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ktuthill 03-14-2004 07:55 AM

hard dodger vs. soft
Hi Folks,
My husband and I are buying a new boat (Caliber 47) and would like to put a 6 ft. high hard dodger on it. We''ve been told to not go over 53 inches high and that a soft dodger is better. We want good visibility, we don''t want to have to unzip a connector from dodger to bimini everytime we come into the mariner or go out, and we don''t want to keep ducking everytime we go down the companionway or keep watching guests hit their heads. We''ll be going with a fully enclosed canvas cockpit system. Most of our sailing will be on the east coast between Maine and Florida. We do plan to go to Hawaii, Bahamas, and Azores someday. Are we completely wrong to want comfort and good visibility knowing the doghouse look is not as sleek looking as a lower profile dodger? Does anyone have a high hard dodger and are sorry they went with it?

VIEXILE 03-15-2004 11:27 AM

hard dodger vs. soft
In Maine it was nice to have a dodger cruising. Water temp had a lot to do with it, but it gets COLD up there. RARELY do you see anyone with a dodger bopping around the Carib unless it''s crossing a passage. Hard dodgers limit your options. Why unzip when coming to the marina? Connected to bimini? All closed up? You won''t be able to take that very long. Bimini, attached good dodger with frame you can stow. Hardtops? Eh. Buy a pilothouse if that''s what you want. Once in the tropics all you''ll use is the bimini unless it''s raining hard or water''s coming over. Opinion only, not a fact to be found. KW

c172guy 03-20-2004 07:24 AM

hard dodger vs. soft
I was talking to a marina mate about putting a hard dodger on my boat. He said "no Way" when a hurricane comes you can''t get rid of the extra windage. He has sailed a lot and lived aboard for over 20 years. I decided not to go the hard dodger route. His boat is equipped with almost everything a 40'' centercockpit design but he has a soft dodger.

WHOOSH 03-20-2004 09:48 AM

hard dodger vs. soft
As I may have mentioned in a related (or duplicate) thread, the term ''hard dodger'' as it''s used today seems to me a misnomer. It may sound like a quibble but I think the distinction is important. My attempt at defining dodger types would be:
1. ''Soft Dodger'' - stainless frame and fabric cover with various multiple ''ports'' (more like windows, really) made of soft vinyl up thru thick/hard Strataglas. Removeable, stowable. Cloth can have it''s bottom fastenings released in some designs to accommodate some solid water without damage.
2. ''Hard-Top Dodger'' - fiberglass or hard vinyl top supported by similar stainless frame and with similar (possibly removeable) ''windows''; removeable with more effort and more difficult to stow that large, rigid top; removal not really viable once the storm begins.
3. ''Hard Dodger'' - fixed-in-place structure that''s permanently tied into the cabin trunk and cockpit coamings. Not removeable.

IMO the biggest misperception re: the ''hard-top dodger'' is that its inherently strong and will handle offshore conditions. This is reinforced by some of these units being advertised with a vendor standing on top of the dodger top. Handling that vertical, static load looks impressive but a sideways, slewing hit by one or two tons of wet cement-like sea water will likely result in damage similar to that of a ''soft dodger'', it would seem to me.


39512 04-19-2004 05:37 AM

hard dodger vs. soft
I looked at the boat on the web. I think that the shape of the cockpit would make for a difficult doghouse installation.

I have seen this kind of thing go both ways.
Some added doghouses are ok, some are horrible aesthetically.

There is a window product called EZ2CY that is very stiff and built as a panel that cannot be folded. It hinges up out of the way. It is easy to open and provides excellent visibility in the long run.

I think you would be better off with a dodger that is stepped to 6 feet from the cockpit sole just at the companionway. Download the picture from the caliber website and draw in some shapes.

flyingbear 04-23-2004 12:15 PM

hard dodger vs. soft
I have a "Wavestopper" hard top dodger on my boat. While it is very sturdy and has great hand holds on it, I took a wave over the bow sailing in our blustery N. Pacific. The wave proceeded aft and to my great suprise, did not go over the dodger but went right through the lexan windows and down my wife''s back who was just coming up the companion way. The hard top never moved but the zippers holding the windows onto the dodger top just "unzipped". The zippers were forced apart by the force of the wave. We just zipped the windows back in and that was that. I wonder what would have happened to a soft dodger? That being said, I love the dodger because of the shelter it offers from the wind and spray, its secure handholds, and yes, I stand on top of it to put on my mains''l cover. The northern California climate makes the dodger a must have.

arjand 09-30-2009 01:49 PM

Hmmmm........ reading up on all this I end up kinda indecisive.

Soft Dodger:
pro's: allows for wind when it is hot, can be stowed when necessary
con's: vulnerable in rogue waves

Hard Dodger:
pro's: will hold in rough conditions or in rogue waves
cons: makes for hot conditions in the tropics, increases profile/exposure in gale.

Did I forget something?

cormeum 09-30-2009 02:28 PM


Originally Posted by arjand (Post 527686)
Did I forget something?

the hard dodger adds a lot of extra windage that can't be removed. could be a "pro" or "con' depending on your point of sail.

imagine2frolic 09-30-2009 02:52 PM

Windage, windage, windage at times can be your enemy. It's rare, but it happens......i2f

arjand 09-30-2009 03:14 PM

Thanks very much for you very quick replies! And just to make sure: Windage (at the times you REALLY dont want it) is a much bigger danger than the lack of protection (rogue wave in A LOT OF wind) when you need it? (Just to make sure!). Thanks again!!

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