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Old 23-10-2021, 10:04   #1
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Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

I'm about to put my boat away for 6 months of storage in the tropics. I've got quite of bit of clear vinyl window surface on my dodger and bimini and have just cleaned it with water and then further cleaned/sealed it with some Star Brite cleaner/restorer. Now I'm not sure about storing it - can I roll/fold the clear vinyl upon itself or should I keep a layer of Sunbrella between the vinyl? A quick Google search seems to indicate mixed opinions...
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Old 23-10-2021, 10:17   #2
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Soft fabric between would be better. Snaps and zips and so forth attached to the Sunbrella can be a bit harsh on the clears...

FWIW, when we've stored removables, we laid them flat with an inexpensive twin bedsheet between layers.

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Old 23-10-2021, 19:15   #3
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Agree with clean, soft fabric to protect the clears. I would roll the dodger and the bimini, but using soft fabric to protect the clears. Many of the plastics they use for clears are very easily scratched, even by a bit of salt that didn't get rinsed off, let alone a bit of grit. Now, when you're removing it any way, is the time to inspect it carefully. If there is even one stitch killed by the UV, re-stitch the whole lot. You can use a regular sewing machine (does not require a walking foot).

Also, it is necessary to protect them if you're re-stitching the clears into the dodger. If you have to do that, use PTFE thread [lasts the life of the fabric], even if doing it by hand, and use British stopper knots on the thread, if not using a machine to back stitch. (A figure 8 knot with an extra turn through with the tail. ...I have to admit it was a British fellow taught us this, and it may not actually be the right name for it, just what he said.) You can use the existing holes to poke the needle through, possibly just each 2nd or 3rd one, with the thread, and while tedious, it does not take long to do a whole row of stitches. Saves a few hundred $$ over having it done. Take an afternoon for each, and can be done sitting by the fire on a long snowy winter's evening.

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Old 23-10-2021, 20:02   #4
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Canvas pro here. The above posts nailed it.

If possible, hang your clear panels vertically. If that's not possible, lay them flat, without stacking them. If you need to stack them, put something soft and clean between them. Don't fold clears.
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Old 24-10-2021, 09:45   #5
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

We leave our boat in Puerto Rico, up on the hard, closed, and stored over the hurricane season. We remove our sails and deck equip, and our dodger and bimini. FWIW, we wash and clean them, then lay them on a bed, with a sheet between each, taking care to not place a clear section over a snap or buckle. When they're all layed out-not folded-and covered by a sheet, we place soft cushions over them to give added protection. So far-it's worked well. When we return in Nov, after cleaning the deck and cockpit, we re-erect them, and we're set to go. So far-no issues.
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Old 24-10-2021, 09:59   #6
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Thanks everyone! I'm not going to use my freshly washed linen, but have a large supply of paper towels and unused cleaning cloths which I'll use to separate the vinyl layers. I recently cleaned out my forward cabin storage area, I still had paper towels, rags and even toilet paper that I'd bought when I originally commissioned the boat over 10 years ago At the time I was in the USA and had a membership at CostCo and perhaps I was in the mistaken belief that such paper products were unavailable in the Caribbean and points in the Pacific...
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:02   #7
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

I learned an expensive lesson when I stored my panels together one winter. The plastic windows all became permanently white where the plastic touched. I tried polishing the white off, but it seemed to be some sort of chemical reaction. When I got in touch with the fellow who made the dodger, he acted like it is obvious and well known that you never store your windows horizontally or touching. He recommended hanging them with an air space between each of them.

I never followed up on the why part of what happened, but it was an expensive repair. All the panels had to be replaced.
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Old 24-10-2021, 11:33   #8
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Iím up in New England. Is it really necessary to remove the dodger if the boat has a canvas cover over a frame. Every time I remove it seems to get a few new scratches. I was just going to clean it and store it installed.
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Old 24-10-2021, 12:09   #9
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Blimey! You are a conscientious lot.
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Old 24-10-2021, 12:12   #10
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Itís definitely a good idea to protect the Eisenglass , I use towels.
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Old 24-10-2021, 12:33   #11
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Before the winter I wash with a damp rag my sprayhood windows, dry them, and then rub in Johnson's baby oil (un-scented). I believe that this keeps the windows supple. I then fold once and roll the sprayhood with the windows on the outside of the roll, keeping the windows from being bent or creased. I store the rolled-up sprayhood vertically, so there is no pressure on the windows. (The window is not in contact with itself.)
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Old 24-10-2021, 13:50   #12
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

We use brown butchers paper on our full helm and cockpit enclosure on our 42 lagoon as well as all the hatches and window around. Works great over the last 5 years on the summer hard.
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Old 24-10-2021, 20:12   #13
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
I'm about to put my boat away for 6 months of storage in the tropics. I've got quite of bit of clear vinyl window surface on my dodger and bimini and have just cleaned it with water and then further cleaned/sealed it with some Star Brite cleaner/restorer. Now I'm not sure about storing it - can I roll/fold the clear vinyl upon itself or should I keep a layer of Sunbrella between the vinyl? A quick Google search seems to indicate mixed opinions...
We do this every year with ours. Just roll up, and stow loosely in a big sail bag, with nothing on top.

Ours were new in 2012, and still fine.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:25   #14
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Re: Storing dodger & bimini with clear vinyl panels

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
[...]If there is even one stitch killed by the UV, re-stitch the whole lot. You can use a regular sewing machine (does not require a walking foot).[...]


Ann
I found it very difficult to restitch a dodger using a home sewing machine. Home sewing machines have short arms that make it difficult to feed through a dodger, except for the seams at the edges. In order to reduce the risk of failed stitching, I now specify PTFE thread on all external canvas.
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