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Author Topic:   T-Tops on Outrages
Nushlie posted 05-23-2004 07:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for Nushlie   Send Email to Nushlie  

Please share any opinions and experience you have regarding t-tops on the 18' and 20' outrages.

Are they a real plus on the boat or is one just as well off simply getting a bimini top on boats these sizes?

Thank you,


kamie posted 05-23-2004 08:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
nice lockable place for electronics, although mine is a touch too high for me.
lots of sturdy, bolted down metal to hang on to in rough water
adaptable for storing items such as PFD's using t-top bags freeing other dry storage.

for a trailer boat it's a big sail going down the highway.
Not really good for sun protection .
doesn't work well with a weather system so you could weather proof the boat.
lowers top end speed because it's a big sail on the water as well.

A better question than what the gentlemen or ladies think is what do you want out of the t-top or canvas?

whaler3 posted 05-23-2004 10:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for whaler3  Send Email to whaler3     
Nushlie, For what is worth, I purchased a 1997 17' outrage with a t-top last year. Was looking for a outrage with a bimini but liked the boat. Figured I would take off t-top and sell it and put on a bimini. Took the t-top off and wife said she liked it -put it back on. I did. It is great and it makes the boat look bigger then it is. Go for it !
Nushlie posted 05-24-2004 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Nushlie  Send Email to Nushlie     

I thought the t-top would provide a good shelter from the sun. It doesn't sound like it is too effective or at least not as protective as a bimini top.

I also had wondered about trailering with a t-top, seems like it could get a little "top heavy" with any significant winds.

I have been told bimini tops are around $1,500 installed. Are t-tops an expensive option?



BarryGreen posted 05-24-2004 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for BarryGreen  Send Email to BarryGreen     
Nushlie - Kamie's right; ask yourself what you're looking for that cover (T-Top or bimini) to do.

I've got a 20' Outrage with a T-Top, and I'd do it again in a second. I wanted the T-Top for sun protection, and it certainly does that. I also mounted an electronics box on it and freed up a lot of space in the upper console box as a result. There's that "cool" factor as well, and while it does put some additional weight up high, I haven't noticed any significant detrimental effects

Earlier I had a 17" Outrage with a bimini, and while the bimini gave sun protection it shimmied side-side when making turns for water skiing and wakeboarding, and just seemed in the way a lot.


OzWhaler posted 05-24-2004 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for OzWhaler  Send Email to OzWhaler     
I am getting a 170 Montauk and this T-Top exercise has been interesting me too. I have seen T-Tops on CC boats here which are full width and provide good sun protection which is essential here. We trail boats for long distances in Oz and the windage factor is an important factor on fuel costs. Also when playing a game fish, or using light gear, a bimini is an absolute nightmare (from my experience...!) as you follow a big fish around a boat....

When coupled with a requirement to store the 170MT in a garage with a 2.1m (7ft)clearance the answer was theoretically simple - a folding T-Top. Nearly all of the T-Top photographs I have seen on this forum have been fabricated out of aluminium tube which gives the T-Top (visually) quite a heavy and bulky look.

I have designed and drawn up, with a local s/steel fabricator, a folding T-Top which drops back and is secured at 45 degrees so that the top is horizontal and level with the top of the 170MT windscreen... < 2.1 metres high.

This will make storage and towing easier and a cover can be made to cover from the bow to the stern over the windscreen and T-Top in the 'down' position. This will also provide more ventilation space over the CC and aft sections of the boat - we have BIG problems here with damage to instruments and fittings from condensation under 'non-breathing' synthetic covers..

In the 'up' position it would be very secure and would look like a normal fixed T-Top. The design also allows for lateral support in the raising and lowering - the whole structure will not be heavy in any case and can be done by one person.

I'll post some photos in the near future when it is made up and ready to go...

rtk posted 05-24-2004 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
I have a t-top on my 21 foot Outrage. It is a hardtop. If you are going to do alot of fishing the t-top is great. The bimini top mounted on the gunnels limits your ability to walk around the console 360 degrees with a fish on.

The other advantage to the t-top is the ability to get your antennas and other accessories out of the cockpit. I have a VHF, GPS, AM/FM and satellite radio antennas, a spotlight, hailer horn and anchor light all mounted on my top. There is also rod holders to store the rods out of the way.

The three sides of the t-top around the console are enclosed with eisenglass and there are two drop down side curtains that enclose the helm nicely from the elements when needed. Protection from the sun is limited to the captain and one or two others if they can fit under the t-top behind the console.

For the way I use the boat and the way the boat is equipped the t-top works better for me than the bimini. I have no low bridges to worry about and I do not trailer the boat so the height is not a problem for me.

If I only used the boat for cruising and did not have alot of equipment I would more than likely choose the bimini. For the way I use the boat the t-top works best for me. I have never operated the same boat without the t-top so I cannot comment on the difference in handling or performance. I do get pushed around pretty good in a strong wind when docking but I just compensate for that in my approach to the dock. While running I would assume I do lose speed due to drag and the boat will lean but I have trim tabs to level the boat.


Jarhead posted 05-24-2004 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
It really come down to your needs and how you use your Outrage.

As previously mentioned fishing and a bimini just doesn't mix.

As for an 18' or 20' Outrage being too small for a T-Top? Not at all. I do a lot of fishing here in the Florida Gulf waters (160 Dauntless) and see boats my size with T-Tops often.

BTW. An aluminum T-Top (soft top) is in on my Christmas list. How about it Santa? ;)

Perry posted 05-24-2004 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
I have a t-top on my Dauntless 160 and have encountered no problems as of yet. I only trailer my boat 3 miles to the ramp at low speeds and the boat seems heavy enough to handle it while in the water.

HappyTime posted 05-24-2004 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for HappyTime  Send Email to HappyTime     
1. Don't make T-top with stainless steel, it makes the boat
top heavy and they are rigid so it could crack. Aluminum T-top are lighter, Craig from the Outboard Motor Shop told
me he could lift the whole T-top by himself with my Whaler
aluminum T-top.
2. I believe T-top reduces the boat mileage, and towing mileage, but don't khow how much, but I don't think this
is big concern.
3. T-top does protect you in sunny days, but DOES NOT protect much in rainy days, the cross wind still make you wet and cold.
4. T-top with Electronic box in a big plus to put more
electronics, you gain the antenna high by 8 feet.
5. During the windy days if you do drift fishing T-top
can make the boat drift too fast, but I compensate by
using a sea anchor, so it is not a big concern.
6.If you plan to lauch a boat with a hoist, such as Point Arena pier, T-top is a big negative.
T-top has some drawbacks, but overall it makes the boat
more functional as my opinion.

skred posted 05-24-2004 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Just had a thought/question: Why doesn't someone design a t-top with - say 3-1/2 foot legs mounted like a normal t-top's legs, but the rest of the top (aluminum) would slip down inside these legs and lock with pins. You could easily slip it out of the mounting legs, and lay it down forward or back to reduce trailering sail effect, and also to store it ashore when you don't want to use it.
OzWhaler posted 05-24-2004 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for OzWhaler  Send Email to OzWhaler     
skred ... actually 'Mark l' design for the 'folding T-Top' was just that - a more 'pop-top' arrangement we use in raising the cabin top in small yachts to get extra headroom when anchored.

The folding design has advantages in getting wiring to the top of the T-Top and structurally

skred posted 05-25-2004 08:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Well, I guess I won't rush to the patent office today.... The pop-top idea sounds even better..

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