White Sunbrella Border
In removing a white Sunbrella
UV cover off a furling jib we noticed something that
didn’t seem very important
first glance. The sail had black ‘draft stripes,’ but
the black color had faded underneath the Sunbrella cover.
That’s strange. The Sunbrella is supposed to protect
the sail underneath, and if the Sunbrella is doing its
what caused the black draft stripes to fade? The stripes
look exactly like they have been in direct sunlight.
Well, it turns out that all Sunbrella colors don’t
act the same, and it turns out that in our experience,
color is the least durable of all the colors.
In this case ‘durable’ means the ability to
keep UV light from passing
through the cover material.
The problem here is not really with the faded draft stripes.
The problem is the sail itself has been cooked by
and is substantially weaker than it would have been if
some other color was chosen.
This particular sail was built in March of 1997. The owners
rigorously remove the sail every November and store it
below through the stormy winter months. It is re-installed
around March or April. So it was 12 ½ years old
when we took the cover off, but in another sense it was
more like 6 years old.
The purpose here is certainly not to bash Sunbrella. It
is the most durable material we know of for protecting
sails from sunlight. But be careful in choosing white.
Different colors, in particular the blues, seem to last
15 or 20 years! Other things have changed in the interim:
in late 2008, the Sunbrella Warranty was extended from
5 years to 10 years. That may indicate an improvement in
the product. If you are into warranties, keep in mind that
the Sunbrella warranty covers the Sunbrella fabric only,
not the sail it was supposed to protect. Google ‘sunbrella
warrantee’ if you are interested.