Hard dodgers and covered cockpits

WmHill

New member
I would love to get some opinions and ideas on hard dodgers. I have traditionally been pretty dismissive of them, but for the past several years I have been spending time on a Cooper 410 on SF Bay whose original owner added a steel and glass cockpit enclosure that I have a love-hate relationship with. It is butt-ugly, the glass when spray-covered, degrades visibility, and it interferes with cockpit-foredeck access. HOWEVER, there is a huge charm to sailing in shirtsleeves on gray, wet, and windy days, especially for non-sailor guests.

As the concept for my dream coastal cruiser takes shape (50-ish feet), and this could be age-induced lameness, but shade and warmth are starting to have their attractions. I am beginning to lean in the direction of a hard dodger. Anyone have any stellar examples of such in mind?

Presidio_YC2-Edit3.jpg

 

armido

Anarchist
787
0
Varies
All the complaints you have are valid and good reason to think twice about adding a dodger, but this "...and it interferes with cockpit-foredeck access" is in my view the most compelling reason. Also, unless you are a deep pockets sailor the cost stings. :ph34r:

 

bljones

Super Anarchist
1,431
0
CA
WmHill, if you're going to look at a hard dodger on a 50'ish boat, might as well go whole hog and consider a deck saloon /pilothouse, with dual stations.

 

py26129

Super Anarchist
2,882
217
Montreal
Whiel nto a hard dodger, I think our current setup provides the best of both worlds.

We have a bimini that Covers the whole cockpit with panels that can be zipped in to provide a full enclosure.

With the panels off, we get full access form the cockpit to the foredeck and we get every bit of breeze on those stinking hot days.

When the weather gets funky, we zip in only the panels we really need. The three forward ones effectively add the dodger.

Oxygen tent up

Capture.PNG

Bimini only

DSC_0952_003.JPG

 

zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,553
551
Lopez Island
Had a hard dodger on my Cal 2-46 that I lived on for 12 years in the PNW, when I first saw the boat in Hawaii I swore it would be the first thing I would take off, learned to love it. The previous owner who was a rennaissance man (Don Anderson who died wind surfing in Hood River) designed and built it. Very Perry-esque. If they are in proportion and the angle of the dangle is right they can add to the appearance of a boat. My current boat has a hard windshield with a Tricia Shattauer Dodger on it, windows in the front open for air when needed, wouldn't be without one on a cruising boat again.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,282
Edgewater, MD
I really, really dislike hard, total enclosures that completely cut you off from your environment.

I think it reduces your "feel" for what the boat is doing, in weather which in turn, inhibits your response.

If you have to have a full enclosure, Py26129's zip-in, modular configuration is the way to go.

 

thinwater

Super Anarchist
1,062
144
Deale, MD
I really, really dislike hard, total enclosures that completely cut you off from your environment.

I think it reduces your "feel" for what the boat is doing, in weather which in turn, inhibits your response.

If you have to have a full enclosure, Py26129's zip-in, modular configuration is the way to go.
While there is truth in this response, there is room for expansion:

* If the weather is cold rain or worse, I'm OK with being cut off from that.

* Skin cancer. Sunscreen is good, but shade is better. If it runs in the family you cannot understate the importance.

* Feel. That is actually only something you need to adjust to. Unless the hardtop is combined with a complete enclosure (I don't like those well either, unless motoring in cold conditions, and even them I wind I like to be able to poke my head out for better visibility and to listen) you can still hear everything and still feel a percentage of the wind. Just as sensation is reduced between a dingy and a cruiser, the information is still there, just damped. My first hard top through me for a few months, now I am completely accustomed.

* Time. A full enclosure can really slow deck access.

Though side panels are available for mine, I have no interest in them. On the other hand, if I lived aboard they would come out at dock when the temperature dipped to a certain point.

 

WmHill

New member
I really, really dislike hard, total enclosures that completely cut you off from your environment.

I think it reduces your "feel" for what the boat is doing, in weather which in turn, inhibits your response.

If you have to have a full enclosure, Py26129's zip-in, modular configuration is the way to go.
While there is truth in this response, there is room for expansion:

* If the weather is cold rain or worse, I'm OK with being cut off from that.

* Skin cancer. Sunscreen is good, but shade is better. If it runs in the family you cannot understate the importance.

* Feel. That is actually only something you need to adjust to. Unless the hardtop is combined with a complete enclosure (I don't like those well either, unless motoring in cold conditions, and even them I wind I like to be able to poke my head out for better visibility and to listen) you can still hear everything and still feel a percentage of the wind. Just as sensation is reduced between a dingy and a cruiser, the information is still there, just damped. My first hard top through me for a few months, now I am completely accustomed.

* Time. A full enclosure can really slow deck access.

Though side panels are available for mine, I have no interest in them. On the other hand, if I lived aboard they would come out at dock when the temperature dipped to a certain point.
I really like the approach taken by New Morning. Having the helm in the open with the forward cockpit well-covered looks like an excellent compromise.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.05.24 AM.png

 
The challenge with any add on dodger, hard or soft, is to preserve visibility for sail handling. Many manufacturers position winches such that once a dodger goes on, you can't see what's happening at the other end of the line.

We cruised short handed like most cruisers so the AP is driving the boat 95% of the time. We wanted good visibility for sail handling and steering, and protection the other 95% of the time when standing watch. It doesn't matter if it's tropical sun or temperate latitude wind and cold, you need protection for those 6-8hrs a day that you are on watch alone.

I fully agree with the comment about not wanting to be closed in as is the case with pilot houses or boats with a helm station in a raised saloon. We found that being open aft provided very good protection while still giving us a feel for what was going on, as well as quick access to sail control lines and the helm. And on the hook, which is 80%+ of the time for cruisers, the protection is also welcome.

There are almost no cruisers without a dodger, and almost no production boat is designed to integrate a dodger. When do you think they'll figure it out?

 




Top