OK, after only a few days or so on this Oyster 575 with the soft dodger and bimini top, we can really see the advantage of a hard dodger (like you can order on a Hallberg-Rassy). We have a few light rain storms coming through each morning (we're in St. Barth's right now) and I'm trying to keep dry in the cockpit to write this article and can't.
This soft dodger is not big enough to keep the rain from coming in the sides and the bimini top just collects the rain until it's too heavy then spills it into the cockpit. I can't imagine being in any kind of real weather with the illusion of keeping dry or sheltered from the wind.
Everyone dreams of having the top down in a sailing yacht and soaking up the sun however the reality is that the constant wind, occasional rain shower or simply the sun itself necessitates finding a spot on the yacht that is covered without having to retreat downstairs to the saloon.
Wherever we moor the yacht here in the Caribbean, we see dodgers and biminis up. Seems very few people leave theirs down. Why not have a hard one up that offers year-round protection? You still have plenty of areas on the deck to sit out in the full sun if you want to.
A heavier rain storm tonight and the cockpit is dry by the door to the saloon otherwise, the cockpit is soaking wet. I'm up here trying to enjoy the storm and it's almost impossible to find a dry spot to sit.
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