Is there any practical way to enlarge my Bimini top?

by Chuck Pazman
(Longwood, FL)

Most of the zippers on my bimini had frozen-up, therefore, I couldn't attach the side curtains and the other sections of the camper top. (Yes, lack of maintenance on my part!)The zippers on the attachment pieces were just fine, as they were kept dry in the cabin. I decided to have my canvas guy replace the zippers on the top. Later, when I tried to attach all of the sections, it seemed that the top had shrunk about 2" EVERYWHERE! So, I couldn't snap the sections in place. I'm sure the zippers were replaced in the exact same locations. So, what could have caused this? I know I can make short snap-straps to bridge the shortfall but that doesn't help the water-tightness of the bimini - especially the front windows in a heavy rainfall. Is there another way to solve my problem? Thx.

Chuck Pazman

Hi Chuck,
What happened is unfortunate, but normal shrinkage. I can see you were looking for bimini top parts that might help you, but as you found there isn't any hardware that can help with this problem.
When clear vinyl panels are removed and stored and not left zipped and snapped into place they begin to shrink. It sounds as though the enclosure was most likely pretty tight to start with, so the additional shrinkage makes it even worse.
As you mentioned you can use snap extenders, unfortunately once the panels aren't directly snapped to the boat anymore they become loose and the connection is compromised.
Another solution is EZ-Xtend Boat zippers found here on this website at
https://www.canvas-boat-cover-and-repair-advisor.com/ez-xtend-boat-zippers.html
They provide additional space by adding a zipper spacer.
They can be used both vertically and horizontally and are cut to length on your boat.
Other solutions aren't so convenient. You can find a marine fabricator and have them make modifications.
Cutting down your bimini frame isn't a great idea, because it will change the mathematics of the fit of your canvas, and when do you stop. Pretty soon you have lost to much headroom under your bimini top.
So it boils down to these 4 solutions.
1. snap extenders
2. EZ-Xtend Boat Zippers
3. Canvas modifications
4. Cut down frame.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for the question.
Tammy

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