Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Bimini Frame

ianjenkins1946 <>

Hi Paul,

     Yes, there are some photos of our bimini somewhere on the Amel owners photo section--try searching under Pen Azen.
 We, too, never sail anywhere  with the bimini down. If I won the jackpot I would have a very elegant version made in carbon fibre.

 What prompted us to amend the standard version is that I am 6ft, quite an ordinary height these days, and I got fed up with not being able to stand upright under the standard SM bimini--in contrast to the hard dodgers on our previous, smaller, Amels, a  Sharki and a Maramu which had better clearance. I also missed being able to see my sails !

I noticed that there were several inches between the top of the standard bimini and the main sheet when at rest. This gap immediately increases when you pull the mainsail out.

 So, when we were in Brasil we had the three stainless hoops lengthened by ( from memory) 10cm, 10cm and 15cm ( the 15cm being the forward hoop ).

We then had a bimini built in Subrella where the dimensions were
1. From the forward end of the shackle on the mizzen (to which is normally attached the tensioner for the bimini ) to the centre of the aft hoop     68cm
2. From the centre of the aft hoop to the centre of the middle hoop    70cm
3. From the centre of the middle hoop to the centre of the forward hoop    36 cm
4. From the centre of the forward hoop to the aluminium track holding the bolt rope of the bimini    57 cm

Once you have had the hoops lengthened ( and I recommend that you make your own measurements as my memory on the 10, 10 and 15 cm may be faulty ) you should set them up and tie string between them following the measurements that I have set out and make sure that you are satisfied before allowing the bimini maker to take a template. ( NB Pen Azen is an SM 2000; I think earlier models may have lower hoops )

It is very important that the maker understands that the pockets ( which we have zipped) should place the hoops in the right position. This is particularly true of the forward hoop, so that you get the right tension for the window.

The window : we have one long window about 26 cm deep at its central point ( I am not on board but can check in September ). It has a zip on the top  side which is covered on the outside  by a flap of Subrella. 
 Depending on the amount of air you need you can open part of the zip--very useful if it's raining and you want a clear view forward.
 If you unzip the whole way then you just roll up the window and the existing Amel bimini cover keeps if neatly rolled away.
 I would not use anything but the best vinyl for this window as it will be rolled and unrolled all the time. We use O'Sea Polished 40 Grade which costs about $180 for a piece 54 inches by 110 inches. I think it may also be called Strataglass. 
 The first time you roll the window you will be very nervous of scratching it with the zip or putting a permanent dent in it , as it is very stiff to begin with. Never fear, the best vinyl is built for such use.

Take care with the corners of the window--don't make them too acute as the zips ( you will need two zip pulls) will not take kindly to too tight a corner.

It pays to have the bimini made by someone who knows their stuff. ( Confession time: Don't use the very sweet Mom and Pop firm we used in Gouvia....)

You will also need larger side windows. Use the same vinyl. We got all three windows out of one sheet.

We also have a bimini extension which attaches to a zip on the aft of the main bimini and then to horizontal poles between the mizzen shrouds and the back of the mizzen. You will find a stainless ring on the underside of the mizzen boom where Amel normally fit the poles for their winter cover and bimini extension ( the two poles meet at that point and one slots into the other ).
That point is too low for us, so we had a ring welded on the top of the bolt, so that the poles meet there and give us an extra 6 inches or so headroom under the aft bimini.

 The only change we had to make was that at rest, with the boom amidships, the main sheet only just clears the bimini and can chafe if the boat is rocking. Moving the boom a short way to starboard fixes this, though we just use a simple sail tie with plastic snaps which fits round the boom to keep the mainsheet closer to the underside of the boom.

What do you end up with ?

1. You can stand up under your bimini
2. You have an infinitely better view ahead--you can see your sails without a crick in your neck
3. You can roll away the window for great ventilation and once rolled away you can stand at the wheel with your head out of the window--great for steering in a marina etc
4. You can sit on the aft deck and see clear ahead
5. With the bimini off, the stainless hoops still fold away into the trough on the hard dodger
6. When you extend the hoops, have a small piece of stainless welded across the corners ( about an inch). This allows you to tension the zip pockets laterally with cord if you add an eye to the outer end of the zip  pocket.  Much more important ,for matrimonial harmony,  this provides a good hoop for your wife's washing line which  can then criss cross your cockpit when it's raining.

Just don't tell Monsieur Amel..........

Ian and Judy, Pen Azen, SM 302, Preveza, Greece

To: amelyachtowners@...
From: amelyachtowners@...
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2015 09:12:55 -0700
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Bimini Frame

 Hello! Ian & Judy
I'm a new owner of an SM #259, and need a new Bimini and find your comments very interesting especially the:
- We never need to fold the bimini down  while the boat is in commission
- We have wonderful ventilation in the cockpit when required.
Do you have any photos to send or publish on the forum?
Anyone else who have good ideas on how to improve the Bimini are welcome to comment and send photos. One  often need an extension to the Bimini when sailing especially in Greece and Turkey as wind rather often very gentle and sun not very gentle at all.

Paul on SYKerpa SM #259



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