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Author Topic:   Inside or top mount for new bimini?
Arch Autenreith posted 11-01-2001 07:52 AM ET (US)   Profile for Arch Autenreith   Send Email to Arch Autenreith  
My 8-year-old 'Taylor' bimini top has had it. It's has holes in it from ants making nests in it and mice chewing holes to make nests from it in the consol.

When I bought the Montauk it had (has) the fittings for the Mills top on the inside down from the gunwale. At the time I thought having it on a slide on the gunwale was the thing to do. But after looking at Barry's Montauk on pg. 43 Cetacea I'm wondering which is better. It does look 'cleaner' from outside. Does the 4-5 inches lost by mounting on the inside make much of a difference when squeezing through moving fore/aft? (BTW, I have the front rail removed.)

What say you all? Top or inside mount?

JBCornwell posted 11-01-2001 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Inside. It makes the top much neater in stowage.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

Arch Autenreith posted 11-01-2001 08:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
I forgot to say that I have an '84. The front deck is different than Barry's '74. Does having it lay on the front deck (on top of the lid?) make getting the anchor in/out a pain? I use the anchor a lot.
JBCornwell posted 11-01-2001 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Yup. Getting into the locker is a nuisance with the top stowed there, Arch, but I still prefer it to cluttering up the fishing space aft. Try stowing the anchor and rode above deck.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

Whalerdan posted 11-01-2001 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
I disagree wholeheartedly. My top is mounted outside the rails on a slider. When it's up people have plenty of room to move around the center console without bumping into the poles. You never realize it's event there. The montauk is a narrow boat to start with mounting it inside the rails makes it worse. Second, with it on the sliders and stored down you still have the entire deck to work with. Storing it inside the rails would eat up valuable deck space.

It may look better mounted on the inside, but it doesn't look that bad mounted on the outside and the performance is far superior.

MilwaukeeWhaler posted 11-01-2001 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for MilwaukeeWhaler  Send Email to MilwaukeeWhaler     
My bimini is mounted on the outside and it never gets in the way. It spends 90% of the time in the down position and fits snugly between the bow rail and the nav lights. You never know it's there. The only downfall that I can think of is you loose use of the flat areas outside of the rail on the bow (front corners). Not a big deal for me. Good luck
Bigshot posted 11-01-2001 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
How tall are your tops is a major issue. Too talla nd looks goofy, too short and you have to duck. I have mine mounted on the rear railings, the most forward pole just below the bend. Looks cool & factory, won't ever pull out of the glass and I can fold either bow or stern.
kingfish posted 11-01-2001 04:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I'm having a hard time visualizing a Mills suntop installation on a Montauk of *any* year that did not utilize sliders in tracks on*top* of the gunwale. Maybe the holes you're referring to are from a Mills *fly*top?

Mills Montauk suntop (bimini) mounts in every case so far as I know, on the gunwale deck, and stows forward outside the rails and I can tell you that I towed my Montauk thousands of miles with the suntop stowed forward as designed, and with a Mills mooring/trailering cover *over* the stowed suntop. At Ludicrous Speed.

Being stowed outside the rails meant there was no interference with the anchor locker lid. You can get less expensive generic bimini's, but they typically are a problem insofar as well thought-out storage. If you can manage to stand the initial outlay, the Mills is way far the way to go, IMHO.


Hank posted 11-01-2001 11:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hank  Send Email to Hank     
My Montauk came with a Bimini top mounted inside and below the gunwales(sounds like yours, Arch). It folds forward and stores on top of the front locker. Useless for a fisherman. My top spends 95% of the time on the dock or on my back porch.
Interferes with movement fore and aft when open and clutters the forward casting area and interferes with the anchor locker when folded.
The Mills top sounds far better if it folds outside the rail.
Arch Autenreith posted 11-02-2001 01:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Thank, all. I wasnít clear. When I purchased the Montauk 9 years ago it didn't have any bimini top so I decided on the top/slider method and have been pleased with it. Only now after I need to replace it have I consider the alternative. I sort of thought I'd keep it the way I currently have it for many of the reasons outlined but just wanted go make sure by asking others.

Kingfish. I never made the distinction between a suntop vs. flytop. I'm still unsure of the difference. Nonetheless, the single pivot for each side, or hardware attaching the rails to the inside, were there when I bought it. The sliders were non-existent. I appreciate your suggestion about Mills vs. generic but I always struggle with $150 vs. $500. (Do I have the Mills price range correct?) I might consider 2x but 3x+ gets hard to swallow especially when the mice use it to make a nice blue nest when I'm not looking! (It stays in the field when itís not in the water.)


John from Madison CT posted 11-02-2001 08:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     

Anyone have a photo of a Mills Bimini Top (on a Montauk) in the up and also in the stored position?

I was thinking about the top of the line Overtons's Bimini for only $260 (Sunbrella Fabric) and add the sliders. I just don't know where that one will store when not in use.



Bigshot posted 11-02-2001 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You guys think Mills is GOD. If you take a Mills top and have a custom guy make it, it will be the same. You can also have the fabric replaced a LOT cheaper than a new top. Here in FL there are tons of custom shops. Are mills awesome, yes. Does everyone need a full stainless bow system, no. Get the $169 top if you do not use it all the time. Get the Mills(or equiv) if you are doing above 50mph all the time or in hurricane situations. The main thing is to measure. How tall, how long, how wide. Get Mills measurements and start searching for a cheaper alternative. It will fit the same as the mills but be made out of alum which is perfect for 90% of the people in FL who use them 9 months out of the year. I have both alum & SS for different boats.
bigz posted 11-02-2001 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Arch, top mount to tuck on the forward gunwale or just outside the railing if you got one. The Montauk has a beam of only 6'2" inside, you cop that with the attachments and frame you'll be down to what would appear as 15 sport in beam --- can't afford to loose valuable interior space --- on these little bathtubs.

On the other subject of who's to use. ----- Penny wise and pound foolish, maybe-- !

Remember one thing folks, Mills and BW started out from almost the beginning hand and hand. That is to say what was/is the most efficient designs and fittings over time were continuely refined to be the best for any given Whaler up until the mid 90's.

The Mills designs fit and compliment the boat. Others like the generic "Taylor" styles of the industry and including some local custom shop look like what they are add on after thoughts --

I laugh -- all you folks that talk about restoration -- want your beloved to look factory and you go off and purchase canvas that frankly looks like hell and doesn't represent "factory" or compliment your hard work of restoration.

bigz posted 11-02-2001 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Place the comma after 6'2" please ---
kingfish posted 11-02-2001 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Mills flytop is a part of their weather system that includes front shelter, windshield, side curtains and rear cover, all of which are made to fit nicely with one another and as bigz said, with a lot of thought to the shape and functionality of the boat. The flytop can be used by itself, although it doesn't anchor as solidly as the suntop without having the forward shelter and windshield in place. It is also considerably smaller than the suntop; narrower because it stows inside the gunwales rather than on them, and a lot shorter, no more than 3' long.

Mills suntop is comparable to what you typically envision as a "Bimini". It's designed wider and longer than the flytop, gives shelter from the sun not only to the pilot station, but also to passengers sitting on the cooler seat in front of the console. Probably 6' or 7' long. I installed longer slide tracks on mine (8" or 10", if I remember), because I didn't think the Mills design allowed the top to come far enough astern; still had plenty of coverage for the front seat.

I've gone at it both ways; Mills suntop on one Montauk, Taylor on another (I had not yet discovered Mills when I bought the Taylor). The Mills stores in a way that is well designed and utilitarian; the Taylor does not. Mills uses stainless steel; Taylor does not. Taylor is less expensive; Mills is not. From my perspective, on my boat, I'd opt for Mills, but that is just me. It's *your" boat we're talking about here; you need to do it the way *you* like. One thought that does occur to me, though - if mice do chew through your top every year, you wouldn't pay any more to have a shop duplicate the Mills canvas than you would to have them duplicate Taylor canvas in the Spring and the Mills hardware will last a lot longer.


Arch Autenreith posted 11-02-2001 02:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
I appreciate the thoughtful and complete responses. Actually, a couple posts struck a nerve with meÖI often thought that, in my case the Taylor, never looked Ďrightí, whatever that means. And in the down position it never looked Ďrightí either and is sort of sloppy looking. Nothing against them I just didnít know about any other manufactures at the time. (I didnít hear about Mills until this forum.) Anyhow, in the back of my mind every time I looked at or put up/down the top I thought it would be nicer to have the Stainless Steel vs. aluminum poles along with a better overall look and fit. Taylor with the aluminum poles were inexpensive and has been satisfactory but I bought the Whaler for quality 10 years ago and just thought the aluminum didnít match the rest of the boat with the ss grab and life rails and such.
I may re-think this sun-top (right, Kingfish?) thing. Iím leaning towards the Mills. Youíre right: I can get new canvas but itís the overall look I want to be right and also get the ss rails once and for all. Plus, Iíll probably take it off for the winter from now on. Those darn mice are relentless! I need some cats around here;-)
Bigshot posted 11-02-2001 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Was not bashing Mills by any means but most people do not want/need to spend $600 for a top. In FL I use them constantly and on my Baja I have a SS custom top that is built like a brick...but I have a so-so alum top on my Montauk and it works great and looks great. When I get the opportunity to find a SS top, I will snag it. My favorite is a T-top but on a Montauk, I'll pass.
Whalerdan posted 11-04-2001 04:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
I'm with you on this bigshot. My top has polished AL poles, all metal hardware (no plastic), sundura cloth and looks/works great. Some of the tops I've seen on these pages, which I believe are mills, use white hold down straps and trim. Sorry, but I think that white looks cheap. My straps are black and it doesn't have that white trim all the way around (I guess zippers) like the mills, I think it looks alot classier. Stainless steel poles would be nice but I just can't see the $400 difference.
kingfish posted 11-04-2001 09:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I'm not sure which photos you're referring to, but I've never seen a Mills top with white straps - I suppose if one really wanted to they could order custom straps or colors, or change out the standard black ones to their liking, though.

Mills tops that are a part of a multi-part weather system (smaller, flytops) do have white zippers, although as I'm thinking about it, I think almost all zippers by almost all mfrs. are white. In the case of the Mills sun top (with zipper) there are very effective storm flaps that cover the zippers whether there are other parts of the weather system attached or not, so you can't see them, anyway.

Mills sun tops don't have white straps, white trim, or zippers of any kind of any color.

I think you were looking at something other than Mills canvas.


JBCornwell posted 11-04-2001 08:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
The Bimini that came with my OR18 is, I think, Mills. It is on 1" Stainles tubing with cast stainless fittings. The canvas is so tough that it survived all the abuse this boat took. A few patches, a couple of resewn seams and it looks like. . . a repaired, 20-year-old, very high quality top.

On the Montauk: If I had the outside-the-rails storage that you guys prefer( for very good reasons) It would lay on top of my bow-mount troller and my front station sonar.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

Arch Autenreith posted 11-04-2001 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Good point, JB. That's what makes this a good forum. There are few rights and wrongs. Just individual uses.
csj posted 11-07-2001 09:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for csj  Send Email to csj     
JAC posted 11-08-2001 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for JAC  Send Email to JAC     
How much was this mills clone and where can I find Mesco ?
bigz posted 11-08-2001 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
MESCO is a wholesale marine distributor in the NJ, NY, MD, DL area, most independent dealers/marinas handle products from them.

The top "csj" is referring to is a "custom" top stock #STB 23001 which denotes stainless-- the list price is $601.74 and the same in Aluminum is $480.24. Dealers will uswually discount 20% off MESCO's list prices.

This is a top which uses marine duck not Sunbrella as Mills does. Sunbrella is about three times the cost per yard of marine duck.

kamml posted 11-09-2001 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamml  Send Email to kamml     
I purchased a Sunbrella top from Cabella's this spring for my Montauk. I am very happy with it. It blocks the sun effectively and keep the water off you in the rain. I mounted it on the gunwale. As I use the boat with the top up all the time, storage has not been a problem. I was think of getting the poles to permit the the top to arch back when it is not in use on the water. Right now the lowered top stows to the rear on the gunwale when the boat is on the trailer. I like the slider idea so that it could clear the front railing, that would be a lot cleaner look, and would allow for stowage while on the water. Thanks for the idea.
Barnett Childress posted 11-10-2001 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barnett Childress  Send Email to Barnett Childress     
I have a bow mounted trolling motor and sonar on my Montauk also as JB so I can't lay the top over the bow rail. Have been trying to decide between a fly top or bimini. Can anyone with the bimini mounted on the slide rail system tell me where the top lays if you fold it down aft? Is this possible? Any pics?
Barnett Childress posted 11-10-2001 08:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barnett Childress  Send Email to Barnett Childress     
Do you do a lot of fishing from the bow? Is the top you have stowed inside the bow rail the smaller fly top? Does it get in your way other than opening the locker? You mentioned stowing your anchor outside of the locker. How are you doing this? Is it fixed to the bow rail?
Arch Autenreith posted 11-10-2001 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
This just occurred to me...I don't have the bow railing on the Montauk as some of you may know. (I removed it. What a pain it was FOR ME only.) The gunwale-mounted bimini top with the slide I have is still stored forward but now rests directly above the lifting eye. This has two benefits as I see and use it. It no longer rests on the front stepping areas and since it is just above the lifting eye I just have a piece of shock cord around the bimini and through the lifting eye which keeps the top from flopping around going over wakes. It also allows for the locker cover to open and makes it easier to use the chock and norman pin. So, if you don't have the railing on would the gunwale-mount work also with the trolling motor? Just a thought. I'll email pics if you need. Ps. My locker cover is hinged forward and not on the side like the newer ones so I donít know if it would work there but I think it would. Arch.

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