It’s Getting Warm: Awnings at Work in Georgetown, Bahamas


We’re anchored off Georgetown in the Bahamas. Water is 87F/30C and air about the same. Today the breeze lightened up and awnings, always important in the tropics, became critical. So we took a ride around the anchorage to see how folks were keeping their cool.

That’s a Deerfoot 2-62 above which we built in Finland. We had not been aboard one of these since sea trials in the mid 1980s, so it was a good chance to see how the boat had stood the test of time (this is the same design as Moonshadow, which SetSail Cruising Correspondent George Backhus calls home).

This is the only boat we noticed with a wind scoop today, and it was really helping with airflow below.

double cockpit awnings

This design has an aft sailing cockpit and a forward lounging and watchkeeping cockpit. There is a nice big Bimini top aft, and then another Bimini and dodger forward. Notice the difference in color. The blue is cool looking, but much hotter underneath than the white.


Looking forward from the aft cockpit, check out the separation between Bimini and dodger. The slot between the two surfaces, plus the open dodger window allows good airflow – which finds its way to the deck hatches opening to the aft cabins.


Here’s a similar approach to a center cockpit on a Ted Hood-designed cutter. Note the grab rail integrated into the aft edge of the dodger.


One of the problems with deck hatches is the sun beating down on them can create a lot of heat load. This boat has made covers for each hatch (which would have been cooler in a light color fabric). The dodger/cockpit awning do not have a separation. This approach works better in cool and wet environments.


When the sun is low on the horizon, below the awning, the heat can really be uncomfortable, especially in the afternoon. Many boats have side curtains to cut down on the insulation.


Here’s an interesting stinkpot. They have side curtains under the permanent flying bridge roof. Check out the dry stacks. These are about the highest we have ever seen, which is a good feature for noise, fumes, and soot (but could be a storage or bridge problem).

Wind Horse anchored off Georgetown, Bahamas

And finally Wind Horse. We’ve got our foredeck awnings set, covers over the salon hatches, and the window awnings in full bloom.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 12, 2008)

2 Responses to “It’s Getting Warm: Awnings at Work in Georgetown, Bahamas”

  1. Alberto Says:

    You mentioned rarely running the gen and you are able to go 3 to 4 days without running the engines to recharge your batteries. How do you handle the AC loads while cruising in the Bahamas or around the Caribbean during the summer? Would it be financially feasable to retrofit my 2003 48′ SeaRay SB to cruise in hot weather with AC running while not using the Gen?

    Love your Boat.

  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    AC power is supplied by three 2500 watt inverters stacked in parallel (they are happy to about 6000 watts). Normal loads are light, typically under 2500 watts. These are supplied DC current from a 1600 amp hour (20 hr rating) bank of traction batteries. All the elements, batteries, inverters, and chargers have to be engineered to work together. We start at the design phase of the hull to work in the space required and weight allowance for these items. I am guessing it might be tough to get our type of capacity into your boat, but you might get a part of it.
    There are lots of details on these systems under the Dashew Offshore pages and in our Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia.