A dodger, also known as a spray-hood, is a frame-supported canvas usually with clear vinyl windows partially protecting a helmsman and other occupants of a sailboat from harsh weather and seas.
There are three basic types of dodgers. The first is a traditional independent frame dodger that is separate from the bimini. The second is a dodger that uses the forward most bimini bow as its support bow as well. Finally, some boats have constructed hard dodgers.
S/V Pelican Hull 209
The Pelican has an independent dodger frame skinned with Sunbrella Fabric and with a single large Strataglass window. Unlike a typical independent frame dodger the aft panel is tensioned with a strap that connects to the second Bimini bow. This makes folding the aft panel forward very easy for better access to the fore-deck. This was preferred by the owners due to the lack of a side deck around the wide cockpit of the Pearson 424. Wings can be added for more protection in bad weather.
The construction was based on the Sailrite kit. However, the kit is not wide enough for a Pearson 424 so a frame was constructed buy purchasing 1" stainless steel tubing and bending it by inserting it through the solar arch. The frame construction was inspired by the following blog post: http://www.itsanecessity.net/5-days-to-build-dodger-html/
The fabric work was done by following along with the Sailrite tutorial with modifications for our design: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISiifXpZOXI
S/V Vagari Hull 78
Vagari has a dodger that connects to the Bimini frame with large panels that zip up and down. The removes the requirement for an independent dodger frame to be constructed but requires that the bimini extend forward far enough to prevent the dodger panels from interfering with companion way access
S/V Miss Kathleen Hull 57
Miss Kathleen has a hard dodger.
Hard Dodger Pointers
1. Mainsheet track discarded and attached to the deck in front of the garage roof
2. Glass was used for the flat panels however glass could not be used for the front pane due to garage roof cut-out
3. Allow larger corner area for installation of cables. We have two flexible panels on top.
4. Painting - the interior was done with a flat finish to avoid reflections. This was a good choice
5. Top panel - although glued and glassed, the roof tended to flatten out and did not retain the desired profile
6. Ensure there are drain holes on the sides of the dodger as water leaks in through the mainsheet hole
1. Increase the angle of the front panel
2. Use foam core for roof with carbon-fiber for extra strength
3. Have a section of roof removable for engine extraction
4. Provide opening front panel for ventilation
5. Add a strip to the rear of the top panel to guide rainwater to the sides