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  #1  
Old 12-24-2010
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bimini on a small boat? other options?

I've held the bigger-boat-bug at bay by trying to make my little boat "sail big" It'd be darn near perfect if I wasn't sitting there roasting in the sun... Are there bimini options for very small boats with relatively low booms?

Options that would still allow me to climb up onto the cabin top to go forward if necessary. And not interfere with the mainsheet.

The boat in question is a Venture 17. I'm fairly handy and very cheap. If the solution can be home-made for much less than store-bought I'd go that route.

Another kind of dumb question... how do you see the mainsail when you're sitting under a bimini?


Maybe I should just buy a big old hat, some SPF 50 and be done with it...

Wouldn't mind baking in the sun on my boat right now. It's barely above freezing for the first time in a week here in south central PA. Thinking about biminis (and bikinis) is keeping me warm!
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Old 12-24-2010
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heres ia idea for you
Make your Own Bimini DVD (Includes PDF Instructions on Disc)
about how to make your own bimini
havew found some u tube vids in past as well do a google for bimini vids.
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Old 12-24-2010
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I think it really depends on how tall you are? If you're relatively short, then you should have the clearance to setup a bimini. If you're taller and normally have to duck to have the boom not hit you in the head, then a bimini isn't an option.

As for seeing the mainsail when under the bimini... you can either lean back to see the mainsail shape and telltales or you can have "windows" in the bimini, which kind of defeat the purpose of having a bimini.

You could also buy one at Overtons.
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Old 12-24-2010
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Thank you for the replies and links. I'm about 6' tall but the boom usually clears me by a few inches on this boat. I have a topping lift and sometimes neglect to release it when sailing and give myself extra headroom. (and probably lousy sail shape)

Just wondering how (if?) it works on a small scale and if it'd be more of a pain than a benefit.
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Old 12-25-2010
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When I'm on a boat without a bimini, I wear a wide brimmed hat, to keep the sun off the face, a long-sleeved Under Armour shirt, to protect the arms, and light weight long pants, to protect the legs. It's comfortable, and I don't need to slather my whole body with sunblock. Despite its long sleeves, the Under Armour shirt breathes and is cool. I usually wear it when racing in the heat of mid-summer, and it keeps me comfortable, even when physically active.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 12-25-2010 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 12-27-2010
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What about using the hat for protection when sailing, then use some kind of boom-tent while at anchor? I have the same problem with my Bristol 27. My main is big enough that the boom is too low to have a bimini or any reasonable dodger.
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Old 12-27-2010
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Just a thought: Bimini Tops | Pontoon Bimini Top | 800-616-0599 Discount Bimini Tops
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Old 12-27-2010
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T37 - that's probably where I'd order one -- if I think it would work on a boat my size. Not sure if it'd interfere with going forward on the cabintop, or if the mainsheet would snag on it with the boom out when running downwind. Just wondering why I have never seen one on a boat as small as mine. Is it just nobody likes their little boat enough to put one on it, or does it just not work? I've seen them on 22 footers and the cockpits of those boats seem to be all but the same size as mine. Not sure if they're different sheeting arrangements. Not sure what the correct term is, but my transom has an eye hook on the port side and a block and swiveling cam cleat on the starboard side. The mainsheet is tied off on the eye hook, runs up through a block at the end of the boom and then down through the swivel block and cam cleat. Unfortunately the boat is in storage through the winter so I'm not able to rig it and take a good look at where lines end up with the boom out.

Suppose I should just "get over it" and go sailing!
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Old 12-27-2010
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I've owned boats from 16' to 31', including a couple 20's and a 21. My current boat, the 31, has a bimini.

I'm not a huge fan of biminis, period. I seldom use mine, as I don't like the extra tubing and hardware. I tend to keep the bimini in storage, and instead I have a flat Sunbrella panel that I can attach to the rear edge of the dodger and run the panel aft, where it ties to a couple uprights coming off the stern rail.

I can put the panel up in about a minute, under sail, and take it down in a little less time. It just rolls up and ties to the dodger.

The problem I have with a dodger, aside from the hardware, is that they're so tall on a boat this size. If the sun is at anything other than high noon, or if you're heeling, finding a spot in the shade can be tricky. The height, which is nice so you can stand under it, is part of the problem. If you stood on your dock with a square yard of sunbella 6" over your head, you'd have excellent sun protection. Now put the same square yard 3 feet over your head (as if sitting down in the cockpit), and you're likely to find you're no longer in the shade.

Admittedly, my flat panel doesn't allow for standing headroom, but it clears our heads by at least a foot when seated, and provides unmatched sun protection. When we're working hard in the cockpit, we can roll it up.

How high off the cockpit seats is the boom on your 17 footer. I'm going to assume when you say the boom clears your head, you're sitting down, right? There's really very little room for a bimini and its related hardware. Obviously, this is in my opinion, but I think you'd find there would be more hassle than benefit. Particularly if you don't have a dodger that could be connected to the bimini to increase protection.

I understand the need to get out of the sun whenever you can. There's nothing like having the wind die down at the end of the day, and having the scorching sun low in the sky, frying the back of your neck for a couple hours as you crawl home.

With all this said, if I was looking for protection on a 17 footer, I'd consider engineering a flat panel. Flat panels have their downsides...probably the main one being that they don't do well in higher winds...too much flapping. But we've found in actual use that the flat panel serves us very well in real conditions.

One last thought. Your desire to find a way to bring sun protection to your boat is very understandable, not only form the skin cancer aspect, but also for making your boat a more pleasant place. We find that whether we're using our big flat panel under sail, power, or simply lounging at the dock, it makes it a whole different boat. Seems downright luxurious to have a shady little porch while you're out on the water. Best of luck.

The trick would be how to suspend the panel and stretch it tight on your boat. We have the luxury of attaching to the dodger forward, and at the stern, we just have a couple of pvc pipe uprights that are holding up just fine. We had no need to drill holes in the boat.
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Old 12-27-2010
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I have bimini on my 26' sloop but I only have it up when at anchor or at the dock. I wear a French Foreign Legion style hat and sunglasses while sailing. The bimini has a SS frame and has cars to slide in the genoa track in the cockpit combing or gunwales.
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