Windows for the Hard dodger! Hopefully, this brings to a close the ten year long saga of the evolution of the hard dodger.
The dodger is currently in the shop again. This time just for repairs. A little rot and delamination repair and a re-paint. The 2009 version is a keeper.
This winter, I also hope to finally get soft windows professionally built for early and late season use.
Currently getting ready for re-assembly on Version IV of the Dodger, I am very pleased with the results so far. Hard to believe it took four major attemtps for me to finally achieve what I had been imagining all this time... sigh.
Well, as you may or may not know, this dodger project is going into it's third season... Third version... What started out as an avoidance of paying someone $1,000 to build a canvas dodger because my sewing skills weren't up to doing it myself, (Canvas dodger I built previously, failed in three yrs, due to crappy sewing) has turned into an obsession with building a stitch and glue dodger that is not only complementary to the looks of the Bristol, but sturdy, utilitarian and easy to build, too.
I'm doing it ad-hoc as it were, with no designs, not even a firm idea of how to get to what I'm visualizing and had no stitch and glue experience when I started. It has been a journey, to say the least. So, 3 yrs, 3 versions, $4,000 cash money and about $10,000 worth of my time later, I'm almost there.
I've still got to do the side curtains, but going into the summer season, I'm not too motivated on anything other than sailing right now, so they can wait. I'm sure that sometime between now and the cold fall winds, there'll be a rainy day or three.
I had several goals with this version.
- Get the lines to match the boat, better. done.
- Make it stiffer. done.
- Lighter, done.
- Get it to look like it belongs there. Eaah. From certain angles, it does look right at home.
My biggest mistake this time around was not re-building the template for shaping the front lip. The front corners of the dodger ended up away from the dodger lip and it just looks odd.
I'm very pleased with the windows. The first version had acrylic windows. That didn't work, because the only reason for having the dodger on year round is shade and rain cover for the hatchway. We needed airflow through it. Even opening acrylic windows would still have reduced airflow over no windows. So, version two had just snap on soft vinyl windows. They were all right, but a little fragile to deal with.
I'm still not happy with the slope of the front and wish I would have rounded the roof edges even more. And, I'm not too fond of the shape of the rear struts.
But, aside from that, the latest version of the dodger has exceeded my expectations. I'm especially fond of the bright underside and how it seems to be a part of the boat. And stiff? I had heard the combination of Cedar and resins was very strong. I am truly amazed at how stiff this version is, despite cutting the size of the rear struts to less than half the size they were on previous version. Now understandably, some of this stiffness comes from the inherent strength of a more arch-like shape. But I am still simply amazed every time a grab hold of both rails and shake it for all I'm worth. It barely budges, whereas the previous versions felt like I might rip them right off the boat.
Anyway, This is my last update on the dodger for a while. At least until I do the side curtains, some time this year. Using it, is now the focus...
Go Sailing, eh?