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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I recently bought an islander 30 mk ii ( last fall) and it came with a stainless dodger frame but no actual dodger. Everytime I walk in my barn I look at it and wonder if it is worth the time to make one or have one made. I can't make the decesion because I've talked to people who won't sail without it and people who want no parts of a dodger.... So basically I'm just looking for some input as to advantages and disadvantages, reasons for and against and just general info.

Also, my sailing will predominantly take place on the Chesapeake bay.

Thanks!
 

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美国华人, 帆船
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Your decision is somewhat easy to make than other questions on sailnet. Just ask your SO to aim a garden hose with a gentle spray pattern your face, and very importantly at the same time turn on a high power industry size fan and aimed in your face. Do it for 15 min of so. If you like it, you don't need a dodger. If you hate it, get a dodger.

:D
 
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When we had our Ericson 35-3 and sailed mainly on weekends, evenings and a few weeks in September, we had a dodger we kept on board but rarely put up. One season we never put it up. We also raced and the dodger got in the way. We would deploy the bimini on occasion to get out of the hot sun or rain.

Now that we live aboard, we keep the dodger and bimini up 24/7. We have roll-up side curtains that usually only come down in the spring and fall. the summer we use roll-down screens.

Here is my take

- dodger is only good if it does not restrict your vision too much. Clean wrinkle and scratch free front panels are a must. Being able to see out the sides while seated facing aft is also important.
- nice to keep the companion way out of the weather. We get off/on our boat at least twice a day. Nice to duck under when raining.
- Dodger with sturdy side hand rails is good for safety
- Complete enclosure is great for bugs, rain, warmth. It is our sun porch in the spring and fall.
 

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Tartan 37
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My guess would be that more cruising boats have them then ones that don't, that should tell you something?

I wouldn't go without one, it provides great protection from the sun, wind, and spray. In addition, at anchor and swinging with the wind, we can leave the companionway open when its raining and the cabin will stay dry.

With the short steep chop the bay can produce it would be useful, if not required in my opinion.

I do think the boat looks better without it, but not enough to remove it. ;) Which is always an option that takes only a few minutes to remove and lower the SS frame.

I love the garden hose in your face example :laugher
 

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Dodger = Civilization. I've had a few boats without dodgers, but have one now on my Catalina 309. A dodger makes life better.

You also pick up sort of a "dashboard" under the dodger where, within reason, you can toss stuff while under sail. Winch covers, etc.

My cats like to snooze under the dodger.

We didn't like the bimini that Catalina provided on our boat, but we like to run a Sunbrella canopy from the back end of the dodger to the stern (up to the backstay). The canopy has an oak stick sewn in each end of it and is a snap to deploy or store. Couldn't use it without the dodger. Sure is nice to get out of the sun!

If you get a dodger, watch the height. I wish mine was about 3 or 4 inches shorter. When I stand at the wheel, the top of the dodger is very close to my line of vision. I don't like to dock on my tippy-toes.

Definitely make sure you can roll up the center section so you get air through when you want it.
 

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A lot will depend on your intended use of the boat. If you are a day sailor and only go out in benign conditions you probably don't need it. If you intend on making long distance passages where seas and weather become a factor, than you probably will get good use out of it. So the question is back goes back to you and how you plan on using the boat.
 

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Your decision is somewhat easy to make than other questions on sailnet. Just ask your SO to aim a garden hose with a gentle spray pattern your face, and very importantly at the same time turn on a high power industry size fan and aimed in your face. Do it for 15 min of so. If you like it, you don't need a dodger. If you hate it, get a dodger.

:D
If this doesn't settle it for you, your next step is to cover the floor, walls, and ceiling with aluminum foil and put a powerful lamp in the room. Spend a few hours in this room, ideally reading the newspaper, taped to the far wall.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the input!

Thank you all for the great info. The vast majority of my sailing will be weekending on the bay, so it is a very real possibility to get in some weather...especially in the early spring and fall. Others that I have talked too said it extends their sailing season, which is a great plus in my opinion. Sounds like I ll be going with a dodger...now all I have to do is wait for the Annapolis boat show to get a show price:D
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Staying on board a boat with no dodger, in the rain, is good enough reason for me to have one. Sure they protect you when out sailing but down below with the hatch closed to keep out the rain is a miserable place to be.

The full cockpit cover is also a must if you intend to spend any time on board at all. Again , not only the sun shade but it is so nice to be able to sit out in the cockpit when it is raining rather than being stuck down below.
 

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I always thought that the dodger should reflect the overall "character" of the boat. My Ericson looks like it belongs on the bay and I like to think the dodger helps convey that somehow.
Howard Keiper
Berkeley
 

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I sail the Chesapeake eight months a year and am doing alright with no dodger and a good set of foulies. While I'm sure it doesn't hurt to have one in a situation where there's a lot of spray, I haven't seen the dodger alone making that much difference to the comfort of the helmsman as it's usually too far forward to offer significant protection to anyone seated aft in the cockpit. When the weather/chop/spray turns nasty, it's not a dodger I'm wishing for but a full cockpit enclosure. I wouldn't get rid of a dodger if I had one but adding one is really low on my list of priorities.

Now a bimini is an absolute must in the summer for me!
 

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Thank you all for the great info. The vast majority of my sailing will be weekending on the bay, so it is a very real possibility to get in some weather...especially in the early spring and fall. Others that I have talked too said it extends their sailing season, which is a great plus in my opinion. Sounds like I ll be going with a dodger...now all I have to do is wait for the Annapolis boat show to get a show price:D
I thought you said you already had the frame? If so you need to get quotes from some canvas shops for a new cover,If you get a complete replacement your going to be drilling more holes in your boat.
 

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Tartan 37
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I sail the Chesapeake eight months a year and am doing alright with no dodger and a good set of foulies. While I'm sure it doesn't hurt to have one in a situation where there's a lot of spray, I haven't seen the dodger alone making that much difference to the comfort of the helmsman as it's usually too far forward to offer significant protection to anyone seated aft in the cockpit. When the weather/chop/spray turns nasty, it's not a dodger I'm wishing for but a full cockpit enclosure. I wouldn't get rid of a dodger if I had one but adding one is really low on my list of priorities.

Now a bimini is an absolute must in the summer for me!
True,

but kids and guest aboard may feel different, since we have both aboard often, there is another good reason IMO to have a dodger ;)
 

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美国华人, 帆船
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I don't have a dodger on my 37 SO. It is a pain without it. It is not for my protection, but for the passengers and cabin top where the camera, books, jacket can safety put away out of the weather and spray. No need to close the companion way is a big plus.

Unless it is for day sail and sleep at home when the day is done. I'd like to have a dodger. :)
 

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I had my wife constructed a larger dodger than the racing one we used to have. It solved the problem of the helmsman being beat up and weathered while all other sat dry. I agree with Treilly comments whole heartedly. Essentially she built a bimini with remeovable panels on all sides so that during the Chessie summer brutal months we would have air thorugh the boat and cockpit as well as sun and rain protection over the companionway.

We have sailed in many kinds of weather we we have put the connector piece in between the dodger and bimini and stay high dry and handsome while beating to windward in a feroscious chop and spray. Our dodger now has a nice wide picture wondow of strata glass for great view during rain and storms.

4arch...I rememeber the day home from the picture shoot last year beating into the 20knott wind with 3 foot chop,,,, racing beside T37chef. Both of us and our families were high and dry and having fun...I think you remarked later you and Sharon were a little wet and cold ;);)


Its even nice to sit in the cockpit now when its raining at anchor enjoying the rain around us.

Dave
 

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Dodgers are great, but our criteria is all members of the crew should be able to look over the top while standing at the helm. If this criteria is met you have 360 degree visibility: a must in our opinion. We actually removed a so-called bimini with windshield on our recently purchased Beneteau 411 to install a bimini; expensive but well worth it
Pete
 

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Hey I’m not saying we wouldn’t love to have a dodger (and improving our canvas might be my winter 2013 project - here I come Sailrite!), I’m just saying it’s possible to get by without one and still have a good long sailing season. We had a heck of a lot more fun being out there in the 20 knot wind and 3 foot chop taking the spray and rain than we would have if we had stayed tied to the dock that weekend and I don’t think we would have complained as much that day if I hadn’t left our hot cocoa at home :eek:
 
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