NZ Refit 2018 - Bimini
In 2016 when we were going from Tonga to NZ we took several large waves across the back of the boat and the force on our solar panels, which were mounted on the side of the boat, bent quite a boat of stainless steel. We strengthened the supports for the panels in 2017, but came close to having the same problem when we sailed from Fiji to NZ, so we decided that we had to bite the bullet and mount the panels on top of the Bimini.
I had considerable discussion on the alterations to the bimini that would be required and finally agreed on a completely new stainless steel bimini structure and a thin fibreglass bimini, with as wooden support box for the solar panels.
Stainless Chris made the top frame for the new bimini, then Graeme and Matt made a wooden mould for the fibreglass to fit the Stainless Steel frame. Once the fibreglass and ‘core mat’ was made it then had to be filled and faired then painted with the same 2 part Interprotect, undercoat and Perfection gloss as the deck, doghouse etc.
The Stainless Steel frame fitted into the new Bimini.
The completed Bimini on Enchantress.
The solar panels are completely protected from the wind and water, with lots of grab rails to hold onto.
This shows the solar panels on the Doghouse, the Bimini and the solar arch at the back, giving us 680 watts of solar capacity.
Both the stainless steel and the bimini are works of art, with pretty fancy architecture of the stainless steel and the high gloss finish on the bimini. Graeme, Matt and Chris do special work.