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Old 03-27-2011
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sighting the mast head - bimini top

I am getting a new bimini made and wondering if anyone has any ideas for sighting the mast head besides a plastic window? I though of having a grommet pressed in above the helm (for sighting)but having problems being creative here.
I just dont like a plexi window in a bimini, but do like to watch the windex on top of the stick.

Thanks to all
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Old 03-27-2011
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If you want to see through something, it usually needs to be made of a see-thru material. Otherwise it can be hard to see through.
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Old 03-27-2011
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I've seen screens used instead, but that's not very helpful when it rains.
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Old 03-27-2011
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Our windows in the bimini are made of stratglass. They have a sewn cover on theiop side with snaps so they can be closed and the gkass is proetcted when its at the dockmade the bimin so it is split in the rear and have two zippers which zipp up to the backstay, one from the center of the bimini which zips aftward and one from the back endge which zips froward.. You zip them snug up to the backstay, We can leave the forward on partially unzipped and you can also see the windex when unzipped . You can also place the covers Sunbrella over the windows through the open zipper. The windows are located the rear of the bimini over the helm next to the zippers on either side so you can see the windex.

If you have a backstay which comes through the bimin like ours does we have a twp way zipper which

Dave
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Old 03-27-2011
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You could always go hardtop bimini and use acrylic for the viewing port.
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Old 03-27-2011
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When we had a new bimini made a few years ago, we considered a window, but rejected it when our canvas guy said it will leak sooner or later. Your grommet idea is a non-starter for this reason.

For years we had no bimini and simply put up with the rain, so maybe a drip or two is manageable. However, we just returned from a charter, where the bimini window leaked a substantial amount of water during a heavy downpour--right on the helmsman, of course. It was REALLY annoying.

If you have a wind machine (anemometer) , you can set it to "apparent wind" and watch the needle instead of your Windex
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Old 03-27-2011
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My wife made our bimini with a Sailrite machine. The Strataglass is almost like a windowpaine and its in a nice reenforced pocket sewn into the bimini.
It is more secure and less like to leak than any of the zippers ( of course my wife fashioned the zippers so they sit under flpas or edging. There is no reason it should leak if it is made or constructed properly. There is no more reason to beleive this would leak anymore than the winddow on your dodger. If you just sew a window into the fabric and it is made of cheap plastic or acylic it may leak. Constructed with care correctly it will not.

I like the feature of not only being able to see my windex, but zalso the leech and luff of the mainsail. Without that I would feel like I was sailing in a chamber and not able to use one of the most important senses in sailing....sight.

Dave
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Old 03-27-2011
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I normally fold biminis back when I am under way.

I know I am under one in my photo.
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Old 03-28-2011
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I have a hard dodger (with a clear hatch, but it doesn't provide a view of the masthead from the helm) and a permanent bimini attached behind the dodger. Mine has no window in the bimini and I didn't want one when I had a new bimini made recently. I figured that the extra stitching and clear acrylic panel would eventually leak and let in too much hot sun, defeating the purpose of the bimini. I just stick my head around the bimini to see the windex at the masthead. At first I though it would be inconvenient not to have a direct line of sight to the masthead, but in practice it hasn't been a bother at all. However, my cockpit is fairly narrow at the helm and I can hold the wheel and comfortably put my head out to the side to see the windex. If your cockpit is the same, perhaps you don't need that acrylic window in the bimini. Another thing to think about is how often you look at the masthead windex. A racer at heart is always looking at it. I don't look at it all that often, unless something in the sail trim feels wrong or the I sense a windshift. If you are the type that is constantly looking at it, you might find having to look around your bimini a pain. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother with a window. A bimini is there to keep the sun and rain off you, especially in the tropics and a window defeats that purpose.
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Old 03-28-2011
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I stopped looking at the mast's wind indicator when an osprey landed on it one day and at his/her lunch--a catfish sandwich. The windvane looked like a pretzel after the osprey finally flew off. I'm well aware that I'm too damned old to ride up the mast on a bosun's chair, and the local marina charges $100 to have someone go up in a cherry picker just to change a anchor light bulb. I ended up tying an 18-inch strip of yellow plastic ribbon on each side of the boat on the shrouds about about four feet above the deck. They pretty much tell me what the wind is doing, I can easily see them from beneath the Bimini, they're easy to replace, inexpensive and they're never hampered by spider webs, or disabled by birds. I guess if you're a die-hard racer the masthead wind-vane is a must, but for non racers they're not a necessity. And, the best part, I no longer have to try to see the masthead wind-vane that's view is blocked by sails or my Bimini. The plastic ribbon was purchased at the Dollar Store for $1 for a 100-foot roll of inch wide ribbon.

Cheers,

Gary
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