Shop Talk Exterior Shade sails have become increasingly popular, but customers may not understand what they need to accomplish their shade goals. Clear communication with the customer is key to a successful project. Shade sail savvy by Steve Szenay " Educate your customers and help clarify when and how they are going to use this shade sail to help set appropriate expectations. " W hen fabricating shade sails, the fi rst thing to consider is, What are you trying to accomplish? This is where communication with the customer is key. Your customers are coming to you wanting some shade on their boat for when they are hanging out at the sandbar or sometimes while cruising at a moderate speed. They may think it is just a piece of tubing and a rectangular piece of fabric-something very easy to do and cost effective (i.e., cheap). If you go out to the sandbars, you will see many boats with no shade and others with a tarp or a beach umbrella, 40 Marine Fabricator | January/February 2022 neither of which work well or stand up to the slightest breeze. What you need to do is educate your customers and help clarify when and how they are going to use this shade sail to help set appropriate expectations. Rod holder smarts You can fi nd rod holders in stainless steel starting at $19.95 and going up to and beyond $150 each. Stay away from the cheap rod holders. They will rust in less than six months of saltwater exposure. Also, the top half of the cheaper ones will break with a little pressure on them from the shade sail poles.