Experience Using Gortex Thread & Sunbrella?
We've been having problems with a new bimini which we had constructed using Gortex (Tenara) thread and Sunbrella. The Ship's Tailor in Deltaville, VA did the construction. We were very happy with the fabrication, but all of the seams leaked with water droplets forming at the needle holes. The fabricator utilized a #18 needle and after the fact we did a huge amount of research and have been told that they should have used a #16 needle. Based upon partial deconstruction we saw that the fabricator sewed through the seam-stick tape, as they should have.
We also utilized Sunbrella Supreme, which is a new fabric from Sunbrella which is MUCH more water repellant than normal Sunbrella. The fabric had flaws in it which didn't become apparent until we were using it. Sunbrella was great and had a rep meet us in Annapolis to look at the construction. Later we shipped the bimini to Glenn Raven Mills (who makes Sunbrella) and they were absolutely great. They said that the fabric was defective and should never had made it out of the factory. They refunded the entire cost of having the bimini constructed ($1700) and will provide the fabric for it to be reconstructed. I love companies who stand behind their products!
Next hurricane season we're planning on returning to Deltaville and have the Ship's Tailor re-make the bimini. Because BlueJacket spends so much time in the Caribbean sun, normal thread just doesn't hold up and we've spent lots of time resewing parts of it. The Gortex thread should hold up much better, but we're concerned about utilizing Gortex thread again.
Does anyone have positive experience with Gortex thread and Sunbrella that they would be willing to share? Do you know what construction techniques were used?
Small world Geoff...We had our present enclosure made at Ships Tailor and specified Gortex after our last bimini had to be re-done with Gortex after 2 years in the Bahamas with regular thread.
I have no idea what was used in terms of techniques but we used regular sunbrella and the present system has held up quite well with no leaks whatsoever for 3 years. Maybe the needle size on your last one was the problem. I think the fabric wicks in moisture a bit as if you press on it during a heavy rain from underneath, you get a wet spot, but that is not due to stitching or thread. We've had several bimini's/dodgers and enclosures built by ST over 22 years in Deltaville and have always found the work to be both excellent and expensive...but whenever we've had a minor problem, they have been quick to remedy it. I'd say talk to one of the guys there about your concerns and I'll bet the resulting job turns out fine.
Dodger, bimini, and several other canvas pieces that attach to the dodger to make a full cockpit enclouser. All Sunbrella with Gortex thread. The pieces I made were sewn with a #18 needle. No problems, no leaks. I do spray all the Sunbrella with 303 Fabric Guard every once in awhile.
I think the problem is the defective materials used in your bimini. Hard to tell if the thread is causing a problem when the cloth is defective to begin with. The bimini on my boat was made with Gore-tex thread and Sunbrella, and I don't have any issues with it... should have gone for a full cockpit enclosure though. :(
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