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Old 10-11-2010, 09:04 PM   #1
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Ideas for our bimini enclosure

We are about a month out from a new bimini enclosure around the flybridge. We could use some ideas for thinks to add, things to avoid, things you added and don't use, things you wish you did when you got yours done, colors (although, I think we are going with a sand color with dark green piping).

We aren't adding any new bowing. We currently have a 5-bow rig that seems sturdy. We were originally going to only have three removable panels in front to protect us from weather. Well, we may opt for a full enclosure now. HOWEVER, all the panels must be able to be completely stowed, rolled up, and/or removed. We love the open air and want to drop the top sometimes, or just have a no-obstructions view from the flybridge. Nor are we fans of giant U-zipper "windows". We are going to have to have a few of them, but we don't want that to be the only portal to the outside world.

Love to hear your ideas. Here is a pic for reference.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:22 AM   #2
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Ideas for our bimini enclosure

One thing I recommend is no openings on the side windows. I never have used them. Just more of a PIA with smiles and zippers in the way.
Make sure the entire back panels are strraight so they can be roilled up. Our current boat the PO has a corner arounf each rear panel so they cannot be rolled up. We will be changing that this winter.
If you can make it so the front anels do not have to be rolled up that will be better. Several around my area can simply hold the smile panel up with a couple of velcro tabs or snaps to the bimini.
Make sure you have a lot of ventilation. Otherwise you can get mildew on the underside of the top.
Have them made with a sunbrella liner on the inside of the clear where the stainless bows are. This will protect the clear from yellowing from the heat.
Make sure it is tall enough so that when you are standing you do not have to duck to see out the side. My PO was short and this is a real PIA for me. I could use another 4 inches or so in height.
That's it from me.
EDIT...One more thought.
Have some fasteners or velcro sections on the inside to be able to hang a sheer panel. We made 2 panels that we can hang inside to give sun protection when at Anchor. They can be moved to another window as required. You only need 2 or 3 panels and if they are all the same you can move them around.


-- Edited by jleonard on Tuesday 12th of October 2010 05:24:02 AM
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:45 AM   #3
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Thanks for the tips.

We thought about a single smile zipper on each side where it doesn't hsve any of the bows in the way. Is that what you are implying is the issue? Or are you saying you leave them open all the time.

What make rolling them up a pian? Someone suggested FROWN zippers instead of smiles, but I see them being harder to deal with than smiles.

>>Have them made with a sunbrella liner on the inside of the clear where the stainless bows are. This will protect the clear from yellowing from the heat.

I'm not sure I understand this. Sorry.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:53 AM   #4
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

It seems to me that the Bimmini enclosures on both the trawlers I have owned were very (too) tight. This puts a lot of strain on the zippers and makes it difficult to join the zippers together. I bought both boats used with the enclosures already a few years old so don't know, maybe they were like that from the beginning, or the material has shrunk. Maybe someone who has owned one since new can clarify that point.
A friend had a couple of small half circle vents made at the fwd. port and staboard upper corners of his bimini front in addition to all the usual smileys. He can unzip these to get some ventilation under the top. When temps and sun are up it gets VERY hot in an enclosure.
I find it is easier to use the 'Lift a Dot" or twist type fasteners rather than the snaps and use them where possible.
We do open the Smileys in the side windows often for ventilation, but our boating is done in the South.
The sun panels are a very good suggestion we have some jury rigged with clips some made of a suncreening material to match the biminni would be nice.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:19 AM   #5
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Any close-up pics of some of these details would be great.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:45 AM   #6
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Gonzo, I realise this is not going to change your mind, but if I was you I'd save the money and just get a good cover for the bridge that fits over the windscreen and seats and keeps weather off the upstairs seat squabs, gear, and instruments when at the dock. Otherwise I reckon your bimini looks great as it is. It is after-all a fair weather steering position, and when its nasty it is best down below. I have found closed in flybridges always end up feeling like a hot house unless you open everything, or humid as hell if closed because of rain, even if calm conditions make it ok to be up there. That's before considering the windage, cleaning salt coating off so you can see out, etc, etc. But that's just me, I guess.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:51 AM   #7
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Thanks for the input Peter. Your make a good point, but there are a few things at play here. First, Out current bimini is over 15 years old if not older, so it HAS to be replaced. There is not an option to NOT have that done.

Next, driving from down below is really the LAST place I want to drive from and I will ONLY use it in extreme cases. I can see that your boat can have great visibility from the lower helm, however, ours does not. It's like trying to drive a car from inside the glovebox. So the plan is to really stretch the abilities of the flybridge. We NEED it to be an option in poor weather and on cooler days. Add to that, we don't have any nav electronics at the lower helm yet. We are still working on that.

Finally, part of the idea here is to do everything possible to avoid the hothouse feel that people complain about. We want to be able to totally remove the panels for all but the most questionable days. We'll likely not have them on even when we are away from the boat so the flybridge will normally stay open as you see it now, but with the OPTION to enclose three sides. Yes, that means we have to find a place to store the panels and I'm sure putting them up and taking them down will not be as easy as we hope, but we still want that option and will use it whenever we can.

Thanks again for the input.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:47 AM   #8
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Ideas for our bimini enclosure

My Sunbrella 4 sided enclosure has Strataglas and a Seaview glass insert in the front. On each side I can roll up one panel of Strataglas for cooling for the few hot days the PNW has to offer. The top and all 4 sides are up 24/7 and through wind, snow, sun and rain it still looks great after 4 seasons. I clean the Stratglas each spring and fall with the Strataglas supplied protector and cleaner. Storing the clear panels can be harder on them than leaving them up. To-date,*Strataglas has no UV or sun yellowing, much better the "eisenglas" products.

If it is made right and with good non-shrink products, you should have no problem with too tight zippers - some silicone zipper spray has been needed over the years though.

-- Edited by sunchaser on Tuesday 12th of October 2010 09:52:37 AM
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:04 AM   #9
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

For the top I would chose white on white for the outside , top surface to reflect heat, and the darkest color you like for the inside surface to help with eye fatigue.

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Old 10-12-2010, 10:14 AM   #10
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Any preference on material? We currently have Sea-Mark which is Sunbrella with a waterproof coating on the underside. It has limitations that will probably keep us from using it this time. It splits the fibers when the coating starts to split as it ages. We've been steered toward Sunbrella Plus for our new project.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:22 AM   #11
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

"We thought about a single smile zipper on each side where it doesn't hsve any of the bows in the way. Is that what you are implying is the issue? Or are you saying you leave them open all the time.

What make rolling them up a pian? Someone suggested FROWN zippers instead of smiles, but I see them being harder to deal with than smiles.

>>Have them made with a sunbrella liner on the inside of the clear where the stainless bows are. This will protect the clear from yellowing from the heat.

I'm not sure I understand this. Sorry."

Yes single smile each side as you plan. HOWEVER instead of rolling the smile up, simply bring it aft and up and attach to the underside of the bimini top. This way you won't be scratching it every time.

Sunbrella on the inside.....you know how many use pipe insulation around the stainless tube so it doesn't touch the clear? And some use those little plastic stand-offs? Have sunbrella sewn along the tube line to so it doesn't touch the clear. One of the canvas guys in my area does that and they look so much better than the rest.
Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of my previous boat that shows that feature.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:27 AM   #12
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Gonzo, I will say that if you boat in really hot areas that even a full enclosure with smileys everywhere will still inhibit the breeze. For optimum use, you would fully uninstall the enclosure in the Spring and then re install it in the fall. If you are implying that you will uninstall/reinstall every time you come down to the boat, that will be a major PIA as well as cause significant wear and tear and zippers and fasteners. Sunchasers last conditional statement may hold true for somebody that keeps their enclosures on 24/7, but EVERYTHING will shrink and expand with changes in temperature. I would NEVER attempt to re install the parts of my enclosure if it is cold outside. You will be incheS short at every junction not to mention the eisinglass will be as stiff as sheet metal. If it is cold outside, lock you gear in your car and crank up the heater for about an hour and then take out each piece as needed.

Colors....I think your color choices are excellent although green pipping may cause it to look a bit busy. I understand your reasoning but just think about it for a bit. I am up to renew my canvas as well and I am fighting the urge to do the same color with navy blue piping....but in the end, I will do solid because I know it will look better. The physical appearance of a boat is all about LINES. When you add piping, you add a bunch of EXTRA lines....just saying something to think about....it may very well look just fine. But most boats I see with piping while looking good at first glance....get tiring on the eyes...IOW, the look gets old quickly in my mind's eye....might be just personal preference.

I think what Steve is saying is true but I think the stuff just shrinks over time. And as much as I hate to say, nice taught canvas looks significantly better than stuff that shimmies in the breeze. Loose canvas looks sloppy.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:56 AM   #13
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

What a buddy of mine(Brent) does when he folds his up is to put towels at the lip of the smiley and then roll it up. That way the zippers do not touch the eisinglass.

Also, what the PO did on my boat to prevent the tubes from touching the glass was to put some velcro "fuzzy stuff" that is the same color as the canvas....looks good and does it's job. Pic below...dunno if you will be able to see it.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:17 PM   #14
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Quote:
Baker wrote:

Gonzo, I will say that if you boat in really hot areas that even a full enclosure with smileys everywhere will still inhibit the breeze. For optimum use, you would fully uninstall the enclosure in the Spring and then re install it in the fall. If you are implying that you will uninstall/reinstall every time you come down to the boat, that will be a major PIA as well as cause significant wear and tear and zippers and fasteners.
No... We would only use the panels as weather dictates. They will likely stay off through the summer and only go on in the fall. The front panels will go on in light rain as needed during the season. We far prefer the open feel.

*

Now I see what you and Peter are talking about regarding the bows. Good tip. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:42 AM   #15
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Tom, do you still have your boat at Fairfield Harbor? I would be interested in knowing who you've looked at to do the work, and feedback when you're done. I'm looking at bimini replacement, probably in the spring, and any canvas guy in the New Bern/Oriental area is in range for us.

PS Did you ever get anything useful out of that Princess stove?

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Old 10-13-2010, 10:25 AM   #16
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RE: Ideas for our bimini enclosure

Yes... We are currently still at Northwest Creek Marina.

As you will find out, about everyone that has a Sailrite machine calls themselves a canvas professional. Some are good, but most only think they are good. It's hard to tell. You have to find owners that have used them and pick their brains for what they really think.

We contacted a few people (maybe 10). However, MOST wouldn't return our calls, email, voice messages (which seems typical of business people in Eastern NC from what we have found out) or show up for appointments. It's frustrating. We had it narrowed down to three (about the only ones to return our call). Hours after we put a deposit down on one of them, we had two people in the marina tell us about the nightmare they had doing biz with them. So we canceled our plan to use them and went with a friend-of-a-friend in Oriental.

TBH, I'd really rather not name names (not openly anyway). The company we chose was not the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. The interaction with them as we draw closer has been ok... but only just ok. Certainly, we've had to wait a while to get scheduled, but like I mentioned earlier, they don't like to return calls or messages. Still, the work we have seen has been top-notch.

As for the stove... I fiddled around with it and ended up giving it away for free again. We had hoped it would be a near drop-in replacement in the cooktop-only space we have. It wasn't. It seemed to work ok, but I didn't want to do major mods to the galley just to have an oven when we really could use a convection microwave.
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