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Old 11-30-2022, 10:41 PM   #1
City: Opua
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 11
Swift Trawler hardtop query

Hi, I am looking at a new Beneteau ST41' FLY.

Beneteau offer only a bimini for the flybridge but I have seen these on this model and appear to me to be very flimsy and not quite up to the job.

I have looked at many used examples of this model for sale and none have hardtops or even fixed soft tops.

My query is: does anyone know if there would be a stability or other issue with the extra weight and windage of a hardtop?
Any ideas would be appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:18 PM   #2
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City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 5,153
Hard tops can be made with foam core. Or you can repace the subrella fabric with lightweight panels such as polycarbonate. There may be some after-market folks who can fabricate one up relatively affordably. What works for you depends on location - cold/rain edges towards a full enclosure. Bit sun means cover but optional on the enclosure. If you're marina-bound, full enclosure plus A/C. You get the idea.

Properly constructed (foam vs plywood), weight should not be an issue. If you add an enclosure, windage will affect handling but would be manageable.

As a WAG, by the time you add underneath lights and frame, you are probably looking at around $15k for a hard top (no enclosure).

Good luck on your purchase

M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
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Old 12-01-2022, 10:13 AM   #3
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City: Oconto, WI
Vessel Name: Best Alternative
Vessel Model: 36 Albin Aft Cabin
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,589
I would stay with the bimini.

There are lots of times you will appreciate the sun, not wanting to be in the shade. In case of a bad blow you can lower the bimini. Worst case scenario, the wind tears it to shreds. You go buy a new one. A really bad blow on a rigid structure will cause some serious damage and expense.

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Old 12-01-2022, 12:51 PM   #4
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City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Black Dog
Vessel Model: Formula 41PC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 18,052
I put hardtops on 2 of our boats with flybridges. They were made by but I think that they closed up due to supply chain issues. I put a custom hardtop on one boat. I had it made by Atlantic Towers. It was very nice and was well made.
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Old 12-01-2022, 01:37 PM   #5
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City: New Bedford
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 38
+1 for Atlantic Towers. I just put one on my Mainship 40 and was very worried about weight. The entire top, including supports, is <200 pounds (approx 10'x11' so it's quite big). The old bimini frame weighed 50 to 70 so that difference was reduced, and I re-arranged where I kept some things to get some weight off the bridge. Overall, a minimal difference. They were good to work with. I don't believe the Swift is as top heavy as the Mainship.

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Old 12-01-2022, 07:41 PM   #6
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City: FL
Vessel Model: Benneteau Swift 42
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 453
I made a core hardtop, but hurricane made it disappear!!!!!

I'm reinstalling the original Bimini frame now and adding frame on it to mount two hard solar panels.
Then have a new sunbrella top made.

Not doing a hardtop again can't take the $$ loss due to wind
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Old 12-02-2022, 11:30 PM   #7
City: Gold Coast, Australia
Join Date: Dec 2022
Posts: 1
Hi There,

We were exactly in your position!

We are the owners of a Swift 41 Fly, and also wanted a better Flybridge cover to make better use of the Flybridge area with an enclosed solution. The sun here in Australia makes an uncovered flybridge practically unusable. We ended up having a custom cover designed with a fixed stainless frame and supports with a Stamoid material cover. We also added clears to the solution as well as 4 x 360 Watt solar panels and Lithium house batteries. We also added a Euro awning for the flybridge rear.

The short answer to your question, in our expereince, is that there is no practical difference to stability etc. Note that with the generator fitted and the two engines, there is a fair amount of weight down low, so I was not expecting a large affect.

In windy docking conditions we roll up the Clear windows to reduce windage effect.

We are very happy with our results and have plenty of solar capacity plus a great protected flybridge area. We now only need to use the generator for the electric oven and heavy use appliances etc.

I hope this helps.

Best Regards

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Old 12-03-2022, 12:18 AM   #8
City: Opua
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 11
Thanks for that - you've done exactly what I intend doing, subject to whatever else may have emerged on this forum. I also had intended fitting the solar panels as you have.
My new boat is due out of the factory in France in a week or so but it is still to be shipped to New Zealand where I live at the Bay of Islands.
It would be great if you would send the specs for the framing that you had made up.
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