Sun Awning Design For A Boat

This article explains briefly how our Sunbrella sun awning works for our ketch rigged boat. Whilst it may not provide a complete solution for other boats we are publishing this article in the hope that it assists other boat owners in designing their own awning.


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awn3Design
The basic design is a sheet of Sunbrella that sits over the main boom,  tied at each corner and includes side flaps. We have extended this design to include both front and back doors, as well as extending the side flaps down to the toe rail. The side flaps tie first to the guard rail and then down to the deck fittings. The original was put together by Yener of Seagull Sails in Bodrum, and was extended later by Captain Eddy of Fethiye.


Uses
Ultimately this is a sun awning. We do, however, use it in the rain as well, though 100% water exclusion cannot be guaranteed. Certinaly it provides an extra ‘room’ to the boat that we never had before and it means that in monsoons and other ‘hot’ showers we no longer have to shut up the boat to keep the rain out.


 

Shows strong, reinforced Velcro flaps. These need to be strong as they are hammered by over-use. Ours are strengthened with suede

Shows strong, reinforced Velcro flaps. These need to be strong as they are hammered by over-use. Ours are strengthened with suede


awn6Putting It Up
We fold ours out across the boom, secure each end to each mast and then tie the corners, front first then back. It takes around 5 mins to put up properly, but you have to get it right! If the boom is too high or the back end is tied tight first then it doesn’t go up right.


1. Roll out along the boom and strap down Velcro flaps
2. Tie the forward end around the main mast first so the hole for the outhaul fits correctly around the outhaul car
3. Tie the back end around the mizzen boom, ensuring that the hole for the main boom topping lift fits correctly
4. The fittings around the two holes are then tied to ensure the awning doesn’t lift in heavy winds
5. The front corners are tied to the main boom shrouds, ensuring they are tied to the same height as the boom. A non-slipping hitch is used
6. The back corners are tied to the mizzen forestays
7. The sides are then rolled down to the first point and tied to the guard rail
8. The sides are rolled down further and tied to deck fittings
9. Front and back doors are zipped into place



A variation on the rolling hitch

A variation on the rolling hitch


Materials
The original material was Sunbrella. The extensions have been constructed out of another UV material whose name we can’t remember! We’ll edit this post with the correct name as we are pretty impressed with it.



View from above

View from above


Windows

We realise after getting the extensions made that we should have put windows in the front doors because now when we put them up, we can’t see out!  We’ll get windows put in at a later date. We don’t need them in the back because either we only put one door up (unless it’s raining) or we put the mesh doors up instead. When we put the windows in we won’t replace the cloth for ‘glass’, we’ll have both as an ‘either-or’ option. Remember this is a sun awning so actually windows defeats the object!


Rain Cover

For the heavy monsoons we expect to encounter we’re thinking of making a water-proof tarp ‘hat’ that sits over the top of the awning. Sunbrella may be water resistant but it won’t hold up to continuous, daily pounding weeks on end, especially as awnings have a tendancy to bow and collect water in the middle.



Pictures
Pictures speak a thousand words and all that so I am including a whole bunch of images to illustrate our design. If you have any questions then just pop them in the comments and we’ll answer them for you.


Shows both sections of the side part rolled down and the end door attached. Great for completely cutting out all though-winds

Shows both sections of the side part rolled down and the end door attached. Great for completely cutting out all though-winds


Detail showing reinforced Velcroed flaps

Detail showing reinforced Velcroed flaps



 

From the inside showing just one of the four 'doors' we added. At the cockpit end we can take replace these solid Sunbrella doors with mesh blinds (stops the sun coming in but allows a through-breeze)

From the inside showing just one of the four 'doors' we added. At the cockpit end we can take replace these solid Sunbrella doors with mesh blinds (stops the sun coming in but allows a through-breeze). When tied down, which this one isn't, all flaps and doors are tight as a drum.

 

 

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Looking down on the front corners tied down

 

 

 





6 Comments on “Sun Awning Design For A Boat”

  1. 🙂 I am glad that you are enjoying the Seagull awnings Jamie.The extensions that you have added make them look a bit like Kaddafi style,the purpose is achieved & thats all it matters, for rainy conditions try to tie them like the roof of a house..In other words keep the middle where it is & tie both sides much lower.This will eliminate the water ponding on the material,best regards mates .. 8)

  2. Yener,

    It’s still one of the best bits of kit we have for the boat! We use it every day and it has stood the test of time. Thank you!

  3. Hi Jamie,
    The sun awning looks great do you know who could make such a sun awning for our boat?-it is a Najad 490 (15m long and 4.5m beam)
    Best regards,
    Ole Baadsgaard

    1. Our awnings were made for us by Yener of Seagull Sails in Bodrum, Turkey — he is very well-known there, just ask around.
      Ours are still going strong and in very good condition, even after 10,000 miles of sailing and five years of living full-time on Esper.

  4. This is a nice looking rig. We had a similar one aboard TIGO, our 40′ ketch several years ago. We wanted rain! We designed with “funnels” in the awning that drained into buckets. We mixed a bit of bleach (1 tbs) and then siphoned into our water tanks, leaving about an inch of sediment in the bucket to rinse out next rain. Worked pretty well in Bahamas where you get brief, heavy squalls in the summer and water ashore was very expensive.
    Mike

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