruisers.
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Old 10-22-2007
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So what would you use instead, if I may ask? Something custom-built?
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Old 10-22-2007
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Custom

Yep, I'm afraid custom is the best solution I have seen. Imagine you and your wife, up at 2:30 am in a squall that is blowing so hard that the rain is stinging & ask yourself how large & complex of an awning you are willing to deal with.
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Old 10-23-2007
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I have heard that Sunbrella has come out with a new "mesh" type fabric that is very light and lets air through. It is very compact and folds up. We are going to have one made to shadow the boat from the sun (already have bimini-dodger).

If your's is a full covering, I cannot imagine how tough it is to get up and down plus the amount of space it would take up. THese supposedly fold up very small.

Just a thought...

- CD
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Old 10-23-2007
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We had a simple but effective awning that we used in the Med for years. It was rectangular in shape, was supported in the middle by the boom, and clipped outboard to the upper lifelines via heavy bungy line. It stretched from the mast all the way aft to the backstay, with a zipper to get around the topping lift. It didn't have any frame to support it, just the boom. So it had to be doused in a building breeze or squall, but it was so simple to set-up and strike that either could be done quickly.

We now have an "insert" awning that zips to our dodger and spans the area between the dodger and bimini. It spreads over the top of the bimini and has "wings" that extend down almost to the toe-rail to provide shade from late afternoon sun. Or the wings can be rolled up for better viewing and air circulation. This arangement is fairly taught and can withstand a pretty good blow. But it doesn't shade the boat forward of the companionway -- one of the advantages of the simpler awning described above.
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Old 10-23-2007
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On that ShadeTree Awning you may want to add earrings (grommets) to the edge of it every couple of feet and lash it down so it will stay in any squalls.
On the larger vessels where we put up an awning this is what we have to do in order to ensure that it will stay put in any weather while in port.
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Old 10-23-2007
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Boasun,

That's essentially what I did with the sun awning I made for our aft deck. The main support is the mizzen boom with a telescopic cross spar and collapsable pvc rigid pipe, sewn into a perimeter hem. Four double braid tie-downs are secured to the hem with brass grommets and each tiedown's length adjusted by a SS cam block.

It held down without incident through a 40 knot gale one night this past summer and only takes 10 minutes to erect.






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Old 10-23-2007
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Do I see a BBQ on the stern rail ? CD will be so proud.
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That's our ONLY exterior grill Freesail - and it's kept under cover (g).
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Old 10-23-2007
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I think this is on-topic and not a highjack: Has anyoneused that new fabric by Sunbrella... it is a mesh/netting like a screen. I thought it would be great to cover the boat, especially sinc it folds up so small. THat is always our problem down south is the heat on the cabin top which really makes the V uncomfortable. Thoughts?

- CD
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