Forums > Sailing General

Dodgers or not

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Created by Donk107 Two weeks ago, 8 Jun 2019
Donk107
TAS, 2173 posts
8 Jun 2019 8:16PM
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Hi all

A bit of a question

I notice that lots of boats don't have dodgers fitted and wonder why people choose not to fit them

I understand on a racer why you would not but what are the cons of having one to a cruiser

Pro's as far as i can see are

You can leave the sliding cabin hatch open when it is raining
If your tiller is long enough you can sit forward under it when it is raining
It keeps the wind off you in cold weather
It can deflect spray when beating

I cant really see too many cons though other than the initial cost, the replacement cost when the get oid and the plastic windows go opaque after a while and are difficult to see through

Maybe here in Tassie they are more relevant than in warmer climates but I am interested to hear peoples thoughts on this

Regards Don

Jode5
QLD, 724 posts
8 Jun 2019 9:18PM
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Going opaque is not a problem if use Strava Glass semi rigid Polycarbonate. I have this on my boat and it is as clear as glass and no distortion. If is does get a scratch it can usually be buffed out. The trick is to only use a soft cloth or chamois on it. Never user a nylon car brush or broom a these will leave fine scratches. Use Plexus and a micro fibre cloth to clean it.




Tamble
110 posts
9 Jun 2019 5:22AM
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I'm not sure we found any of your three stated advantages worked on our 35 ft wheel steered yacht. It was too far away to offer any of those benefits.
But in a semi tropical area, it was very good for keeping rain out of the companionway.
It was a pain when using any of the cabin top winches or controls mounted under it and a major source of head injuries when coming out of the companionway. By blocking off direct access to the flat area of the cabin top from the cockpit, it also interfered with a fast passage to the mast. And it was a major hazard when zipping up the boom bag for the mainsail - forcing you to try and find ankle twisting footing on the sloped parts of the cabin top around it.

We always folded it down for racing.

So there's definitely a cost/benefit trade-off.
If I bought a boat without one, I wouldn't necessarily rush in to add one. My co-owner would and did on his next yacht (so everyone has a different view).
But I would make sure it could be easily folded down and out of the way.

Donk107
TAS, 2173 posts
9 Jun 2019 7:35AM
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Select to expand quote
Tamble said..
I'm not sure we found any of your three stated advantages worked on our 35 ft wheel steered yacht. It was too far away to offer any of those benefits.
But in a semi tropical area, it was very good for keeping rain out of the companionway.
It was a pain when using any of the cabin top winches or controls mounted under it and a major source of head injuries when coming out of the companionway. By blocking off direct access to the flat area of the cabin top from the cockpit, it also interfered with a fast passage to the mast. And it was a major hazard when zipping up the boom bag for the mainsail - forcing you to try and find ankle twisting footing on the sloped parts of the cabin top around it.

We always folded it down for racing.

So there's definitely a cost/benefit trade-off.
If I bought a boat without one, I wouldn't necessarily rush in to add one. My co-owner would and did on his next yacht (so everyone has a different view).
But I would make sure it could be easily folded down and out of the way.


Hi Tamble

Excellent comments as I wasn't really considering a wheel steered yacht when i wrote the post

Regards Don

Datawiz
VIC, 494 posts
9 Jun 2019 7:47AM
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For cruising, a dodger is a no brainer....
regards to all,
allan

Lazzz
NSW, 433 posts
9 Jun 2019 8:13AM
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Select to expand quote
Datawiz said..
For cruising, a dodger is a no brainer....
regards to all,
allan


What he ^^^^ said

Ramona
NSW, 4982 posts
9 Jun 2019 8:22AM
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Quite a few of the boats on my saved list for when I win the lottery have dodgers. It would be the first thing I removed. Not sure if there are any pros but plenty of cons. Wheel steered boats your out in the weather anyway. With my boat and I'm hand steering I'm sitting up against the bulkhead with my eyes just above the cabin top and I have excellent visibility and full wind protection. If I did have a dodger I would have to sit on a cushion to get my eyes above the lower window edge to see under the headsail. That 40mm or so of material would reduce my forward vision enormously! Spray is rare across my deck but I just duck my head. If it rains I sit at the chart table. When reefing I stand and have full use of the winch handle on the 4 cabin top winches. Back at the mooring I can walk anywhere on the cabin top to secure the mainsail. But best of all it looks like a yacht. It's rare to see a good looking dodger

Sectorsteve
NSW, 2078 posts
9 Jun 2019 8:54AM
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What ramona said :)
Too much windage.
Windage scares me and a big no no. Windage makes a dicey situation more so.
I have a quick set up quick removal Bimini.

Sectorsteve
NSW, 2078 posts
9 Jun 2019 9:21AM
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80 knots with a para anchor...
Would a dodger be useful here?


&t=132s

FreeRadical
WA, 828 posts
9 Jun 2019 8:17AM
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I reckon ours looks better with a dodger than without.





SunsetSailer
TAS, 14 posts
9 Jun 2019 11:10AM
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I've always thought dodgers and related canvas structures exist only to compensate for deficiencies in design.

First thing to go when I bought my current boat as I want good forward vision when seated and free swing of the winch handles.

I never considered adding any canvas structures to the 41' cruiser/racer I owned for 15 years but then she had a "shed" with a remote for the auto pilot. Mind you the current owner has a different view!

What Ramona didn't mention is that the Joubert IOR designs mostly had overhangs on the aft end of the trunk cabin and no sliding hatch. Some of the Swansons too. Good design.

Chris 249
NSW, 1730 posts
9 Jun 2019 11:23AM
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Select to expand quote
Datawiz said..
For cruising, a dodger is a no brainer....
regards to all,
allan


If you read the comments from Ramona and tamble you can see that it's not that simple. We took ours off for reasons similar to the ones tamble gave

Datawiz
VIC, 494 posts
9 Jun 2019 11:34AM
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FreeRadical said..
I reckon ours looks better with a dodger than without.






That's basically my setup FR, Good visibility, protection from the weather (including UV).
I figure most of the anti dodgers are of a racing bent rather than comfortable cruising.
And before I'm howled down - I'd be unzipping the Bimini and Dodger covers if the weather warranted it.
regards to all,
allan

stray
SA, 108 posts
9 Jun 2019 11:19AM
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I dont know how people sail without one! I get that its not practical for racing but if the cockpit is set up to suit the dodger it can make a cold miserable slog to windward almost enjoyable.
they need to be big enough to sit under and be tucked out of the rain if possible and having the autopilot control reachable is a good idea.
Visibility through them isn't great so you still need to poke your head out for a look around and its best if you can see over it when standing at the helm.

NowandZen
WA, 340 posts
9 Jun 2019 9:52AM
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I prefer a dodger for sure.
In addition to some of the reasons already mentioned, when at anchor the yacht invariably faces into the wind so a dodger provides a comfortable place to sit sheltered from the wind and have a bevvie, meal or read a book etc...

Donk107
TAS, 2173 posts
9 Jun 2019 1:48PM
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Hi all

There has been some interesting comments made about the pro's and con's and some of them are dependent on how the boat is set up

In my case my boat as shown in the photos below has nothing on the cabin top under the dodger other than the cleat for the main sheet and the forward set of smaller single speed winches which are just behind the dodger are used for the spinnaker sheets son there is not a lot of winch handle work needed there on a 28 footer

Early in the piece when HG was alive he posted a photo of a dodger that was on his wish list with hand holds built in to the frame and for my application this would be just about perfect

The other thing is occasionally use mine for is standing up and leaning on with the tiller between my legs to steer when sailing downwind

As far as looks go i like the look of a well designed and made dodger (I have seen some dodgy looking dodgers) on a boat but looks are a personal thing so i appreciate that some people don't like the look of them on a boat

Regards Don








shaggybaxter
QLD, 1603 posts
9 Jun 2019 5:21PM
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Hi Don,
The large dodger option for my boat is no bigger than the one in your pic above. It covers the winches and companionway and that's it, I dunno what the hell the smaller option was for!
A good looking one depends on the boat I think, you need to follow the lines of the boat which most do a bad job of. I don't like the factory dodgers on mine, besides, I clamber over the boat too much. But that's because of the racing, for cruising I'd love one where you could sit in the cockpit and still be undercover.

The French were pretty enthusiastic about a hardcover version for my build, but that was purely for singlehanding intent (my first build idea), it was a takeoff from their race boat but modded for my cabin top. It was awesome how well it worked on the race boat, but it was like an all or nothing thing, it took a huge chunk out of the crew space in the cockpit.
Still liked the idea though. The following pic is the hard cover from the race version, it looked pretty much the same.





Ramona
NSW, 4982 posts
9 Jun 2019 5:32PM
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A dodger with out handles on the sides is just downright dangerous. It's interesting that boats that have to be reefed at the mast are nearly always the ones that have dodgers fitted. It's like it's not bad enough you have to leave the safety of the cockpit but lets throw in another handicap!

Donk107
TAS, 2173 posts
9 Jun 2019 5:46PM
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Hi Shaggy

The hard cover looks nice and suits the boat

I copied these photo's of the Pogo facebook page

Is the boat a 12.50 and are the two shown factory dodgers

I like the grey one but not keen on the black one although i guess they match the mainsail cover

Regards Don





Datawiz
VIC, 494 posts
9 Jun 2019 5:46PM
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Select to expand quote
Ramona said..
A dodger with out handles on the sides is just downright dangerous. It's interesting that boats that have to be reefed at the mast are nearly always the ones that have dodgers fitted. It's like it's not bad enough you have to leave the safety of the cockpit but lets throw in another handicap!



I guess mine's the exception to the rule - three handholds on the dodger, in-mast furling, all lines lead back to the the cockpit. Only reason to go forward is to set up the asy or anchor operations.....
And to reduce windage, bimini and dodger covers removable by zippers - similar setup to FreeRadical

Donk107
TAS, 2173 posts
9 Jun 2019 5:52PM
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Select to expand quote
Ramona said..
A dodger with out handles on the sides is just downright dangerous. It's interesting that boats that have to be reefed at the mast are nearly always the ones that have dodgers fitted. It's like it's not bad enough you have to leave the safety of the cockpit but lets throw in another handicap!


Guilty as charged

Regards Don

sunycoastguy
QLD, 180 posts
9 Jun 2019 7:38PM
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I love my dodger another pro's is tucking a fair bit of gear in them eg tablet, binoculars, phone, etc

termite
NSW, 255 posts
9 Jun 2019 8:02PM
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My boat has the annoying habit of lifting a chunk of green water into the air with the bow and depositing it down the companionway onto the switchboard and nav station. It also has a huge cockpit with only the compass and engine controls to hang on to. I fitted a dodger with three hand holds and a binnacle guard as soon as I could.

Did the boat look better without the dodger - absolutely, was forward visibility better without the dodger - absolutely, but so far I'm happy with my choice and feel safer and less soggy offshore.

I get that everything about boats is a compromise but you make your choices and hopefully learn from your mistakes

Donk107
TAS, 2173 posts
9 Jun 2019 8:23PM
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For those who like them this company in the states make the one that HG posted about www.iversonsdesign.com/index.html
They have some nice looking stuff

Regards Don

SandS
VIC, 5592 posts
9 Jun 2019 10:20PM
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For day-sailing and racing , i have fairly easily done with out one . But it would be handy when aboard when raining while at anchor or in a marina . I think if long term cruising it would be a almost a must have. it is an architectural night mare though ! Ideally we need to end up with a result not destroying the look of the yacht

MorningBird
NSW, 2152 posts
10 Jun 2019 1:32PM
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Ramona said..
A dodger with out handles on the sides is just downright dangerous. It's interesting that boats that have to be reefed at the mast are nearly always the ones that have dodgers fitted. It's like it's not bad enough you have to leave the safety of the cockpit but lets throw in another handicap!


Do multiple days slogging into wind and sea and you won't be without one. My dodger disintegrated on the way to Lord Howe in 2014. The trip home was the coldest wettest most miserable passage ever.
My dodger is big enough to sit under and stay dry, keeps most water out of the boat (some rogue waves still let a few litres in) and keeps the wind burn to a minimum. Without it you have green water 2 ft deep coming over the boat and cockpit every couple of minutes. It goes straight down the hatch and very shortly everything is soaked. With it you and the insides stay relatively dry and warm.
I note that most who don't like them are racers or very short passage coastal day sailing sailors. On an open ocean passage they are the best thing.
Mine has a big handle all the way across to aid manoeuvring around it when needed (you don't go forward often on an ocean passage, a trip to the mast to reef maybe once or twice a day). We only tack a couple to three of times a day.

Yara
NSW, 832 posts
10 Jun 2019 1:43PM
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Firstly, I prefer the British terminology, and call it a spray hood.
Clearly windage is an issue. So on a fine day, with no spray, it would be better to have it folded down, or none at all.
Then there are those miserable, wet cold, spray filled situations, when it would be a godsend.
On a hot day it can be very uncomfortable, robbing the cockpit of a cooling breeze.
This leads to the conclusion that the best solution would be the classic soft pram design that can be easily folded down. Only problem then is the clears material, which needs to be flexible without creasing. Multi panel design helps, but what is the best clears material that can do this job?

Wander66
QLD, 214 posts
10 Jun 2019 2:17PM
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Select to expand quote
Yara said..
Firstly, I prefer the British terminology, and call it a spray hood.
Clearly windage is an issue. So on a fine day, with no spray, it would be better to have it folded down, or none at all.
Then there are those miserable, wet cold, spray filled situations, when it would be a godsend.
On a hot day it can be very uncomfortable, robbing the cockpit of a cooling breeze.
This leads to the conclusion that the best solution would be the classic soft pram design that can be easily folded down. Only problem then is the clears material, which needs to be flexible without creasing. Multi panel design helps, but what is the best clears material that can do this job?


You can always add a zippable window to your spray hood for those hot days.





jbear
NSW, 72 posts
10 Jun 2019 3:54PM
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This is my dodger

wongaga
265 posts
10 Jun 2019 2:56PM
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As always it's horses for courses. If I was day-racing I'd fold down or remove my dodger. But cruising would be miserable without it.

The day in Bass Strait when the tiller pilot failed, my waterproofs leaked like mozzie-wire and I spent 9 hours bashing into 25 knots, with 3m waves breaking over the coachroof every few minutes was, as you'd imagine, not a lot of fun. How much worse it would have been without the dodger to shelter under!

boty
QLD, 485 posts
10 Jun 2019 5:27PM
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I don't like them my moto is a good boat is like a good woman the more you take off them the better they look . If the guy designing the boat had thought a dodger was needed he would have included it in the plans as many ocean racer of the sixties were kommoloo, Margert rintol ,Mercedes to name a few and they work well as they were designed with the wheelhouse projecting back over the cockpit changing the design after the fact means moving winches losing visibility increasing windage reducing ease of movement and generally making a pretty boat ugly ,instead spend the money on better wet weather gear



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"Dodgers or not" started by Donk107