Skip to main content

Things that Work: Bimini Hatch Flaps

When I bought my aft-cockpit ketch, Silverheels, she had no bimini top at all. While I attended to other upgrades in preparation for tropical cruising, I pondered how I might have full-time shade in the cockpit and still get at the mizzen sail to furl and reef it.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

When the boom overlaps the bimini top, here’s a simple way to gain instant access to it from the cockpit

When I bought my aft-cockpit ketch, Silverheels, she had no bimini top at all. While I attended to other upgrades in preparation for tropical cruising, I pondered how I might have full-time shade in the cockpit and still get at the mizzen sail to furl and reef it. Eventually I conceived zippered flaps, four Sunbrella “hatches” in the bimini top, to provide instant access to the mizzen sail and boom when needed, and cockpit shade the rest of the day. I also roll the flaps open in cool weather to let in sunlight, and at night for star-gazing.

These flap hatches have worked out so well I thought I’d share the invention here. I say “invention,” because I have never yet seen any other bimini-topped aft-cockpit ketch with any sort of access to the mizzen. I wonder if they ever use the sail at all, and if so, how.

While zippered bimini top hatch flaps are of particular value aboard aft-cockpit split-rigged sailboats—ketches, yawls and schooners—they may also be useful aboard single-mast and center-cockpit vessels whose main boom overlaps the cockpit.

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

Related

Background-02

Notice to Mariners: A Blog from the SAIL Editors

As a teenager, I stumbled across a copy of Derek Lundy’s Godforsaken Sea in the back room of a used bookshop. I had never heard of the Vendée Globe and frankly found all the boat-speak in the first 50 pages a little difficult to get through. But Lundy’s storytelling and the draw ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

VIDEO: Celestial Navigation Episode 2

Celestial navigation is an invaluable tool for all kinds of sailors. In episode two of the celestial navigation series, learn the basic elements of navigation and the sight reduction process using declination and GHA to determine the Geographic Position and navigate using a ...read more

Film-poster

Cruising: Year of the Sea Shanty

Along with other timeless pursuits, like baking sourdough and gardening, singing sea shanties surged back into popularity during the recent lockdown, thanks, in part, to the app TikTok and its “duet” feature, which allows singers from around the world create music together. By ...read more

Book-Cover-9780712353700

Book Review: Sailor Song

Sailor Song is the ultimate guide to the music of working sailors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The book includes lyrics and sheet music for 50 of the most beloved sea songs with fascinating historical background on the adjoining page. Chapter introductions provide ...read more

Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 10.42.33 AM

Race Update: RORC Transat

With the fleet leaders about halfway to Grenada, the 2022 RORC Transatlantic is shaking out to be a tactically interesting one. The race, now in its 8th edition, began on Saturday with 30 teams ranging from 70-foot catamarans to a 28-foot JPK 1010. Early in the race, light winds ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_1585

Experience: Fire Down Below

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, local racing had resumed with household crews only. My wife, though, while always up for a pleasure sail, was not up for this kind of thing, so, for the fifth time in what was any measure an unusual sailing season, I found myself singlehanding my ...read more

BestBoats2022-logo

Best Boats 2022

In case you hadn’t heard, the fall 2021 boat show season was one for the record books. If there was ever any doubt the sailing public still enjoys making its way to Newport, Rhode Island, or Annapolis, Maryland, to see the latest in boat design, those doubts were put to rest ...read more

01-LEAD-Dominique-David-2048x

Mulithull Show Coming to La Grande-Motte

After a year without boat shows, 2021 proved to be a blockbuster summer and fall for events around the globe, and the International Mulithull Show is looking to continue that trend in 2022. First held in 2010, the show, which takes place in La Grand-Motte, France, on the shores ...read more