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Old 30-12-2003, 05:45   #1
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Hi everyone,

Well, this year is slowing winding down, as has my sailing. The last time I took my boat out, I noticed some stitching in a panel on my Genny had worked loose. Since the sail is starting to show some wear, I decided it was time to give ole Genny the royal treatment, and send it to Sailcare for repair and cleaning.Sailcare kept the sail for about a month, but when I received it back, I was very impressed with the results. They repaired the stitching, cleaned the sail, and applied some type of treatment to it that really improved the sails stiffness. Prior to sending the sail, it had several red mud residue areas on it that were left after mud dobber nests had been knocked off,.....all of which are clean now!

Anyway, on to my question. I think I'm going to pull the main off my boat this coming weekend and send it to Sailcare also. I noticed the last time I was on the boat that my mainsail cover has a lot of mildew on the top of it. I imagine Sailcare could take care of it for me too, but I would rather not pay the money to have it cleaned. Is anyone familiar with cleaning Sunbrella? Also, is there any type of treatment that needs to be put on the material periodically? Thanks!

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Old 02-01-2004, 16:03   #2
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One things about Sunbrella is the thread. Sunbrela thread itself is not all the UV resistent. The thread will fail before the fabric. Tenerra thread is made of GoreTex foibres and will last longer than the Sunbrella material. Odds are your thread is failing. I just restitched a $10,000 canvas job (bimini, connector, dodger, 9 side curtains and two sail covers) that basically has at least 3 years left on the sunbrella fabric but the stitching was shot. It would unravel to the touch.

ALWAYS spend the extra money on the the thread. It matters for the later years. Sunbrella brand thread sucks! Once the thread goes you can usually get a canvas maker to restitch the whole job for about 10% the cost of making it all new. If a canvas maker does not offer the option they don't know enough to do the job. Here on the Chesapeake canvas should be good for almost 10 years, but Sunbrella thread is only good for about 7-6. The difference increases as you go south.

Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 02-01-2004, 16:58   #3
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Yup, had the same on my boat:

The Sunbrella Bimini top that was made in 1994 started coming apart in the seams about 18 months ago.

I took a long and hard look at the fabric and the thread.
The Sunbrella had been in the Florida and Bahamas sun for about 8 years and it was getting pretty thin.
Been treating the fabric with 303, I belive that is the only product that Sunbrella recommended, and it had extended the life of fabric and thread...I think.

To make a long story short, I decided to have a new bimini top made, the cost was $1,000 and Gore Tex thread was $50.00 extra. Needless to say, I went for the GoreTex.

As for the main question in this thread:
Clean the sail cover yourself with whatever...Start with mild soap and water, then go citric for the mildew, rinse, let dry, rinse let dry, etc...THEN do that 303 stuff...It is pretty pricy and it is cheaper in jar for brushing on, insted of a spray bottle.

Good luck.
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Old 03-01-2004, 06:51   #4
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Thanks for the info.I went to my boat on New Year's Day and pulled my mainsail cover and sail off my boat. Man, I wanted to take the boat out. It was around 65 deg.F., but no wind. So, I did a few maintenance items after pulling the mainsail and cover.

My bimini is only one year old. I only used it for a few months last season, so it's in excellent shape. When I had Sailnet make it for me, I did opt for the Tenerra thread, even though I didn't know what it was. The salesman told me it was worth spending the extra money for it, and why. I'm glad I listened to him.

I searched the net and found the 303 product that CSYman mentioned. I ordered enough to coat my mainsail cover. My plan is to take the cover to a large commercial washing machine and wash it using a natural soap, then letting it air dry. Once it's dry, I'll apply the 303 to it.

Man, oh man! I've got so many "projects" to do on my boat. I really like the fact that my 26 footer is trailerable. Towards the end of each winter, I pull her out of the water and bring her home to work on her.The house suffers for it, but hey,"there's nothing better than messing about boats."
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Old 05-01-2004, 23:19   #5
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If all it needs is cleaning spray it down with some simple green and scrub it. Then treat it with a water repelant. I revived my dodger that way and saved $1500 for a few more years.
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Old 21-04-2009, 10:43   #6
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Sunbrella "Thread" Clarification

Fellow boaters and Sunbrella users,
I do appreciate all the endorsements for Sunbrella marine fabric. There is,however, a point I would like to address regarding the mention of "Sunbrella thread" and its tendency to fail. First, Sunbrella (or rather its manufacturer - Glen Raven Custom Fabrics) does not produce, license or specifically recommend a sewing thread in fabricating canvas products with our material. We manufacture, distribute, and market superior performance fabrics for the marine market (as well as awning and shade, outdoor furniture, etc. Wherever outstanding performance and great styling are desired). There are many outstanding choices for thread and your canvas shop can help you understand the benefits and optimum application for the selections available. Many factors - specific fabrication, climate, frequency of exposure, etc; can affect the lifespan of the finished product - bimini, dodger, mooring cover, sail cover, cushions, etc. It is important to note that Sunbrella marine fabrics carry a 10 Year warranty against becoming unserviceable due to color OR strength loss. Different threads carry different warranty coverages and again, your local canvas shop should be your guide in making the right selection for your application.
I hope this helps clear up any misunderstanding as to exactly what part the Sunbrella fabric component represents in the final fabricated marine accessory.
Finally, 303 brand Cleaner and Protectant, are recommended and officially licensed products to extend the great looks and performance of your Sunbrella fabric. Additional cleaning advice is also available on our Sunbrella website for specific or troublesome stains.
Sincerely, Vince Hankins - Industrial Market Manager, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics
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Old 21-04-2009, 10:58   #7
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Mildew. Don't know if it will work for your problem. A few drops of iodine in a water spay bottle will desolve mildew. Do a test patch.
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Old 28-07-2017, 10:21   #8
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Re: Sunbrella

Nice demonstration of cleaning and water proofing Sunbrella.


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