CHECKING THE CANVAS WORK

Published: 19 October 18

Canvas work should not be skipped over by the surveyor, as even a small pram hood could set the new owner back £1500+ for a replacement. Their condition is not difficult to check.

Pram hoods, spray hoods, dodgers, sail covers, hatch covers, and in the Med window covers, etc., can be made out of several different materials. These include canvas, PVC, plasticized canvas, Sunbrella Marine and probably others as well.

Is there any mechanical damage, tears or splits, etc? Do the zips work? Are all the toggles and bungee cord still in place and serviceable? Are the windows still attached & without damage? Is the stitching good? All are easy to see or test?

Many years ago, at a YDSA seminar, a sailmaker/repairer showed how to simply test the stitching. Most of us carry a suitable tool in our pockets (the Queen excepted). A cheap tool will set you back 1p, although a 2p is better and easier to handle; a 50p piece is about the best. Rub the edge of the coin across the stitching; if it breaks easily or frays it is partially rotted through ultraviolet decay.

If it is just the stitching in poor condition then the pram hood/dodgers can be re-stitched. If there is other damage then recommend replacement.
What we also must not forget is the support structure. Steel or alloy tubes in the case of a cockpit pram hood; timber, plywood or steel or a combination for a cratch and ridge plank covering the forward cockpit of a narrow boat.

Pram hood tube connections to the ship’s structure are easily heaved checked. Cratch and ridge can be hammer tested or spiked.

Such a simple test can also be applied to sails where the most vulnerable areas can easily be checked. Corners can be heaved out of the bags, boom covers can be peeled back and those exposed parts tested as above. This will give a good indication of the wear the sail has undergone during its lifetime. It would still be prudent to state that the sails were not fully laid out for inspection and the client should satisfy themself that they are in a good serviceable condition.

All to be reported on.

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