Complete new bimini/dodger/enclosure H38 - Ideas, Tips, Recommendations?

Apr 2, 2021
167
Hunter 38 On the move
I'm hoping to have a complete new bimini/dodger made prior to moving south in November. Currently have the original and is in very poor shape.

I'd love to raise the dodger and also have a full enclosure with removable side sections with eisenglass and bug screens.

Has anyone gone down this road? Any recommendations, lessons learned? What did it cost?

I'm in Hilton Head if anyone has recommendations in the area.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,777
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Rather than make a long post of dodger/bimini/full enclosure specifications suggest taking a look at this link California (marinercanvas.com) and photos of a dodger/bimini/full enclosure on a Hunter 38 below and here: Hunter 38 Dodger Bimini Enclosure Gallery - Sportech Sails - Custom Sails, Boat Covers, and Biminis in Niagara . For dodger windows I specify Tuffak® (formerly Makrolon®) Marine 5 Flexible Polycarbonate Sheets. An internet search for a marine canvas shop near Hilton Head shows two in or near in Hilton Head marine canvas shop near hilton head - Bing . I installed a dodger and full bimini on my Hunter 386 and 46. Cannot speak to the cost in Hilton Head but in San Francisco bay I would expect to pay ~$20,000 for a dodger/bimini/full enclosure with new stainless tubing.

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Jan 18, 2021
45
Hunter 40.5 Burnt Store Marina
Has anyone gone down this road? Any recommendations, lessons learned? What did it cost?
I inherited one so all I can say is they do get in the way of proper sailing. Make the cockpit noticable warmer even with the "windows open." Take up room when you do not want them up.
 
Apr 2, 2021
167
Hunter 38 On the move
I inherited one so all I can say is they do get in the way of proper sailing. Make the cockpit noticable warmer even with the "windows open." Take up room when you do not want them up.
Thanks, some good points I hadn't considered. FWIW I'm looking to make life on the hook more comfortable, not life in the slip.

Does the one you inherited have removable side panels? Is it in the way even with panels removed?
 
Jan 18, 2021
45
Hunter 40.5 Burnt Store Marina
Thanks, some good points I hadn't considered. FWIW I'm looking to make life on the hook more comfortable, not life in the slip.

Does the one you inherited have removable side panels? Is it in the way even with panels removed?
I have ALL the panels off right now and in my garage, just leaving the Bimini top and dodger. The remaining structural tubes are not in the way. If you are asking about having the panels on but the windows rolled up, then yes the panels are still in the way of winch handles and cleat access when sailing. On the boat I could have stored them flat under the aft berth cushion, but doing work back there. I would not want them up during a passage.

If I was doing cold (compared to FL) weather anchoring I would probably put the eisenglass panels back on the boat. I am considering making some no-see-um panels for the Bimini and a larger shade awning for the boat. Or better yet no-see-um panels for the shade awning!
 
Apr 2, 2021
167
Hunter 38 On the move
Other potential issue I have is davits and suspended dingy, securing said dingy while underway, and currently have the outboard mounted on a stern rail back of the raised aft seats.
 

Ward H

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Nov 7, 2011
3,126
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@Scott T-Bird has a very nice full enclosure on his C320. A connector between the dodger and bimini, two panels on the side, three on the rear. All roll up nicely out of the way for sailing and can quickly be removed if wanted. I'm making him some replacement panels with no-sum screens. Turning out nicely.

If your talking about having an enclosure designed, sewn and installed in 3 months, good luck. Shops around in our area are so busy they have been saying next year for people asking in June and July.
 
Apr 2, 2021
167
Hunter 38 On the move
@Scott T-Bird has a very nice full enclosure on his C320. A connector between the dodger and bimini, two panels on the side, three on the rear. All roll up nicely out of the way for sailing and can quickly be removed if wanted. I'm making him some replacement panels with no-sum screens. Turning out nicely.

If your talking about having an enclosure designed, sewn and installed in 3 months, good luck. Shops around in our area are so busy they have been saying next year for people asking in June and July.
Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of :(. Should have started this process earlier.

Or buy a sailrite and do it myself.
 
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Jan 18, 2021
45
Hunter 40.5 Burnt Store Marina
Other potential issue I have is davits and suspended dingy, securing said dingy while underway, and currently have the outboard mounted on a stern rail back of the raised aft seats.
Yup. That will be a issue. You can cut around it, but the panels will require a lot of snaps into the rail and deck for structure.
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,012
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Full enclosure is a super nice luxury. Now that I know how much I like it, I don't know if I could go back! I purchased the boat with the enclosure and all the panels had recently been made. Everything, dodger, bimini and isinglass panels are all in brand new condition. When all is closed and zipped up, it fits like a glove. I have 8 isinglass panels. 2 panels for each side, 2 rear quarter panels, a connector between bimini & dodger and the center rear panel is just wide enough to exit to the swim deck between the stanchions. My bimini ends just above the stanchions, so the rear panels fit inside the stanchions and there is no interference with the davit and motor mount. If I had a dinghy davit, there would be no interference.

Each panel rolls up independently and can be stored rolled up and hanging from the bimini. My bimini has a high clearance so the panels are completely out of the way when stored in place and rolled up. This makes it very easy to selectively roll down a panel to block a cold wind when sailing. I have on a few occasions been perfectly comfortable sailing with either selected panels down or all down and the cockpit enclosed. All control lines are accessible, except the genoa fairlead controls. It is easy enough to release the bottom of a panel to reach those controls. The panels are easily removed when I want them off. I haven't worked out the storage situation completely. Right now I roll them loosely and lay in the bow compartment. I plan on making racks in the bow to store them.

It's only a little bit of a nuisance to roll up a side curtain to exit the cockpit to go forward on the deck. The insinglass panels are such a nice feature that I decided to have all the panels duplicated, except with screens. @Ward H took my isinglass panels home and used them as a template to make the screen panels. They turned out perfectly! We sat in the cockpit and noticed that even the smallest gnats could not enter. They enable a nice cooling breeze and some shade. Sue is delighted.

We considered making "windows" in the isinglass panels to fit screens that could be zipped into the windows. I decided to go with separate screen panels and I was very glad that we did it that way. When it is too warm for the isinglass, it's best to take them completely off, because the boat will really heat up if even just a little sun is going through even a portion of isinglass. The thermal properties were absolutely great last November. I woke up a few times at anchor with the outside temp in the low 40's and the cockpit warm and dry for breakfast! I could sit in the cockpit in short sleeves, basking in the sun!

I'd recommend that the way to do it best is separate panels for isinglass and screens. Dual purpose panels, I think, is a mistake.

I could not tell you what is the cost. I only know that it was a HUGE bonus to buy a boat that had the isinglass panels included. Ward is giving me a substantial friends discount for the screens (it was a learning experience for him), and he did such an excellent job that I know it was a bargain. I am extremely lucky all the way around. :cool:
 
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