Our new bimini ... with zippers, loops and window.
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.
Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!