Sunday, July 16, 2023

Sailboat Sunshade

 Making a Sailboat Sunshade for our Catalina 34 Sailboat

We have a 10K AC unit on board and a Honda eu2000i generator to keep us cool in the boat, but the heat transfer through the deck into the Main Cabin and the V-Berth is incredible and really puts a strain on the AC unit. Solution: Make a Sunshade to cover the Deck from the Bow to the Cockpit ( The Cockpit has a Dodger and Bimini so that is typically well shaded.

The fabric that I have chosen is from Sailrite, $11 per yard, 150" wide - that's 12'6" or if cut in two, it's 6'3" or 5'7" when double hemmed.

It's not a solid fabric, so rain should pretty well pass through it and it will also not act too much like a sail.

The material is easily sewn and I plan to add grommets along the edges and use bungees or ties to secure the panels to the boat.

I plan on making 3 panels.

The Purple panel will cover most of the foredeck, I hope it will extend slopping down towards the bow so that the rain tends to run away from the mast. The Red, Port and Green Stbd panels will cover each side and extend from the mast, aft to the Dodger, the sail cover will slope down towards the lifelines.

By making it three panels, each panel will be more manageable, I'll make a sack for each of them.

The aft end of the port and stbd panels will connect to the front of the dodger at the grab rails. 

My purchase was 10 yards of the material, that should be plenty. I have purchased shade material from sailrite before but it was a lot less expensive, this is a very nice material. On the sailrite site, it is "Shade/Privacy Fence Fabric Blue 150"

From a scale drawing, I figure the sizes to be ( allowing for seams ):-
  1. Purple: 
    1. 11' wide aft edge -> Make that max width of the fabric to allow for slope and 3" hem each side for the grommets or 12'
    2. 3'6" wide on forward edge -> make that 4'6" to allow for slope and hems
    3. 10' 6" fore-n-aft - plus 6" for the hems or 11'
  2. Red & Green
    1. 5'4" wide  -> Make that 1/2 of the max fabric width or 6'6"
    2. 8'9" fore-n-aft -> 9'3" with hems
That's one piece 12' x 4'6" x 11' Trapezoid
Two pieces  6'6" x 9'3"

The extra widths will allow the fabric to slope down towards the sides of the deck.

I'll add a second layer to reinforce the areas where the grommets will be installed. I'll use Brass or Stainless Steel Grommets

They will need slots for the shrouds, no need for zippers to close them I'll just put loops and toggles to close the slots. Again, reinforce the edges of the grommets.

Also, they will need cords to attach them to the mast and the lifelines, however, I might run a line horizontally from the shouds back to the dodger grab rails, that would possibly improve the deck access forwards, else it will either mean crawling to go forward or unhitching the shade panels on the side in order to walk along the deck.

I'll double check the measurements next time at the boat and establish the distance from the mast to the shrouds so that I know where the slots start, will also have to measure the distance from the front and back edges of the mast to each shroud.

Ok, the plan is made. Get the numbers and start to make them.

Foredeck cover - ready to fit.

The first piece is cut and sewn, only took a couple of hours. It has a 1.5" double hem all the way around. That's wide enough to install gromets in the long sides and the corners. We'll go down to the boat tomorrow to do a test fit. Install the gromets and it should be ready to go.

Oh! good news too. The Foredeck cover folds up to about 18" by 12" by 6" and that is the largest piece. 
I'll make stowage bags for each of the three pieces 

Port & Stbd Covers complete.
That's the last two pieces done. Bags and all. Fit great. I might put another grommet in the outboard edges but will wait till we have tried them out this weekend.

Where to store them when not in use?

I'm guessing that the fabric will not last long if left in the South Florida Sunshine 24/7, so the plan is to stow them below but where?

No room in the anchor locker. I don't want them ( the 3 cover bags ) loafing around in either the main cabin or the aft cabin and the V-berth is pretty well reserved for our belongings.

That leaves either the Port Cockpit locker or the stern lazarette. There's room in both but the least used is the lazarette. I'll put some hooks on the port side in there and hang the bags.  I'll also put colored tags on the bags to match the covers - Red for port side, Green for stbd and Red & Green for the bow cover.   

Ok, we're into prep of the boat for this weekends trip up to Lake Boca. As always, I have a long list of things that I need  get done.

We used them in earnest for the first time over the Oktoberfest weekend. What a difference! Ok, so the weather was perfect and had dropped a few degrees, still in the high 80's low 90's, Fahrenheit but the cabin stayed so much cooler that we didn't even need to run the Generator while at anchor on Lake Boca.

I'll add a few extra pics when I get the chance ( ie, when I'm on someone else's boat and can see them from a distance.

See you on the water - if we're at anchor then we'll probably have our 'tarps' on. ( they are not tarps, but the material is a similar color to blue tarps 😂





No comments:

Post a Comment

Got questions or suggestions about our boat, our sailing or our adventures?
Leave a comment.