Stowing Clear Plastic Windows

Clearstow develops a convenient protector for cockpit enclosures


Some clear vinyls are sensitive to scratching, as has been revealed in our multiple tests. And, if not protected from the sun, it can yellow and grow brittle over years. For years weve been directing readers to roll their clear plastic in cotton sheets to prevent scratching, but the patented Clearstow bag offers a more practical solution.

The patented Clearstow bag is constructed like a giant expandable folder with soft cloth dividers to keep the plastic separated. Once the windows are filed, Velcro closures and plastic clips keep the bag compactly rolled and easy to stow or transport. For storage, they can be laid flat.

Clearstow was designed for center console boat owners. The large curtains were a pain to roll up (rolling up any curtain often causes scratches) and hard to stow. Soon sailors requested them for their cockpit enclosures.

In warmer weather, many cruisers like to remove the side curtains because they won't need them again until winter. Measuring 44 by 53 inches, the bag will fit three curtains of average size. Custom size bags can be ordered.

We found the bag to be well made and easy to use. It is important to make sure that your windows are clean and dry before storing them. If dirt or salt accidentally gets in between the leaves, the bag can be vacuumed clean.

The Clearstow was developed by Dave and Marty Love of Johns Canvas in Beaufort, NC. First opened in 1956 by John Moore, the familiar canvas shop was purchased by Dave and Marty in 1993. The Clearstow retails for $118 on the Clearstow website.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. 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.


  1. I use tubular webbing as a chafe cover over braided nylon lines.

    A line can be threaded through a short length of one inch webbing greatly
    increasing the live span of an eye on the end of the line.


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