|Three panels provide shade at the stern.|
|Sewing the connector.|
|Pattern pieces envisioned. Battens across bottoms.|
|One zipper on either side of the stainless frame.|
My SailRite shipment arrived at the marina 6 days later. Three boxes. It felt a little like Christmas in July. I sent my husband out for a 20' orange power cord that I could use under the picnic pavilion and took out the hot knife. One of the great advantages of using a hot knife is that canvas and line will not fray, thereby saving time and eliminating the need to finish the raw edges. Also, it's possible to cut through a few layers of SunBrella at the same time, something I could not have done with traditional shears. I am impressed that the hot knife gets hot enough in only 6 seconds to cut through materials "like buttah!"
|One side panel down; the others are up. Rainy day.|
One of the important additions to the shade panels was not identified until they were hanging. Something stiff was needed to keep the panels level and easier to roll up, and so I bought several slim battens to slide into pockets that I added onto the bottom of each panel. With the battens, the panels hang more evenly and look tidier. Because the battens can be removed, I still have the option to fold up the panels for long term storage.
|Zipper able to close with fabric wedge insert|
|A place to store fishing rods and fishing net above the helm.|
|2 (4") stainless rings corral the fishing rods and net|
The last canvas task of the project was to enlarge the leading edge of the two weather windows. With that done, I was able to install zippers to the leading edges and connect them to the dodger. The connector and the weather windows are very stiff and awkward to handle, so occasionally my husband was called in to hold up the heavy ends as I sewed on them. Finally, I played around with a system of buckled lines attached to the solar panel frame so that the connector could also be rolled up and stored under the solar panels. A separate pair of buckled lines holds the two weather windows firmly in place above the bimini. I took care to ensure that the connector can be employed without pulling the weather windows down at the same time. At last it was finished. Ta-DAH!
During this project, I discovered the truth of a phrase that one of my sailor friends parrots, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing twice." Heck, maybe even three or four times. I ripped out lots of seams and reshaped things as I went along. Sigh. I put the panels up and took them down many times while sewing them, to be sure about fit and placement of snaps and buckles.
|The two weather windows are firmly secured under the solar panels for storage when not in use.|