One of our favorite features of our boat, a Gulfstar 54 Sailcruiser, is the aft cockpit, which can be accessed both from the deck and from a door leading directly to our stateroom. It is quiet and private, and it is low to the water, which creates a feeling of being "connected" to the water that you don't generally get in a big sailboat. It is a perfect place to fish when underway, or to lounge about when at anchor or in port. In many ways, the aft cockpit functions as would a porch or balcony in a house or condo, and it help makes Sea Gem a very comfortable place to live.
The only problem with our aft cockpit is that it has no protection from the sun or rain, which limits the time it can be used, especially during the intense sun and frequent rains of the summer. In addition, the teak trim around the aft cockpit, while beautiful, is bombarded by the sun's rays more frequently than any other part of the boat, which greatly reduces the lifespan of the varnish finish.
Our solution was to design an awning that covers the aft cockpit:
|Aft Cockpit Before|
|Aft Cockpit with Cover|
|Plenty of Headroom|
Our design shades the cockpit and teak trim, provides protection from the rain, doesn't block the breeze, and is cut so that we can walk into the cockpit from the deck without ducking or otherwise maneuvering around the cover. It came out beautifully (we had a professional fabricate it for us), and we are now spending more time lazing around on our porch than ever before.