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I am curious... no dodger... seems unprotected without. I delivered a boat with a bimini on a ocean passage. I took it down... too much windage. But left the dodger up.
 

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Seems cool enough but after a winter of no sailing after after years of nearly uninterrupted sailing the vid just makes me want to leave. I’ve noticed there are two types of sailors. No better or worse but different. Those who are happiest on passage. Those happiest exploring new landfalls. Both love sailing and boat life. I’ve always been interested in why that is.
 

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Captain Obvious
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outbound - winter is over!! Get out there!

He's in the Pacific North West so he doesn't need a dodger. This past week I was just hiding from the terrible heat and humidity here in NY.I was out day sailing yesterday and it fixed me up and I'm temporarily feeling great. But I have to start going a bit further pretty soon.

I just pushed the button on this purchase; I'll be in Newport for a week later this month and I can put this book in the cabin for afternoon nap/reading. I'll share my impressions of the book after that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
>>>>I am curious... no dodger... seems unprotected without.

This comes up a lot. I can only say, try sailing without one. At best they are necessary evils that interfere with deck gear, block the view, create windage, have to be maintained and too often look ugly as sin and ill matched to the yacht. And they;re expensive.

They do provide wonderful handholds for the deck-companionway transition when fitted with stainless rails.

It is assumed a sailboat is naked without a dodger. In fact, it's just another choice. Some climates may demand it, although the practical value may be in some cases quite low (many dodgers aren't extended enough to sit under, and many provide no spray protection at all)

Their best value in steamy climates is allowing the sliding hatch to stay open in downpours, or supporting a full cockpit cover.

In temperate climates, try life without one. An open sailboat deck is a glorious thing, especially when reefing in a gale.

For crew shelter, I prefer weather cloths.
 

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Captain Obvious
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I received my book within 2 days. I have not had time to actually read it all the way through yet as I am scrambling to get ready for vacation. But this morning I just flipped through it and read a few selected passages.

It is a very solid read, not like anything else I have ever read, chock full. Lots of detail, lots of sailing experiences packed in here. Its a real sailors book. First impression is very good and I will add more thoughts on it when I finish it. If Christian will allow me, I might post a short section of a favorite passage so you can get the flavor . Anyway - Go buy this book!
 
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Christian... re the dodger.

I have sailed my boat for 33 years and it includes a few tens of thousands of miles of offshore passages. My boat has a pretty high free board and is a dry sailer for the most part. I also delivered a sister ship with a bimini and that came down because it's not a good idea offshore in a blow.

Sailing upwind and in winds of over 15 apparent depending on wave height and period there will be spray. When it's bad it will deliver a nice shower to the cockpit. The dodger, mine which is quite low actually will take the brunt of the spray. I would not sail without the dodger. It also provide protection from sun and rain. I can sit facing forward on the bridge deck under the dodger and have excellent visibility and access to all instruments and controls. When it's not raining I sit under the dodger to stay out of the sun... no spray there either. The front "glass" is removable and is mostly not used... in mild conditions.

I consider it essential sailing gear and wouldn't go offshore or cruise without one. I don't know any other sailors except ocean racers which don't use a dodger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fair enough.

Regarding biminis--another of my opinions: an umbrella, instead, if climate permits. And any climate with seasons ought to permit.

I know it looks a little odd. But an umbrella can be put up or down when needed. It can be low, for shade where its needed. The mainsail can be easily seen by poking head out around it.

A market-style is best, with a vent. Mine is good to the first reef, about 17 knots to windward. Good all the time downwind.

The size is best measured from backstay to binnacle, the likely mount. Umbrellas are measured over the arc of the canopy, so an 8-foot umbrella is less than 8 feet point to point. Also, the ribs can go either side of the backstay, where the cloth retracts. Ergo, if backstay to binnacle mount measures 6 feet, a 7-foot umbrella may fit.

Yes, more than you wanted to know.
 

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My first boat had neither a bimini, nor a dodger and I really didn't find the boat needed one, aside from some leaks around the hatch in the rain.

Second boat had a substantial dodger and bimini. Hated the dodger because I couldnt see through it on wet nights, and it interfered with some of my running rigging, so I prety much permanently removed it, but kept it on board for cold weather sailing. However, I left the bimini up al the time for sun and rain protection. Boat was big old leaky teaky and couldnt sail to weather very well any way, so no harm.

My current boat is tiny, but has a bimini designed to fold down out of the way entirely and has a dodger that attaches to the bimini with no independent hardware. Really nice set up. I never sail with bimini or dodger. Folding bimini goes up when motoring for sun protection and at dock or anchor. Dodger goes up at anchor/dock only for rain and wind. Seems like a nice compromise.

For some reason I cant seem to see right through even the cleanest soft dodger.
 

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Fair enough.

Regarding biminis--another of my opinions: an umbrella, instead, if climate permits. And any climate with seasons ought to permit.

I know it looks a little odd. But an umbrella can be put up or down when needed. It can be low, for shade where its needed. The mainsail can be easily seen by poking head out around it.

A market-style is best, with a vent. Mine is good to the first reef, about 17 knots to windward. Good all the time downwind.

The size is best measured from backstay to binnacle, the likely mount. Umbrellas are measured over the arc of the canopy, so an 8-foot umbrella is less than 8 feet point to point. Also, the ribs can go either side of the backstay, where the cloth retracts. Ergo, if backstay to binnacle mount measures 6 feet, a 7-foot umbrella may fit.

Yes, more than you wanted to know.
I've designed a sunshade which is a flat disc or which is mostly transparent to the wind (supposedly) and provides sun protection (supposedly). The discs is mounted on poles attached to the pushpit. The can be rotated essentially in three axes. The discs stow like photographers reflectors (from which the are made). Wife uses an boat umbrella and insists on it... so the discs were designed with her skin in mind.

Not a bad idea but not perfect.
 

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I just couldn't imagine sailing without a dodger, in any climate, unless one is always, and I mean always, sailing downwind.
Perhaps it's because my boats are my home, or that I have been messing around with boats almost daily for over 50 years, but by far the most important thing to me is being comfortable when I am out on the water or even at anchor. It seems a shame, on a warm sunny day to have to don your foulies to stay dry and warm because one doesn't have a dodger to deflect the spray when beating or close reaching.
As for the looks of a dodger/bimini, that's rather like purchasing a boat because she's pretty, with no care for anything else. A good dodger/bimini combination adds a whole other living area to a boat when not sailing, and makes those crappy, rainy, days (or boiling hot sunny ones) on the water much more tolerable. I certainly haven't noticed any windage factor, but once again, comfort trumps sailing performance, unless I'm racing.
When I purchased my first big boat at 21, I had an opportunity to buy one of two Herreshoff ketches for sale at the same time. They were clipper bow, wineglass stern boats and as lovely as any Mr. Herreshoff had ever designed. But unless you stood 4'6" tall, you weren't going to stand up below on either! I passed on these gorgeous boats for a Phil Rhodes that was a lot more liveable, if not quite as lovely.
A liveaboard, offshore boat should be as comfortable to live on and sail as it can possibly be, IMO. Anything less seems rather like self-flagellation, which doesn't appeal to me at either.
 
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Have a hard dodger and a hard Bimini. In both the tropics and the northeast the hard dodger is the cats pajamas. Have two hatches which open but also allow site lines to entire mast and front of the main. You can sit under it with 360 sight lines out of the cold, wind and sun. It’s where most people prefer to take watch. There’s nav screens over the companion way slider and a remote for the AP so even cold rain isn’t that unpleasant. It’s strong. Glass and divynicell so you can stand on it.
The hard Bimini is also cored glass on 4” SS tubes so it should take a pooping. It’s where the solar is mounted with the D400s above. There’s a fixed window over the helm to see trim but have a removable cloth to block sun when wanted. In the tropics the setup is sun block screen on the hard dodger, hatches open, insert in between dodger and Bimini and cloth over window zipped in. You’re out of the sun but get breeze so take cool. That’s the space we hang out in.
I love the night sky when offshore. Now to have to clip and go forward to get that awe inspiring 360 view. That’s truly a downside. On the other hand at change of watch it’s nice to go lie down on the fordeck and be alone.
 

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Christian.... Wifey found your video last night and we watched it. Now I understand why you don't bother with a dodger.. your sailing seems to have been virtually all dead down wind... so no spray coming over the bow. The apparent wind speeds seem very low for much of the video so an umbrella would work fine.

Interesting video of a single hander on passage. Well done. Thanks.
 

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RU Christian would seem to be a very accomplished sailor. One should respect his judgment on how he chooses to outfit his boat. Lin and Larry made the same decision and removed their dodger after Larry became entangled in theirs during a storm. However most boats in recent years expecting to encounter adverse weather spec either a hard dodger or some extension of the cabin house allowing crew or solo sailor to sit out of weather but still be on deck. This appears to be true for every race boat passing downwind through the Southern Ocean or even cruising boats aimed at high latitude sailing.
Of course every cruising sailor without a death wish attempts to sail a particular ocean in season and down wind. Adverse weather occurs less than 5% of the time. Upwind sailing even for the prudent sailor averages around 15%. Still both occur. Cold and wet sucks. Being sun baked and so hot your brain is cooking to the point you can’t think or move sucks. Christian has shown the way he mitigates these realities. Christian is on an older boat. Other boats both old and new have designed in structural features to meet these needs. If I was to go rtw I might remove my hard Bimini and put my panels on my rails to go up and down. This is knowing it’s quite robust but the sea can break anything we can make. But I’d leave the hard dodger. I never had one before but it’s a game changer on passage.
Elsewhere there’s been an endless argument about which boats are blue water ready. In my view it boils down to the “what ifs”. From my limited experience one of the key what ifs is having a solo sailor or multiple crew so uncomfortable and therefore exhausted that they function and think poorly. Measures to decrease this are laudable but must be done in a manner that they can handle the force of the sea. Personally object to the enclosures I see on some boats as I think they take the risk too far. Some object to any Bimini even those that fold. Some object to any dodger. One can see the rationale for those decisions. We each view the what ifs differently. One can critique those decisions and modify your view. One cannot past absolute judgment without knowing the sailing program and sailor more intimately then is presented in a forum such as this.
 

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RU Christian would seem to be a very accomplished sailor. One should respect his judgment on how he chooses to outfit his boat

....

We each view the what ifs differently. One can critique those decisions and modify your view. One cannot past absolute judgment without knowing the sailing program and sailor more intimately then is presented in a forum such as this.
This makes perfect sense. Christian appears in the YouTube to be a very good sailor. He's found "solutions" of how to get from here to there which works for him on his boat.

I made the comment about the dodger before I knew that he sailed around a big high in the Pacific with Hawaii on the opposite end of his loop. He didn't mention any upwind work so spray was not much of an issue. Shelter from sun is one. And he probably spent the vast majority of the day with strong sunlight down below... considering that there is not much to look for. Most vessels out there are on AIS and he did pick them up on his own AIS. He did pass close by a floating wrecked fishing boat. Hitting that would have been a disaster. It was a daylight encounter and whatever watch he was doing... he picked it up. And he does use an umbrella when there was apparent wind.

++++

Most coastal cruisers on both costs in the more northern latitudes have to deal with all sorts of weather and wind directions so a dodger and a bimini are good solutions to the "protection" problem. Some clearly go over board in my opinion... (no pun intended) and create a "virtual greenhouse of plastic" where not only is the sun and rain blocked out but the wind. But most sailors find a happy medium which works for their boat and in the region and conditions they sail in. Where we sail we need to be in the cockpit and watching... and so we need some sort of sun protection. Visibility should not be compromised.
 
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