September 6, 2010.
Holy shit, what a weekend! Christy & I labored our asses off on this beautiful Labor Day weekend while getting the new hard dodger and bimini installed on the boat. Before I get started I really have to thank all the people who helped with the physical act of actually maneuvering the dodger and then a day later the bimini into place. I won’t list all the names because I’d forget someone and then I’d feel like a turd. So its better this way, Thank You to everyone involved. And if you weren’t involved, thank you for not getting in the way.
On Friday when I left work I tied the dodger to the top of the truck and brought it home so I could get an early start on Saturday. In the morning it took us a little less than an hour to strip away the old sunbrella dodger. This is what my baby looks like when she’s topless. Once the old dodger was off, it became readily apparent that the coamings crown at the front of the cockpit was a LOT more than I had estimated. Crap. I’d figured on a half inch or so and it turned out to be closer to 2 full freaking inches. F#%k me. The old dodger was so flimsy I was afraid to move it to get an accurate measurement and figured that when the time came I’d resort to the builder’s friend, the shim.
So, the tiny spacer I had envisioned suddenly became much thicker. The spacers weren’t the problem, it was how to finish the whole thing up so it didn’t look like some cobbled together piece of shit.
I decided to make up some tapered spacers and we mounted the dodger. At just about that moment Ron from Dawntreader walked by and commented that a piece of trim along the bottom of the dodger would really enhance the lines of the dodger. An idea! A freaking idea was born and we were soon headed out to Home Depot to buy some material to use as trim.
With the mounting issue solved Christy and I went about finishing the dodger. We ran wires up through the coaming and up through integral tubes in the dodger for a light fixture and a fan for my sweaty sweetie.
On Sunday morning we again relied on an outpouring of help and succeeded in manhandling the bimini up into place. The local WM didn’t have the hardware that we needed, we had to order additional
mounting hardware, so we had to temporarily mount it. The front of the bimini support structure rests on top of the dodger. So with a new dodger that meant some re-engineering of the support tubing. Christy and I went to work and when we were done I was pleased to find that the radius I had built into the bimini was spot on.
Next it was on to the windows. They had all been fabricated and dry fit weeks ago. At this point we had to drill screw holes into the frames and apply sealant. I put a bead of caulk in every “h” channel and then pressed the channel back into place on its assigned piece of glass. Next was a liberal application of the same sealing compound (Dow Corning #791) was applied to the edges of the window openings. Then it was a simple matter of pressing the windows into their respective openings and screwing them in. That pretty much killed the second 10 hour day of our 3 day weekend.
On Monday I installed the trim at the base of the dodger. Then we “gooed” and installed the 2 hatches in the roof of the dodger. Then we finished the insides of the windows, we masked the frames and laid a cosmetic bead of caulk along the inside of all the window frames.
We still need the hardware to finish up the bimini mounting but that’ll go quickly. I also still have to mount the track to accept the top of our enclosure. Once the track is up there will be a
“bit” of sewing as we modify our old enclosure’s walls so we can use them with the new bimini.
So even though we’re still not “done”, Thank God we’re done, mostly……..