The next BIG Project!
17 June 2016 | Herrington Harbour South, Friendship MD
In between getting our sailing legs back under us, we've decided to commit to adding the new center-cockpit hard top on SV Take Me There! this summer. The photo is a crude rendering of the concept.
Our old bimini has outlived its usefulness. The Sunbrella fabric (top) is starting to wear out; snaps are giving way as the material shrinks; Isenglass is fading; it is leaking when it rains - its time for the "evolution!"
We've shopped around and settled on a fiberglass tradesman in the area who specializes in tops. Our greatest concern in adding this type of structure to the boat is the ergonomics and the weight.
We will go with a cored fiberglass (custom) dodger and extended top that will provide a water-shield in the front (as one integral unit) and canvass curtains to enclose the surround. There are lots of extra "I wants!" These will depend on whether they fit into the budget including: Preserve the teak cockpit cap-rail trim (we like the look); mainsail viewing windows, windshield wipers, a top I can walk on (198 lbs), solar panel mounting space, hidden wiring (to mount instruments and solar wiring in the top) and the dodger/top must be able to be removed (by 2-men) in sections to restore the original design of the boat. We must also be able to efficiently use all of our winches mounted on the cockpit cap-rim.
Canvass surround will be a separate budget item that will include Isenglass, bug/sun screening and winter insulation layers. We will heat and cool the cockpit as well since we spend a lot of time in it (hey - its our front porch)!
Our project is in the design stage - hence the musings below:
Ergonomics: We are very particular about the look of our new addition - it must "fit" into the lines of our classic Gulfstar silhouette. We do not want a "What the HELL is that thing stuck on the top of that boat" reaction! Vince Lazarra did well with the lines on the M53 motor-cruiser and the 54 Sailmaster. We are seeking the same harmony. We will extend the top beyond the rear cockpit boundary (toward the mizzen mast) to cover the spread of triple-winch set across the master-stateroom coach-roof. We will add a main-boom traveler on the back side of the top which will require "engineering" to bring the traveler control lines into the cockpit. We will also add a boom-stay/cradle to carry the main-boom when the topping lift is relaxed. The dodger must "mate" the cockpit and salon coach-roof with a seamless look which may mean creative engineering with how the windshield is formed - straight surfaces are cheaper but ergonomics will likely require a "softer" approach (formed glass).
Weight: We considered King/Star Board...too heavy! We explored Stainless/Aluminum superstructure with a hard top and an all-curtain surround (might as well go back to a bimini)! The answer - custom-cored fiberglass...hence tradesman skills are required vs ordering something off the shelf and modifying the design.
Disassembly: Although the new enclosure will through-bolt to the cockpit and be able to take green water over the bow, the top can be removed and the original lines of the vessel can be preserved.
I will post drawings/pictures throughout our design and build phases. The first requirement: The Admiral must be happy with the concept design before any money is spent - but we are committed to doing this before the end of the summer!