New England Trailer Sailors

Bimini for The Mac 26C

by Sam Wykoff

For years we have wished for a bimini that would offer sun and rain protection when sailing and at anchor. This year we put one on Puff Stuff and it works great. Here's how we did it. There is no need to raise the boom or move the main sheet.

1. We purchased the frame, sunbrella bimini (you have a choice of fabrics and colors) and hardware as a unit from Defender. It is made by Westland, Defender item number 100626 and part number 3069A

2. We purchased 2 additional stainless steel base mounts that go on a vertical surface, also from Defender, item number 100837

3. Purchase 8 one-inch SS wood screws to fit the 4 base mounts

4. Cut 4 plywood backing plates about 2 inch by 3 inch

5. Get a 4 foot long piece of wood about an inch thick and 2 to 4 inches wide

6. Get a hammer, drill and pilot and shank bits for screws, and 2 one and a half inch finishing nails.

7. If you have not cut openings in the rear bulkhead of your cabin on each side of the companionway for access to the void in the cockpit combing for storage, now is the time. I made mine round and put a 10 inch OD, 8 inch opening black deck plat fitting in each. We use one as bread/cookie storage and one for our foul weather gear with holes drilled in the lid for ventillation. You will need to remove a piece of foam from each, that can be stored under the sink if you are concerned about floatation. You could install the bimini with screws into the fiberglass and not use backing plates if you do not want to access the combing void.

8. The SS bases are mounted on the outside of the cockpit combing, ie on the side of the boat. The center of the bimini mounting pin should be 2 and 3/8 inch below the horizontal surface of the combing and 44 and 3/8 inch back from the rear vertical face of the cabin top measured along the outside edge of the cockpit combing. This will position the bimini below the boom when sheeted tight, an inch or so behind the mainsheet block and a several inches ahead of the back stay. You may want to clamp it in place and check clearances before drilling, as instructed below.

9. Drill one hole for the base on the fiberglass as the shank hole for the SS screw

10. Fasten 1 backing block to the end of the 4 foot long board with a single finishing nail

11. Give the drill to your mate with a bit sized for the screw pilot hole

12. Take the 4 foot board below

13. Temporarily remove enough foam blocks from the cockpit combing void to see the hole you drilled. You may need to break or cut the foam to get it out the storage access holes and you will need to grab the last piece with a nail in the 4 foot board to pull it to you.

14. Insert the board and position the backing block over the screw hole and hold firmly against the hull, while your mate drills the screw hole and fastens the mounting base snug with one screw. This will hold the backing block in-place.

15. Pull the board loose, be sure the backing block is straight and go drill the second hole through the base and insert the screw with sealant. Remove the first screw and reinsert with sealant

16. Reinstall the foam flotation

17. Repeat the process on the other side

18. For use at anchor, we positioned the nylon bases that come with the bimini on the flat surface of the cockpit combing so the bimini overlaps the poptop when raised. We also reverse the bimini for this position, as it fits better. For the sailing position the label goes to the rear.

19. Install the nylon base mounts the same way as the SS, except you do not need the board, you can reach. We positioned the mounting pins 13 inches back from the rear cabin bulkhead face and with their inside edge flush with the inside edge of the awl grip on the combing deck surface. Again, you may want to hold the bimini in position to check fit before drilling.

20. In either the forward or rear positions we found places to fasten the tensioning straps without adding the pad eyes that come with the bimini. You can adjust the height of each end a little by how you adjust the straps. The boot that comes with the kit is very nice when the bimini is not in use. Mine lays against the stern pulpit and can be easily stepped over to access the ladder. I tie it to the stern rail for trailering.

21. Vacuum up all the styrafoam crumbs ande have a beer under the new bimini. If you get stuck or have a question, call me 973-383-9208