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Old 26-06-2011, 05:55   #1
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Does the colour of canvas make a difference ?

We are replacing all the sprayhood / bimini / sailcovers etc on SV Tiki and have a huge range of colours to choose from. The current set is a beige (Toast according to my Sunbrella brochure!) but the previous owner said the light colour was roasting in the Tropical heat??

I wondered was whether cruisers had experience of both to say if darker versions made a difference? It may me help narrow down this crucial decision

Thanks!
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Old 26-06-2011, 06:43   #2
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

I went from the dark Navy Blue to Linen. Thought the light colour would do better in the tropical sun. To my surprise I found out that darker colours work better!! They are cooler, believe it or nor. After seven years my Linen is almost white so it bleaches out worse than the Flag Blue. If I had to do it over it'd be Flag Blue again.The light colours seem flimsier too, material does not appear to be as thick and it's all Sunbrella.
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Old 26-06-2011, 07:04   #3
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

Thanks Vasco this is what we heard too. How weird that light hull colour is cooler but not when it's overhead!? We are currently looking at the green scene
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Old 26-06-2011, 07:22   #4
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

I have read, not personally verified, that a light outer layer and a dark inner layer work best. The light layer reflects the suns heat and the darker lower layer reduces glare. But take that for what its worth.

Its probably worthwhile doing some searches on this forum for more information from people who have actually done it.
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Old 26-06-2011, 07:34   #5
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

Living aboard in Port Moresby, we had both light and dark covers. We found the dark blue bimini was much hotter to sit under than the white deck shades.
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Old 26-06-2011, 07:41   #6
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I thought I read in an earlier thread that the dark colors do a better job blocking the uv. My dark blue gets hot on the surface and it radiates heat if your close to it. The cockpit stays cool. I thin that's why the suggestion of 2 layers was out there, light on top to reflect dark below to block uv.
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Old 26-06-2011, 07:48   #7
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

Full enclosure cockpit on a center cockpit Formosa 51. Dark Navy blue hull. The dark Navy blue gets very very hot as does the hull. But then again in a land where the sun is scarce it's rather nice to step into a warm cockpit. All of the sides and windows are detachable and or roll up. In addition the cockpit enclosure can be separated into two areas with a zipper.



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Old 26-06-2011, 08:23   #8
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

I switced everything from white to Navy Blue a few years ago. It has held it's color very well, it doesn't show dirt like the white would as it aged. I've noticed no appreciable difference in heat. In fact, I remember reading tests that were done on biminis where the heat dissipated within a few inches of the interior surface.
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Old 26-06-2011, 10:01   #9
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

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Originally Posted by Tempest245 View Post
I switced everything from white to Navy Blue a few years ago. It has held it's color very well, it doesn't show dirt like the white would as it aged. I've noticed no appreciable difference in heat. In fact, I remember reading tests that were done on biminis where the heat dissipated within a few inches of the interior surface.
I like Burgundy
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Old 26-06-2011, 10:03   #10
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

FWIW - my local canvas shop told me the dark colors last 10-15 years. The light colors only 5-10 years.
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Old 26-06-2011, 11:30   #11
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

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FWIW - my local canvas shop told me the dark colors last 10-15 years. The light colors only 5-10 years.
That's interesting. ....I wonder what it's worth. I have dark maroon sunbrella and find the canvas lasts well -- now over 10 years old and only just beginning to show wear (actually chafe). But the stitching is another matter. I wish I could find stitching that lasted as long as the sunbrella.

Also have "dark red" sails and, not being a sunglasses wearer, find they sure are easier on the eyes. But that's another story as they aren't sunbrella
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Old 26-06-2011, 11:40   #12
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

From my experience, the darker colors pass alot of heat....you can feel it on the top of your head...feels like a heater! I had two boats in the carribean, one with Dark navy Blue and one with that light green (looks like old style canvas/seafoam) The Dark Blue was far hotter under the Bimini.
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Old 26-06-2011, 11:47   #13
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

Have had both on various boats. My experience the darker colors are much hotter. So depends on where you are boating and your priorities. FL and the Caribbean and you are willing to trade cooler for shorter life span of the top, go light. Further north or want the top to last as long as possible, go blue or other dark color.
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Old 26-06-2011, 13:27   #14
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

Simple physics tells us that dark colors absorb heat more than light colors. For that reason, we selected a cream color for our Bimini top since we planned on sailing south. The fabric recommended by Clay at Churchill Brothers in Anacortes
is Stamoid and has lasted much better than our Sunbrella sail cover that is now nearing the need for total replacement after 8 years of use, 4 of which were in the tropics.
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Old 26-06-2011, 13:58   #15
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Re: Does the colour of canvas make a difference?

Here is how I look at it. Darker colors certainly absorb more heat. However, they are more likely to block the sun coming through the fabric. Light, white, etc colors can let a surprising amount of light through them, which defeats the purpose of the awning, etc, to some extent.

So if air can move through, passing over both sides of the fabric, and the fabric is high enough off of the boats surfaces to NOT reflect heat directly onto the boat, then darker, is better.

We selected Cadet Grey for our bimini and dodger, and it has worked out well. I just bought some light grey (close to the Cadet Grey) Topgun fabric to make a forward awning for the boat.

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