- Provide protection from sun and rain.
- Be easy to set and remove (or reef). Think of this in terms of a 35-knot squall at 0300.
- Catch rain water if the decks are not set up for this. And shed water in squalls if they are not being used as a catchment system.
- Be strong enough to withstand years of sun, wind, and rain.
. We’ll start at the pointy end. Foredeck awnings take all forms and sizes. You need to decide if there will be space to work under the awning, or if you are going to clamber over it to get to the ground tackle or forward dock lines. In this case, there is maximum coverage of the foredeck, which requires crawling on your hands and knees to get to the gear forward. The foredeck hatch, critical for ventilation, is well covered.
The opposite approach. A piece of PCV tarp material, cut and sewn to fit, tied low on the life lines so you can step over it. Note the two deck hatches open facing forward. At anchor the forward part of the boat is usually a negative pressure area and forward hatches are often used to exhaust air coming in through hatches further aft. This helps keep rain out of the forward area.
This is a cross between the first two approaches. Quite large, but with enough space between the edge of the awning and lifelines to make your way forward.
And the prize for the best foredeck awning! Designed like a Dorade box, there is a baffle inside of this affair to help strip rain out of the air flow. We’ll continue our look at tropical deck awnings in Part Two. Check back in the next few days!
Posted by Steve Dashew (April 12, 2007)