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post #11 of 30 Old 08-06-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

I've never seen new fabric shrink. Yes the web straps can help tighten. There is a reason why having one made costs so much you are paying for the persons learned experience. Dodgers are not so simple to make . Darts to gather fabric. Etc.

My wife who's an excellent seemstress has made 3 now. Each time she improves. Hardest thing she ever sees.....the dodger.


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post #12 of 30 Old 08-06-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I've never seen new fabric shrink. Yes the web straps can help tighten. There is a reason why having one made costs so much you are paying for the persons learned experience. Dodgers are not so simple to make . Darts to gather fabric. Etc.

My wife who's an excellent seemstress has made 3 now. Each time she improves. Hardest thing she ever sees.....the dodger.
My dodger is simple and has no darts... and the fabric does shrink tight and is expected to be adjust with the straps and the bow position. I have had 4 dodges plus the original on this boat... and changed from alum to ss bows.
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

Sunbrella does shrink some.

Also, the dodger is no doubt the hardest thing to make in canvaswork - way trickier than they look.
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post #14 of 30 Old 08-06-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
My dodger is simple and has no darts... and the fabric does shrink tight and is expected to be adjust with the straps and the bow position. I have had 4 dodges plus the original on this boat... and changed from alum to ss bows.
Just curious why would you need four dodgers?
Have you made them yourselves?

Our finished sumbrella has stretched over the years not shrunk. We're careful not to use excessive heat

If yours shrinks diring construction there are two ways to minimize that make sure you feed both panels equaling through the machine to prevent puckering. Also use the longest stitch possible.

We also use SS bows and have made/ adjusted our own.


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post #15 of 30 Old 08-07-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

I have owned the boat 32 years... How long should a sunbrella dodger last? Here are 2 of them... you can see how some makers / designs / craftsmenship is better than others. I had one "repaired"... YUCK

I don't make them.... I use a professional canvas shop.

??? in Saybrook, CT (can't recall name)
Wm Mills Sailmakers, Greenport, NY
American Marine Canvas, Mamaronek. NY
The Canvas Store, Huntington, NY

chef2sail... we have a completely different sense of boat aesthetics.. and I would never ever do what you have done with your cockpit... But hey... different strokes...
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Last edited by SanderO; 08-07-2017 at 02:14 AM.
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post #16 of 30 Old 08-07-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
I have owned the boat 32 years... How long should a sunbrella dodger last? Here are 2 of them... you can see how some makers / designs / craftsmenship is better than others. I had one "repaired"... YUCK

I don't make them.... I use a professional canvas shop.

??? in Saybrook, CT (can't recall name)
Wm Mills Sailmakers, Greenport, NY
American Marine Canvas, Mamaronek. NY
The Canvas Store, Huntington, NY

chef2sail... we have a completely different sense of boat aesthetics.. and I would never ever do what you have done with your cockpit... But hey... different strokes...
Misunderstood I thought you had 4 dodgers. Ours last an average of 8-10 years.

We take it home every winter and wash in the tub. Also during the season we rinse it off every time out. After about year four we spray the fabric protectant on it. We use the imar product on the strata glass once a month. It is the most complicated project by wife does so out of respect for her we Baby it.

I watch and help her make it and do understand them being expensive though I have seen outrageous pricing .

$2-3 K makes sense for a dodger. Our is made more rectangular than a racing one because I wanted the felxability to unzip the whole from window and I wanted it to be one piece due the the hot Chessie summers I wanted max airflow not just a little roll up window. There's a definite process / order of putting the snaps around the periphery in and allowing you to be able to adjust with web straps, bow movement, and also having a gromet in the bottom corner for final tightening.

People who have them overlook their care I have seen. It is an expensive addition. Ours has zippers and connector to the Bimini allowing side panels which we rarely use, but sun screens when anchored which we use a lot. The zippers need to be good quality, best with cheap ass pulls on them and also lubricated every months . They last forever if you take care of them

Lastly we have always used strataglass. It costs more than other types but if used with protectant and NEVER scrubbing it , last longer than the dodger. Having that nice clear window, especially at night is important

Our dodger has allowed us to extend our sailing season and days in comfort and we go out days many do night because of weather.


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post #17 of 30 Old 08-07-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

my last dodger shown in the pic was $1,400. The center window is removeable. I don't recall what the "glass" is... it is fine. Once we went to ss bows all we do is replace the fabric. In winter I either leave it on or take it off. If we get 8 years out of the dodger it comes to less than $200/yr and for 7 months of use that is $1/day. I can afford it... donut costs $1.49 at Dunkin, a gallon of gas $2.50 and the tolls to LI are $8.50 each way.

Little costs add up. A dodger is very important... keeps the sun off me, rain, wind and spray, protects the lines on the coach roof and instruments on the dash. Very key bit of gear. We usually sail with the center window removed. Few people can pay for these "essential upgrades" at once. A credit card is an OK way to spread the payments over several months.
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post #18 of 30 Old 08-07-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

I run a marine canvas shop and have 30+ years experience. I service the higher end of the market and a few dealers.

If at all possible, wait until you are local to a reputable shop & have them look at your canvas.

Yes, we are overbooked and over stressed. It's almost impossible for us to hire people with the skills needed, and training employees costs me about $20,000 each (mistakes, lost productivity, etc).

Anyhow, I am generally unwilling to copy existing canvas. It has stretched in places, shrunk in places, and I will need to make an (educated) guess as to what is actually the correct shape. The new cover will likely not fit as well as the one I copied. At my end, it takes the same amount of time to copy a cover as to fit a new one on the boat, so the cost is the same. If I fit a cover, I guarantee it will fit nicely. If I copy a cover, I guarantee it won't, and I will charge my std rate or $120/ hour to make it right. It's very unusual for a copied cover to ever fit as nicely as a custom made cover.
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post #19 of 30 Old 08-07-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

I had a new dodger and bimini and new frames (old one was aluminum?!?) made for my O'day 35. These were the spec's that I issued to the canvas maker:
Dodger;

1" Polished Stainless Steel Frame and hardware.
Welded grab bar
Slot Track (not snaps) for Mounting the Dodger
Removable Center Front Window - ZipsOut - or rolls up. Use Velcro, not snaps to secure when/if rolled up.
Strataglass windows
Reinforced stress areas
Pockets on the sides to store winch handles/vhf/etc. made from mesh.
Adjustable Support Struts

Bimini;
Single rail Bimini that connects directly to the Dodger.
Strataglass window to view the sail and masthead fly.
Bimini boot for when bimini is not in use.

I had estimates between $5 and $7K. The total for this from the guy that I selected was *north* of $7K, and in the four years that I have had it, I am very happy with the work.

The Sunbrella color that I selected was "Toast," and it has faded over the years. Were I to do it over, I would probably select a dark shade of blue. My understanding is that (counter intuitively) dark colors do not fade as much as light colors.


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Last edited by eherlihy; 08-07-2017 at 10:28 AM.
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post #20 of 30 Old 08-07-2017
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Re: New Bimini Dodger

On the "life" factor, our present dodger was built in 1995. It is now fraying in places where the bows are, and it is more difficult to keep the windows clean. It is really at the last of its useful life.

One huge feature that extended its life was/is a "drop over" full sunbrella cover. Considering that much of the cost is in labor, as compared to the fabric, this has really saved the original dodger and plastic windows from both sun and rain.

Note that the cover has no cutouts for windows, and is attached with twist-lok fasteners around the base, to their counterpart fitting in the base hem of the actual dodger.

I know that many dodgers have snap-on covers over their vision windows, but our all-over cover is faster to remove and put into place than a flock of window cover pieces would be. (not my invention - idea borrowed from another boat owner in our YC.)

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