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Message board > Care & maintenance > Pilot cockpit cover

Message 16 of 16
Posted by member Daniel Rood on Thursday 20 June 2019

Hi Clive

I think sand blasting would be far too aggressive for a canvas cover. If you do have a compressor there's a product called a 'Tornador' that combines compressed air with a cleaning product to blow it into a fabric to help lift dirt. That could be very effective against mould.

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Message 15 of 16
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Saturday 8 June 2019

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for that, excellent idea. Presumably not using a stiff rotating bbq-style wire brush!!! A decent fibre-style brush of some sort is now on the menu for trying out next time around. Maybe combining machine scrub with the Renovo Boat Canvas Cleaner product. Sounds a very good option for the inside canopy surface where the majority of the black mould marks are.

Anyone tried sand-blasting?

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Message 14 of 16
Posted by member Daniel Rood on Sunday 2 June 2019

A tool that is popular amongst car valeting/detailing people is a drill brush. A brush fitted to a cordless drill. Would work well to work any product into the fabric.

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Message 13 of 16
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Saturday 27 April 2019

Back to this again!

Those black mould marks never completely go away do they? They just slowly build on themselves subtly (or not so subtly in some patches!) inside the cockpit canopy year on year.

We even tried this year, recommended against all sane recommendations, a last best hope for cockpit canopies etc etc, a dilute fairy liquid hand scrub, followed by a very careful - about 10" off - "pressure wash" over an old table to see if that would produce a cleaner canopy, without blasting it full of tiny microscopic holes in the fabric. Result was good, seemed to clean up well, no adverse effects so far, but some of those older ingrained never-to-budge black mould stains in the canopy roof are still there. Re-waterproofing is still required for good measure though.

Our latest tactic is installing a solar vent in the wheelhouse hatch area (now a fixed ply hatch), to replace the existing simple mushroom vent. The idea being to promote a little forced ventilation INTO the wheelhouse and cockpit area to try and help the circulation. The unit is reversible flow using the Force4 SolarVent 300S unit, so this can be tried both ways.

Anyone tried creating any type of canvas "flap" vent or other, in the top of the cockpit canopy? Any success with it?

Still chasing the Black Mould,

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Message 12 of 16
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Tuesday 8 May 2018

Hi Patrick, Robert, all,

We have recently put our cockpit canopy back on Adele, after having had to remove a fair bit of grime from the end of last season, so we had much scrubbing to do with the prescribed hot water, after brushing on the Renovo and leaving it to do its stuff. To do both inside and outside of the canopy, we found we needed two of the 500ml bottles of Renovo Canvas Cleaner to thoroughly brush it on and into the fabric.

After contacting Renovo, they also agreed it is a good idea to apply the Renovo Ultra Proofer afterwards, again to BOTH sides of the canopy. There is a mould growth inhibitor in the product that just may reduce problems during this season, and water proofing on the inside may just repel condensation more effectively. Worth a try! We did however need two 500ml bottles of this as well, and I still need to get another one, as there are a couple of aft side areas that still need a decent coat.

Canopy looks good so far, but there were still some very deep black spotted areas on the inside canopy top from past seasons that just would not completely go, but these are now very faded black marks, and the blue looks a good blue! Hopefully these old marks will no longer be very active.

We are definitely Renovo Converts until any better solution (pun intended!) comes along.

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Message 11 of 16
Posted by member PATRICK CLEARY on Saturday 24 March 2018

Hi Robert,
Thanks for your reply, canopy generally not that bad but fairly bad in places which will need extra attention. I have used different cleaner before but used cold water and will use hot this time as advised in other comments.
Thanks again and happy cruising.

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Message 10 of 16
Posted by member Robert Sneddon on Friday 23 March 2018

Hi Patrick
I suppose it depends on how bad your canopy is.
I clean and re proof my canopy each year and have found the 500 ml bottles to be enough.
Kind regards

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Message 9 of 16
Posted by member Patrick Cleary on Thursday 22 March 2018

I'm going to use Renovo to clean and proof my pilot canopy and was wondering if the 500ml bottles would be enough to clean a canopy of that size.
Thanks in advance,

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Message 8 of 16
Posted by member Kenny Clark on Wednesday 24 January 2018

Plenty of products on the market. Decided to use Starbrite sail and canvas cleaner. Hot water, soft deck brush scrub to remove surface grime, then spent a bit of time with hand brush for harder to remove stains.

Finished off with Starbrite waterproofing spray. It's recommended spray should be applied when canopy fitted to boat, to prevent creasing. Let this dry out in boat shed. Will check out if my hard work has paid off this weekend.

Good to know Renovo option has been tried and tested with positive results.


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Message 7 of 16
Posted by member Simon Kidd on Tuesday 23 January 2018

Hi All.

The one thing I can add, if using Renovo or similar, use the hotest water you can stand (with gloves) to scrub the canopy, this by all accounts gives the best results, and certainly has worked for me.

Best Wishes

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Message 6 of 16
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Tuesday 23 January 2018

Hi Robert, Chris,

Yes I agree, pressure washing does not sound good. Scrubbing when required, although requiring a bit more effort, is the answer. But I like what you say about the Renovo products - presumably specifically the "Renovo Boat Canvas Cleaner". Some great instructions here... http://www.renovomarine.com/instructs/instr_dc.php

For further info, I posted back in 2014 about using vinegar. I'll copy/paste here as still relevant. However, time has clearly shown us that the black mould has been getting the upper hand again. Anyway, here is...

"By end of last season we ended up with quite a bad case of mould growth inside the canvas cockpit cover of our Pilot 20, with some seriously grotty areas! We also had a degree of seagull droppings kindly left for us on the outside. After trawling the internet, and perusing loads of very pretty looking and expensive mould removal solutions, we remembered a book we had about all those old-fashioned uses for vinegar... A litre of White Vinegar (white malt vinegar is fine) from any well-known supermarket is all we had to spend."

"First step, make sure the canopy is well dried out. Don't touch the mould. We hung the cover and detached side panels in our garage."

"Second step, lay each cover section over an old table, or on a cheap tarp on the ground, outside on a good day. Bit of sun and wind is a great bonus. Brush off as much dried mould as possible with a stiff brush (that's why you're outside, and don't use a wire brush!)."

"Third step, with a standard scouring sponge, briskly apply undiluted white vinegar, and use a bit of good solid elbow grease to well rub in. We did all areas to ensure all unseen mould was put safely out of action. Repeat both sides if necessary, and over all areas of seagull visitations. You will likely need a few scouring sponges by the time you have done all cover sections."

"Fourth step, rinse off thoroughly with hose both sides. Another good reason to be outside."

"Fifth step, with a fresh scouring sponge, thoroughly rub and wash each side with warm soapy washing-up liquid water."

"Sixth step, rinse off thoroughly with the hose again, and hang up to drip-dry. That's where the sun and wind help. We rigged a couple of ropes up and also used the rotary line!"

"Seventh step, bring inside and VERY thoroughly and completely dry, prior to dry storage. Repeat for all cover sections, one at a time. When all was dry, all mould and seagull droppings were gone!"

"The blue canvas finish was unaffected, and now looks as good as new, except for a couple of small areas that had acquired a heavier dose of green mould and other various grotty looking growths, and had just paled a little. We may cure that with a proprietary canvas colouring as recommended by the cover manufacturer. [edit... have never done so] For good measure, before the start of next season, we will probably also apply a silicone based re-waterproofing spray."


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Message 5 of 16
Posted by member Robert Sneddon on Sunday 21 January 2018

Hi Chris
I cleaned my canopy while it was on the boat. I found it easier to brush on the Renovo with a paintbrush and then hose off. It's really what's the easiest for you, on or off the boat.
If it's really bad you will possibly need to give it further applications, although it's pretty good stuff.
The inside of my canopy was bad but nothing compared to the outside so I put some Renovo into a spray gun ( wife didn't really notice one was missing from the kitchen cupboard ) sprayed on and wiped off. It took some time but came up 100% better.
Be careful if your going to use a pressure washer. The material on mine wasn't the best but the stitching around the edges and windows was quite fragile to the point that I used a little glue here and there to keep thing together.
I thought I would only get a couple of seasons out of mine but four years was a bonus.


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Message 4 of 16
Posted by member Chris Gardner on Sunday 21 January 2018

Thank you for the information, but how does one clean it. Would a pressure washer be the answer? Mine has black mould inside as well.

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Message 3 of 16
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Friday 19 January 2018

Waaah! What a topical topic! We have similar issues with seasonal mould problems building up inside our Hardy Pilot canopy year on year. I have also started looking at what can be done on the cleaning front, and recently got in touch with Nauticover of St Cleer - coincidentally very local to us in Cornwall - and they too have recommended the Renovo range of products. We contacted Nauticover because I found that they supplied boat canopies including Hardy Pilot canopies, and thought that they may have some thoughts on the matter.

Ideally we are looking to see if there is some kind of professional canopy cleaning service out there that might just be a significant improvement on our our own "amateur" cleaning service. However, in the absence of the former, we will certainly be taking the Renovo route with the latter.

Our canopy is suffering year on year, but with the right treatment and a dose of TLC, I am sure we can keep the present canopy going for some while longer. But if anyone else knows of any full-on canopy rejuvenation service, we would be interested!

For those looking at new canopies, Nauticover may be able to help you... see www.nauticover.co.uk

Happy mutterings!

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Message 2 of 16
Posted by member Robert Sneddon on Friday 19 January 2018

Hi Chris.
When I purchased my Pilot the cockpit cover was in a pretty poor condition, however every season I cleaned with Renovo cleaner and then some Renovo waterproofing.
It lasted a surprising 4 years with some TLC but last season it had to be replaced.
Renovo worked well for me.
Check out different suppliers as I found the price can differ significantly.
Good luck.
Kind regards

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Message 1 of 16
Posted by member Chris Gardner on Friday 19 January 2018

Mine has gone green with age and I wondered if any one has an answer to how to clean it. If not where to best get a new one made, which might be the best bet.

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