Sun Shade

Note:  I'm going to try modifying the support poles to single pieces with end caps.
 
 
It seems like a lot of time is spent in port, hanging out, reading a good book or catching 40 winks.  Just about everyone who owns a sailboat at some point or other is looking for a bit of shade out of the hot summer sun.  Now it's pretty common to see tent like structures erected over the boom and drawn down to the life lines with bungee cords.  And more often than not the tents are made of blue polyethylene tarps.  Now if you really want to turn some heads, read on and see what Bob and I came up with.  Now, the Christopher-Jin's birth is right across from Sir Elidor and I have to add that poor old Bob cringes everytime he looks across the river at the final creation because, well, Bob thinks himself to be a somewhat more conservative sailor.  Mind you now, Bob was an integral part of coming up with this idea.  It's just that Bob thought that somehow I would incorporate a blue polyethylene tarp into the final desige.  Well, all I can say to that is, cringe on Bob, cringe on!!!
 
I've always felt a bit clostrophobic under one of those tent type sun shades.  My friend Bob is always pitching one of those "boom tents" which is a good sign that Bob is around somewhere.
 
One evening while Bob and I were drifting back to our home port on Sir Elidor, Bob's Catalina 22, we began brain storming on what would be the best design for a Sun Shade.  I thought it would be nice to have more all round headroom but wasn't sure how to accomplish that.  Bob suggested flexible PVC pipes that could go over the boom and be bowed downward toward the lifelines.
 
It was a great idea.  So that winter I secured a nice piece of awning fabric from Joann, several lengths of PVC water pipe, and a handfull of connectors and set to work on building an Sun Shade.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The sketch at left should give you an idea of what we came up with.
Three 3/4 in. PVC pipes create the arch over the boom.  The first attempt failed because I had to place a coupler in each arch so that the arches could be pulled apart for storage.  The problem there being that one or the other of the pipes would slip out of the coupler when the bungees pulled downward and the wind started to blow.
 
So after a little head scratching I came up with a solution.  I place a 12 inch piece of 1 in. pipe with reducers to 3/4 in. in place of the cupling.  I had to grind off the stops an the end of the reducers to allow the 3/4 in. pipes to slip past the bottom of the reducers.  Now the two 3/4 pipes could slide much more deeply into the junction so when the bungee cords pulled down to create the arch the 3/4 in. pipes could not slip out.  I also glued one 3/4 in. pipe to one side of each junction.
 
The Sun Shade is so sturdy that I could cruse at top speed in windy conditions with the Sun Shade in place.
 
I picked out a fabric that was various shades of green with a jungle leaf pattern on it.  Needless to say the Christopher-Jin turns a lot heads when she's in port.  The Old Salts just plain don't like it...but that's their oppinion.  I think it's fun and so do my guest who get to sit out of the sun.
 
As you will see in the assemply diagrams, the Sun Shade has to have a closeable slit in it at the foreward center portion to allow the aft Lazy Jacks to pass through.
 
I have to say that when the Sun Shade is on, the Pop-Top is up, cold beverages in the frig, and I've got my feet up...I've got myself a slice of pure heaven down below.
 
 
Now don't pass out on me, it's easier than it seems...every pun intended!  Click on the pattern to see a more detailed copy.  Shown in green is the starboard section.  You will need to cut a port sections as well.  The easiest way to do that is to place the two pieces of fabric back to back. (The top side of the port section facing the floor and the top side of the starboard section facing you.)  I used pinking shears to cut everything out to help prevent raveling.
 
On Flap D, along the black dotted line you will want to create a hem large enough to accommodate the grommets.  About 1-1/2 in. is good.  You'll also want to put a small hem along the foreward edge (at the left) and the aft edge (at the right).
 
I used a zig zag stitch though out with a heavey duty polyester thread available at Sailrite
 
When in place the widest part of the Sun Shade goes toward the mast and will rise up because it is on top of the the bulk of the sail.  I added 2 additional grommets (not shown) so I could wrap a bungee around the mast and clip it to the Sun Shade.
 
This is my initial design but in actual practice after making a few more detailed measurements I shortened Flap A, lengthened Flap B and moved the Mid-Pole foreward somewhat.
 
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