Flats-Top

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by T-Topless, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

    I would like input on our 3 designs for a tops for flats boats, each intended to provide:
    • shade for two people seated at the console (about 36" wide x 30" deep),
    • use of console mounted rod holders,
    • stability at high speed (75mph),
    • easily removed.
    We have 2 designs for a poling platform mounted, removable top in a fixed and folding configuration. Our third design is for a console mounted top that would simply lift out of the boat when not needed.

    We are doing a survey at flats-top.com.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: netherlands

    yipster designer

    nice, there certainly are some possibility's with T top bimini's
    first thought here is the canvas may flap when console mounted
    and even the bar may swing having it aft fixed
     
  3. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

    Good points.

    We're limiting the area to about 36" wide x 30" deep, and are looking at vents in the canvas to relieve pressure.

    We'll test a working prototype soon....
     
  4. capt vimes
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    capt vimes Senior Member

    i think it will get blown away at 20 knts speed... ;)
     
  5. Village_Idiot
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    That might work for Florida, but by Texas standards, that flats boat looks more like a bay boat. Biggest issue is that most serious folks driving flats boats do so while standing at the helm (much better visibility in the shallows). Also, the true shallow-water anglers in Florida tend to be polers, and I would think they would shy away from T-tops, as they can catch wind, upset boat balance, etc. Therefore, you may be much better off marketing to bay boats or wannabe flats boats, simply because I don't think you'll have a market with the serious flats angler.

    That being said, biggest issue I see with the design is that it may get in the way of rods/rod holders, especially on smaller boats with smaller consoles. That, and the issue with wind beating on the canvas...
     
  6. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    T-Topless Drop your top!

    Village_Idiot,

    Yes, Texas boats are a bit flatter than Florida boats. What kind of boat do you have?

    We've given a bit of thought to the need to stand up (we do this as well in SC) at the helm to look for fish, and the poling platform mounted top is intended to only extend slightly beyond the front of the seat (up to the owner when he mounts it, from 2-12" beyond), so that the captain can still stand up in front of it to see see fish while driving. This top would be well clear of the console rod holders.

    The console mounted top could allow the captain to stand up "through the top" (inside of the frame, in front of the canvas) to drive while looking for fish. We're thinking that the rod holder lost to the mount would be replaced with a pair of rail-mounted rod holders affixed to the frame itself (just above where it inserts into the rod holder) and still use the forward, console mounted rod holders as normal.

    Great feedback! What do you think?
     
  7. Village_Idiot
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    I'm running an aluminum tunnel-hull. Got no use for fiberglass in the waters I run...

    Glad that the T-top doesn't interfere with rod holders. In fact, if rod tips are up against the T-top framework, there may be a possibility of installing rod fasteners on the framework itself, to stabilize the rods (maybe an aftermarket accessory or option).

    Maybe would be nice to have the whole thing be adjustable for height or position to fit different captains, but I'm sure that would add significantly to the cost.

    Also, maybe option for a hard-top along with the soft-top? Plus, if it is sturdy enough, people will want to mount or carry stuff, etc., so maybe option of hooks or rings for bungee straps, etc., but I suppose that is getting away from the idea of having a lightweight, simple sunshade...
     
  8. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    T-Topless Drop your top!

    We're planning on offering the top with various heights, so the captain can select his height. We've found that "most" people require about 42" from the seat to the top (includes 4" of clearance), but can offer a range in about 4" increments ...

    Which aluminum tunnel do you run? It must be super light!
     
  9. Village_Idiot
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    It's a custom.
     
  10. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    T-Topless Drop your top!

    We did some fitting of our 2nd prototype to a Hell's Bay Guide 18, with good feedback.

    Looks like we'll have 3 heights (level with the poling platform, +4" & +8") for the poling-platform-mounted Flats-Top.

    The console-mounted Flats-Top will be offer in short (60") and tall (76") and can be cut from there to custom heights.

    Both will be 30" long x 36" wide coverage, and remove in <30 seconds.
     
  11. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

    Prototype Flats-Top

    Here's our prototype platform-mounted Flats-Top on a Hell's Bay Guide 18 ...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Rear and Front Mounts mount through poling platform deck.
    Set Screws on Rear Mounts can be replaced with quick-release pins for easy removability.


    http://rnr-marine.com/Flats-Top.shtml#Prototype


    It looks like we'll have 2 heights (Short and Tall). This prototype's height is halfway between these 2 heights. The Hell's Bay Guide 18 and Hewes 16 have a fairly low poling platform (33" height on the Guide 18) and will require a Tall Flats-Top. Boats with taller platforms like the Hewes 18 and Action Craft will use a Short Flats-Top (little or no rise built-in).

    Please vote in our Flats-Top Survey and get a $25 discount coupon. We really do appreciate your input!

     
  12. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

  13. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

    You can easily walk around the Flats-Top, or lean on it to fish off the back deck of your flats boat!


    [​IMG]
     
  14. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

    Stainding with Flats-Top

    By the way - you CAN stand in front of the Fats-Top to drive or sight for fish ...

    [​IMG]
     

  15. T-Topless
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Charleston, SC

    T-Topless Drop your top!

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