The dodger and bimini on The Cat's Meow were a faded shade of green and were at the end of their useful life when we bought the boat. I like the color green, and I like cats. But I can't say I like green cats or green dodgers, so the day we bought her we knew we'd soon replace the green with new cadet gray canvas. The job is just about complete and we are quite pleased with it.
It's always an interesting experience to design a dodger for a boat. In this case, the stainless steel framework was already installed and was in good condition. The challenge was to use the existing frame to redesign the dodger so it meets our specific needs. I like to be able to see over the dodger from the helm and Lisa doesn't like to have to duck under it. Since I'm about seven inches taller than her I was able to adjust the height to accommodate us perfectly. This involved lowering it about three inches by cutting a little off the frames and adjusting the angles of them a bit.
I think most of the dodgers I see around my marina are too tall and clunky looking, which is surprising since virtually all dodgers are custom made. I am also of the opinion that most of the time, the person who designs the dodger gives little consideration to the aesthetic effect of the dodger on the overall look of the boat. I understand that their primary purpose is to provide protection from wind and spray but I'm not prepared to sacrifice style for the minimal added protection of a taller dodger. So, perfectionist that I am, I took dimensions and photographs and made CAD drawings of the whole thing superimposed on the profile of the boat and puttered around with it until I was satisfied with it. Then I adjusted the angles of the frames this way and that until I had it all just so. When all that was done, I passed this information on to Dan at Harbor Custom Canvas in Long Beach and he, being a master dodger builder, converted it into reality. We had them build the dodger on our last boat and found their workmanship and service to be excellent in all respects then, and they did another outstanding job on the Finisterra.
|Lots of Strataglass for good visibility, a full length grab rail and a zippered roll-up section amidships|
We had snaps fitted to the sides and back, and a zipper on the forward side. These are for side curtains and a filler piece that connects the dodger to the bimini and provides shade over the entire cockpit. The side curtains will be made of polypropylene mesh and will attach to the top rails of the pulpits and lifelines. The mesh is fairly see-through and lets the breeze pass through as well.
|This view gives a sense of the proportions of the dodger and bimini|
|Dodger + filler + bimini = comfortable cockpit|