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Old 09-06-2007, 04:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2007
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We are headed to the Bahamas (first time on our own boat) and know that we will need an awning - but what type/shape/fabric? Does one color work better than another? Do poles make an appreciable difference? I hope someone can give me the benefit of their experience (both good and bad) before I put the scissors to the fabric. Our boat is a 42' Hunter center cockpit.

Thanks for the info. Camilla

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Old 09-06-2007, 06:16 PM   #2
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Lone Star has a nice set-up. Take a look at the second photo on their blog.


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Old 09-06-2007, 09:48 PM   #3
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Hi Camilla,

Try to design awnings without poles. The poles are a total nuisance to stow when on passage. If you log on to sailrite.com , then look at the index on the right hand side....go to forums, then canvas and awnings, you may have some luck in contacting other Hunter owners who have already made their covers.


"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 09-07-2007, 02:50 AM   #4
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A major consideration in design for a large sail boat is to keep the awnings of a size which enable easy handling, storage and which allow options in terms of placement.

Eg :- On a Hunter Hunter42.jpg - the aft awning should overlap the Cockpit awning, the Cockpit awning overlaps the Saloon awning , the Saloon awning overlaps the Forward awning.

Consider the option of the awning over the Helm to be positioned under the boom if necessary

(eg when motoring a short distance etc)

Each overlap allows the breeze at anchor or on a mooring to move through the created slot.

Consider using Mainsail battens instead of poles (these stow easily) Also look at the stiffners

used in modern light weight tents.


Here are the Sunbrealla Care instructions :-

When cleaning Sunbrella fabrics, it is important to observe the following:

1. Always use a natural soap. Never detergent.

2. Water should be cold to lukewarm. Never more than 100 degrees.

3. Air dry only. Never apply heat to Sunbrella fabrics.

If you are cleaning Sunbrella while still on a frame or on a boat, follow these simple steps:

1. Brush off loose dirt.

2. Hose down.

3. Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and mild, natural soap (no detergents).

4. Use a soft bristle brush to clean.

5. Allow soap to soak in.

6. Rinse thoroughly.

7. Air dry.

If stubborn stains persist, you can use a diluted chlorine bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew, roof run-off and other similar stains.

Prepare a special cleaning mixture:

Four ounces (half cup) of chlorine bleach.

Two ounces (one-fourth cup) of natural soap.

One gallon of water.

Clean with soft bristle brush.

Allow mixture to soak for up to 20 minutes.

Rinse thoroughly.

Air dry.

Repeat if necessary.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:54 PM   #5
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Thank you for all the good information. (As you can readily tell, I'm very new at this.) It certainly makes sense to construct the awning in sections for versatility and ease of handling. If you have any more thoughts/ideas for this project, I'd really appreciate hearing from you!


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Old 09-16-2007, 09:59 PM   #6
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Hi Camilla!

An awning has to do at least 4 things

Provide excellent shade

Able to stand strong winds

Not flog in a breeze. QUIET!!

Able to quickly remove in a squall

We have always used Sunbrella but that is not the only material. If you use Sunbrella be sure to buy the exterior sunbrella material. We found out the hard way when we purchased some Sunbrella that we thought was exterior but in reality was for furniture. When it seems the price is to good to be true it probably is.

There was a 3 part series on awnings Steve Dashew did on his web site http://www.setsail.com within the past 12-14 months. I tried to find it and post the link but could not find it. You may want to spend some time looking at his site as you may find it. Maybe someone might have it book marked and be kind enough to post it. But it showed about 8-10 different awning configurations.

All the awnings we have seen cruising over the past 3 decades the one that Alex designed for his Peterson 44 Mai Tai Roa is by far the easiest to drop in a hurry, requires no poles and in my humble opinion is the best bang for the buck.. I have include some photos Alex sent me on my photo site. It requires a radar arch on the transom or 1 pole aft. Alex & Sue are currently cruising in the Sea of Cortez where chubascos can come up very quickly and STRONG. It takes less than a minute to douse the awning. I have seen it done and it is amazing! BTW summer in the Sea of Cortez can be brutally hot with temps easily over 100 everyday and water temps in the 90's.


My view of the design

It consists of one line stb & one line port connected between the radar arch and upper shroud by pelican clips. 1 centerline from the arch to the mast attached by pelican clips. The awning has webbing and rings sewn thru it that these lines pass thru. The fore and aft part of the awning is also attached to webbing and clipped to the mast & shrouds fwd and webbing and arch aft. No topping lift and no poles!

Information sent to me by Alex Hassenclever on Mai Tai Roa via email

The awning runs on 3 lines (2 fore aft between the arch in the back and one of the shrouds and one between the arch and the mast). Sewn into the awning is UV resistant nylon webbing and D-Rings.

When underway the awning resides against the arch bundled up and held together with sail ties. When at anchor, we run the lines fore aft and slide the awning on these lines forwards to the mast. Hook up to the shrouds is via pelican hooks (same ones you would use for the entrance gates). On the mast there is a padded collar with two rings where the pelican hook hooks clips

Should a Chubbasco or Elefante come up suddenly, all you have to do is, undo the snaps holding the bottom of the awning to the lifelines and release the pelican hooks up front and let the wind slide the awning back on its lines towards the arch in the back. We have the drill down to about a minute and a half, not counting putting the sail ties back on to the arch. It works very well.

The tension of the awning is in the nylon webbing. The lines have only installing functions. The nylon webbing needs to run the full length of the awning. Webbing material HAS TO BE UV resistant material. The sun will destroy anything else in no time. The pelican hooks make the tensioning and release a snap. Due to the size there is a bit of tension in the whole assembly.

Let me know if you want further information

Kind regards



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Old 09-17-2007, 01:21 AM   #7
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Just as an aside question about awnings.

Has anyone ever tried to use Shade Cloth or Privacy Screens as side screens to a Bimini?

I have just installed a full beam hardtop over the outside cockpit area and will now be installing some drop down sides. Instead of the normal Sunbrella, I thought some heavy duty Shade cloth would help the visibility, let some breeze in but be ok if it blew and decant most of the rain from driving into the cockpit seating area. Ö. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-17-2007, 02:02 AM   #8
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We have used the shade side cloths for many years with great results. Purchased at a nursery or Home Depot. Itís cheap compared to Sunbrella. Easy to hem but when without access to a sewing machine we have rolled the edges and hot glued them to make a hem. Punched grommets thru and tied strings on. The last side curtains out lasted our white sailing awning 3 to 1!!! We gave it away to fellow cruisers and its still probably working well.

About 3 years ago we purchased 80% shade cloth and made side curtains for our sailing awning. We were surprised at how much breeze it stopped. The last set was a more open weave and let much more breeze thru. Recently while in Mazatlan I made 3/4 boat length side curtains out of a roll of shade cloth. They tie to the awning and stretch from the shrouds to the transom. We use plastic squeeze clamps to attach them to the rails if we have wind on the beam in a marina. Work great but do stop a lot of the breeze!!

I guess it boils down to stop the sun or stop the breeze?

If possible maybe buy a couple of meters of both tight weave & more open weave and test yourself before going to the trouble of making a full set.

Let us know how it works



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Old 09-25-2007, 04:50 PM   #9
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On Imagine we have a rectangle awning over the cockpit. We have flaps that zip onto the rear, and sides of the frame to expand the shaded area. We use Sunbrella, and it is a light gray to avoid heat. The previous owner had dark green, and the heat radiated onto our bodies. The rear extensions are the perforated material, so when we sail we can still see behind us. We are able to drop the rear sections to keep the sun off of us when sailing in front of the sun. The Exumas, and lower are the greatest!
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:09 PM   #10
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I mentioned in an earlier post Dashew did a 3 part series on awnings. I finally ran across it and have posted the links below.







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