Long-term Testing Clear Vinyl

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Strataglass 40

Our long-term test of clear vinyl and clear-vinyl treatments includes environmental outdoor tests with controls, as well as some real-world testing on one of our test boats.

For the outdoor testing, 8-by-10-inch vinyl test samples of Strataglass 40 mil, Strataglass 30 mil, Regalite 40 mil, Crystal Clear 30 mil, and OSea 40 mil were mounted over cut-outs in painted plywood sheets. One panel of each product was left untreated; one Strataglass panel was covered by a Sunbrella flap and not treated; and the rest were treated with protective sprays and creams.

One set of control panels was kept indoors in a controlled environment. Spray cleaner/protectant products were reapplied every 30 days, and cream/paste products were reapplied every 90 days.

The vinyl materials also are being evaluated, both treated and untreated, for aging effects-including any changes in color, opacity, texture, or stiffness.

Now, two years into the test, we are focusing on rainy weather performance, since this is the primary difference at this time. At the five-year mark, we will dismount all of the samples and perform more rigorous testing.

On-Boat Testing

The test boat has a large clear-vinyl enclosure and large vinyl skylights in the hard top. We applied products that did well at the four-month mark to the windows on the test boat. We used the Imar 302 as a protectant, and the Imar 310 and Star brite View Guard as cleaners.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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