Dodgers & Awnings

Hello All:

Ever since we took delivery of our BCC I’ve been wrestling with
the “necessity” of a dodger knowing full well that some sort of
shelter was eventually going to be missed on some foul day. That day
came several weeks ago while close reaching in 25+ knots of wind
driven rain and six to seven foot or so “square waves” in the Gulf.

As I’m a little over 6’1" tall I don’t particularly like having a
dodger as it makes exiting the companionway a “stooping drill” and a
cabin width one makes it awkward (for me) to easily exit the cockpit
to go forward.

I’m thinking of something like a pram hood. A rig that can be
routinely kept folded down and easily be erected as necessary while
having the requisite structural integrity to handle lousy weather.
At one time the Pardy’s had combo canvas sea hood/pram hood sort of
thing which was interesting but I don’t think it offered quite as
much shelter as I would like. Plus, it would be nice to have some
sort of “wings” on it that could be folded out from each side to
offer more spray protection although I don’t know if such a concept
is feasible - don’t ever recall seeing anything like that.

So, I’m about to visit a dodger builder but before I do I thought I’d
ask if anyone on this list has experience/wisdom with something other
than the “normal” dodger one frequently on BCC’s.

NEW SUBJECT: Awnings: To date I’ve been rigging (I hate to admit)
Home Depot tarps as a makeshift awning to keep the sun off the cabin
and decks (when its hot you’ll do anything). It’s a kluge with lines
attached to shrouds/boom gallows, is ugly, and rattles in the wind as
the attachment points don’t conform with the shape of the boat. I
want to avoid having poles/tubes as a component of any awning. I’m
thinking of having an awning built, the aft end of which would
conform to the shape of the boom gallows secured by snaps or lashing
with a pocket off to one side to accommodate the boom. From the
center of the the boom gallows to some point on the mast (7 feet or
so off the deck) would be a line rigged over which the awning would
be draped. Each side of the awning would be secured by lines running
from the sides of the boomkin forward to the shrouds. Thinking of
having the forward end of the awning cut to encircle the mast and
conform with the shape described by the two lower and intermediate
shrouds so it would be supported by three shrouds on each side. This
approach would not be as rigid as, for example, a shadetree but
my “tarp” experience suggests that it would accommodate reasonable
breezes. I also wonder about any debilitating effect the fore and
aft tension on the shrouds might have on the integrity of the rig.
Can’t imagine it would but I’ve never been surprised by what I don’t
know. Has anyone seen or employed a “poleless” approach such as this
on BCC’s? Thoughts?

Thanks in advance;

S/V “TwoLoose” #115

i have a regular dodger. it has some disadvantages, but i am
generally pleased with it. i have a “flying bimini” type awning that
zips to the aft edge of the dodger and is fitted over the gallows.
lines go from the aft corners outboard thru the hawse holes then to
cleats on the gallows uprights. it works well and does not interfere
with cockpit egress. it can be set at anchor (under the boom) or
underway. it is readily cast off for steering standing up. i also
have a poleless awning made of light sailcloth that i can set over
the boom from the dodger to the mast. i have not used it much as the
rigging lines are a nuisance. one potential problem with a poleless
awning is edge flutter. to deal with this the edge may be scalloped
like a jib. i believe this “reverse roach” is typically 3% of leech
length on a jib. more may be required on an awning due to less
tension. this may wind up making the awning narrower than you want,
especially when the sun is not directly overhead. i have toyed with
the idea of side curtains for my awnings, but never installed them.
i do not think that the rig should be subject to unacceptable
stresses due to an awning, assuming that you have toggles and attach
the lines to the shroud rather than the turnbuckles.
john churchill

We have traveled the exact same path, from the collapsible spray hood
over the main hatch to the cheap plastic awning that offers protection but
makes the boat look terrible.
Karen and I own BCC Odyssey. I thought and thought about dodgers for a
couple of years using foul weather gear and sun glasses while taking blown
spray in San Francisco Bay. I eventually built a neat collapsible spray
hood modeled after one I saw on a Swan. I have attached a picture of it.
The spray hood kept all water from going down below, but only offered about
an 18 inch band of protection in the cockpit and that spot changed depending
on the wind angle. I used it a trip down the coast to the Channel Islands
two years ago and was pretty happy with it. Last year a bunch of BCC folks
had a get together in S.F. where the wind blows pretty strong and cold in
the summer. The comfort offered by the protection from the wind on Mike
Pearson’s Metaphora was amazing. A bash across San Pablo Bay side by side
made me take a second look at a dodger. This last year we put a dodger on
our boat. It is important to find a canvas maker who will work with you.
We have a hard top on our dodger that makes the hand holds very strong. Two
continuous horseshoe shaped stainless steel tubes riveted to the top make it
unshakable. Panels of heavy lexan zipper across the from and along the
sides with no distortion. I am 6’1" and really worried about bumping my
head. The dodger is a couple of inches below the boom and only extends a
couple of inches aft of the hatch. It seems to me that the further aft a
dodger extends, the greater the likelihood of hitting your head. Everything
connected with boats seems to have a trade off. The dodger is semi
permanent (could be removed leaving sockets on the deck) and to my eye the
boats lines look better with out it, two negatives. On the other hand,
going forward or standing in the cockpit is much safer with bullet proof
hand holds and it offers real protection from wind and spray to everyone in
the cockpit, two big positives. I’ll attach a photo of the boat with the
Now for the tarp. I won’t attach a really ugly picture of our great
looking boat on the delta with the plastic tarp. Two years ago I used Roger
Olson’s plans, a bunch of sunbrella and thread from Sailrite, and a regular
sewing machine to make a great looking tarp that extends from the back stay
to the mast. I will attach a picture of that one. It does use about a 5
foot section of spinnaker along the backstay, the rest is fabric and
webbing. It was great on the second delta trip. I also had a small awning
the attaches to the back of the hard dodger and snaps to the boom gallows.
It is about 4x5’ and can be set underway.
I hope some of this helps. Our boat is on a mooring in Newport Beach,
CA waiting for our January trip south. Let me know if you have any other
Wayne Edney