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 wont 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.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him by email at