Dodgers, Biminis, Enclosures

Time for a New Bimini or Dodger?

Sailboat Dodger, Boat Bimini, Enclosure/Cockpit Surround – these shade-making and weather protection designs are make your boat more a more livable place to enjoy. Over time, however, the effects of weather and sun can take their toll.

For replacements, canvas pieces are stretched and shaped to existing frames and bows.  A tight tolerance is key when making a Bimini, Dodger or a Surround/Enclosure.  Dodgers, Side Curtains and Enclosures/Surrounds are fitted and measured on the boat. Biminis often can sometimes be measured and fit at the shop.  Just bring the frame into the shop.

For new Biminis and Dodgers we can create the stainless steal frames.  Repairing frames can be tricky and sometimes we recommend replacing units that show fatigue or excessive wear.

Make a Copy of your Dodger or Bimini?

We often get the question: “Can’t you simply copy my existing Dodger, Boat Bimini or Surround?”  While many shops claim they can do this, what you get is a poorly fitting result. That is because over time canvas and especially eisenglass stretch and shrink. Look closely at your canvas and observe places where it has stretched and shrunk. Then keep in mind that if you simply copy it, you will get back that same fit which will include the same stretch and shrinkage – in other words, a poorly fitting product.

Boat Bimini copies are somewhat possible. We can can make a unfinished copy, but always need to fit it to the existing frame for final finishing.

Bimini, Dodger, and Surround Options

Our Dodgers are made with all zip out windows. Customer prefer this as the can enjoy the shade over the companionway, yet still have airflow while moored or on light wind days. Options include:  Eisenglas covers in the same color material as dodger with soft backing. These are used to protect and extend the life of the eisenglass.  Zip in shade screens that allow for shade and ventilation when you do not have windows in. Bimini to Dogder extension pieces are always popular.

Some popular Bimini options include Sun-Shade mesh curtains which block the heat, but not the view. On sailboats these often are attached via zippers to the Bimini top and tied or clipped to the lifelines. These can also be designed as zippered inserts for boats with full enclosures.


Many boats these days, especially power boats, have partial or full enclosures. These often have “side-curtains” which can be a zippered bug screen, zipper sun-shade and/or clear vinyl windows. Some boats have all three! On sailboats, we often make connector pieces that connect the Dodger to the Bimini via zippers.

Sailboat Dodger Patterning at Potomac Sailmakers

Recent Dodger Patterning


For Dodgers, Side-Curtains and Surround/Enclosures, any clear vinyl windows will often need replacement as many years of use. This is a common project for us. Some customers refer these windows as isinglass (or eisenglass) which is a generic term. There are several brands on the market like Strataglass, Flexa, O’Sea, Regalite, etc. and all come in various gauges or thickness. Gauge, UV protection, rigidity, are all factors we consider when selecting the correct clear vinyl for your project.

bad isenglass

Uh oh – better call Potomac Sailmakers for new Eisenglass

New Boat Bimini we did recently