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Old 09-11-2009
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As mentioned in several posts today, I'm in the process of finalizing my choice for my next boat and am looking for input on a few different elements.

I've seen boats featuring a permanent windscreen with attached folding dodger. Usually the middle window can be opened to allow for airflow. A good though expensive illustarion is the Hallbergs or the Najad.

I wanted to get some input on these windscreens and what your thoughts might be on them. To me they seem a good idea but am I missing something ? Cause I don't see this feature offered on a lot of boats so maybe I'm clueless as to why.
I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts. - Mark Twain
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Old 09-11-2009
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I think it's feature that suits certain boats and not others. For example I've seen a C&C 44 fitted with a similar (though taller) fixed windscreen and it really didn't look "right".

From a practical standpoint, few "soft" dodgers ever get folded down anymore... Most now have lexan windows that don't lend themselves to collapsing, so though made of canvas and plastic, they are no less "permanent" than the windscreens you speak of. Yet they are far more "accepted" as a cockpit protection than a fixed windscreen. I think to a certain degree, with notable exceptions a windscreen like that is considered a "powerboat" feature.

So I guess it boils down to popular aesthetics. The HRs and Najads look right because they've always come that way. btw the BC built Sceptre 41/43s, big, solid pilothouse boats have always been offered with fixed windscreens too...

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

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Old 09-11-2009
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"Cause I don't see this feature offered on a lot of boats"
Probably because 1-they are expensive, no one wants to pay for them, because 2-they get in the way, no one wants to bother with them.

You can always wear foulies or stay in port in you don't like the weather. Remember the boats you've seen them on aren't mass-market boats built for an affordable selling price.
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Old 09-12-2009
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mostly, i think, it's because nobody does it that way

lack of windscreens seems to me to be a lacking feature because most sailboat designs simply don't have them, so neither does the next one, and the next and the next. in short- it's a 'tradition'.

i was very curious about this topic, because the boat i crew on now has an actual wheelhouse. it looks like it was added on later, because there seems to be a standard cockpit built into the boat, but the builder got a hold of a wheelhouse and dropped it on. it's actually very nice when it gets cold, people will come up there and sit with the skipper instead of burrowing down in the cabin when it gets rainy and cold.

but of the hundreds of sailboats i see in the marinas' almost none of them have wheelhouses over the cockpits. but almost ALL of them have some sort of canvas windscreen/doger contraption added on. most with floppy plastic windows that are hardly the same as a glass or lexan windscreen.

i brought this up on a couple of sailingboat design forums, and people always come back with: "it's too hot", "no body else has them", "too much windage", wear foulies", "non-traditional" "too expensive" etc etc. i think these arguments are specious. i think the main reason is because its non-traditional.

any time you see people adding on to a factory design, it's because the factory left it out, or didn't do it right. so i see these minimal to massive, complicated dogers and windscreens. some of them are very expensive. they usually never get taken down (so the windage arguement is moot) and i think most people that have them simply don't go out if it's cold, windy and raining. but i notice, the powerboaters do- why? because they have that nice wheelhouse to be in, out of the nasty rain and wind. i don't want a boat that i have to moor 8 months out of the year, or that i and my guests have to wear survival suits on... if it's hot, i'll open the windows. if was built into the boat, i would't have to buy/build it.

when it comes time for me to get my own boat, i will NOT choose one that i can't build a wheelhouse onto. i want to be on the water- anytime it's not dangerous- and not behind underneath some added on pipes, canvas and distortion view plastic.

but thats just me.
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Old 09-14-2009
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I have an HR40 with hard windscreen and canvas dodger above. I sail a lot on many different boats so have some context for comparison. The windscreen is great - it is easy to keep clean offshore and so easier to see through than a plastic dodger. With the center screen open and the canvas folded down there is a lot of air in the cockpit. Center closed and canvas up I can sail in pretty heavy rain and stay dry.

There are certainly alternatives, but the windscreen is definitely a good thing.
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