MONTAUK 17 Top

A conversation among Whalers
dleopoldi914
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MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby dleopoldi914 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:12 pm

I want to put a top on my Montauk 17 that is used nine time out of ten for angling, and I don’t want the top to get in the way. I found [a top pictured below] that seems like a good idea-- but how then do you use the anchor?

Where can [a Bimini top on a frame that stows forward and has the hinge bases mounted on moveable tracks, as] shown in the attached image be found?
C6934A63-55A7-4E2C-AED7-7D4C0A968BB5.jpeg
C6934A63-55A7-4E2C-AED7-7D4C0A968BB5.jpeg (51.39 KiB) Viewed 2396 times


The reason for getting a top is in case the weather turns: the top will give me cover; it also will give protection from the sun.

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Don McIntyre - MI
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Re: Where to find top

Postby Don McIntyre - MI » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:07 pm

You have two choices; buy [a top for a MONTAUK 17] from Mills or have one custom made by a local canvas shop that's close to you.

Examining the image, it looks like the pivot point on the hull allows for the canvas to slid forward and fold down just forward of the bow rail assembly. I don't know if that's a standard Mills setup or not. It looks decent. There could be other ways to secure the top that would be out of the way

Accessing the anchor locker would not be a problem, just move what looks like a cushion over the locker, and run the line under the canvas to the anchor line cleat.

The Mills canvas set for that model could consist of the bimini, forward shelter, side curtains, and aft curtain. Two design problems with their offering:

  • the Mills [flying top] is small. It covers the width of the boat, but is short in length than other tops; not much protection in the rain or sun.
  • the Mills forward shelter, once up, is behind the bow rail assembly. Pretty small, and allows all the rain and spray to collect into the boat.

The advantage with Mills: you could order it, install it quickly, and your done.

Having a Bimini top fabricated locally depends on your location.

Are there any good canvas shops around?

If so, check them out. They may have pictures of completed projects, maybe even a website showing them. If you are tall enough where you might have to duck under a Mills set, they can take that into consideration.

We had a forward shelter fabricated that attached to the gunwales, went up over the bow rail to an upside down "U" piece of framework that attached to the gunnels, about where the rear of the console was. The "U" was held up by two straight rails that ran from the center of the bow rail to the curves at the "U". Gave us lots of headroom (had also fabricated a sleeping platform forward of the console the fit flush up to the anchor locker. Another story).

If you decide to go local, couple of pointers:
  • See what the price difference between aluminum and stainless frame tubing. A good shop should offer both.
  • Same for the fittings; price difference between plastic and stainless end caps, hinges, etc.
  • If you are considering the sliding track type affair, there's another way. Purchase two set of this quick release hinge base.

You could install [a hinge quick release base] where the bottom of the frame needs to attach to the gunwale, and a second [quick release hinge base] for storage. No aluminum track to get dented, dirty or be a toe catcher.

[Using a quick release hinge base] makes putting up and taking down our bimini very, very easy. They even have quick release fittings for the straps.


For our first custom canvas the outfitter used 3/4-inch-diameter aluminum tubing and plastic fittings. After three years, the plastic started cracking. By that time he was out of business.

The second custom canvas was made by a well known (in my region, S/E Michigan) provider that used 1-inch-diameter stainless steel tubing and metal fittings. It's coming up on 20 years and while the canvas will probably be replaced this winter, due to the wear along the threaded seams, the framework has held well.

Regards - Don

jimh
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby jimh » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:00 pm

dleopoldi914 wrote:...Where can [a Bimini top on a frame that stows forward and has the hinge bases mounted on moveable tracks, as] shown in the attached image be found?


A generic Bimini Top can be found at many vendors or sold directly by some manufacturers to the customer via on-line sales. These off-the-shelf products are about $300, or about one-third the cost of a Wm. J. Mills & Co. top, now probably at least $900 and perhaps more.

In order to give you more advice, you should mention what sort of budget you have for the canvas project.

A locally made custom fitted top from a high-end canvas fabricator will have a cost equivalent to the Mills, but will include the installation on your boat.

The cost of any boat canvas reflects:
  • the material costs for the frame and fittings
  • the material costs for the fabric
  • the method of fabrication, either standard mass-produced design or bespoke design with artisan fabrication
  • the location of the manufacturer or shop
  • the general market for boating canvas

High-quality marine-grade stainless steel tubing costs more than aluminum tubing; it is also harder to work with and bend.

Certain fabrics have extremely good track records for use with boat canvas. A material like the Glen Ravin Mills SUNBRELLA fabric will be more expensive than some no-name plastic infused cloth.

Stock designs that are mass produced on a production line basis will be much less expensive than custom-fit products made by true canvas artisans.

Buying a top using plastic and aluminum, some no-name fabric, directly from a manufacturer in some relative low-cost region via on-line will be much less than the buying a top using stainless steel and Sunbrella made as a custom-fit from a highly regarded canvas fabricator located at a waterfront shop in an expensive harbor town.

As the cost of a boat in general increases, the cost of accessories tends to increase proportionally. A new 17-foot Boston Whaler can cost $50,000. That good canvas for that boat might cost $2,500 is not out of line.

jimh
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby jimh » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:18 pm

Many small boats install a Bimini Top with fixed supports for the frame. Having the frame of the top have fixed supports permits the top to be folded and be stowed with the frame still erected. I use this method on my boat. The only time the frame is lowered is for trailering long distances on the highway at high speeds, or when the boat mooring cover is put on because the boat won't be used for a while.

hoosierdaddy
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby hoosierdaddy » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:33 pm

Have you looked at the T-Topless website?

jimh
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby jimh » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:38 pm

I have not. What is the URL you are suggesting be looked at in order to learn more about a Bimini top on a frame that stows forward and has the hinge bases mounted on moveable tracks for a MONTAUK 17?

hoosierdaddy
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby hoosierdaddy » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:04 am

T-topless has a different setup. The top still folds but is more like a T-top than a bimini. There is one specifically for a Montauk; it mounts directly to the railing on the console so you don't need the track.

http://rnr-marine.com/Montauk-T-Topless.shtml

jimh
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby jimh » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:43 am

I would be very cautious about mounting a large wind-surface structure like a T-top frame and fabric top to the railing of the console of a MONTAUK 17 boat. The console railing was not designed to carry a load like that.

Also, when in the stowed position, the device takes up all the foredeck space.

'DADDY--Have you installed this device on your MONTAUK 17?

hoosierdaddy
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Re: MONTAUK 17 Top

Postby hoosierdaddy » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:48 am

No experience with their products personally. I was kind of hoping someone on this forum had purchased one. I would like to hear some honest feedback. Looks like a decent top, but I had similar concerns about the strength. I do like the idea of the top not being in the way while fishing as opposed to a bimini. As far as the folding is concerned, the idea is for storing the boat in a garage or carport. I don't think you would want to have the top in the folded down position while operating the boat.