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  Bimini material, TM Premo, Outdura or Sunbrella, input needed.

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Author Topic:   Bimini material, TM Premo, Outdura or Sunbrella, input needed.
flawton posted 07-28-2003 05:38 PM ET (US)   Profile for flawton   Send Email to flawton  
I have been researching a bimini top for my 81 newport. I have read jimh's reference article, searched the archives, checked out 5 suppliers and still have a few questions.

There is a huge difference in price between Taylor Made Premo (Boat US/West Marine) fabric, Outdura acrylic (Bass Pro) and Sunbrella acrylic (Cabelas/Mills) fabrics. The price difference is close to $130, is the Taylor Made Premo that much better than the acrylics that Mills, the grandaddy of them all, offers?

The Outdura acrylic is offered by Bass Pro. Does anyone have any experience with this material or is it basically the same as Sunbrella? Bass Pro offers a frame that is 60" in height, 6" taller than the offerings from the other suppliers. Im no giant but when I measured for top height today, 54" would work but seems sorda tight. I don't know if i can order just the sunbrella fabric (from cabelas) and put it on the 60" h frame from Bass Pro. The Cabelas tops appear to come as a package deal, Bass Pro doesn't.

Boat US offers an 18" slide track kit (Taco) which seems like it would really help when it comes to storing the top out of the way. All of the top frames I am looking at are constructed of 7/8" aluminum, would it be bad to assume that the deck hinges for the slide kit are universal and would fit all 7/8" frames?

As for installation of the slide kit and top thereafter, would I need to make shims to compensate for the 10-15 degrees of outward slope on the gunnels or do the deck hinges allow for that amount of play? (jimh's fixed hinges are trick but I wouldn't think they made them for a slider).

Any input by "The Wave" gurus would be greatly appreciated, ya'll are the kings of sterring people in the right direction. thanks

jimh posted 07-29-2003 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Subrella is a trade name of a specialty fabric produced by Glen Raven mills. That is lowercase "mills" as in knitting mills.

Wm. J. Mills & Co. of Greenport, NY, have been using it for many years to make very high quality canvas accessories for Boston Whaler boats. For a long time, Mills was the OEM supplier of canvas accessories to Boston Whaler and its dealers.

Taylor asserts "We are the only manufacturer using TYCO-TUFF®, a coated olefin material with superior characteristics versus any other top fabric."

I cannot speak to the durability of TYCO-TUFF® material, but I can tell you that last Saturday I sat under a Mills forward shelter in a pouring rain and there were no leaks. The fabric was over ten years old had had seen plenty of use.

The difference in price between Mills products and others is due more to their specialty designs for particular models of Boston Whaler boats than to differences in the cost of the fabric.

Refer to:

Glen Raven Mills: Sunbrella
Taylor BoaTops
Mills Canvas

jimh posted 07-29-2003 08:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Administrative post]
flawton posted 07-29-2003 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for flawton  Send Email to flawton     
I purchased the boat from a close family friend of mine and when new the boat had the entire Mills enclosure. I recall taking it from Savannah to Charleston in 83 or 84 and during portions of the trip we used the enitre enclosure (due to inclement weather). When I purchased the boat a year and a half ago all I got was the hull and trailer (he had since moved on to a late 90's 20 outrage). We looked in his warehouse for what remainded of the original Mills enclosure but it was gone (I know the where the suntop is, on his 13' whaler).

I wouldn't even want to hazard a guess at what it would cost for a full Mill enclosure for a 81 newport. I can pick up just the suntop from bass pro or cabelas for right around $300 which seems like a pretty good price for what im looking for, just a break from the sun while fishing.

jimh posted 07-29-2003 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you could find that original Millscanvas you'd have a significant amount of extra value in your boat, as I can sense you already realize.

If you think you'll just be using the bimini and not planning to make it into a full canvas system, you can save money with a mail order top.

The top I used in my article about the 15-SPORT was about $250 if I recall. It has aluminum poles and plastic fittings. I would not operate the boat at speeds about 25-MPH with the top erected.

Mills products have stainless steel tubing and fittings. You can run the boat at speeds of 35-40 MPH with the top erected.

If you have a good canvas maker locally, they can make a top, too. Prices I got quoted locally (in the long winter off season) were about the same as ordering from Mills.

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