Friday, July 12, 2013

Nirvana's New Bimini

Our new bimini ... with zippers, loops and window.

When we decided it was time to replace our old and torn bimini, I started planning ... and stressing!  We were having our bimini sewn by a local seamstress and as usual, I was over thinking everything.  Biminis aren't cheap so I wanted to make sure we did it right.  There were many factors to consider when planning our bimini, which I wrote about here.  I hope our considerations will be helpful to others planning a bimini.

When Nirvana had her bimini fitting, there were a few adjustments that needed to be made.  The seamstress was quick to make the changes, and we're really happy with the results.  Our new bimini has the same marine vinyl strips sewn on top for extra protection that our old bimini had (ordered from Sailrite), as well as a few things that our old one didn't ... zippers to allow easy removal, a Strataglass window, and some fabric "loops" on the sides of the bimini and near the center of its ceiling.  What are the loops for?  Well, all sorts of things.  The loops on the sides of the bimini can be used to hang Christmas lights, a sun or privacy screen (with showers rings or paper clips), or anything else that we may wanna hang from our bimini.  The two loops on the bimini's ceiling can hang solar lights, or maybe even a little disco ball ... who knows?!  Thanks to a follower on our Facebook page, who gave us this idea.  BTW, we do plan on adding zippers on the sides, front and back of the bimini before we leave so we can add different types of panels for privacy, wind and bugs, but the loops will still be great for lights ... and maybe a little wind chime or something every now and then.

Loops sewn along the sides to hang things ... Christmas lights, privacy screens, etc.

Two things about our Strataglass window ...placement and where to buy the Strataglass.  Unfortunately, the window should have been placed further back in order to get a good view of the mast.  I shoulda listened to Ken!  Also, when I was searching online for a place to buy the Strataglass, most places only sold it in a large roll.  Since this stuff isn't cheap, that would have been quite expensive.  However, I did find a site called Sailmaker's Supply, which sells smaller pieces of Strataglass.  I was able to order a foot (54" wide) for $28.  When I received it there was almost two feet!  I guess this was because some of the Strataglass wasn't 54" wide.  I now have some extra left for a future project.  Turned out to be a great deal!

The marine vinyl strips and our Strataglass window ... we didn't have the bimini pulled tight, thus the wrinkle.

Unlike Isinglass, the makers of Strataglass stress that their cleaner must be used.  Now, chances are that's a bunch of crap but I didn't wanna test it.   So, I also bought some Strataglass Cleaner and some 303 Fabric Guard, which is for waterproofing the Sunbrella.  We've since decided that our Sunbrella bimini and sail pack don't need to be sprayed when new, so we now have some for later.

Other things I learned ... darker canvas, thread, and zippers last longer than the lighter colors.  I was glad to hear this since our Sunbrella is Forest Green and the thread and zippers are black.  Also, a good thread is crucial in keeping the life of the bimini ... Tenara thread seems to be the most recommended.

Purchasing a new bimini seemed more like a "need" than a "want" to us.  The sun is not only dangerous (skin cancer), but it's just brutally hot!  Since we'll be living on Nirvana, we think our bimini will make living aboard a lot more pleasant.  Not only will it provide great shade, but it will also make our cockpit cozier and more private when we add some fabric on the sides.  Hang a solar light, pour a glass of wine ... you get the picture.  Aaahhh, I can't wait for those experiences!  Actually, we already hang out in the cockpit with wine and music ... in our backyard.  It's not the islands, but it'll work for now.

Our sail cover really looks bad next to our new bimini ... a new sail pack on the way!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Sandee said...

Looking good. You've got to stay covered out in that sun. You did a fine job.

Have a fabulous day and weekend. :)

Anonymous said...

This is what a lot of people in the Clear Lake area use.

Should be able to fine it in auto parts stores like Auto Zone. Your cover looks great. You will like easy to put up side curtains. Our Phiffertex ones allowed the breeze through but cut the setting sun by about 80-90%. We used brass snap shackles so no rust stains. We had a place where the rain would collect and sag down. I got a couple of pockets sewn on each side and used a cheap fiberglass tent pole to hold it up so the water would run off. We did not collect rainwater for use.

Drew Frye said...

Be careful to keep the canvas treatment off of the Strataglass! Also bug juice (will melt it) and sunscreen (permanent hand prints with some brands). I'm doing some testing for Practical Sailor, and though I have not tested 303, some other brands (not all) will ruin the window instantly. Really.

Should you ever get a dodger with big windows you could do worse than get some Strataglass scraps at the same time to test your treatments.

Looks nice! My last boat had no shade and the hard top on the new (to us) boat was a God send. I've also learned that a tarp (white) tented over the cabin can take a lot of heat away from the windows and roof.

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