I have been snooping around this forum for awhile and have picked up some good info. Thank you all.
Since this Bimini Top thing was the center of my research over the colder months I thought I would make my first post for what it is worth.
I have a 1997 2300 SC and absolutely don’t care for the Convertible top that is factory issue. Yes, it is a little older and has suffered shrinkage but the big thing is the lack of headroom and having to zip open a flap to stand up and see out. (that dangling flap drives me nuts).
I have installed bimini tops on a couple other boats I owned but was never real happy because they were generic and seemed flimsy…the kind you get from “outdoor sports” stores.
So one snowy evening last December I started surfing the web for everything I could find on bimini tops. I soon decided I wanted a top with specific height, width, and length dimensions, extra thick wall aluminum tubing, all stainless steel fittings and hardware, Sunbrella fabric, and the ability to store and travel with it in the “radar arch” position.
A couple things I learned were: Never mount the bows to a windshield frame. Our Maxums and Bayliners require that the bow mounts be placed outside the window/side glass. To do this you need a swivel mount that works in any position. (not just on a flat surface like the ones that come with most top kits). This wider mounting also gives you more shade. I have a mooring cover which utilizes the snaps for the convertible top so the wider mounting does not let the mounts or bows interfere with the cover. When determining the height you need: Add six inches to how tall you are and subtract the distance from the mounting location to the floor of the boat and you have the height you need. Important: You may be inclined to start with a higher top figuring you could shorten it if it is too high. Although the main bow can be shortened, the starting height dictates how much it can be shortened due to the location of the other bows on the main bow. For example a 46” bow can be shortened 8” while a 48” bow can be shortened only 4”.
Even though my top was a little more expensive than the run-of-mill top I am pleased with my Bimini. I bought it online and did not know who the manufacturer was until I received it. I later did a web search for the manufacturer, Carver Industries (864-457-5820) and found that I could have saved around $100.00 at another dealer. Oh,well! If you care to, do a search of you own for price but a good starting place is http://www.boatcoversonline.com/
I am sorry for the length of this post but I hope it helps.