The Bimini

I saw Serenity’s bimini in Port Townsend and knew instantly I wanted one.  Well, here it is.  This represents hours of design work and multiple discussions with numerous canvas tailors.  DSC00442I decided my first night under the bimini should not be at sea, but rather in my driveway.  This keeps things safe as I begin to learn about this new enclosure.  I even used the pee bucket.  My neighbors have serious concerns about my relationship with my wife.  DSC00475Bimini in the open configuration.  Notice the absence of straps to tension the bimini.  With the addition of the horizontal bar and the short vertical bar, we don’t need tensioning straps.  By going strapless, the boat becomes easier to board and it improves access to the outboard motor.   DSC00457Fully enclosed configuration ready for a right good storm.DSC00464Both side panels have velcro windows for ventilation.  DSC00465 The windows roll back and secure with a velcro strap.DSC00466Both windows on each side roll out of the way for mosquito free hot weather camping.  What appears to be puckering in the fabric along the side of the boat is actually the support poles and mounting hardware along each side.  The hardware fastens to the top outside edge of the oak strip at the top of the coaming.DSC00463The front window offers great star gazing at night.DSC00462DSC00460 The back panel has 2 large windows and 2 small cutouts near the bottom for the traveler to cross the transom.  DSC00459DSC00471 Each panel zips off from the top and surrounding panels,DSC00470 and snaps along the bottom edge.DSC00468 DSC00467At the beginning of each zipper lies a snap to prevent the zipper from opening.DSC00453 A Mr. Buddy heater kept me toasty warm on its lowest setting.  I also tested a UCO candle lantern but this seemed to provide not enough heat.  There is plenty of ventilation provided by the handholds I cut into the veranda sides and the traveler slots cut into the back panel.  DSC00452 Interior shot looking aft.  There’s a surprising amount of room in here.  DSC00447The height of the bimini allows upright sitting to read “Into Thin Air, by John Krakauer.

DSC00457

The entire bimini (minus the side panels) folds aft and lays atop the transom covered with a boot.  If this proves to interfere with my mainsheet, I will have my tailor make a boot that covers both sides as well as the back portion.

DSC00458 DSC00459 DSC00460 DSC00461

Summary:

I plan to sea trial the enclosure this weekend on a local lake.  I’m happy with how things turned out and the apparent function the bimini offers.  It’s what we designed.

I chose Top Gun for the material.   Waterproof, but a little stiff in cold weather.  By running the support poles on the aft side of the oarlocks, full access for rowing is provided by removing the side panels or simple unsnapping the bottom edge of each side panel where the oars exit the sides.  I can motor, row or camp fully or partially enclosed.  I do not plan to sail with the top up at this time.  Maybe if I do the Texas 200 I figure out a way to accommodate the sailing lines.  It wouldn’t take much…just not sure I’m comfortable sailing with the top up.

Full report coming next week after my overnighter

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9 thoughts on “The Bimini

  1. Hey Brent, the new bimini looks great! I can’t imagine that there is too much more left for you to tweak on Shackleton. I would be interested in seeing a pic of the bimini all folded down and covered on the transom. You have a nice convertible house boat there. – Ron

  2. Pretty cool, Brent! You’re all set for many comfy nights, now! That fabric looks bulletproof, but perhaps a little too stiff for my approach. (I’m looking for the right stuff for my tent, but somewhat idly… just thinking out loud, really)

    (Oh, yes, and I’ve got the same UE speaker on board! I use it lots when I’m farting around in the garage, but, I haven’t used it on the water yet. Too many other fun things going on, I guess!)

    Cheers,
    Dale

  3. Wow, looks like a lot of work went into that. Did you sew it up yourself on the Sailrite?

    I’ll be interested to hear how it works out on the water. Will you be able to set it up from within the boat? I wonder if you can do up all the snaps from inside?

    — Dave

    • Dave, I didn’t have the energy for this one, so I had a local canvas tailor sew it for me. We worked together on the design, he did all the sewing. And, yes actually you can reach and snap everything from inside the boat.

      -Brent

  4. Looks really good Brent, It’s on my list when i start putting the SCAMP together –
    I like the pram design.
    are those studs the type that you get on older convertible cars? They would be more than capable of standing up to an 80mph wind. Have you got any sort of sealing strip underneath? Over here (Scotland/N England) we tend to often get horizontal rain which has a way of seeping through gaps. However, I have an idea that caravan awnings have a type of sealing strip which is held under tension against the hard surface of the caravan, usually quite soft, they then channel such water away. I think we’d also need to have less ventilation/windows – summer nights in Scotland don’t get that dark, but the insect screens would be welcome protection vs the midge, a tiny biting gnat which causes a horribly itchy swelling. You can protect yourself by avoiding the females, as they are the ones that bite (you’d just need a microscope to sex them – oh and a fine net to catch the cloud of them!)
    The idea though looks really good.

    Do you thing you could sail with, say the top and front section in place, like a motorcruiser – or would this make the freeboard too high?

  5. Richard,

    So the bimini just snaps on the bottom sides all the way around. It is not air tight and actually (as I learned last weekend) does allow small gnats inside. I believe most of these came in through the hand holds I cut into the veranda sides. I plan to stuff socks into these openings next time to reduce the number of flying insects inside.

    It has not yet seen rain, so I’ll have to update you once I encounter a storm. It does provide a nice warm place to cook, sleep, motor and oar. I actually could sail with the top up and all the sides open. I need access out the front though to run my mainsheet.

    All said, I love the bimini and feel it has doubled the usefulness of my Scamp.

    Best,
    -Brent

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