2001 Dauntless 22: Ideas for Installing a T-Top

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2001 Dauntless 22: Ideas for Installing a T-Top

Postby padrefigure » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:34 am

I may purchase a 2001 Dauntless 22. If I do, I want to add a T-Top for protection from the Gulf sun. This particular boat has the super console, so fitting a T-top and tying-in mechanically and electrically are a bit of a puzzle.

There are many fabricators in Texas to build a T-Top. I would like to show them something [that] works.

Give me information about aftermarket T-Top designs.To receive photographs would be great, but links to things [i.e. aftermarket T-Tops] that you have seen that work would be great.

I will appreciate your help.

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Re: 2001 Dauntless 22: Ideas for Installing a T-Top

Postby jimh » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:05 am

The most important element in having a T-Top fabricated to fit a 2001 DAUNTLESS 22 boat will be determine where there are already existing embedded reinforcements molded into the hull--if any at all--that would be suitable points of attachment for the base of the vertical supports for the T-Top. Without a very secure anchoring and strong attachment to the hull structure, a T-Top will be prone to become loose. This fundamental problem must be solved first.

When Boston Whaler began to build their boats with the option of including a T-Top, they created strong attachment points in the hull for the base mounting plates of the T-Top. They also carefully designed the structure of the T-Top so that the rigidity of the T-Top at the point of attachment to the hull would be appropriately matched to the actual rigidity of the hull at that point. The necessity of this careful engineering was explained to me by Ron Berman, head of Boston Whaler engineering. If the attachment point at the hull was prone to some flexing, and the T-Top was very rigid, then the hull would be working on the T-Top and would tend to break welds or otherwise deform the T-Top, and vice versa, the T-Top working on the hull to break free from its attachment. The two structures, hull and T-Top, had to be of compatible flexibility, so they would flex in unison.

ASIDE: the consideration of rigidity or flexibility in a T-Top structure was demonstrated to me this summer. I encountered a fellow with a very recent Boston Whaler boat, a 240 VANTAGE think it was, equipped with a T-Top. The T-Top had been damaged by a collision with some overhead structure, perhaps a bridge or something, I don't recall the exact circumstances mentioned. As a result, a fabricator repaired the break in the tubing with a weld and some reinforcement tubing.

This particular boat has just made a long passage (about 60 or 70-miles) across Lake Michigan and encountered some large waves in that journey. The tubing on the T-Top on the opposite side from the original break had now broken. Apparently the added rigidity of the structure on the repaired side was now working on the undamaged side, causing a tube there to fracture from the heavy motion in the waves.

I know T-Tops are all the rage in lower latitudes like southern Florida. There the sun elevation in the summer sky can be directly overhead. The shade cast by a tall T-Top is very effective when the sun is directly overhead. My boating is almost 100-percent North of 45-degrees latitude, so the sun is NEVER overhead. A T-Top in northern latitudes will create shade that projects away from directly below the T-Top. Unless the height of the T-Top is quite low and just slightly taller than the persons standing under it, a t-Top might not create the sort of sun shade you are expecting. Now if you are boating always in Tropic of Cancer latitudes, then the T-Top is more effective.

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Re: 2001 Dauntless 22: Ideas for Installing a T-Top

Postby GoldenDaze » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:02 pm

Fortunately, the 2001 220 Dauntless does have mounting reinforcements for a T-top. There are four 1/2" phenolic pads, each 9-3/8"x9-1/2", two on each side of the console. See part number 11 in the diagram at https://www.bostonwhaler.com/content/dam/boston-whaler/technical/resources/220-Dauntless-Wood-Locating-Models-2001.pdf. As Jim suggested, you'd want to be sure to mount to those pads.
2003 160 Dauntless Golden Daze