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2013-03-21

Product preview: Think this might be useful on a boat?

Like so many evil things, it worked.
This is Scotch-Gard, and like it says on the can, it's a "heavy duty water repellent". It used to be quite common to see people set up a tent on a sunny day and spray the hell out of it with a can of this. And it worked. The other place you could see cans of it flashing in the sun was over biminis and dodgers in spring as it would waterproof all but the most ragged of "cockpit cloth", and would do a fair job making cheapo nylon jackets imitate Gore-Tex or other miracle water-resistent "high-tech" gear. You'd have to get closer than a boat-length to realize you were looking at at $20 Boat Show special instead of Gill Offshore Whathaveyou sweltering under new Sunbrella.

Turns out, however, that the various formulations of Scotch-Gard weren't great for the environment or, likely, for human health, and it was phased out...although it is still available for sale in many places, which is somewhat of a mockery of the process.

While alternatives to Scotch-Gard exist under the category of durable water repellents, some are very expensive and do not either work well or last particularly long. Others can compromise the breathability of clothing, which is something people pay big bucks for, particularly in foul-weather gear.

Throw in the nicest Spinlock DeckVest and we are cresting $1,300 and you still have a bare ass.

So when I came across this somewhat surreal video...


...I had to look more closely. "Ultra Ever Dry" is the product of an industrial firm that seems to specialize in oil spill containment, absorbent pads and decontamination of the type required when the trainload of peanut oil hits the abbatoir at speed. Apparently, it's superhydrophobic, a term I only grasp thanks to being one of four kids taking Latin in high school. I find it significant that it's some sort of industrial goo that's got nearly 5,000,000 YouTube views.

Just watch the video. I won't spoil it for you. I will just say that if this stuff really works as shown, and won't give you buboes atop of tumours, or children with sunroofs and gills, it could be an incredibly useful product all around the average cruising boat. That's a place where, as you might assume, things are always getting wet.

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