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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 08-30-2008
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Is there a 'Blue Law'?

Just read the 'Best colour to paint a boat' thread and it reminded me of a question I've had about boat canvas. Why is the vast majority of dodgers, biminis, sail covers, furling sail UV cover strips and virtually all things canvas covered on sailboats....BLUE?

Here in Floriduh, other than our boats, the only things with more blue on them are on the heads of the our older inhabitants(of which I'm one...so I can make fun )! During my search for the 'next boat' I'm always reminded of the old adage of the model 'T'....You could have any color as long as it's BLACK!(well, blue in this case).

Anyway, there must be a reason for this blue phenomenon. A nautical thing...holds up better in sunlight...looks better with red, green, yellow?, blue or does it fondly remind us of the warm glow we males got after a rejected high school date?....no, that's another issue. Yeah, this question ranks right up there with the Saturday Night Live's "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy", but this inquiring mind wants to know. Any "thoughts"?

Bob
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Old 08-30-2008
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Unlucky colors

Old superstition has it that it's presumptuous, and therefore unlucky, to paint a ship in the colors of the sea.
In olden times, vessels were seldom painted green or blue, since they had their own souls and could not presume to be part of the sea itself. Such presumption could be fatal.
(Quote from: "The Practical Mariner's book of knowledge" by John Vigor)

These days blue canvas sail covers, biminis and dodgers seem to be quite popular not to mention bottom paint colors. I guess people are less superstitious these days or are unaware of this ancient practice which helps explain Lord Nelson's preference for the black and white chessboard look.

We use red canvas for our main cover and red hull paint. It matches our boot stripe. I do like the cheerful blue color that is so used so ubiquitously.
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Old 08-30-2008
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All of my canvas is tan/beige to repel heat. I hate that "standard blue" color.
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Old 08-30-2008
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For the same reason that blue jeans are blue: The dye is relatively cheap and very stable in the sunlight.

You'll find that each color of dyes is usually based on one chemistry, and besides cost and durability, the type of chemistry also causes "dye embrittlement" which can make the cloth weaker too. Reds and yellow bleach out quickly, red embrittles fabric (probably because it absorbs so much energy from the sunlight, which is why it breaks down and bleaches out) yellow fades quickly, blues and greens seem to be the most stable and economical. Black is simply "the hottest" and, technically, not a color. Especially once it fades to something else. And of course beige is, well, beige.

As Caleb says, you would never actually paint a boat blue. In Greece and the med, they say blue is the color of Neptune and Poseidon, and that if you use his color on your bride--he may get jealous and take her. (Captains were formally wed to their boats, which were christened as daughters of the sea, so that the sea gods would protect them, and their captains.)

Never take a chance on pissing off a sea god.


Now, can I interest you in something new from Vera Wang? In a nice sequined gold lamé perhaps? Very attractive in a light breeze.[g]
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I used to use the tweed green Sunbrella but it was hot. On my current boat I switched to Brass colored Sunbrella. Suprisingly, this color has faded. I didn't know that Sunbrella faded!
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Blue

Hellosailor...although you know far tooo much about Vera Wang and sequined gold lame`(and the fact you know how to get that little squeegle over the e in lame) for my comfort, cheaper dye and color stability sounds good to me. Although I don't consider myself a superstitious person, I think I'll follow yours and CalebD's advice and forgo the 'Blue Trend'...probably go the way of Sapperwhite's light tan/beige for the next boat's canvas. No sense in tempting the gods for a smack down!
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Old 08-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
... red embrittles fabric (probably because it absorbs so much energy from the sunlight, which is why it breaks down and bleaches out)...

You are not kidding.... My maroon sail covers took a real beating in Hawaii. I have often heard blue last the longest in the tropics and was half considering changing the color scheme of my whole boat to save on the canvas wear. Now that I am in Alaska its not much of a problem.

This is what happens to red in the tropics:

Interesting how the black fibers are still just fine but the maroon cross hatch are completely gone. The pure maroon canvas at the top of the picture was put there to get a little more life from the sail cover.
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Old 08-31-2008
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
The "pacific blue" is ubiqitous but has been successfully resisted on this end. I prefer the aquamarine myself-it's got a more dated look to it in my opinion and I'm feeling nothing if not dated.
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Old 09-01-2008
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So is it okay to paint her blue if you're shackin' up and not formally married?
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Old 09-01-2008
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A person at a marina in California once asked me what color my sail covers were. She was not going to even give me an application for the slip if they were not blue. I guess she just likes blue!
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