Sail Cover Materials

We recently finished a circumnavigation and currently have our boat in Mexico for needed upgrades. We are looking at replacing the dodger as well as the bimini and main sail cover. I would like to know if their have been any advances in regards to fabric and materials. Here’s my question: With regard to dodger windows, I do not want to end up with the plastic that turns yellow after a couple of years. We early on had clear plastic that seemed to last long but it could not be rolled, which is fine. Do you know what this "clear plastic glass" is called and any sources to check into? We really would like to get good quality dodger windows that will hold up and not turn yellow Also, I would love to have white mainsail cover and bimini, but I am very nervous about the dirt and grime and keeping them clean. Are there any new (sunbrella type) fabrics that will be UV resistant as well as easy to wash and clean? – Cynthia

Hi Cynthia: Congratulations on the circumnavigation. Re awning and cover fabrics, we have been using Sunbrella in a light gray color for many years and it seems to be OK as far as cleanability goes. The fabric will get dirty and/or muddy colored, especially if it is raining after sitting around. However, a scrub brush and soapy water usually do the trick. Not sure about white. Probably works the same, but will show more. If the fabric gets oil or grease on it, I think that would be a problem.

Re window material, there are many grades. I don’t recall the name of the good stuff, but there are materials which will give you five years. It is also possible to use thin polycarbonate and sew right through the edge, or drill and lace. Regards – Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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