Bimini & Dodger

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Zanshin in the Water II Zanshin in the water at the Annapolis Boat Show
(2011-10-03 14:30:02 SGH-T959 [f/2.6, 1024/434688s] ISO 50)
[0°0'0"N 0°0'0"E ]
Zanshin in the Water II

While boat manufacturers like to present their vessels in brochures and other advertisements with their sleek lines unencumbered by either a bimini or a dodger/spray hood, the reality of life in the warmer climes is that life aboard is well-nigh impossible without a bimini and the dodger, while not quite indefensible, is another very important adjunct. Most biminis are designed using a sturdy and sun proof material such as Sunbrella© supported by a stainless steel tubing frame. These frames are usually installed in such a way as to allow the bimini to be folded back and tied down. This is necessary in very heavy weather and in strong winds and when the people in the cockpit area really need the sun. Most of the time, the tropical sunshine is so powerful that one wouldn't dream of taking down the bimini. The dodger / spray hood has a dual purpose in the tropics; it functions to keep the spray from the bow and topsides from going down the hatch and companionway during sailing but also does the same when at anchor and thus allows the hatch to remain open for ventilation, which is quite important below decks in the tropical heat. Since the boat swings into the wind while at anchor or on a mooring it keeps rain from going below - something that I've learned (the hard way) doesn't work when at a marina and when the rainstorm comes from aft.

Dodgers and biminis are always custom-made and a good one will allow access to all parts of the cockpit (including being able to use the winches with normal winch handles), retain visibility forward and also have a clear section to allow one to look up to the windex at the top of the mast and to see sail shape on the mainsail while keeping out the wind and the weather and, of course, the sun. Biminis designed for the tropics and the Caribbean in particular all have a common attribute - a removable or foldable flap all along the edge of the aft portion. Since the trade winds always blow from an easterly direction, the stern of boats invariably point into the sunset and the flap gives shade during that very important time around 1 hour before sunset ... namely Happy Hour!

Bimini stowed away Due to the 25+ winds gusting at times to over 35 knots, Bernd and I had rolled up the bimini and then used my dinghy line to ensure that it wouldn't come loose regardless of what the winds did.
(2011-12-13 15:55:49 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/7.1, 1/200s] ISO 100 Focus 2.24m)
Bimini stowed away
Zanshin cockpit cushions The comfortable cockpit cushions aboard Zanshin
(2013-02-08 11:42:31 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/4.5, 1/320s] ISO 100 Focus 3.16m)
[18°29'7.1"N 64°27'46.68"W (facing W)]
Zanshin cockpit cushions
Cockpit is cleaned The cockpit is cleaned up and traces of rust removed, the teak decks are swept and the sun is setting.
(2013-02-04 18:10:15 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/3.5, 1/25s] ISO 100 Focus ∞)
Cockpit is cleaned
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