Now had a chance to look at Patrick Lonneville's site
Your full bimini enclosed is impressive and clearly extends the time you can spend on the aft deck into cooler months. We had not thought of bringing the sides all the way down but were going to stop at the rails.
I can see the 3 arc frame works well on the back deck so will reconsider that too.
Now had a chance to look at the Flexicover site, very impressive. They offer an international fitting service at least for stock tupperware boats.
My partner is keen on professional measure and fit (read: not confident in my measuring skills), so would imply two visits, and unless we would be on their way to med for another boat it seems unlikely to work.
Worth considering a detour for that difference!
Will get back to you should we elect to alter planned tour direction (cruise midi/garonne back up for north east france then belgium/holland/germany)
It is 4 metres by 4 metres, measured and made in Marknesse through the firm of Jachtwerf De Voorst. You would have I suspect, have to take your boat there for it to be made and fitted. They are a small yard and quite local, but very skilful. If you are going that way I will give you a contact.
We paid 750 euro to have ours made and fitted in the Netherlands. First class work and excellent cloth. We did opt for a painted steel frame rather than s/s as that was far more expensive and didn't really match Zeemeeuw.
Tessilmare do bespoke too which we would need. Simple top without zippers for sides on website but will contact AND they make decent size inox frames (and the right shape to my eye). Not industry standard Sunwhatever though (?India) but their own fabrics. Perhaps we should get them to do the frame as I cannot expect to do as good a job as Jan and Ian, my metal or wood put togethers are never quite square... I will contact them to see if they offer zipper sections and edge zips, not in the FAQ on the website and they are desired for flexibility.
Hi Jan - Chocolat had telescopic aluminium poles and welded steel tubes (alas tubes were different diameters at front and rear of aft deck) on staunchions aft deck at purchase. We bought a saleshade and tried for a season but it did not work well for us, perhaps arches could work better particularly if hinged at the level of the rail, will look at that as a possible solution.
Hi Ian - wow that is impressive. Are the side struts attached to a pivot point on a rail or deck? Certainly you have a size that is similar but portrait rather than landscape. I could ask the front half owner about this option but she only gets a month off per year for the next five years while I am filling my retirement time as of next February. I am useless with both the Singer treadley and her you beaut Taj Mahal all singing all dancing modern machine.
Thanks for all your solutions, all seem excellent and unlike our current situation work!
Six years ago we made a large folding sunshade ( Bimini ) that covers the sun deck of our boat. Once we had the idea, the first stage was to accurately draw it full size so as to determine the lengths of the different struts so that it would fold neatly ( done by drawing on wall lining paper taped to the floor). The frame ( aluminium ) is made from, for the sides, 1.5x1x1/8 rect tube. with 1"dia cross bars. The frame took about a week to make at side of the canal Garone. The admiral using her domestic sewing machine made the cover from a thin fabric we purchased from Kaospruce. Our Bimini is quite large ( 10ft x 16ft ) and is still as good as new despite three years near the med and three years in the UK. Our total expenditure was less than £600.
I don't have pictures....but
we went to Ikea and got their rectangular sun screen 2 * 3 M. (29 or 39 Euro)
mounted 4 small plastic pipes with tie wraps along the existing railing post ( same height), bought four 2.2 M tall metal tubes who fitted inside the plastic pipes and attached the Ikea cloth to it. cost just over 100
We had a folding bimini made by Tessilmare in Italy.
. They primarily build biminis for power boats but their largest stock version, at 300 cm x 300 cm, works fine on our barge aft deck. I’d recommend the stainless poles rather than the aluminum. Their prices are quite reasonable and they ship everywhere.
Forward for locks as our rear bit/bollard is under the rail and ropes need to work looped up over the rail. Backwards for bridges means forward access remains possible. Gas strut seems sensible, had not thought of that.
Four bow as personal preference only so I can the forward and aft ends to be lower as a kind of peak. Also best one on similar length aft deck I have seen had four. Also had dodger forward of that which we will forego.
We are in Pont de Vaux but hoping to head south to Canal du Midi/Garonne wintering Toulouse or west of there, so can stop off along the med. Best bimini I have seen on the canals on similar aft deck size was made there (ie Sete on label) however price is unknown.
Hi Chris. Where are you and where are you sourcing your bimini?
We had ours made 3 or 4 years ago in Brugge for Casey May Too by Patrick Lonneville.
It cost €5000 for bimini with all enclosing screens, a tonnau cover and all steel work.
The frame is a 3 bow aft folding frame mounted on risers so that the overall height can be adjusted between just over 3.7m and less than 3.2m.
Chris - sounds a little complicated! Why forward for locks and backwards for bridges and do you need 4 support frames if it's 2.4 m long?
My bimini needs to be lowered for every bridge in France, but so does the daft radar arch. The bimini frames are all attached to the arch, meaning I can release the 2 forward straps, give the gas strut supported arch a heave and it all comes down in literally 10 seconds. Past the bridge, another heave gets it all up again and we're out of the sun (or rain) again. If there's no significant wind the forward straps don't need to be re-clipped, so the next lowering takes just 5 seconds!
Finding good craftsmen in France is often difficult and I doubt it's easy to find bimini makers anywhere inland. Coastal ports with marinas full of yachts are much more likely to have these people - often sailmakers can make canopies and biminis. I've used Dutch sailmakers in Grou and Sneek who are excellent. They have visited the boat and we've discussed the options before deciding on the best solutions. €11K seems wildly over a sensible price. I guess Balliol's suggestion of a cantilever parasol is no good as your deck height would not allow it to pass under the 3.5m bridges. I tried with a parasol, but it needed to be collapsed and extracted from its base at every bridge so sadly not practical - specially when I'm single-handed.
Thankyou all for the helpful information. I exaggerated the size when I looked at my drawings, it will be 4 by 2.4 m and needs to fold forwards (locks) and back (bridges), stainless frame with mounting on the main rear rails so it sits flat when down at the back. I would prefer a tack on the rails so it can be adjusted forwards if it fouls the steering position when collapsed forwards. The four arc frames seem to give a nice line to the covers (one main, one secondary and two tertiary arcs to support the middle of the cloth.
We have nowhere to attach the rear fixed base wind out parasols we are seeing on the aft decks of wheelhouses, and do have some pole slots for shade cloth. We have found that frustrating and ineffective in wind but surprisingly helpful for washing lines! We are using the heay base umbrella solution currently but it is not easy when moving.
We will look at remote frame and cover options as our quote is quite high (11k Eu including TVA) but for good quality 30mm diam frame and sunwhatever cloth. I do think this was a genuine quote but from an inexperienced team and found the engineer thoughtful.
We had two biminis made by Flexicovers, flexicovers.co.uk who make biminis for Sunseeker, Princess, Fairline ans Sealine. Good pedigree! We needed two, one to fold forward and one to fold to the rear of our 3m wide and 4m long wheelhouse. They zipped together in the middle when erected. The tubing, very solid, and covers cost us £1,490 in 2010. We didn't have to pay it but VAT would normally be added to that. They also supplied front, back and side panels with windows at £1,050.
Your bimini for Chocolat will be smaller than both ours so should be at a better price, allowing for the passage of the intervening years, however.
We have one which fits either on our fore or after decks, simply slotting into tubes welded to the deck on the centreline. It needs a couple of thin guy lines in a wind, but otherwise the main deck areas are unobstructed by poles etc. It folds in seconds and then the whole assembly just lifts out of the socket for stowage. Our Dory boat has a normal bimini and the poles / hoops are a pain to climb around when boarding, and get in the way of cleats etc. when folded down.
Also quite cheap relative to a custom bimini, fitted!
Does anyone have experience of buying bimini for their aft deck boat? (about 4 by 3.5 meter area). Boat is in France.
Ballpark figure would be useful as we have received a quote more than we expected, I expect the specs are good with reasonable diameter tube and standard UV resistant cloth.