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Sailboat canvas renovation maximizes cockpit space

Projects | October 1, 2023 | By:

This award-winning marine canvas project by Keri Ames, owner of Yachtsman’s Canvas of North Wales, Pa., achieved the goal of maintaining a traditional look but with subtle modern updates. It consisted of a dodger with frame, bimini with frame and a connector between the two. The project was part of the restoration of an early ’80s 34-foot Sabre sailboat. 

“The dodger is designed with five removable panels, allowing maximum flexibility to remove in any combination for maximum airflow on hot summer sailing days,” Ames wrote in her 2022 ATA International Achievement Awards entry. “By keeping the fabric breaks limited to the 1 ½-inch zipper widths, it provides a very open glass appearance with full visibility.” 

The window line was extended higher than is traditionally done. This enabled her tall client to not have to continually duck down to see and also allowed for a higher connector. The higher connector also makes boarding into the cockpit easier.

The marine canvas project consisted of a dodger with frame, bimini with frame and a connector between the two.

By not tapering the shoulder width of the dodger frame to align with the cabin top, Ames widened the space underneath, and slight convex curves on each panel created a softer look that complemented the overall lines of the cabin top.

The project allowed Ames to use polycarbonate in a new way, “meaning the shaping of convex side panels to match and continue the crown of the frame, allowing a non-tapered frame but a pleasing finished shape,” she wrote. “A more modern fabric color and modern materials blended well to update the look while still keeping to a traditional style more in line with the era of the boat.” 

Attention to detail put the polish on the project, such as custom visors matching the crowns of both frames and the dodger topside connector zipper flap matching the crown’s curve, allowing them all to lie flat. The chafing patch and zipper flap underside were made of the same fabric for a cohesive look. 

The project won the 2022 MFA Fabrication Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Sailboat Dodgers and Bimini category. 

Design name: Traditional Beauty

Design, Fabrication and Installation: Keri Ames, Yachtsman’s Canvas

Fabrics: Sunbrella®, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, Plaskolite TUFFAK® Marine 5

Other Materials; YKK® #10 zippers, SolarFix® PTFE thread, Pull-the-DOT® fasteners

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