Good gear: Gemini Marine, the strapless bimini & more


Did “strapless bimini” get your attention?  Well, it does involve some sexy hardware, and the finished strapless product, as seen on this local sloop, has a certain elegant attraction.  The trick is that those 1″ strut tubes seen under the port and starboard edges of the canvas each contains an internal hinge that lets the whole deal fold aft, but they also have a 10″ section of 1 1/8″ tube that slides and locks over the hinge, rendering them rock stiff.  (But maybe enough with the double entendres?)  I have not tried this hardware myself, yet, but have been watching the manufacturer, Gemini Marine Products, perfecting it for years…

For a long time Gemini seemed like a classic marine canvas shop, though of particularly excellent quality, but it seems that proprietor John Lemole has a fair bit of inventor in him.  He holds a patent on the hinge seen below (and now made in both 316 stainless and ABS plastic), and he also designed two styles of the side mounts needed to let a folding strut rotate at its ends, not to mention a neat tool for drilling tubing even when you can’t slide a guide over it.
   And having your bimini go strapless is not the only attractive way Gemini hardware can dress up your boat.  The same concept means that a dodger can also lose its straps, while you get a handy grab rail and the ability to tension the dodger with virile leverage (sorry).  Lemole also has an interesting “drop-top” dodger design based on his years of building and repairing them, along with some good explanations of how to use his hardware.  Yup, I am plugging a local business with national ambitions (heck, the Gemini marketing guy is the neighbor who occasionally brings over eggs just laid by his own chickens).  But who can’t like an inventive company that will sell direct but advises that you can “save a few dollars by ordering from one of our partners, Sailrite.”


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

6 Responses

  1. Bremer Speck says:

    Just a couple of weeks ago, my NH based canvas lady completed the installation of a “drop-top” dodger on Bremer Speck. John Lemole would have liked to get this job but due to the distance between Rockland and where I keep Bremer Speck, he was unable to do it. He gracefully offered to share his knowledge and expertise with whoever I would select for the job. Of course, this included selling the required parts, which go into the drop-top dodger. Everything worked out very well and now I have a custom designed dodger, which is sturdy and looks great. Another great thing about John worth mentioning here is his way of doing business. Many years ago, I saw his “drill-steady” device at his shop. I failed to buy it then but eventually needed it. I called him at the shop to buy one. He asked me for my mailing address. When I asked about paying, he responded by saying, just send me a check when you get it. I did.

  2. Capn. Chuck says:

    Ben, Ours was a do-it-yourself strapless without the elegant hardware from Gemini, I wish I had known about it, but it looks pretty good, . We moved away from the straps on the bimini and dodger a long time ago.

  3. Sandy Daugherty says:

    I had a good hard look at these patented fittings two weeks ago. They will be on my next bimini, and have a myriad of other applications, such as bracing folding antenna towers! Gemini has other innovative parts; they are worth a visit!

  4. mike merriman says:

    I got rid of my straps a few years ago by using the grab rail kits from sailrite
    Very simple, sturdy and cost effective (well not as cost effective as a strap šŸ˜‰

  5. Tom Nicol says:

    I have installed a pair of these struts on the new bimini for one of my customers. Not only did it create a great strapless bimini, the bimini folded and stowed very nicely. The folding struts are a well crafted product.

  6. Dan says:

    John did the dodger on LIONHEART a couple of years ago, and I asked him to add 3 white SUNCOR MICROSTAR LED’s in the frame to illuminate the cockpit. It is great. I love the dodger, and added a remote control so that when we board the entire cockpit is bathed in a nice white light.
    Gemini is absolutely the Rolls Royce of dodgers and biminis.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *