The Shaderunner®, manufactured by Shadeform, is a retractable sail system with aluminium cross extrusions that are supported by a series of yacht-standard ball bearing pulleys, which run on stainless steel tensile cables.

There are typically two support cables, which are each 20 percent of the overall Shaderunner® width from the edges. If the cables cannot be positioned accordingly (i.e. a support structure cannot be positioned 20 percent in from the edges), three wires can be used instead (two at the edges and one central wire). The three-wire system can also be used on very large systems and/or where the systems is larger and manufactured in waterproof PVC fabric (three wire systems are more expensive, as extra pulleys etc. are required).


Most systems are manufactured from Outlook Polyester Mesh, a robust woven fabric with a vast colour range that provides up to 95 percent blockout. Larger systems tend to use Monotec 370 shadecloth, which has a range of vibrant colours and an excellent warranty.  It is possible to manufacture the Shaderunner® from waterproof PVC for a weatherproof solution (side fall is required, see “Angle” below).


The Shaderunner® is available in manual or motorised operation. Most systems tend to be manually operated as the system is very easy to manage; the ball bearing pulleys have very little friction, meaning the system is easy to pill out and back. The manual system features a continuous looped cord system with tie-off horn cleat that can be positioned to suit the site. The motorised system utilises an RTS remote controlled Somfy motor that drives the same cord system. No tie-off point/horn cleat is required. Motorised systems are restricted to a maximum 8-metre extension or 40 square metres. Larger manual systems or sloped systems sometimes require a winch to assist with the operation.


The maximum width of the Shaderunner® is 6.5 metres, governed by the length of the extrusions available. The width is custom designed to suit the site or application.


The extension of the Shaderunner® can be varied to suit the application. The maximum Shaderunner® extension is in practice around 15 metres, but longer systems can be made with winches. If longer extensions are required, twin systems can be manufactured that run on the same wires, stacking at both ends and extending/drawing to the centre.


The drop is how far the fabric hangs down when folded back. This can be designed to suit the site, i.e. if the Shaderunner® stacks above doors and therefore has a height limitation, the drop will be designed shorter so as not to impede on the doors. Shortening the drop adds to the cost of the system, as extra tubes and pulleys are required.

A typical Shaderunner® would have a drop of 400mm from the support wire to the bottom of the fold when retracted. A short drop system may be 300mm, possibly even 250mm; though the shorter the drop, the more tubes and the larger the stack length when folded back, which increases weight.


The Shaderunner® is typically installed flat, though a slope can be incorporated if required to suit the site or structure. If the system is to be manufactured from waterproof PVC fabric, the system must have side fall to allow the water to run off the edge. Side fall is a minimum of 3 degrees, however this is usually determined on a case-by-case basis.


The Shaderunner® is a very versatile system and can be supported by various structural systems:

  • Free Standing Posts | The system can be supported by four posts (two at each end, 20 percent in from the edges)
  • Posts at one end, building at the other | The system can have two posts at one end, and can be fixed at the fascia (rafter brackets) or a wall (wall plates)
  • Wall-to-wall or fascia-to-fascia | The system can be fixed between wall or fascias using brackets or angle to suit
  • Pergola | The system can be supported by a pergola, either retrofit to an existing structure, or to a purpose designed structural frame

The structural support is dependent on the size of the system and the structural suitability of any existing structures to which the Shaderunner® will be fixed to. New columns will be sized to suit the Shaderunner®.

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