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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-09-2010
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Dodger windows - cover or not cover?

Before long it will be time to replace the dodger. My dodger has individual covers for the windows. I see some boats with covers for the entire dodger. I see a lot of boats with no covers at all.

The cover will protect from UV but can also scratch the surface and is an added expense. A entire cover is more expensive but protects better. I am curious how the crew here feel about the subject.

Save the money and just replace the windows when needed? I wonder what the payback would be with cost of money figured in. What say all you?

Gene
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Old 10-09-2010
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I say cover.. with individual panels. Esp with Lexan windows - yes, caution is required to avoid scratching, but without they will be opaque in 7-8 years. We have a 6 yr old dodger with lexan, we keep the covers on in port and the lexan is still like new (aside from the inevitable scratches, in this case not from the covers) Individual covers allow you to provide some shade now and then but not cut off all the light, or the visibility.

On our last boat we had an overall cover.. after a while we quit using it because it shrank and wouldn't fit and the windows went opaque and looked awful in a relatively short time.
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Old 10-09-2010
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We have a felt like material on the inside of our canvas window covers, that do not rub marks or scratches into the plastic dodger windows.
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Old 10-10-2010
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We also have felt on the covers of the new strata glass windows my wife sewed into the dodger and bimini she made. We put them on when we leave the boat. wind, UV and just really will do a number on them.

Dave
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Old 10-10-2010
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We made a new 'dodger'. The lid is a sheet of 2mm grp (they make refrigerated truck bodies from this). The windscreen is polycarbonate and the sides and back are vinyl with clears. All can roll up or be taken off.

http://i665.photobucket.com/albums/v...a/P8170002.jpg

http://i665.photobucket.com/albums/v...a/P8250016.jpg
We often sail with the weather side down. This allows up to keep out of the sun or wind, rain etc.
In a marina, all vinyl sides and back are zipped down. Nothing to chafe and all the protection required.
Very happy with it
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For those with felt lining, do you ever wash the covers? I notice dirt gets trapped between window and cover when washing the boat. Or do you remove the covers when you wash the boat?

Covers keep bird crap off too.

Gene
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Old 10-10-2010
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I say cover.. with individual panels. Esp with Lexan windows - yes, caution is required to avoid scratching, but without they will be opaque in 7-8 years.
Every honest marine canvas guy I know advises against covering and these guys are quite reputable. Their argument "for" is one of increased revenue for the canvas guy trying to sell you more work.

The windows below were Strataglass and 9 years old when the photo was taken on June 13th 2009. The dodger was installed in May of 2000. This canvas spent nearly 4+ years in the equator range then the remaining, in-between and 5 years in Maine.

Proper care, with the proper products, will help them survive longer than a cover. These were treated once a week or every other week with Strataglass specific products.

Polution fall out, grit and dirt stuck in the weave of the Sunbrella covers or in between the covers will permanently create micro scratches in the glass when the wind blows. This then leads to degraded visibility.

Again these Strataglass windows were 9 years old when the photo was taken and FAR from opaque. NO COVERS were ever used..


Believe it or not the Sunbrella wore out BEFORE the windows..


Please feel free to look at the full size image:

Dodger Windows 6-13-2009 (LINK)



This is our new dodger & windows they will absolutely not get covers..


For those who doubt my sentiments you are welcome to visit me at the Mobile Marine Canvas booth, where I work every year, at the Maine Boat Builders show. You can the speak with Seth who is arguably the best marine canvas guy on the Maine coast, and hear it right from the horses mouth. He will even give you case by case instances with actual experiences he can share..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 10-10-2010 at 12:27 PM.
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
.....Again these Strataglass windows were 9 years old when the photo was taken and FAR from opaque. NO COVERS were ever used..
MS that IS impressive... our experience has been with lexan windows and we definitely had opacity issues within that time frame when left uncovered. We've not used (or knowingly seen) strataglass around here.
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Old 10-10-2010
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Mainsail, that's impressive and worth the time. I like to see where I'm going.

I have had good luck with covers on lexan windows over many years, but it is a much harder product. Additionally, micro scratches can be buffed out every few years; not an option on dodger windows.

But the reality is that many of use cannot get to the boat every week or every other week, or even every month in the winter. I agree whole heartedly that covers would be a bad idea; rolling them up with any dirt causes scratches and any flapping bit can cause scratches.

I have used Strataglass specific products; the PO left me with a supply, and they do help. But what are we to do? I spend too much time on maintenance and too little sailing already.
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I have used Strataglass specific products; the PO left me with a supply, and they do help. But what are we to do? I spend too much time on maintenance and too little sailing already.
Keeping up with my windows is one of the easiest chores. Takes me about 5 minutes to clean and treat them. I always use a new microfiber rag and warm water to rinse then wipe away any polution or debris. The rag is always turned after each wipe so as not to scratch with the grit it picks up. I then apply Imar Strataglass proctective cleaner and let it dry. That's it....
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