One could be forgiven for thinking this rant was going to be about being cooped up in a very small space, its not.. this is more to do with Dodger raising in progress down South in the Apple Isle.
Its probably been two weeks now since we started building the new dodger.
Built out of different sized sheets of ply, this Hard Dodger is going to be strong. It will be mated to the cabin top with the same fibre glass used to sheath it. Not indestructible but strong enough for where I’m going.
Those considerations aside, my prime concern was that it had to look good on the hull. Look in proportion certainly and maybe, if we get lucky… actually look like it has always been there.
Before deciding on a style I employed Mr Google… my friend, to find examples of dodgers I might like. I saw many I did not like, then came across a good site that had some I didn’t mind at all.
Eventually I picked one that could be reproduced on Freespirit without breaking the bank or looking weird. This design I used as a basis for drawing up my own version in Illustrator.
When I employed Chris the shipwright to help me build it, we reached consensus fairly quickly through him being able to see exactly what I wanted.
From there we moved into forming the outer supports on deck and erecting all the sides.
Chris was very good here as his careful attention to detail meant all the angles were perfect and the joins solid.
One of the original specifications I’d drawn up paid attention to the fact that in a more tropical environment, any hard dodger quickly becomes a hot box. My solution was to install the biggest hatch I could afford. They are complete with robust catches, strong hinges and adjustable supports.
Having at least one big watertight hatch up forward that could be opened to create an aiflow into the cockpit will be welcome when the himidity and temperatures rise.
It came with the same smokey grey tint I’ve bought for the windows so it should blend in. It is fitted directly into the cabin forward panel, yet it will have window perspex behind it to blend in. A unique thing I noticed about the one I liked (see top of page), was the way the window seemed to wrap around it like a giant pair of sunglasses. This could be achieved by butting all the acrylic up to each other with only an expansion gap between.
Here is one I prepared earlier…..
This is the effect I’m shooting for.
Its in the plan to build my own shade that covers the cockpit area. Open at the front and sides again encourages airflow and protection from the hot tropical sun. Zip-in sides could turn it into a fully enclosed winter room. An option perhaps at a later time.
Finally today we have finished the building process, now moving into covering the whole thing with a fibre glass skin.
Chris is here putting the final shape to the rear of the roof. It was decided through Chris’ suggestion to slightly curve the top. Its nice.
Monday should her travelling to a friend of Chris who has a double garage with a wood heater. He’s letting us use it to apply the fibre glass before returning to Freespirit for final fit and paint.
Over this weekend I’ll finish off sanding and preparing for Monday.
Hoping you are all well…