I cannot tell you the number of different awning poles we have tried over the years. Living where the sun is treacherous, but also wonderful!, we have always liked to have full boat awnings that are easy to put up and easy to take down in every anchorage. Of course awnings protect us from the sun, but they also make the boat much cooler and when it rains, keeps the cockpit totally dry so we can be in the cockpit on a rainy day and not get the least bit wet.
BUT, awnings come with one problem: Squalls with a lot of wind in them! We used large diameter wooden dowels, smaller diameter aluminum tubing, then we went to aluminum rod, that didn’t work so we tried expensive and heavy stainless steel tubing, and even tried fiberglass round battens. NONE of these awning poles could withstand the gusts from squalls and each one of them either cracked or bent beyond repair no matter how carefully we tautly tied the awning to steady it.
Then the light bulb struck! Let’s try the tear shaped aluminum foils for a roller furling system. These are aluminum, light weight, and because of the internal extrusion for the groove of the roller furling genoa luff, they remain stiff and straight no matter what pressure is on them. These aluminum extrusions come in 6 foot lengths and can be cut to any length, and attached together to make say a 9 foot awning pole out of a 6 foot piece attached to a cut 3 foot piece. All these extrusions come with connectors to assemble them together for whatever length you require.
This worked like a charm. After years of having broken or bent awning poles, now the sturdy and strong and lightweight roller furling aluminum extrusions are about 15 years old in our full length awnings. Not one has ever, ever bent or broken even in the severest of strong squalls!
Our awnings are a pleasure now, not a frustration! Read the next Pam Says for another really good awning idea using Textalene for sun protection!
Try them, you will agree! Pam