What's up with Dodgers Anyway? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 06-06-2009 Thread Starter
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What's up with Dodgers Anyway?

I confess. I don't get it. I don't see why nearly every cruising boat has a dodger. What exactly do they do? My first boat had one, which was the most amazing abomination of car windows, plywood, driftwood and 2x4s which an engineer friend affectionately called "the shed". A master woodworker came to admire my boat and after asking politely if I had built the dodger myself, (to which I said no) he spat out that it was an "abortion!".

Anyway, I digress. I sailed a few voyages with "the shed" and then ripped it off. I've sailed on boats with dodgers and without. I can't really see the point. If it's windy and rainy, you're going to get wet unless you have the right clothes. It's all about the foul weather gear. Even going to windward, you usually sand far enough behind the dodger that you still get full wind and rain on you. They provide a horribly distorted window to try and see though.

So, what am I missing. I mean, "everybody's doing it" so it must be good right?

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post #2 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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I dunno. I haven't really sailed at all in bad conditions. It seems like a lot of windage to me, though.
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post #3 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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We would not be without one. Come sail for a week with us up the coast of Maine - the Grand Manan channel can get pretty cold and wet - also a nice place to duck behind when the waves come over the bow.


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post #4 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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Two things:

- Companionway hatch stays open while it's raining or it's wet on deck. Much nicer down below keeping air flowing, underway or at anchor

- Even underway in the rain, and even if you have to hand-steer instead of using an autopilot, the crew who isn't steering gets a much-needed break from the wind and rain tucked under the dodger.

For these two reasons, the dodger is worth its weight in gold. I wouldn't have a boat without one. I've been in conditions many times where the dodger paid for itself over and over simply by keeping me dry or warm or both.

Of course, this is just me, and that's why everyone can set up their boat however works best for them.
-J

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post #5 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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Where we are in VA, the dodger adds several months (to year round sailing) for me and the Mrs. Dry and warmer is always better than wet and cold.

PLus as Josh says, you can leave the companionway open, which we do when aboard, without too much risk of washing her down.

But it is your boat, and how you use it and set it up, depends on what works for you.

dave
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post #6 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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With my limited experience I didn't think much of a dodger....until I spent 4 days motoring right into 20-30 knots and 8-10 footers crossing the Gulf of Alaska. Several hours spent huddling behind the dodger.

On my boat I put it down as much as the Wx allows.

Dale

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post #7 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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I thought this was gonna be a thread about the bums from Chavez Ravine.
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post #8 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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I'm with Rik and Joz... dodgers are very good...and in New England, they definitely extend your sailing season.

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post #9 of 24 Old 06-06-2009
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I've always considered them very usefull, mine in fact has been in use every day since I bought the boat five years ago and it's extremely handy.

It's laying accross the rafters in the garage and I keep the basket balls, volley balls, and kick balls in it.

Ken.
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post #10 of 24 Old 06-06-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I'm with Rik and Joz... dodgers are very good...and in New England, they definitely extend your sailing season.
So how exactly does it do that? Keeping the companionway open I can see. But keeping the helmsman, winchman, or anyone dry I can't. Most dodgers I see don't extend much past the coachroof so unless you're standing right up against it, leaning forward, AND going to windward, it won't help much. I can see that if you're on a passage and sailing under autopilot/windvane you could sit in the companionway and look out the dodger, but under coastal sailing I haven't been able to use them to stay all that dry. User error perhaps?

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