Get Account    
         Home  |  Magazine  |  Reports  |  Discussion  |  Photos  |  Tides  |  Weather  |  Community  |  Updates  |  Fishing Info  |  Contact

HomeSearchTop PostersToday's Active Topics

Hardtop vs. Soft Top Enclosure

  Discussion Boards > Boating Angler
Author Message

Joined: 09/30/2002
Posts: 89
 posted 02/11/2005 11:28 AM  

Hey All,
I have a 1990 23' Mako Walkaround 238 which I bought last year. Its my second boat (Upgraded from a 20' Mako CC which I had for 6yrs) and....I am in the process of fixin this one up. As of right now she has no top. I am looking for recommendations for companies on the island who make hard-tops with enclosures and canvas tops with enclosures. ALSO.... pros and cons to both and what should I expect to pay. Also considered going with a soft top with a fishing arch over it (Like an Atlantic Tower Arch). I definately want to add overhead rod rack storage (rocket launchers). Will a top slow me down considerably? Will a hard top make the boat roll any more in rough seas? I fish April through Nov mostly inshore and live by the great south bay. ANY TIPS APPRECIATED!
MakoMike Club Member

Noreast Writer

Joined: 12/28/2000
Posts: 71023
Location: Pt. Judith
 posted 02/11/2005 01:16 PM  

For one thing it depends on what yo mean by a "soft top." If you're just talking about a bimini top, they are a lot cheaper than a hard top, but you won't be able to put anything on top of them, the tube supposts just won't take it. If you're talking about a full blown t-top and whether you shoud get canvass strung in between the tubes or use fiberglass, go with the fiberglass. It will outlast ten canvass tops and isn't much heavier. Jim at Arc-tek, who advertises he makes them for all kinds of boats.


Click here for The Makomania Sportfishing website

Makomania out

Joined: 08/23/2002
Posts: 4205
Location: Newton, NH
 posted 02/14/2005 01:43 AM  

As far as making the boat roll. Any time you put weight up high you are hurting the stability of the boat.. it's all in scale, and there are practical considerations, but hard tops make boats less stable.

As far as effecting speed, it shouldn't hurt much. Boats are pushing water, that's really what limits their speed; extra air resistance certainly doesn't help but it's not gonna be very noticable when you top out at 35 knots..

If you want rocket launchers you want a hardtop.. As Mike stated, if it's gonna be premanently installed tubing theres not much sense using canvas for the "roof".. If you want to take it down and put it up then mabye a bimini makes more sense as it's certainly a hellofalot cheaper.

My hardtop is about 3/8 glass, not too heavy and pretty chincy by fiberglass standards, but it's well supported by the tubing and you can literally walk on it. They do make aluminum hardtops and they are probably even lighter.

I definitely would reccomend stainless tubing. Aluminum is great, but stainless seems to hold up better over time. Tubing tends to get stressed from flexing and will crack around the welds.

As important as the hartop itself is the mounting. You need to re-enforce the area around where the hardtop mounts with backing plates and through bolt everything tight. Also, be sure the cabin can deal with the added stress, it may be neccesary to add some structure to prevent problems down the line.

Like the tubing cracking it seems to be pretty common to have stress cracks appear around the base of whatever the top is mounted to. This is the sort of job where you really want to be sure and over-build.

The last thing is be sure you don't built it too high if the boats gotta sit on a trailer. With high gunnels it doesn't take much to get over 13.5 when you add a radome and/or spotlight.

They are great though, free's up alot of space for mounting/storing things, creates shelter, and they look pretty sweet too.


"Kids, don't try this at home."

Joined: 05/24/2003
Posts: 8923
Location: Trollin NE for a bite...
 posted 02/14/2005 07:26 PM  

I would put a hard top on that boat. I've seen 23 Makos with watch towers on the hard top. You can then mount your antennas, radar, lights, and horn and stuff where you want.

Support your local Mom n Pop stores.


Joined: 12/20/2001
Posts: 131
Location: Moriches,NY
 posted 02/16/2005 08:38 AM  

i agree with darthbaiter...but the question is how long do you think you will keep the a few uears the soft top will leak and the fabric will stretch out ..when you replace it then you could have gone with the hard top that will basicaly last the life ou the boat

Joined: 02/15/2003
Posts: 55
Location: North Sea Southampton
 posted 03/28/2005 02:26 PM  

hard top

Thank God I chose the hard top over the Bim top when I bought my 21 ft pro line........ with four young sons.... they can hang anywhere they want and the top holds them and a lot more....

Mike L

Joined: 09/25/2001
Posts: 2062
Location: wantagh
 posted 03/28/2005 02:50 PM  

i have a slightly older 238. i put a new bimini and enclosure on it two years ago. i do wish i had rocket launchers, and i know im in the minority, but the soft top/enclosure serves my needs pretty well. if (when) i was to get radar i reckon id be looking at an arch.

Now, you've got a corpse in a car, minus a head, in a garage. Take me to it.

Joined: 08/29/2002
Posts: 214
 posted 03/28/2005 02:55 PM  

if you plan on keeping the boat for 5 years or more get the hard top.
  Discussion Boards > Boating Angler  
Jump to:  

2019 Noreast Media, LLC.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.