I do most of my own canvas
work. I have Sunbrella weather
cloths, a stamoid hatch dodger
(to keep rain out while letting air in), and a Weather
Max awning. Been cruising 25 yrs. In my experience the plain old blue Sunbrella lasts the longest of anything so far. (The stamoid is only about 5 yrs. old, half its advertised life span, doing fine so far, but stamoid requires careful handling, not the easiest to work with. It is lighter than Sunbrella.) The Weather Max in my opinion is easier to work with (because I candle sunbrella, or cut it with a hot knife). My dark red Sunbrella is rather faded after 9-1/2 years. And of course Sunbrella has little chafe resistance, so requires chafe patches in a lot of places, some of them, hidden. The awning, which doubles as a raincatcher, hasn't been used much yet, though it's about 5 yrs. old, has been used as far north as 14 deg. 40 min. S. lat., so lots of UV exposure, but, as it zips in and out of the dodger
, is not in constant service
. The fabric
is easy for my old Pfaff home sewing machine
to handle, does not require a hot knife, weighs about half what Sunbrella weighs, has good chafe resistance, but only guaranteed 5 years. So far, I'm happy with it. The chafe strip on our furling
staysail is also WM, and it does not appear to be chafing.
When we get our mainsail
bag replaced, I might give the Weather Max a go for it, because of the lower weight and chafe resistance. Yet the dark red dyes are so fade-prone, my concern is that the WM would fade even more than the Sunbrella did. However, when it's time again on the weather cloths (easier to make than our rather complicated boom bag), I plan to try out the WM for them. I like the "hand" of the fabric
(how it feels to the touch),too. It has seemed to be good value. When I bought it, it was half the cost of Sunbrella and the other acrylic
canvasses. I like having the projects from time to time, so if the WM gets horrid or loses its waterproofing in the next year or so, it's the work of one to two days to re-make it, it does not "feel" a risky experiment
There are trade-offs with all the fabrics, simply put: price
vs. longevity possibly the major consideration if someone is going to be hired to do the job.
By the way, do require the stitching be made of tedlar thread, or its equivalent. My boom bag's stitching is still as new--amazing, really. There is only one row of UV resistant stitching on my dodger, the rest is tedlar, and the UVR dacron row is shot, and already been hand-stitched. And now I can really see what a huge difference it makes.
Hope this helps.
Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II