Photos by Marc Asnin
They used to say a man wasn't well-dressed without a hat, and maybe that's true of boats, too. A hardtop provides a place to mount the radar and antennas and keeps the sun off your hatless head. It provides better shade than a bimini, lasts a heck of a lot longer than canvas, doesn't thrash around in choppy weather nor billow like a parachute when the wind gets under it.
About the only thing wrong with a hardtop is the cost of having one custom-designed and -built. But today you don't have to go that route: You can buy an off-the-shelf model at less cost, have it delivered to your boat, and install it yourself, or you can hire a pro to do it for you. Here's how one couple handled the job.
Dan Mosher and his wife, Judy, enjoy projects. Long-time boat owners, their current challenge is restoring a 1986 Egg Harbor 37 Convertible that in 2005 came out on the short end of an encounter with a rock. The collision and subsequent sinking pushed one strut through the bottom, ruined the twin gasoline engines, and did more water damage than most people would want to deal with. But after more than two years of work, the boat, renamed Second Look II, was almost ready to launch.
The last project before the TraveLift arrived was to install a hardtop; the Moshers chose one from Atlantic Towers in Bayville, New Jersey. Atlantic builds the top to fit the boat but leaves the legs long for on-site trimming to allow precise height adjustment. Installation involves only basic tools and skills, but it helps to have done it once or twice before, since there are a few tricks. The Moshers hired independent contractor Tom Lynch to install theirs.
The slide show demonstrates how the installation proceeded.
This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.