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38xx aft cockpit hard top...materials and pics?

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    38xx aft cockpit hard top...materials and pics?

    So, the canvas over the aft-cockpit got a bit torn up in the 50mph winds we got from Hurricane Irma. Here's a pic...that piece of canvas has seen it's better days:

    I already know a replacement piece of canvas is going to be around $1K. I mean, it is a boat, and anything, no matter how small, for a boat is always $1K.

    I'm thinking about perhaps doing some sort of hard-top for the cockpit instead, and doing it myself. I'd love to see some pics of your hard-top if you have one.

    I'm thinking about materials...I want to keep it lightweight (I'm not a fan of adding weight up high), and in general most changes I make take weight off the boat rather than adding more. Lighter = quicker and/or less fuel and/or less work on the engines. Not really interested in putting anything heavy up there, just want the shade and rain protection. I could see putting a paddleboard up there, and *maybe* figuring some way to hoist the 8 foot Walker Bay dinghy (70 lbs) up there eventually...but I'm not gonna make that a criteria. Some thoughts I'm toying with:

    1) Thin Coroplast polypropylene corrugated sheet (the type of material that signs are often made from...4mm thickness)'s rigid, waterproof, really lightweight (prob lighter than canvas), wouldn't need paint or finish, and easy to work with. The thinner stuff is flexible enough that I can bend it around the existing frame, and I believe it's strong enough to hold the female side of snaps. This would be a little more like rigid/stiff fabric, versus hard top, but it's also dirt cheap compared to custom canvas, and would probably last almost as long. Anyone tried anything like this? Drawback will be that the edges aren't very pretty (although I could fold them), and it's probably too thin to put any sort of edging on. What I would probably do with this is put metal grommets along the edges and "string it" to the existing frame, similar to how T-top fabric on center consoles are often done.

    2) Thick Coroplast corrugated sheet (.393 Inches thickness): This I just stumbled across, and that might be strong enough to support something like a paddleboard lying on top of it, while still being very lightweight (a 4' x 8' panel is 13 lbs...I believe the cover needs to be around 12' wide x 6' deep). I noticed this also has some edging available for a more finished look. Presumably, this is rigid enough to hold fasteners like screws or small bolts, etc. This would probably look quite good, if well done.

    3) I replaced the flybridge helm seat recently, and the frame on the new seat is made from some sort of expanded foam's rigid enough to hold bolts, and it's really lighweight. (Made by Wise.) I'm not sure what the material is, but I've started looking for some expanded foam plastic panels similar to this. Anyone have any recommendations? Not looking to walk on it, just cover the cockpit. Some sort of foam board that cuts and finishes well (in terms of edges) and is lightweight would be ideal, I think.

    4) I've looked at starboard, but I think that's too heavy for something that size.

    5) I don't want to add wood/fiberglass/etc...I want to keep this very low-maintenance, easy to work with, and light weight. I can add some stainless rails to reinforce the existing canvas frame (probably one or two horizontal rails going from the flybridge aft, and 2 vertical posts in the aft corners. I'm not much of a fisherman, so not too worried about having open overhead space to cast a line.

    Anyway, post up your thoughts, and any good material links you might be aware of.


    Last edited by Jim_Gandee; 12-07-2017, 07:25 AM.

    1/4" plywood is easy to work with. Scarf together 3 sheets with epoxy, cut to fit, then cover the whole thing with fiberglass and epoxy resin. It will be pretty strong. You could make it stronger still by glassing in some runners running fore/aft. It could be bent in a slight curve to match your flybridge and possibly mounted to your existing frame modified for your stern posts. Finish to your wishes, bolt on some hold downs and you are good to go for a few hundred in materials plus your support structure.
    2000 4788 w Cummins 370's, underhulls, swim step hull extension
    12' Rendova center console with 40HP Yamaha
    MV Kia Orana
    Currently Enjoying the PNW


      Here is something I have book marked mostly for reference, but if the price is comparable to a fabric replacement that you can bolt in, might be worth it?

      As many of our followers know, we built our own bimini back in June of 2009 . The yellow Sunbrella has kind of been a trademark for Beach Ho...

      . . .It places the lotion in the Basket. . .and that basket happens to be in a 1987 Bayliner 3870 w/ Hino 175's


        I added this last season. It is aluminum. Had it rolled to get the curve. Slotted then welded 1 1/4" pipe around the edge with slots on the top to make rain gutter. Added teak frame underside with LED strip lighting. Did the angle braces to maintain fishing freedom. Strong enough to store stuff and walk on. Keep my propane, crab and shrimp traps there. Really freed up the fly bridge.


          The problem with epoxy is you cannot gel coat it and is expensive.
          Use a light weight cloth over the plywood. same on the under side.
          The under side can be done prior to building the cover.
          I would use iso type resin, then you can roll on gel coat with a very fine grit. Use 1/2" plywood, exterior at the least and use some stiffener boards 2x2 or 1 x 4.
          also coat the underside use one layer of light weight cloth then paint it or gel coat it.
          Do it right the first time. The gel coat can be colored any color.
          either home depot or Lowes I forget which has small pouches of a very fine grit for porches.
          Last edited by boatworkfl; 12-08-2017, 05:07 PM.
          Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

          Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
          Twin 350 GM power
          Located in Seward, AK
          Retired marine surveyor