An Awning Rain Catcher

Author:
Updated:
Original:

When the boat’s cabin gets uncomfortably warm beneath the tropical sun, rigging a large deck awning is like parking in the shade all day—the temperature belowdecks can drop 10 degrees or more. Add a little breeze through the hatches or a couple of 12 volt fans, and it gets downright comfortable, even in mid-summer near the equator.

Discuss awning designs with your canvas shop to determine which makes sense for your boat. Typically, a full deck awning will set a foot or two above the main boom, stretching aft from the mast and overlapping the spray dodger or bimini top. Be sure the fabric, grommets and fittings are sturdy enough to withstand gale-force wind gusts that occasionally arrive suddenly with squalls. Also, specify that you want it entirely sewn with UV-resistant thread.

Now consider how the awning can be made to catch rain and funnel it to the water tanks. Aboard Silverheels I use a nearly rectangular deck awning as long as the main boom, with sleeves sewn in athwartships to retain PVC battens forward, midway and aft. These spread the Sunbrella fabric across the boat. In fair weather the main halyard peaks the awning’s fore and aft spine, giving the entire awning a slight convex camber. For catching rainwater, I switch the halyard to the midpoint of a line secured to each end of the middle batten and secure a short line to hold down that batten’s midpoint to a coachhouse fitting. Tensioning the halyard then pulls up on the middle batten’s ends, bowing it so that the awning becomes concave like a big, shallow bowl. At the low points port and starboard are barbed mushroom-head through-hull fittings of plastic or Marelon, mounted through reinforced fabric patches. Hoses attach to these beneath the awning carry the rain directly to the water tank deck fills.

When I’m hanging out in a tropical harbor, I tend to keep the awning in the reverse, rain-catching mode, i.e., with the halyard bowing the middle batten from the ends and the downhaul in its center. It reduces the headroom on the coachhouse to the level of the top of the furled mainsail, but it’s all ready to replenish the water tanks every time a kindly rain squall passes through. In this manner I have lived for months on end with all the freshwater I want, without ever having to fetch it from shore.

Got your own tips? Send them to us at sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more