Dropping the Temperature


Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Amy

Having a catamaran means we get to enjoy so much living space aboard. A lot of our projects here have been aimed towards improving these spaces.  Another nice perk is our view, with four large windows in the main salon.  However, inside the main salon, without air flow and shade, the heat sky rockets during the day. To combat this, first we open the hatches and doors to get some breeze. Our cockpit enclosure has a window on each side with a built in screen, to allow air flow but to keep bugs out. But most important are the forward ones, in the main salon.

Forward Hatches on Helia 44


We have two fans in our main salon that we can turn on. They are very nice fans, installed by Uchimata in La Rochelle. They have three settings and a sleep function.  One is right over the stove, so when the heat of the kitchen gets unbearable for me, I can turn it on and enjoy cooking that delicious food for David a bit more.

General Fan Layout


Next, we put our awning up. The forward awning is made of Textilene material, which blocks 80% of the sun’s rays. The awning provides shade on the forward windows. It also turns the bow into additional livable space. The midday sun is mostly blocked (but still wear sunscreen!) and the wind funnels into the awning, flowing back into the hatches. It is very comfortable out there!  The awning was made by Canvas West and cost us $3,156.50.

Interior Sun Shades

Finally, we have window shades, also made of Textilene, to further block another 80% of the sun from the windows. These are on the interior of the window, attached to the wall with hook and loop fasteners (the generic name for Velcro).   Fortunately for us, David’s mother, Jan, is quite the handy seamstress, and she made these sun shades for us, saving us a ton of money.  We looked at having blinds done by Oceanaire, but due to the irregular shape of the windows, the quote for the four large windows came out to $3,500!

Details of the stitching.
Details of the stitching.

The pattern was exactly the window shape, so Jan added 3/8″ of material all around the pattern, to give us some wiggle room for placing the velcro on the wall, and then created a 1″, double-thick border around that, and stitched the velcro to it.  All we had to do was place the matching velcro!

Our costs for this window screen project:

Textilene: $116.90 for 11 yards (including shipping).  I ordered the Textaline directly from Dorlisa at Twitchell Techincal Products, the manufacturer of the fabric.  Contact info:  334.836.1648 (direct) or [email protected].  11 yards left some extra.

Sew-on Loop Only:  $14.15 for 25 yards (including shipping).  25 yards was not quite enough.

3M Hook Fastener with high-performance adhesive:  $182.16 for 50 yards (shipped via Amazon Prime).  This was important because I’ve had a hard time getting things to stick to our walls and stay.  This is a high-quality adhesive.  50 yards is too much, but it’s the smallest it comes in!

Art Paper:  $18.28 (shipped via Amazon Prime), used to make tracings of the windows for patterns.

An example of the patterns I made.
An example of the patterns I made.

Total cost:  $331.49

We had a few kinks to work out, but we are very pleased with how they turned out.  Our view is still great, we have privacy during the day (but not at night) and the main salon is cooled down.  The shades will come off during passage to make sure our visibility is good.  Yesterday was overcast, but we still can see what a difference these are going to make!

DIY Interior Sun Shades

Although our passage across the Atlantic was quite comfortable, sailing around the tip of Florida was hot!  We are looking forward to cruising in hot climates with all these projects to help keep us cooler.


    1. Our awning has straps with plastic buckles. We wrap the straps around our lifelines or standing rigging and snap the buckle in. It works really well.

  1. Nice share!

    The comment about privacy at night is interesting. How are you both coping? I suppose it’s only at the dock/marina that is an issue?
    A bit surprised the boat does not manage this and it’s left to the owner.

    1. Yes, it’s only really an issue at night in a marina. I’m not sure what you mean by the boat doesn’t manage it. The Helia could have come with curtains, but I didn’t like the way that they looked, so we opted for our own design.

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