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Thread: Installing canvas and rack versus hardtop roof

  1. #1

    Default Installing canvas and rack versus hardtop roof

    This is actually a 2 part question. Has anyone ever done a cost comparison between having a hard top and windscreen fabbed for a boat versus going with canvas and a rack. I need to carry a zodiac and shrimp pots on a roof or rack. I suspect that the canvas and rack option will be a less expensive prospect however I'm not sure. The 22' starcraft boat I just bought does not have either.
    The second part to this would be who would you guys reccommend in Anchorage or the valley for
    A) Canvas work and a rack
    B) Aluminum hard top and forward cant wind screen.
    Thanks in advance for your input this forum can be a real gem of information.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Palmer, AK

    Default Do you ever plan to remove the top?

    I would base my decision on weather or not I ever intended on running with out the top. If you do plan to remove it on a nice day I would go with canvas. If you don't plan to remove the top I would definately go with a hard top. Canvas is high maintanence with snaps and zippers breaking.

    In the valley I would use Greatland Welding and Machine(745 2383) for the Aluminum work and if you decide to go with canvas Bluskye Canvas(373 8550) made a beautiful top for my boat.

  3. #3
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I haven't done a cost comparison so you'll have to get quotes and see what the costs are. I'd imagine the hardtop would cost more, but it all depends. More importantly look at pros and cons.

    Pros of the hardtop are that it will have some structure to it that can support the inflatable (I put the pots in my inflatable when storing them). Visibility is better with real windows vs. plastic on the soft top. It's more secure, you don't have to worry about somebody slicing it open to remove valuable contents. Downsides of a hardtop are expense, and weight. You need to be careful about placing weight up high on a boat as the boat will capsize more easily.

    The upside of the canvis is it's lighter, and you can remove it for those rare open air days. The downsides are mostly listed above in the upsides of a hard top. I doubt they'll seal as well in truly nasty conditions.

  4. #4


    I have a soft top now and wish I had a hard top. I've had the zippers rip out, windows break in the cold multiple times. It's about 7 years old. I'm tired of repairing the thing and I don't use the boat as often as most others on this board. I will more than likely be having a hardtop made this winter so I can store my fishing rods, lift raft and not deal with the thing needing repaired and the windows getting hazy after 2 years of being on it. Go with the hard top. I thought I'd take the top off more than I do. I only ever roll the door up. Never take the top and put it down.

  5. #5

    Default Greatland Welding

    Greatland Welding in Palmer designed and fabricated this combination raft rack/radar arch for my Trophy 1902 for under $2000. Their work is superb. They can do either the hardtop or the rack/soft top. They even make their own boats. And, in addition to being extremely competent, they're the nicest bunch of guys you'd want to meet.

    Seems like every time I went out last summer, I'd be wallowing blindly though fog. This summer, now that I have the radar, I've hardly seen a wisp. Probably a good thing--I'm still trying to master understanding the radar screen!

    You'll probably be happy with either choice that you make!
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  6. #6
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    I have been fighting soft tops for about the past 10 years. Trying to see through them even when new is distracting and helps to get you seasick. As it ages, I gets really bad to try to see out of in fog or tight quarters. I end up popping mine loose to get through the harbors, ect... Even new, the will atleast sweat, if not flat out leak. I will not repair or replace the one currently on my trophy. It will get a hardtop put on top of it so I will stay drier, see much better thus travel safer, and I can toss the inflatable up on top. A new soft top is not cheap. Now would be the best time to invest in the hardtop before you spend $2000 on something you really are going to end up regretting in long run. Don't get me wrong, the soft top sure beats no top! I would just skip the middle step if I were in your shoes.

  7. #7


    Thanks to all who chimed in on this subject. You all pretty much confirmed my assessment of soft top rack versus hardtop. Very good points made by all. I will check out greatland welding as I am in the Palmer area. The only thing left to resolve is of course cost and the weight issue which greatland can clue me in on both it sounds like.


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