By Mark Branse
Over the years, I’ve often used a sun shower to heat water for onboard showers. If conditions are right, they can get to be too hot to use. But more often, a cooling breeze saps the heat generated by the sunlight, leaving me a lukewarm shower. I experimented with placement of the solar shower, in a bin to protect it from the wind, but shade was then my foe.
Then a friend of mine in the plastics business gave me a strip of Plexiglas, about 6- x 40-inches. I drilled a hole in each end and one along the bottom edge in the middle. I tied a loop of twine to each end hole and a short piece of nylon webbing to the center hole. I use a two-ended flag clip to connect the two twine loops, forming a “U” of Plexiglas. Simply laying this on deck forms a perfect wind break for my sun shower. The weight of the sun shower on the nylon strap keeps the enclosure anchored. When it’s not in use, I unhook the clasp and the whole thing stores flat under a quarter-berth cushion.
The wind break makes a big difference. If I had it to do over again, I might make the Plexiglas slightly wider so that the wind break is taller, say, 8 inches . . . but that would make it harder to store. This works just fine.
Mark Branse is an attorney and former town planner living in Glastonbury, Connecticut. He bought a wooden rowboat when he was 12 and he learned to sail on a friend’s Sunfish when he was 23. In 1976 he bought a Rhodes 22 and sailed her to the Tall Ships Festival in Newport. Eleven years later, while dating his future wife, they bought a 32-foot steel double-ender, believed to be an S&S design. They worked and worked on her to put her in Bristol shape, but only a few years after they finished, she was destroyed by hurricane Gloria. After a respite of a few years, the couple bought their current boat, Rigoler, a 1967 Morgan 34, in 1988. Last year, they held a party at Mason’s Island Marina for Rigoler’s 50th birthday and Mark’s 70th!