Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bow and Forward Cabin Sun Shade for PDQ 32

We just spent four blistering hot days on the Chesapeake, and so I spent a little more time optimizing the use of a sun shade for front half of the boat. The prior owners left us the good quality 10' x 12' nylon tarp they had used, and I made that my starting point.

  • Paint. From my last boat, which had a similar shade, I learned that cloth shades often let too much heat through. If they are light-colored cloth too much penetrates there is too much bottom-side reflection. If they are dark, they absorb heat and re-radiate it downward. I have painted awnings with white latex paint and had fair results. In this case, I did not let it dry long enough and some of the pain stuck to itself; let it dry for several weeks and this should not be a problem. Perhaps there is a better paint choice, but I am sold on the bi-color results. Additionally, paint reduces fabric stretch, which is a help.
  • Genoa sheets. By setting the shade over the sheets, you can get more height and a wide range of shapes. Experiment.
  • Setting it lower on the rear edge, just above the open hatches, directs more air below. Yes, you have to duck under it, but it seemed worth it.
  • Cabin shading. Even if you are at the dock with the AC running, the shade reduces the load and makes it possible for the AC to keep up. If I were going to use AC a lot or going to the tropics, I would make an extension to cover the cabin behind the mast. 
Improvements? Eventually I will re-cut the tarp just a bit. A slight V in the leading edge will improve the fit. A 12' x 5' extension to cover the rest of the cabin.would be useful, but I will keep it separate.

A prior post described carrying the AC unit on deck: Keeping Cruise-N-Carry AC Unit On-deck

Would a more permanent version that could be kept up during squalls make sense? I don't think so. Nothing  is going to withstand a 60-knot gust and still fit in a stuff sack. Ease of setting more important, and this minimalist shade takes only a minute with practice.

Simple side extensions for the dodger help too, but in this case to keep out the rain. I have no wish for a full enclosure, particularly in the summer, but the short sides let too much spray in during heavy down pours, soaking the cockpit. I made some simple wings that solve the problem and roll up into nothing when not used.

Just a bit of nylon tent material and some Velcro I had lying about - only one fitting was added, a small pad eye just below and forward of the winch. The top edge is secured to sail slugs.

I love sitting in the cockpit during a downpour after a hot day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trivial Preparations

I follow blogs of people preparing to leave, more or less, forever; my preparations for our first one week cruise of the season pale in comparison, but there is always a list:
  • Non-skid added to cockpit steps. The lower cockpit seats have caused more than a few slips when wet in wild conditions. We decided to add 4-inch wide 3-M abrasive tape. That should do it. The steps inside as well. 
  • Spray curtains for the sides of the dodger. I don't like the full enclosure, but a bit more was needed. I made them from light nylon and they roll-up forward in a very small space.
  • AC unit stability. We have a Cruise-N-Carry and like to keep it on-deck. The adjustable leg slips, so I made 9/32" FRP pins to hold it. Also 1/2-inch EVA foam on the bottom to reduce sliding. A prior post described carrying the AC unit on deck: Keeping Cruise-N-Carry AC Unit On-deck
  • More PFDs. Why, we never wear them? Well, we often have as many as 10 people on board at anchor and I only have 7. Fortunately, we have a great marine thrift store nearby.
  • Oar broke when stepped on - fixed that.
Pretty short, really, and getting shorter each time. I'm running out of projects and risking boredom. I guess I'll just have to suffer through and relax in the shade with a book and a beer. I'll throw in some swimming, fishing, and socializing if it gets bad.