|Pearson 10M Bimini|
DHP - August 2010
The bimini that came with my boat in 2001 finally wore out. I tried to find a new fabric for it but it seems to be an odd size at 5 feet long. I also wanted more shade so I got a new one. It is from boatcoversdirect.com where they sell on closeout units that were tried but returned for some reason. I determined what I wanted size and height wise and kept an eye on the closeouts unit something suitable appeared. I got it for about 1/3 the full retail cost. It is 7/8 stainless steel tubing with all stainless fittings. The frame comes in pieces that are riveted together. I added epoxy to all the riveted joints (six end fittings and six tubing splices) which made it all quite a bit stiffer/stronger I think. I used West System G/Flex and prepped the tubing by roughing up the surfaces to 80 grit. The epoxy fills the voids in the joint and bonds the pieces together. G/flex is very good for this sort of bonding and remains a bit more flexible than other epoxy (like West 107/207). The tubing is 7/8 and not quite as good quality as the 1" tubing frame it's replacing but OK. It's lighter.
The fit is pretty good. Almost a perfect match to what I estimated from my drawings. Winch handles are clear to swing unlike with the old one. And It looks pretty good. The canvas is fairly smooth though I had to make it pretty darn tight on the straps to get it like that. This bimini is different than what I had before. It's wider by maybe 18" so the frame sits outboard of the lifelines. I made wedge shaped mounting blocks (that go on the outboard face of the coaming) to get the mounting brackets properly parallel and I enlarged the bracket mounting holes to use 1/4-20 screws rather than the #10 self tappers it came with. I cut tapered backing plates to match the angle of the wedges. The bimini is also longer than the old one by a foot and extends aft of the back stay. I had to put a slot in it for the back stay. I cut the slot and reinforced it with leather strips that I sewed in by hand. That took a while. I looked for some leather that would be good for this and ended up using a lace-on leather steering wheel cover from amazon for $10 or so. That came out pretty good to. I have to disconnect the back stay to thread it through the slot. Then it takes a little tweaking of the lateral position of the cover to get it lined up.
I added anchor points for the straps aft and they attach to the stanchion bases forward. There are no issues moving forward and the bimini extends far enough aft that you are under it sitting on the transom. It folds up very high and can be strapped to the back stay. I need to modify the boot cover it came with to go around the back stay too. I can just stand under it and my head just touches but not if I spread my feet out. It sits just aft of the end of the boom. I could raise it if I wanted. The old one ended before the back stay and was narrower which has some advantages. I could un-clip it at the front and fling it out of the way as needed (like when docking) - this new one will need a bit more attention to stow. With the old one you could stand up on the transom behind the bimini which was handy to see the rig and to go over the stern rail on the ladder. And sitting on the coaming you could lean back a little and see up to the mainsail and windex. This one is too long and too wide for that but it is about 30% more shade. So fair trade.