Ah, the mystery surrounding the gray hull fabric. I have seen two forum posts recently…one questioning the quality of the older gray hull and one talking about a brownish hull that, fortunately, the owner thought was rather handsome.
Here’s the straight skinny, though at the time, it was a manufacturer’s nightmare.
There is/was no difference in the construction or quality of the gray vs black material. We began the production of the Greenland II using both, and did so happily until one day a customer called and told us that his formerly gray hull was now an olive green. “Impossible,” we replied. “Can you send us a photo?”
He did. It was. But he mentioned that the area under the spare paddle was still gray. Big clue.
I took a square foot sample from the lastest shipment and placed it outside in the sun with my coffee mug in the center. In 15 minutes (the maximum I can go without a second cup) the sample was olive except for the gray footprint of the mug. I repeated the test with with an old sample of gray. No sign of discoloration in eight hours.
A call was placed to our supplier, a large and reputable coated fabrics producer, and I was assured that nothing had changed. I sent the mug-printed photo-sensitive sample to his attention and asked that he check with his compound suppliers to see what they had changed. Same response. Nothing had changed.There was a strong implication that it might be my imagination.
Maybe the ozone layer, I suggested.
Faced with the possibility of getting more gray hull fabric that could have been used in the darkroom as print paper, I dropped the gray and doubled my next order for black.
Somewhere amongst the 1000’s of GIIs on the water, there are lots of black hulls, a fair number of gray hulls and an embarrassing number of handsome brownish/olive hulls, the tint level of which depends only upon their daytime usage and relation to the equator.
And that’s the whole sordid story.