March 16 – Bimini update
The hard bimini project is complete. The half inch expanded PVC (made by Celtec) was difficult to glue as a butt joint (I didn’t take the time to go out and buy a rabbet bit for the router), but we also glued a 1/8” thick by 1.5” wide strip on top of all seams, and then screwed that down as well, thereby stabilizing everything. All seams lie directly on (the bimini extension) aluminum pipe and are bolted down to welded pads on both sides of the pipe, further holding the joints together. (Thanks, Dave…your architectural rendering was spot on!). We cut the edges and routed a nice round over top and bottom of the entire surface. Due to the design and attachment points of the arch extension, the top surface is quite stable, and can support one of us with very little flex. Matt and I then installed our two other 175W solar panels on top, and I wired them up yesterday. Our 700W of solar come in thru separate wires to individual breakers, which is wired to an Outback FlexMax 60 Charge Controller. Overall, this project took lots of time but the result is functional and quite attractive. It’s about as low profile as possible (the boom gallows will eventually have to be raised about 1.5”) and provided a good surface to rigidly attach the large solar panels. Compared to the old Sunbrella bimini, we now have better rain and sun protection, and are planning to have side curtains made to enclose the entire cockpit area.