Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hard Top for Songbird

William Barr
4:16 PM (1 hour ago)

to me

As promised, I'm forwarding pictures of Songbird's hard bimini. 

The bimini was manufactured at Catamaran's in Rio Dulce.  Les, the yard manager there, welded the 1" stainless supports for me and made the curvature to my specs, including matching the color in the gelcoat.  Les then sub-contracted to have the glass-work done on site under his supervision.  The top was completed and installed even sooner than I had requested (I wanted to leave in three weeks!) and came in just a little over the cost estimate.  It was very reasonable.  I purchase four 70 watt solar panels from the shop at Ram marina (the name escapes me)--I mounted them and they did the connections for me.   The wires for the solar panels go through the forward starboard post and into my electrical box, from there to the batteries. 

The structure is very sound.  I could probably walk on the surface, but try to confine any climbing up there to the parts supported by the frame.  Once back on the Hudson River, I made new roll-up windows to create a complete inclosure.  I'm very pleased with it.  It's water-proof, of course, and provides good visibility with the windows up or down.

I vacillated about doing this for a long time because I have a real love-hate relationship with the bimini.  I love the protection but hate the restricted visibility, enjoying it greatly when the top is completely off.  For that reason, when I remade the old soft bimini, I installed a full length zipper running athwart it so I had, in effect, a convertible.  In four years of sailing the Caribbean, I had "the top down" maybe three days.  So, there was the answer to the question of whether to go hard-top or not.  The hard bimini didn't really cost much more than a new soft one, and it supports solar panels and will not wear out.  In addition, all my electrical problems have been solved.  For me, it was the right thing to do.

I was surprised to hear that you're letting Memory Rose go, but time marches on.  I'm sure the next chapter will be rewarding for you, Ron.  And thanks for the info about Songbird's rudder.

Bil Barr
S/V Songbird

1 comment:

Rick said...

Ron - Hope things are going well.

Bill - She looks beautiful!

Happy New Year to both of you.
Rick (PO)