Remember the horrible arch saga? Well, we’re officially putting an end to that chapter… and nope, we didn’t hire another contractor — instead we decided to build a bimini ourselves.

The reason we hired out the job in the first place was because we wanted a custom arch that would match the lines of our boat, provide support for our solar panels and include integrated davits for our dinghy. After much thought, we said heck with the davits, and decided to go with a simple 3-bow bimini from Sailrite.

Simple? Ha ha… ha. Of course we end up making the project as hard as possible on ourselves.

(Haven’t seen the “arch saga”? Check out Episodes 36, 37 & 38. Beware, they’re not pretty.)

Hope you enjoy!

Lauren & Kirk

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Episode Dialogue

– Either we’re perfectionist or we’re idiots or this just isn’t that simple.

– Let’s do it.

– This is the day we leave about yard.

– We are finally out of here.

– Last time on Sailing Soulianis, we finally got to knock off a bunch of items on our project list.

– Alternator upgrade, boom, replace engine zincs Done

– Done

– Rebuild prop and add zinc, Done.

– Done.

– Bottom paint, done. Everything else we can do, underway.

– [Lauren] Yeah.

– We got two weeks to completely figure out how to construct, sew and install a bimini Show us the color that we got.

– It’s probably kind of hard to see.

– [Kirk] Yeah, pretty much just looks white.

– Yeah, well that’s white. It’s technical name is silver. It’s pretty true, it’s actual color.

– [Kirk] Yeah.

– I love it, I’m so excited to put it up. There’s so many colors from Sunbrella to choose from and we wanted something that was lighter than our Navy blue that we have on our binnacle and on our dodger, because it just gets so hot in the sun. We didn’t want a cream color, we didn’t want a brown tone, we wanted something, I don’t know, we wanted something less like old school nautical looking. But we still wanted something that sort of went with the blue because we don’t want to replace all that stuff because it’s in perfect condition.

– [Kirk] They make it so you can make it really wide. They’re six foot wide and then the legs or the hockey sticks.

– Okay, so that’s the hardware or the bow-ware So this giant bag of bits and bobs. Oh my gosh. Straps and little, like what are these things? We watched a little bit of the video, we’re not like prepared yet to do this, but definitely looking at all this stuff and knowing that we have to put this all together into a Bimini is…

– [Kirk] And we have to know what each part is.

– Slightly overwhelming. All right, let’s see what’s in here. This is all the templating material and then inside, not happening. Look at that, that’s pretty. So the other option is to put it on the deck, right?

– Yeah, we’d still have access to the winch.

– It would depend on how far we put it there. We looked all over for somebody to make us a Bimini, then we decided to do it ourselves because we got all the time in the world.

– With every single boat project, any of the ones that we thought, “Well, let’s try to get some professional help.” Maybe we want an electrician, maybe we want a welder, it’s never really worked out very well. Except one time we had a welder fix a tiny little hairline fracture in our spreader.

– Yeah, he did a fantastic job.

– Yeah, every other boat project, it seems like if we would have just done the project ourselves we would have saved more money and we would have been happier.

– And we would have learned a new skill.

– Yeah, and we would have learned a new skill.

– Every time, hold on, this has only been like…

– Yeah,

– Like three times we thought of it.

– Because usually we know we’re going to do the project ourselves anyways. If we put it on the stern rail is it going to be far forward enough?

– So we’ve just started last night, we hashed out all the requirements that we need, the spread, the width, the height, the length. That would be high enough, you think?

– Yeah.

– And I also think it would be far enough forward.

– Okay, what do we got going on here?

– We think this is roughly how the front leg of our Bimini is going to be.

– It only took us about two hours to get here. But the important part is that it looks like it’s about the right height for Kirk to walk underneath. Also, we’ve been considering the idea that maybe eventually we might want to have something that will connect the Dodger to the Bimini, and so to make sure that the boom doesn’t hit that potential piece, that angle also looks good.

– We kind of got the first bow in and we’ve just matched that up by tying it off to our backstay. And now we’re trying to kind of mark up where the back bow goes and we’re trying to do something a little bit different in that we’re trying to make the Bimini so it’s a little bit wider at the bow end than it is at the stern. So we’re just trying to not have this beautiful stern end of our boat with just square-

– Square Bimini top, I think out boat tapers so much in the stern, we were hoping to follow the lines of the boat. The hardest part so far of building this Bimini frame was the first bow, I mean, that one’s the trickiest because you’re starting fresh in this three dimensional space, and to try to figure out where you actually want the bow to be suspended. It can be a little bit difficult trying to hold the two hockey stick sides and the middle crown piece. Not to mention, we also had to consider the placement of four flexible solar panels we wanted to mount. Which needed to fit in between the bows and around a plexiglass viewing window we wanted to integrate into the Bimini so we could see the masthead. And then making the first cut is a little scary because you’re hoping that it’s not too short. If anything, you want it to be too long, but then you got to hack it off again if it’s too long. But yeah, we got the first one made and now the second one’s pretty easy because it’s supposed to be just three inches shorter than the primary bow. So that three inches is where the secondary bow is going to mount.

– Get in your hole!

– Do you want a hand? What do we have here? It’s a little longer.

– Yeah.

– Something scared them.

– I’m missing my triton.

– I was gonna say you like Moses with his staff, maybe.

– We’re cutting it off, it doesn’t matter.

– We be in the tent of crap.

– You know, there’s way less crap in here now than there was before. I am marking 15 inches off of each side of this Bimini bow so that we keep the crown the same in the middle. And that’s going to take a total of 30 inches off of this, leaving us with a 76 inch width to our back bow of our Bimini.

– Is there any trick to cutting stainless steel tubing with an hacksaw?

– No, just go slow in the beginning, have a saw that isn’t missing two teeth in the middle.

– All right, what is happening?

– So, this one we’ve got here, We want to make this a little more like this.

– So we want to put a curve in it.

– A little more of a curve.

– And what is this?

– This is a pipe bender, this is our Bimini bow.

– Our back one, right?

– Yeah.

– The front one actually has an arc in it because we’re bending the legs in.

– Yeah, puts an arc into it.

– Yeah.

– This one, the legs are actually kind of going out, so it tries to flatten it. So in addition to bending this a little bit, we’re actually going to take the hockey stick and you’re going to hold one end and I’m going to hold one end, and we’re going to try and pull against it.

– [Lauren] Oh, we’re doing that to.

– Unbend it a tiny bit, we’ll see. I don’t know if we’re going to have enough force to do that because this is pretty solid stuff. So yeah, I did a little test piece here to just kind of figure out how this thing works. I just sort of put kinks into it a little bit instead of making it all nice and smooth. So I think I’ve kind of figured out what I need to do to fix that. We don’t even want to do it too much, but basically what happens is I’m going to roll this back and forth.

– [Lauren] And put more and more pressure on it?

– Yeah.

– So this is our middle bow and we haven’t bent it at all yet, so we’re using it to prepare the back bow It looks like you’re at the helm-

– Of a really strange ship? I dig it, that’s pretty good, don’t you think?

– [Lauren] Yeah, looks nice.

– All right, let’s go try it.

– [Lauren] Okay.

– See what happens.

– I’m wondering if it has more arc than our Dodger now.

– No, because what’s gonna happen is the two straight pieces are gonna try and bend it back again.

– Yeah, nice, perfect.

– Freaking perfect. So let’s try and bend those a little bit and then we’ll take the front one off and maybe give that a tiny bend.

– Kirk came up with a really good idea to bend out the leg or the hockey stick part of the bow. We were able to use the pipe bender for the top piece, the crown, but since these are already bent and we’re actually trying to bend them back more straight, we had to figure out some other way. It’s pretty damn close.

– All right, let’s give that a go. I know this isn’t the right way to do this. We’re only going five degrees or so, let’s check it out.

– Wow, that looks great.

– I am such a slow mover in the morning. We’ll wake up like 7:30, lay in bed for an hour, read and then finally get out of the van and get up to the boat and I start making some breakfast. Yeah, and Kirk’s usually ready to go. I mean, once he’s out of bed, which takes him a little while, he’s like ready to get going on projects and I’m like, wait a second, I gotta make breakfast. All right, so I’m gonna make a burrito this morning for breakfast. I just made us both some matcha tea, which I use ground up matcha powder with turmeric and ginger, I think, in it as well. So we made it with hot water, some milk and a little bit of honey And it tastes like a macho latte, it’s so good. Hello, love

– Hi. Are you filming?

– Yeah.

– Sorry.

– I didn’t want to interrupt what you were doing and make you come up here and I just started filming myself. Which is a little bit harder, but it only takes one of us.

– This is the truth.

– How’s it going down there?

– All right, so today we get to make these bows permanent. I am drilling out and about to rivet the bows together, so the three pieces become one. All right, I’ve never rivetted anything in my life, so here goes nothing.

– Are you ready? Smells hot.

– [Kirk] Question is, are you ready?

– I don’t know. It’s taken me like an hour to make this. Yeah, I think I’m ready. What’s the verdict?

– It looks badass. We just need to make it go like such, ever so slightly, just tiny bit that way. It ain’t going to happen.

– I think we’re becoming neurotic perfectionists.

– Yeah, but to an extent it’s good, because it’s our own boat and nobody’s going to care about it like we do.

– What do we have here?

– Brand new bootstrap.

– Brand new bootstrap. Nice. It sucks because up close you can see the line of copper, I didn’t realize it was going to be that thick when we painted it.

– [Lauren] Yeah.

– Now, I’ve done it once and I know how to do it again. That’s what this is all about, it’s learning and doing it better the next time. Because pretty much every project I’ve done on this boat, no, I don’t even have to say pretty much. Every single project I’ve done on this boat has been the first time I’ve done a project of that type. So with a little bit of experience now I should be to do everything a little bit faster and a little bit better, which is pretty freaking cool.

– [Lauren] And I’m just going to keep following you and tripping over everything that we have here.

– The obstacles course?.

– [Lauren] It looks pretty darn good right now, actually.

– Yeah, just this part. What do you think so far?

– Either we’re a perfectionists to a fault or we’re idiots or this just isn’t that simple.

– Maybe a little bit of both?

– Yeah, it could be all three. We just spent, I don’t know, the last hour and a half like-

– [Kirk] Second guessing and second guessing.

– Second guessing ourselves, retentioning, like measuring, probably, I don’t know, 60 times? All right, but we’re calling it. This is it. This is how it’s going to be. So, right now our main concern is that our intermediate bow seems to be almost at the same level as the primary or the front bow, and it’s supposed to be like two inches higher

– [Kirk] And why is that?

– Well, because there’s supposed to be a tiny bit of a rise in the middle of a Bimini.

– [Kirk] No, why is it lower?

– Oh, why is it lower? Well, because we had to take this to the back bow because when we’re trying to put the template on the front bow and the intermediate bow, it just kept pulling up because there was nothing holding it back. So it was just… I don’t know. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We’re trying to do it right and it seems like we can only do it wrong.

– This is the day, this is the day we leave the boat yard. When we first got here, we thought it was gonna be like a month and then we got here and we’re like, No, it’s going to be two months. And in the last month we’ve pushed it back a full month and we have not got done anywhere near what we wanted to get done. But, you know, you’re always ambitious with boat projects, but we got done what we needed to get done. Everything below the wire line is good and we got a few other things done. And we had to fix your fuel tank. Kirk and his parents have been working like mad to buff the hull this morning and I’ve been running around the boat, making sure nothing’s going to slide around because things are just set out as if it’s a house. But now this sucker’s gonna move. So we had to make sure nothing was going to fall and break. It’s been quite a week. As usual, we’re down to the wire. We were actually supposed to be trailered over to the other yard where we’re going to hang in the slings for the weekend about 15 minutes ago. And I think they see us working hard trying to get everything done. So they’re giving us a little bit extra cushion.

– Everything’s good?

– Yeah, I think so.

– All right, let’s do it.

– Yeah.

– We’re finally out of here.

– We leave the boat yard, we go to another boat yard, ain’t that fun?

– And then we splash on Monday.

– We’re going to do the center board over the weekend and-

– That’s it, whatever.

– We got all the buffing done, we got all the waxing done.

– The bimini didn’t get finished.

– So the center board and the Bimini.

– But we’ll finish that when we can.

– [Kirk] That thing is ugly.

– Yeah, it is.

– Look at that. It’s our first sail.