CHOOSING THE RIGHT AWNING, CANOPY OR COVER STRUCTURE FOR YOUR SUPERYACHT
Last updated: 06/12/2019
Superyacht awnings, canopies and covers are key elements to consider when fitting out any vessel. The essential shade structures offer protection for yachts, but what are the differences between each type? With the help of awning specialists Ruben Doñaque Welding and Links Marine, we delve into a variety of yacht awnings, canopies and covers and the advantages to each unique structure.
What are superyacht awnings?
Superyacht awnings are roof-like structures primarily designed to shelter guests, crew and the vessel itself from sun, wind and rain. They are often located on the deck (top deck, foredeck or aft deck) or the cockpit of the yacht.
As well as protecting a yacht, awnings nowadays have capabilities to integrate sound, lighting and cooling systems. Read more about the technical advancements available within superyacht awnings, canopies and covers.
What are the different types of yacht covers?
Ruben Doñaque Welding explained that although people tend to use the terms ‘awnings’, ‘canopies’ and ‘covers’ interchangeably, they do in fact differ conceptually. Awnings are permanent fixtures, which are built onto the side of a yacht, therefore do not need to be disassembled. Retractable awnings are available, which can be folded away when they are not needed.
Whereas, unlike awnings, canopies are freestanding structures, not permanently attached to the yacht. They are portable and can be easily disassembled and stored away when not in use.
Biminis are the open-front canvas tops, which protect the cockpit and deck of a yacht. Links Marine stated that biminis can be constructed from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, carbon fibre and aluminium, with a mildew and UV resistant canvas then attached to the structure.
Folding biminis are a versatile option, as they can be taken up or down depending on weather conditions and can be collapsed when not in use.
According to Ruben Doñaque Welding, biminis are most commonly used as protection from the sun and do not offer any protection from wind or spray when cruising at any speed. The top does provide some protection against rain, but only if the yacht is stationary and there is no wind.
Whereas biminis are open-fronted covers, dodgers include protection on both the front and sides. These yacht covers offer shelter from all sorts of weather conditions: sun, wind and rain.
Arguably the simplest option according to Links Marine, boom awnings are canvases which are fixed over the boom, or any other part of the yacht, and attached to the rigging. Boom awnings are easy to put up and down without complicated fixings, making them also cost-effective.
Links Marine stated that these are the metal-framed tops for the centre helm of the boat. Usually open on all sides with a canvas top, T-tops are built into a ‘T’ shape (hence the name). They provide shade and weather protection for the helm.
After deciding which design works best for the yacht, it is important to work with the fabricator and sail maker to ensure that the materials used will withstand the rigors of the elements it will be subjected to.
The canvas must be marine grade, mildew resistant, waterproof, UV resistant and colourfast. T-tops must be maintained well to increase their longevity, so check out our tips on maintaining a yacht's shade structures to keep yours in tip-top shape.
Choosing the right cover for your superyacht
When attempting to decide which cover will be best for your yacht, Ruben Doñaque Welding advises creating a checklist to help decipher which type will best suit your needs.
You can ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want a permanent fixture? (Options may include using extensions or existing structures, installing flanged sockets on the deck or superstructure, a combination of both or other fittings)
- If yes, how will you fixate this structure to your yacht?
- If no, where will you store the cover when it is not in use? Will it be solid enough to withstand the wind or speed of your yacht? Where will you fit it in?
- Static or retractable?
- What is your budget?
- What will be its primary purposes? E.g. shade, shelter, cover etc.
Evidently, there are a huge variety of cover solutions available, each depending on purpose, yacht size and budget.
After asking yourself these questions, you should have a clear idea of which cover you are after. Metalwork and canvas suppliers can help from there to design the most effective solution, which meets your needs, within your budget.