Join Date: Nov 2009
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Re: Dodgers: Do we need one on our boat?
Another vote here for a dodger. It's a spray shield and windshield and keeps the rain out of the companionway most of the time. We've also added a Bimini with a connector to the dodger and roll-up side curtains with clear plastic to maintain a view. Our cockpit enclosure is open in the back, however.
Here in New England, when the sun goes down you get dew in the cockpit most evenings if you don't have some kind of a cockpit enclosure. We have added a very dry and liveable "room", as ehmanta has noted, by rigging the enclosure at anchor (that means the connector and side curtains.) This works when the boat is facing the wind at anchor, which is most of the time in southern New England. (We did have an experience in York Harbor, when we rigged the enclosure, went to dinner, and returned to find our boat was backside to the breeze, due to the strong current. Not only was the cockpit soaking wet, but we had condensation in the cabin!) Should have closed the companion way in hindsight.
Another advantage of a bimini is the reduced sun exposure as well as the cooling effect, which is much greater than we expected--actually more than we want in the shoulder season. Our bimini can be folded and the canvas retained in a boot if you want more sun or want to keep a closer eye on your mainsail trim.
About a dodger in the Caribbean, we've chartered down there at least a dozen times and I prefer a dodger for a spray shield and to keep the the companionway area dry. At anchor, it is nice to turn the wind off, too.