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smurphny 04-09-2012 11:50 AM

Bimini or something else?
Have been thinking about installing a Bimini top for a couple of years now but the thing that always stops me is the prospect of having more stuff to deal with around the cockpit. I like the idea of being able to get out of the weather while at the wheel but really don't like the idea of having to work around more things to entangle sheets, tethers, etc. or otherwise get in the way. I have a large whole-boat canvas that goes up over the boom to act a sun shield at anchor, so that would not be the main use for a Bimini anyway. Has anyone here seen some sort of stowable canvas top arrangement just large enough to get in under when sitting/standing at the wheel but collapsible so it can be completely removed when you don't want the thing in the way. Folded down aluminum poles are just not my idea of out of the way. My bimini to this point has been a good raincoat.:)

johnnyquest37 04-09-2012 11:56 AM

Re: Bimini or something else?
I have a largish bimini that I can fold up - but it stays folded up / rolled up overhead when stowed. The bimini does not interfere with sheets or tethers. I've an observation window in it that I can look through to see the masthead. I like the bimini for wet weather, but it doesn't help that much. I love having it in sunny weather. Much prefer having shade in the cockpit on those long, hot summer passages.

Jetexas 04-09-2012 12:05 PM

Re: Bimini or something else?
I spent a year sailing without one because it was going to be really complicated to make one to work around my backstays and traveler, etc. However, now that I have one, I'd never give it up. Having shade makes a huge difference in the Texas sun.

It's not much help in the rain, though.

PaulinVictoria 04-09-2012 01:59 PM

Re: Bimini or something else?

sailingfool 04-09-2012 02:07 PM

Re: Bimini or something else?
54 Attachment(s)
Full cockpit biminis are wonderful, especially if you are the type of sailor who likes spending a lot of time...well, sailing. A bimini changes the whole character of 6-8 hours out in a bright sun, removing the heat, sweat and sun burn otherwise so common.

If you install the bimini frame properly, it need not interfere with your running rigging, but it does cut down on visibility a bit. Same pluses/minuses you see with a dodger.

How I handled it was
...Early May I'd launch with the the dodger installed...around mid-June, I'd remove the dodger and install the early Sept I'd remove the bimini and install the dodger.

StormBay 04-09-2012 09:54 PM

Re: Bimini or something else?

The photos make it look bad (nicer in person), but we just have a canvas piece that attaches to the dodger and clips on to the back stay and rear stanchions with small carabiners. It has a piece of pvc pipe to keep it from sagging. When we want it out of the way we simply unclip it from the back stay and stanchions and role it up to the dodger and bungie it. Simple and cheep. A little too low to stand fully up though.

Sublime 04-09-2012 09:57 PM

Re: Bimini or something else?
Love my bimini. It doesn't interfere except with being able to see my sails. I need to put in a window.
Helps prevent skin cancer.

bljones 04-09-2012 10:30 PM

Re: Bimini or something else?
A well designed bimini is not in the way.

Minnewaska 04-10-2012 06:06 AM

Re: Bimini or something else?
We call our cockpit enclosure, the circus tent. It's huge. Over six feet of head room and curves down the sides a bit to maximize sun protection. It does reduce visibility to the side when standing at the helm, but not sitting. Forward and aft visibility are nearly unobstructed. A few ducks and peaks and standing is no problem.

I often sit up on the windward side deck behind the helm wheel to catch the breeze and watch the sails and lookout for traffic. But, we would not consider being without it to escape the sun as needed.

Zero interference with rigging.

CapnBones 04-10-2012 07:22 AM

Re: Bimini or something else?
When docking singlehanded my bimini can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance but doesn't interfere with any rigging or lines.

It is however probably the single best thing that I have now. To be able to get out of the sun as everyone else has said is very very nice and makes long passages in the middle of August on the windless Chesapeake seem a lot shorter. And then it just folds up out of the way if I don't want it up.

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