eastbay

Dodger or no?

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So I'm thinking of eventually sailing south from SF Bay towards warmer climes in my Cal 34.

The boat has no dodger. Should I spend the +/- $4 boat bucks to get one? I don't like the closed in feeling and lack of visibility when I've been on OPB's that have one, but they do seem like it would provide a good place to stuff wet foulies......

I'm also lacking a sea hood, or whatever we're calling the cover over the sliding companionway hatch.

I'm mulling in general the difference between spending a lot of money getting properly outfitted versus fack it just get in and go (after replacing the through hulls, the standing rigging, and dropping/evaluating the rudder).

Side note- I recently went to shut the valve for the head output through hull and noticed corrosion around the valve handle. While wire brushing that area off I noticed water weeping. Further investigation showed that the bronze elbow just above the ball valve was leaking through its wall which was tissue thin. Big time bummer had it failed completely at night offshore or even in the slip! A reminder to check all those through hulls, valves and fittings! This is on a 1979 boat, no idea if it was the original.

Thanks for thoughts on the dodger and/or sea hood

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A dodger is wonderful when you are standing watch in cold and/or sloppy conditions.  Unless you're racing, get a dodger.  The first few nights after leaving San Francisco can be be miserable (or they can be great), but even in the tropics getting doused by the rain and seas can become fatiguing.

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+1, if sailing off shore, get a dodger.

Don't know your offshore experience, but mine has taught me that no dodger is a PITA, and when cold, raining and/or windy a dodger is better (much).

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Agreed , if not racing , get a dodger .

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  Having a dodger is the only way to keep all or most of the companionway open during inclement weather. A closed comp means a hot, humid, smelly interior. Unless you're far enuf North, then it's just humid & smelly. An open comp keeps the air circulation going strong.

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1 hour ago, longy said:

  Having a dodger is the only way to keep all or most of the companionway open during inclement weather. A closed comp means a hot, humid, smelly interior. Unless you're far enuf North, then it's just humid & smelly. An open comp keeps the air circulation going strong.

Excellent point.  At anchor or in the slip, the dodger is essentially a very large wind scoop (or vacuum scoop), and helps greatly with the air circulation.  Get an air scoop / rain hood for the foredeck hatch and working with the dodger it will make a world of difference on those hot days in the tropics.  You do need some wind for this to work, but there's usually at least a little.

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Dodgers are ugly, slow and unseamanlike. They are always in the way, ruin forward visibility and make most coach roof mounted winches inaccessible at best and unusable more often. Most are poorly designed and poorly constructed and ridiculously expensive.

The $4000 you mention is a big part of anyone's cruising funds. There are much better ways to waste it than on a piece of canvas that gets in your way and looks like crap.

Don't get me started on biminis ...

 

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You can take if off or fold it down if its in the way, but you cant put one up  in shitty conditions if you don't have one.

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Other than the uses at anchor, where it may provide enough windage to stablilize your boat, as well as exhausting cabin air. It can improve the readability of instruments that are mounted under it, while offering the ability with thought out pockets to stow binoculars, flashlights etc for ready access. 

If you have an autopilot, then the dodger gives a nice place to sit out of the rain, sun,  spray and wind while offshore, or just motoring in a drizzle. If you have to be back in the aft end of the cockpit to steer, it may help a bit on spray, not so much on the other stuff (hence the Bimini...) 

Putting sufficient clear panels to minimize visibility loss, and making the frame strong enough for  300# to hang off, with aft and side grab rails is important

It also makes reefing and dousing the main a bit more challenging, you probably will want lazy jacks or other systems to compensate for lost access to your cabin top.

 

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If you are heading south, get a bimini too.

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$4K sounds like a lot; probably the high cost of living in SF means canvas workers have to charge a lot as well.

But I'd pony up for one. Make SURE it extends far enough aft that the person on watch can get under it if it is raining. So about 2' min aft of the companionway.

In the tropics, a zippered center window is a nice feature, but you need fabric flaps on the outside of the zipper to keep the spray from entering when zipped up.

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The votes so far are near unanimous in favor, with one dissenter. Quite persuasive. I believe that I'll be ordering one up.

The lack of sea hood complicates the decision tree- build a sea hood first? Go without? I'd really like to have a sea hood, but at my current rate of project completion it will take me about 20 years to build it and even then it will be a POS. Sigh. I really cant afford to pay someone the $100/hr to do it.....

But first comes the new traveler! I should post some photos but the existing traveler which the PO installed, relocating the position from the cockpit to the cabin top, has risers which were apparently cast aluminum with perhaps sand pocket inclusions, so it is pitting and corroding badly. I'm thinking of going with a Garhauer set up (another boat buck) and going straight rail instead of cambered with the cabin top. Anyone have any thoughts on Garhauer or curved rails?

Thanks for the help!

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I've got a Garhauer traveler and it's pretty good but not great. The balls aren't captive, which is a PITA if/when you need to put the car on or off the track. They used a mixture of Torlon and delrin balls to save cost, and the sheave/fairlead arrangement is fairly high friction. It all works fine and it's hell for stout but not as smooth as I'd like.

Regarding curvature, how long is the track? 

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I don't think anyone made a bad choice by picking a Harken traveler.

I've Garhauer travelers on other boats and have had similar experiences to IStream.

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Seahoods are a very good idea for offshore boats. They are not hard to build. I build one in Mexico, on the deck of our 30' boat, at anchor.

Make a mold:

Build a frame of 2x4, 2x6 or whatever size wood is required to fit high enough over your hatch

Use thin formica for the curved top surface over top of 1/4" plywood or something 

Fill the corners with a bondo fillet. Fill any imperfections in the wood frame with bondo and sand smooth

Wax the inside surface 5x with a decent hard paste car wax. One without silicone. Carnuba type is fine

Lay up a few layers of glass - about 3mm / 1/8" thick

Add core - foam or balsa, min 12mm / 1/2" thick

Lay up further inside layer - about 3mm / 1/8" thick

Remove from mold (break apart mold if you want)

Trim edges with router or jigsaw

Paint, add nonskid on top

See drawing

You only need a 3 sided box for a seahood but build the mold with 4 sides; keeps the resin drips contained.

sea hood mold.jpg

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Zonker- VERY cool! Thanks tons for taking the time. That is what I'm agonna do.

The traveler track is 5' long. I'll price out the Harken, and I know that it is top shelf all the way, but last time I looked into it I thought that it was about twice as expensive (+/- $2k vs 1k) and if that is the case I may still go Garhauer as long as it's strong and it works.

I think both of these should be completed before I try to get a dodger fitted, so I'll be working some OT to secure da funds. We lookin about 5 grand easy (w/dodger) or about 1/3 of the boat's value FCOFL. 

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5' is long enough that with a straight track your mainsheet tension will change significantly as you drop the traveler. Whether that's a big enough issue to justify the complexities of spec'ing and installing a curved track is for you to decide. If you're just cruising and/or you'd be readjusting it anyway, I'd keep it simple and go straight.

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The Harken stuff with non-captive balls in the cars often goes for low prices, so used could significantly undercut a new Garhauer and outperform it.  Hopefully there are swaps nearby.

The Garhauer does work and is a better choice than none, it just binds more easily under load and has more friction so it is harder to adjust.  

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is it easy to get down a companionway with a sea hood? or is a duck under thing?

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Depends on the geometry of everything - but in general you're going down backwards. To achieve a dodger high enuf not to crouch underr would result in the ugliest telephone booth appearance imaginable. Refer to the "ugly dodger "thread. In general top of dodger should just clear head with hat on when sitting under it, and cushion under butt.

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Have a mk1 Cal 34. Came with a dodger. It stays in my garage and I used it on 1 Catalina trip ( out of 3 in the past year or so) . There are a couple issues with it on the 34. The side decks are quite narrow and the dodger made getting in and out of the cockpit far more difficult. It is made to be just under the boom, and our boat has been modified with a wheel. Visibility driving is horrible. The Cal cockpit is also quite long, so it didn't provide much protection in a large % of cockpit. I would recommend just skipping it and heading out. Easy to add later if you really want. As far a shade at anchor, just get a really nice sun shade with battens that is simple to put up. I think the extra cabin top hatch on the mk3 would be the biggest help to airflow besides a windscoop on the forward hatch. We run a couple small 12v fans if it gets real hot

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A seahood is over the deck in front of the sliding hatch. Doesn't affect your going below at all.

Forgot to suggest on construction notes: make a upstand/lip on the aft edge of the seahood. Keeps drips from falling down into cabin and is a useful place to attach dodger fabric. Also stiffens the unsupported edge if it about 1/2" high or more.

This is a nice way to do it with plastic boltrope track screwed into the coaming and seahood lip.

image.raw?view=image&type=orig&id=73

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one last word of "wisdom" from "60.000 miles with the dodger": there are many times when a dodger makes the difference between living & just existing/vegetating...

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Eastbay you are relocating the mainsheet  to the cabin top so give the companion way hatch garage and dodger some carefull thought. Where will the main sheet be controlled from.

Sometimes on smaller craft it pays to have a lower profile dodger with or without clears  so you can easily see over it whilst sailing and install the largest Bimini you can fit to provide at anchor cover from the sun and rain also it can offer up some realestate for solar if required.

 

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+1  Design-height for my dodger is the position of my nose in bare feet.  

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^^^^ This and a mistake made by many either being too low or too high. Athsetics important as something that doesn't carry existing lines and shapes will look like shit.

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That's perfect height. Also slope the top slightly forward. It will look nicer.

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Most dodgers are permanent installations that cannot easily be folded down (except some Nordic sourced boats). I have a hard top dodger than was designed to fold flush to the deck, it takes less than 5 minutes to do so. When down, the view is clear and the wind unobstructed, which is very nice. We have been from more than 50 deg North to about 20 degrees of lat. Very rarely have I put the dodger down. In the north, you need it for rain and wind protection. In the south, you need it for sun protection. 

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Wait, what??? Cal 34??  Of the same vintage as me nontheless... I thought you hated lead mines??

What happened to the ultralight cruising dreams on the Corsair 24?  Can you ship that over to me please? :)

Dodger at nose height barefoot is perfect. Lower and you get blasted full face by rain/spray when standing, higher and you have to stand on cockpit seats to see anything through spray covered front windows.

Don't buy cheap vinyl windows!  Get UV and Scratch-resistant treated vinyl, 60mil if possible, or better if you intend to leave up 99% of the time, a polycarbonate such as Macrolon is even better 

Consider Top Gun or Weather max materials, they have better dimensional stability long-term than Sunbrella and won't get baggy.  Sunbrella, made from acrylic, is still king for UV longevity, though, so maybe better to just deal with bagginess if you're staying at the lower latitudes.

PM me if you need a Macrolon source out there, I'll get my people to talk to your people.

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18 hours ago, nlmasopust said:

Consider Top Gun or Weather max materials, they have better dimensional stability long-term than Sunbrella and won't get baggy.  Sunbrella, made from acrylic, is still king for UV longevity, though, so maybe better to just deal with bagginess if you're staying at the lower latitudes.

PM me if you need a Macrolon source out there, I'll get my people to talk to your people.

What do you think of Stamoid fabric?  I've got it on my dodger and it seems good.  Definitely waterproof.

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On 5/9/2018 at 3:49 AM, Zonker said:

A seahood is over the deck in front of the sliding hatch. Doesn't affect your going below at all.

Forgot to suggest on construction notes: make a upstand/lip on the aft edge of the seahood. Keeps drips from falling down into cabin and is a useful place to attach dodger fabric. Also stiffens the unsupported edge if it about 1/2" high or more.

This is a nice way to do it with plastic boltrope track screwed into the coaming and seahood lip.

image.raw?view=image&type=orig&id=73

What are the benefits of a seahood? Is it to make the hatch more weather proof?

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Yes, exactly. Otherwise the leading edge of the sliding hatch is a prime spot to get water into the boat. It's hard to seal with just a gasket. You'll find out when you start taking greenish water or even heavy spray on the cabin top.

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The plastic bolt rope trick is a good one where applicable. Make sure a flap of cloth overlaps the outside so the UV doesn't eat it. The stuff we used is PVC and fairly rigid, but can be heat bent with care. To keep from using a million screws we used Plexus to attach it to the carbon hard top - no holes at all (you can see it through the windows in the picture. 

In other places, the normal attachment is to use the half twist lock things or perhaps the snap studs. I despise them. They are poorly made of weak materials, invariably corrode and break. In addition, Sunbrella shrinks and stretches with use, so these attachment are never in the right place. I did something different on mine and is has worked brilliantly, "though I say so my self and shouldn't". There is a pocket of sailcloth sewn behind the Sunbrella into which a light carbon rod is installed. The pocket also has some loops of light webbing sewn, through which bungie cord is threaded, tied off at the ends. The bungie is hooked onto SS hooks on the coaming. This pulls the carbon rod down and against the coaming. Very simple to put on and take off, accommodates the movement of the Sunbrella, is covered by a flap and invisible. The SS hooks are forever, the bungie and carbon rod easily replaceable if ever needed (it has not been). 

Dodger.jpg.473845372cb17215aaa82c4cf3bbe017.jpg

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On 5/18/2018 at 6:18 AM, valis said:

What do you think of Stamoid fabric?  I've got it on my dodger and it seems good.  Definitely waterproof.

Stamoid is a very good product.  It has a long track record.  They must use an excellent UV inhibitor in the vinyl as it seems to last a long time without cracking.  The only other vinyl coated polyester that comes close is a German product called Valmex, which is also very good.

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Nice solution @DDW 

Re “carbon rod” =  “broom handle”

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On 5/16/2018 at 9:29 PM, nlmasopust said:

Wait, what??? Cal 34??  Of the same vintage as me nontheless... I thought you hated lead mines??

What happened to the ultralight cruising dreams on the Corsair 24?  Can you ship that over to me please? :)

Dodger at nose height barefoot is perfect. Lower and you get blasted full face by rain/spray when standing, higher and you have to stand on cockpit seats to see anything through spray covered front windows.

Don't buy cheap vinyl windows!  Get UV and Scratch-resistant treated vinyl, 60mil if possible, or better if you intend to leave up 99% of the time, a polycarbonate such as Macrolon is even better 

Consider Top Gun or Weather max materials, they have better dimensional stability long-term than Sunbrella and won't get baggy.  Sunbrella, made from acrylic, is still king for UV longevity, though, so maybe better to just deal with bagginess if you're staying at the lower latitudes.

PM me if you need a Macrolon source out there, I'll get my people to talk to your people.

Hey! Whachoo want with a little tri- I thought you had a new toy, what was it- a platypus?:P As it is the dodger question is longer term mulling over as I'm leaving on or about July 1 to tow the 242 to the Yucatan (behind a 1993 Ford E250 van) and sail down the coast through Belize to the Rio Dulce. I've got three months to do that trip, so ultralight cruising is upon us! The Cal is my current liveaboard and relatively soon to be (2 years +/-) retirement home. Same vintage as you? Really?? Fuck I'm old. Lemme know if you're going to be in this hemisphere and want to camp on a tramp over clear blue water!

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1 hour ago, HFC Hunter said:

Nice solution @DDW 

Re “carbon rod” =  “broom handle”

A broom handle might be just a little stiff. You want the rod to bend easily and conform to the shape. I believe I used 1/8" carbon rod. Fiberglass rod or small wood dowel probably would be fine as well, but since the whole dodger top is carbon, why not?

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solutions like yours DDW ensure you don't waste your time on pesky sleep, just lie awake all night boiling down ideas into workable solutions. 

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On a rainy and windy overnight trip from Mallorca to the mainland, dodger standing up and almost blocking forward vision, I had the impression that there was "something" in our way and looked over the side. There was an enormous tanker slowly crossing us squarely, with just the running lights on, which made it almost invisible. We were in a friend's boat,  not mine; since then I refuse to have dodgers up at night whatever the weather, and I don't have it on my own boat. I don't question its usefulness but they can be dangerous. 

 

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5 hours ago, kotick said:

On a rainy and windy overnight trip from Mallorca to the mainland, dodger standing up and almost blocking forward vision, I had the impression that there was "something" in our way and looked over the side. There was an enormous tanker slowly crossing us squarely, with just the running lights on, which made it almost invisible. We were in a friend's boat,  not mine; since then I refuse to have dodgers up at night whatever the weather, and I don't have it on my own boat. I don't question its usefulness but they can be dangerous. 

 

If something's obstructing your vision, it's your job as skipper to look around it. Dodgers are only dangerous if poorly designed for you and your boat AND you don't bother to take those design faults into account when observing your surroundings. My jib blocks my vision to the lee, should I stop using it?

#dontblametheboat

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I was not the skipper at the time. I don't think the dodger design was to blame but these clear soft plastic jobs are not so clear in rainy nights. I prefer not to use anything that can hamper my vision. And yes, I use a jib, most of the time, I have found that it increases somewhat my boatspeed...  :)

 

 

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8 hours ago, kotick said:

I don't think the dodger design was to blame but these clear soft plastic jobs are not so clear in rainy nights.

Well actually it was blame. A properly designed dodger from the wheel you look over it, not through it. Your bad experience with a shit designed dodger is not very helpful.

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Keep it clean!  No better way to get fouled than a Dodger.  Put the $$'S into good foul weather gear and a union suite.  Sail the lower Maine coast from April to Thanksgiving that way.  Keep sets for 4 people onboard.  Enjoy the trip.  Did it a few times back on the early '80's.

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9 hours ago, M-34 said:

Put the $$'S into good foul weather gear and a union suite. 

Mmmm..let me guess..you have one of these?20180525_210928_Tapio_Lehtinen_Purjehdus.jpg.846ed340894aedd227cc42d12f7deb60.jpg

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Yesterday, height of summer around these parts, 65 degrees F, 20+.

No dodger? No boating with family. No boat.

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29 minutes ago, Alcatraz5768 said:

No boating with family. Fun boating. 

Not so sure about that. my 12 year old just won her pram Silver Fleet championship. She'll be better than I ever was....

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