Cabin Fever

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.

Liked this one.....

Liked this one…..

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.

Laying out the base

Laying out the base

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.

Hatch is fitted

Hatch is fitted

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…..

Wrap around effect.

Wrap around effect.

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.

Final Shaping of the Dodger

Final Shaping of the Dodger

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…


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12 Responses to Cabin Fever

  1. Greg says:

    I love it. Can you take some more photos please? Can’t wait to see the finished article. Are you going to get rid of those (dare I say “ugly”) instrument boxes and get your very skilled shipwright to make something more aesthetically pleasing?

    • freespirit52 says:

      Way ahead of you Greg. The ugly boxes have gone the way of the dodo bird. All instruments are being relocated into a specially made dashboard. We are calling it that as it will have a curve the same as the roof line but sit above the back of the hatch, looking something like the curve of a cars’ dashboard. We have the idea and will bring it into life after the dodger is finished. New gauges wired by a tradesman will finish it off.
      Have taken a shipload of photo’s at every stage.

  2. Dini says:

    Your hard dodger won’t be challenged by any warm airflows at Kettering for a few months yet. I surmise at some point you will be able to build a snowman on the top – try doing that on the soft model! It’s looking very shapely. Keep the photos coming 🙂

  3. lnblackmore says:

    Hard dodgers, they can certainly turn a sweet looking craft into an eye sore. Getting all those critical angles right is the hard part – but that’s looking good Col.

    What type of timber was used?

    Keep up the good work.


    • freespirit52 says:

      Too true Larry, as any stroll around any marina will show, they can go horribly wrong if not married to the boat’s design. Probably the longest time spent on this dodger was consideration of exactly that. Thanks for your feedback. Its sheets of Marine grade ply, 2 x 5/8″, 1 x 1/2″ and 1 x 5/16″. The thinnest sheet was a laminate for the top, both for strength and to hold its shape.

  4. dhiraking says:

    Sounds great , looks good
    I had a very simple and effective shade and water catcher
    If you are interested ?

    Looks warm , or you working up a sweat ? I can see t shirts !
    I am in Darwin now
    Getting ready to put my little boat into the water. ,checked the mooring yesterday
    Conditions are very inviting !
    Keep on enjoying and sharing
    Life laughter sailing

    • freespirit52 says:

      Um yeah, T shirt was undergarment and got hung on the lifelines to dry after I fell into the water near the bank trying to take a better picture of the dodger. I kept my arm out of the water though, the one holding the camera!
      Enjoy the delights of Darwin sailing, hope you are having lots of fun on the road trip, stay in touch.

  5. Vic & Kristy says:

    Hey Collin, aren’t you glad you gained some woodworking experience building a Cajun while here in Canada. LOL Nice addition to your boat! Very fine craftsmanship. I would say Chris is a very capable shipwright. You must be enjoying working with him. Oviously you will put this Dodger to good use. Kristy and & look is forward to your reading your blogs.
    Before you know it winter for you, will be over and you’ll be off to new adventures.

    Take care

    Vic & Kristy

    • freespirit52 says:

      From a guy who knows his wood, I consider that a high compliment, thank you I’ll pass it on. Can’t wait for winter to pass and I can be sailing again…. always great to hear from you. Is the Chevy rebuild complete?

  6. Vic & Kristy says:

    Yes! I have been cruising with my best girl Kristy. Their are a few little bugs to work out. I will send some pics later. Been having some great Jams with Jamie and some close friends. We all miss your talented guitar playing & friendship.
    Red green who has one of the funiest shows that used to be on TV here had a little saying which I thought as very fitting. If the women can’t find you handsome that should at least find you handy. LOL


    • freespirit52 says:

      Is he the guy who always ends his show with.. keep your stick on the ice? Checked out that show when I was in NB…. very funny. Happy that you are enjoying the fruits of your labour, your best girl must be proud of you, as I am.

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