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Author Topic:   Bimini Top
Knockerjoe posted 09-14-2003 07:54 PM ET (US)   Profile for Knockerjoe   Send Email to Knockerjoe  
I am looking at adding a bimini top to my 22 Outrage in the near future. I was wondering if anyone has ordered an aftermarket top either online or catalogs? Looking for recomendations. Also was wondering of advantages of SS over aluminum. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks....joe
jstachowiak posted 09-17-2003 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
Price is a big difference. Aluminum for about $250 to $350 and SS for $500 to $650. SS is heavier as well, but looks the best. Sunbrella is what you want for fabric. Mills makes the SS, you can call them and get a price.
Bigshot posted 09-18-2003 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
SS is great but real heavy. Sunbrella is sunbrella so any Acrylic material will be the same. I like the alum poles with SS hardware. This dds strength to the hinges,e tc but not to much weight and usually about a $35 upgrade over the plastic/nylon hardware. I have a Carver top and the quality is excellent. Price is about $250 for your size and SS upgrade and boot.
JM_190 posted 09-18-2003 06:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for JM_190  Send Email to JM_190     
I currently run a SS prop. On my last boat I ran aluminum.
For my use, the SS is far better, because it takes abuse and has no visible deterioration. I run on a sandy bottom shallow bay, with lots of organic debris. The aluminum prop needed a tune-up every 3-4 weeks due to nicks in the leading edge, which would be evident by a drop in performance. I could fix that issue by filing the leading edge smooth. My SS prop has lived all summer in the same environment with a couple of prop strikes, and not even a scratch. When I ran aluminum, I had two props, one on the boat and one that I would tune, ready for a swap as needed.
newt posted 09-18-2003 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
I prefer aluminum foil when wrapping leftovers for the freezer. I find that stainless foil is just too rigid, and the cost prohibative. It also leaves a funny taste on the hamburgers. I was thinking about trying the plastic....

Whups, sorry. Forgot this thread was about bimini tops. I got lost after the last post. :)

lhg posted 09-18-2003 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I would not even consider aluminum supports for Whaler canvas. It is only used on the cheapest of boats, and bends easily, with no strength. BW always specified SS.

On Cetacea Page 8 there is photo of a Mills Sun Top, which I highly recommend. If you want compatibililty with other Mills canvas weather protection items, you might consider the Flying Top instead, although it is much shorter in length. The first picture in Cetacea page 1 shows how it works alone as a "Bimini". I find it quite adequate, and with a lot less wind resistance when underway.

One of the keys to Mills canvas is that they have the diagonal bracing cords to the center of the console rail that stabilize the top laterally. Very important. I have seen many Bimini's swaying back an forth from aftermarket canvas guys who don't know enough to do this.

alkar posted 09-19-2003 12:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     
Finally, an area in which Larry and I can disagree. :-)

While it's true that aluminum is less expensive than stainless, the best aluminum top systems are very strong, extremely durable, and quite expensive. In fact, the best of them are substantially more expensive than most of the "good" stainless systems like those produced by Mills.

Bentleys, a canvas and upholstery business based in Portland, Oregon, builds some of the finest tops I have ever seen, including custom top systems for several of the largest boat manufacturers in the northwest. The majority of their tops use aluminum frame systems, although stainless is an option. See http://www.bentleysmfg.com/

Bentley's tops - with aluminum frame systems - can be left up while the boats are trailered at highway speeds - and they hold up.

I had several Bentley's tops built for my personal boats and, after experience with both, settled on aluminum. It was MUCH lighter and, most importantly, less prone to rattle than the stainless systems.

Bigshot posted 09-19-2003 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I too disagree. I run a custom $800 SS bimini on my Baja because she does 65mph. Not that I run 65 with the top up, but I probably could. The Alum one I had on there would not handle much more than 45mph. Now....I do not recommend running a bimini over 45mph but how many people do, and if you have a montauk, that is about WOT. Alum frames are very strong and the frames really don't flex, it is the hardware hence why I recommend the SS hardware over nylon.

As far as Mills go.....their bimini tops way overpriced and no better than anyone elses. Why you ask do I take that stance, because I have a Mills and think it is just OK. The frame is alum and VERY thin to boot. The canvas is just a standard sunbrella material that they sew their patch on. To replace the canvas(which i wanted to do) they wanted about $400 for it delivered.....are they out of their *%$&!@% minds? It is the same damn sunbrella that is on my $230 top that included the REST of the top. Now the "mini" Bimini that Larry refers to is neat being it ties in the rest of the canvas to enclose the whole boat if you go the full enclosure route to the tune of $2500+/-. The problem is....it's "mini". Mini does not block a LOT of sun. Why are you buying a bimini? To block the sun, get some shade? Why would you use a washcloth instead of a towel? The mini is great for those who are standing directly under it, sit down or move to the cooler seat and you are not gonna be in the shade. The tie down strings to the console are a great idea but anyone with some clothesline and 2 lobster hooks can rig it up like I did.

Sorry for my rant but I own Mills canvas and their quality and fit is AAAA++++ but with bimini tops I think you are nuts to pay their prices for something that generic.

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