The owner of this Seawind catamaran contacted us to replace the old canvas bimini which was in bad shape, with a hardtop. We have done a range of these and after looking at what was involved, a concept plan was developed. The ideal material for a lightweight strong hardtop is foam glassed with epoxy skins. We used one of the best foam cores on the market, H80 Divinycell. We have used this core on many of our hardtop projects with great success. The size of the top was increased in width as well as a 900mm extension over the aft deck. To mount the composite top to the deck we used 32mm stainless posts secured to the top with glassed in composite sockets. The posts consisted of 3 each side and a center one at the front. These were bolted to the boat and pinned to the composite sockets. The owner requested a couple of lights to be allowed for with the wiring run through a center stiffener and down the front post so that all wiring was hidden. He also asked for a cradle to be fitted on the back edge to support the boom when not in use. To ensure everything would fit up correctly a trial fit was done once the top was structurally built but not finished. At this stage a temporary timber frame was set up to support the hardtop while we fitted the stainless posts in position. The sockets were epoxied and glassed in place and the following day it was disassembled and taken back to the factory for finishing. This involved fitting the composite boltrope track for the clears which were below the outside edge of the top and also doubled as a drip edge. Also added were a of couple load carrying beams along with the center stiffener and light mounts. Once the structure was complete, we began the arduous job of fairing and painting. Once the gloss was done, the top was painted in nonskid because this hardtop was always designed to be able to be walked on to attend to the mainsail. It was fitted in a day and when load tested felt strong and secure under foot. For more detail on this project see our gallery.
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