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Old 08-16-2011
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To Dodger or not to dodger

Hello all,

I recently bought an islander 30 mk ii ( last fall) and it came with a stainless dodger frame but no actual dodger. Everytime I walk in my barn I look at it and wonder if it is worth the time to make one or have one made. I can't make the decesion because I've talked to people who won't sail without it and people who want no parts of a dodger.... So basically I'm just looking for some input as to advantages and disadvantages, reasons for and against and just general info.

Also, my sailing will predominantly take place on the Chesapeake bay.

Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2011
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Your decision is somewhat easy to make than other questions on sailnet. Just ask your SO to aim a garden hose with a gentle spray pattern your face, and very importantly at the same time turn on a high power industry size fan and aimed in your face. Do it for 15 min of so. If you like it, you don't need a dodger. If you hate it, get a dodger.

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Old 08-16-2011
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When we had our Ericson 35-3 and sailed mainly on weekends, evenings and a few weeks in September, we had a dodger we kept on board but rarely put up. One season we never put it up. We also raced and the dodger got in the way. We would deploy the bimini on occasion to get out of the hot sun or rain.

Now that we live aboard, we keep the dodger and bimini up 24/7. We have roll-up side curtains that usually only come down in the spring and fall. the summer we use roll-down screens.

Here is my take

- dodger is only good if it does not restrict your vision too much. Clean wrinkle and scratch free front panels are a must. Being able to see out the sides while seated facing aft is also important.
- nice to keep the companion way out of the weather. We get off/on our boat at least twice a day. Nice to duck under when raining.
- Dodger with sturdy side hand rails is good for safety
- Complete enclosure is great for bugs, rain, warmth. It is our sun porch in the spring and fall.
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Old 08-16-2011
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My guess would be that more cruising boats have them then ones that don't, that should tell you something?

I wouldn't go without one, it provides great protection from the sun, wind, and spray. In addition, at anchor and swinging with the wind, we can leave the companionway open when its raining and the cabin will stay dry.

With the short steep chop the bay can produce it would be useful, if not required in my opinion.

I do think the boat looks better without it, but not enough to remove it. Which is always an option that takes only a few minutes to remove and lower the SS frame.

I love the garden hose in your face example
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Old 08-16-2011
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Dodger = Civilization. I've had a few boats without dodgers, but have one now on my Catalina 309. A dodger makes life better.

You also pick up sort of a "dashboard" under the dodger where, within reason, you can toss stuff while under sail. Winch covers, etc.

My cats like to snooze under the dodger.

We didn't like the bimini that Catalina provided on our boat, but we like to run a Sunbrella canopy from the back end of the dodger to the stern (up to the backstay). The canopy has an oak stick sewn in each end of it and is a snap to deploy or store. Couldn't use it without the dodger. Sure is nice to get out of the sun!

If you get a dodger, watch the height. I wish mine was about 3 or 4 inches shorter. When I stand at the wheel, the top of the dodger is very close to my line of vision. I don't like to dock on my tippy-toes.

Definitely make sure you can roll up the center section so you get air through when you want it.
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Old 08-16-2011
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A lot will depend on your intended use of the boat. If you are a day sailor and only go out in benign conditions you probably don't need it. If you intend on making long distance passages where seas and weather become a factor, than you probably will get good use out of it. So the question is back goes back to you and how you plan on using the boat.
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Old 08-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Your decision is somewhat easy to make than other questions on sailnet. Just ask your SO to aim a garden hose with a gentle spray pattern your face, and very importantly at the same time turn on a high power industry size fan and aimed in your face. Do it for 15 min of so. If you like it, you don't need a dodger. If you hate it, get a dodger.

If this doesn't settle it for you, your next step is to cover the floor, walls, and ceiling with aluminum foil and put a powerful lamp in the room. Spend a few hours in this room, ideally reading the newspaper, taped to the far wall.
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Thanks for the input!

Thank you all for the great info. The vast majority of my sailing will be weekending on the bay, so it is a very real possibility to get in some weather...especially in the early spring and fall. Others that I have talked too said it extends their sailing season, which is a great plus in my opinion. Sounds like I ll be going with a dodger...now all I have to do is wait for the Annapolis boat show to get a show price
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Old 08-16-2011
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Staying on board a boat with no dodger, in the rain, is good enough reason for me to have one. Sure they protect you when out sailing but down below with the hatch closed to keep out the rain is a miserable place to be.

The full cockpit cover is also a must if you intend to spend any time on board at all. Again , not only the sun shade but it is so nice to be able to sit out in the cockpit when it is raining rather than being stuck down below.
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Dodgers are pointless, send the frame to me so I can use it on my I30.
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