Author Topic: 2002 SunCat Bimini Advise and measurements .  (Read 1324 times)


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2002 SunCat Bimini Advise and measurements .
« on: April 17, 2015, 09:07:33 AM »
We just purchase a 2002 Sunday Cat ,
Would really appreciate Bimini advice,  The South Florida Sun is brutal..
Thanks .

Offline Craig

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Re: 2002 SunCat Bimini Advise and measurements .
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 10:46:37 AM »
The factory makes a very good bimini. The will also have the measurements. Consider getting one from them some folks have been disappointed in some of the "brandX versions
Craig, Horizon Cat "Kailani"  Punta Gorda, FL

Offline capt_nemo

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Re: 2002 SunCat Bimini Advise and measurements .
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 10:26:37 PM »

My recommendations.

Make sure you know basically what you want in terms of comfort, read that as "shade", for the large Sunday Cat cockpit and helmsman area aft. This might include whether to have one unit with multiple bows (which might be cumbersome) or two units (more easily deployed) which can be used either singly or together. Don't forget to consider how the Bimini (one or two units) will be stowed when not in use, so as not to interfere with running rigging, access to the small cabin, and the tiller area aft.

Then, get a few quotes from experienced local canvas makers giving them all the SAME SPECS (guidelines) so that quotes will be capable of being compared. There are some small vendors that even work from mobile Vans that make the Bimini on site for a real custom fit. You may be quite surprised at the $ difference in quotes for essentially the same product as I certainly was.

Consider using lightweight less expensive Aluminum pipe for struts and bows instead of heavier more expensive Stainless Steel. The Aluminum will work well just keep it clean. Depending on your intended use for the boat, connecting side curtains should be considered for shelter in bad weather when cruising or at anchor.

The photos below show a large custom Aluminum bowed Bimini for my 17' Powerboat stowed and covered. When deployed, the forward edge connects to the windshield by means of a "Bridge" window section and side window "curtains" connect to the Bimini sides for nearly all-round protection when necessary.

Hope this helps a little. Our SW Florida Sun can be brutal indeed!


Offline FireDrill

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Re: 2002 SunCat Bimini Advise and measurements .
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2015, 01:00:16 PM »
Some thoughts to address your question:

For my full cabin model  SunCat a rough estimate for a simple custom made  bimini was well  over $1500 (not many dealers here)  so I opted for the ComPac Suncat bimini at $650 (The West Marine units showed  motor boat dimensions that were too big and with unknown-to-me fabrics)  The stock ComPac  bimini was well made and has been an excellent basic choice, especially after a few mods.
It is 66 wide just covering all of the width inside the coaming (good thing) but it’s a bit too long at approx.. 52 inches(bad thing for my boat)  covering all but about 23 inches of the roughly 75 inches on-deck cockpit length ( ~84 in. gallows to cabin top). 

Its nice to have some standing room forward for adjusting sails, anchoring etc.   With your SundayCat cockpit – over 20 inches longer - this should be OK.  The brochure for the Daysailor version of the SunCat  shows the stock Bimini as you might use it.  Hint: Having zippers all around on a previous boat’s custom bimini let me add front (e.g. dodger like) and side parts as I could afford or needed them.
When in position,  a bimini has to be forward of the aft mainsheet controls-at least  18 inches -  far enough to avoid being entangled by  the rear mounted mainsheet during tacking, on a run or, worse yet, during a sudden gybe!. With any model SunCat , the doused bimini covers and/or decreases ease-of-use of  all the aft controls (tiller, mainsheet, for outboard- a really long reach)   A sling supported from the gallows can lift it from the sailing controls (some improvement)  but must be lowered for outboard access.

A generic problem with any  bimini,  is it’s difficult to look up and see the sails and check the trim from the helm .  A tiller extension would help you move forward to see the sails. A small top window is also possible.
You must raise the boom up a foot or more or swing it outside the cockpit in order to set the bimini. Once deployed, the bimini sits just under the boom and at that height provides plenty of seated headroom. Coaming to Bimini top is about 28+ inches.  Add about 9 or 10 inches to  fiberglass seat.
My modification: Two sets of bimini rails were added to the cockpit coaming. (one set was included)  Then two support struts (16 inches of 7/8 tubing  + fittings) were added to the aft rails. The basic bimini assembly was mounted on  the forward ones. See Pictures 

(if you know exactly where you want the bimini permanently ,  then four deck mounted hinges  can replace the slides- An Australian video shows this approach;  google:   Com-pac  SunCat and Eclipse First Sail - it is on YouTube, fittings are easily seen at the 1:12 mark). The support strut raises the stowed position to full-height,  keeping the bimini away from the tiller and the aft mounted mainsheet controls.  It enables  good access to the outboard.  Also, now,  sitting in the aft corner of the cockpit works nicely which many SunCat owners find particularly enjoyable!

To eliminate the forward mounting straps a bar (8 inches + fittings)  was added between the forward and aft hoops, toward the bottom (less stiffness there,  but less obstructed view; higher would be stiffer)  Being short, it also folds up nicely during dousing by releasing the forward end.   These mods  required finding hinged jaw slides that could be added directly to the frame without dismantling the existing  bimini to add slip-on jaw slides (e.g. see dodger discussion). On my boat it looks like this .
  Front straps are only needed for max  tension
See tutorials and Don Casey’s book, Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual,(International marine, McGraw Hill – 2006)  sections on Canvas work  and esp section on Custom Canvas to get some additional ideas and insights.

Hope this helps !  
Don Lehmbeck,
2012 SunCat named "CatEase"
Belief: "A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble".. E.B. White..
Retired Engineer and Adjunct Faculty ,
35 years sailing small cruisers in Upstate NY and nearby Canada