|We had an arch built in Whangarei by Northern Machine. We wanted a fixture for 4 big solar panels and we wanted it so strong that we wouldn't have to worry about it when it blows. The basic design criteria was "Strong As Hell".|
We went with 2" tube and 1 1/2" cross support pieces. Front and back pads are through bolted through the deck where the top and bottom mold meet so it goes through both. Strong as hell. The panels are fixed and bolted down so they don't adjust but this makes them strong as hell. We may reconsider this decision because we feel that we could get 1/3 more power from the panels if we pointed them more at the sun even with only daily changes based on the Sun's inclination.
We added a mount for our stern anchor which bolts both at the top and the bottom, strong as hell. We also added a motor mount for our 2 dinghy motors and we fixed it with a piece of Kauri so we would have a special peice of New Zealand. The motor mount gets the motors down lower and provides more wind to the wind vane.
We added a bimini and connector to our dodger and side curtains. The side curtains roll up in 2 panels so we can roll up the back one if it interferes with the wind to the wind vane. We also unzip the front panel to exit the cockpit.
The panels and canvas are equipped with rain gutters. The panels have fancy stainless gutters which also add to the strength of the panel frames, you know.
Our Stainless guy was Victor and he was an artist. He came back with the arch 3 times to get it fitted just right. He went a little over on time but Northern Machine honored their bid and ate the overrun. From this point forward we did all work with them on time and materials because we had such confidence in their work. We were never disappointed.
The canvase work was done by Palmer Canvas and it wasn't great but it wasn't too bad and it was cheap. The solar panels are Seimens 75 watt panels and we get up to 15 amps at noon at 17 latitude. We have a Trace 40 amp regulator and it works well.