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Clockwise from above right; 'Reflections' hard dodger nearing completion. Gene glassing in the tropics. Sherri, on her knees seeking shade. The supplies needed list, writ large. The mold in place on the Espirit 37. The beauty of a hard top awaiting final painting before installation.

to the South Pacific way back in 2002. So even though they took a break from cruising for a few years in Hawaii, they've been out there a long time. Mostly recently they've been enjoying the many delights of Southeast Asia. After all these years of being exposed to spray and waves over the bow, to say nothing of the tropical sun beating down on them, they decided to get a hard dodger/bimini built for their boat in Thailand. Our inclination would be to mock them for having gone so long without such protection, but then we remembered that we went without on Profligate for 19 years. So we've have to rate ourselves as bigger dummies than Gene and Sheri — were it not for the fact that we have photographic evidence that they participated in the hands-on building process of their hard-top. Suiting up

in a protective suits and grinding away at glass and cloth in the steamy land of cheap labor? Maybe they have been out in the sun too long. We're not sure when the new addition will be installed on Reflections, but based on having had a hardtop on Profligate for almost a year now, we think the Seybolds are going to be extremely pleased. For in addition to offering great protection from the elements, we think they'll find that it will make their boat seem — and be — much larger. We're reminded that Charlie and Cathie Simon of the Spokane-based Taswell 58 Celebration told us one of the key elements in the success of their 15-month doublehanded circumnavigation was cockpit protection that shielded them

from the spray, waves and sun — to say nothing of keeping them warmer when it was cold and cooler when it was hot. They say it was critical to their enjoyment. We can barely describe how pleased with are with Profligate's hard-top, as it's transformed the cat. The massive cockpit suddenly became so much more usable. In order to stay out of the elements, we used to live in the salon in Profligate. Not anyone. And the addition has made the inside of the cat seem so much larger. The top has some unexpected benefits, too. For example, suddenly there is an overhead hand-hold around the entire cockpit, making it much easier to move around safely in a bumpy sea. It also makes the big step up or down from the cockpit seat that much easier on aging knees. In retrospect, we can't imagine how the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca ever managed to flake the main when doublehanding. With a 70-ft luff and a 27-ft foot, it's a big Spectra sail. In a sloppy seaway it was a very difficult task for two to flake it, particularly as the boom was so high over the cockpit that it was difficult to reach. After about 10 years — yes, we can be slow on the uptake — we got lazyjacks. That helped a bit. But with the addition of the hardtop . . . oh man, it's soooooooo much easier, as one or more people standing on it have the boom right at knee level. As much as we like our hard dodger/ top, we don't think all boats need them. For example, when day sailing on San Francisco Bay, one would be nice, but we're not sure it's important enough to justify the expense. But for day-afterday living in the tropics, you need to have your head examined if you don't The new hard top will provide lots of protection from the sea and sun, as well as lots of light and good visibility. This is the finished mold. REFLECTIONS

PHOTOS COURTESY REFLECTIONS

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Latitude 38 Dec 2015  

The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 Dec 2015  

The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.