Sunday, 27 January 2013


Ah paint! After all the repairs and alterations, it's time to cover the whole unsightly mess with a nice covering of paint that will obliterate my weeks of work.

See the nasty purple bruise just below the hatch drain hole? That was where water had got into the laminate. I drilled holes though the outer skin, and rinsed out the salt and chemical rich liquid, and then dried the area out with paper wicks, and then heat. Then I injected epoxy resin in to rebond the skins with the laminate. The ugly purple is some dye (builder's chalk) I added to the resin so that I could see where the stuff was going.

See the area just to the left of the drain hole? This is where two foam panels are joined, and the join had been faired in with car body filler. Car body filler absorbs water. This was evident by the old paint bubbling in this area. The paint was removed, then the car body filler, and the are has been refaired with epoxy filler.

At  the top of the picture you can just see a line of holes where I have fitted an epoxy/glass component that will hold the forward net in place. This replaces some aluminium track that was screwed and bolted through the hull - a hole every few inches. Each hole somewhere for water to leak into the laminate. Now, all gone. No more holes.

See on the right of the picture, there's a bit of the crossbeam? There was dampness in there. All rinsed out and dried and refilled, and finally, and extra layer of glass/epoxy. All now dry and reintegrated and strong.

At the bottom - the red colour? More epoxy filler, to fair in a layer of epoxy and glass added to strengthen the edge of the flare in the topsides which was damaged in places, and seemed thin and vulnerable to more damage. All fixed up, and now....

Obliterated. Weeks of work gone. Never mind the colour. It's just an epoxy undercoat.

The red line at the top - fairing with epoxy again, where an aluminium rubbing strake has been removed (again, holes through the hull every few inches. Madness!) The red at the bottom, the epoxy fairing over the reinforced hull flare. Some of the white and the blue is also epoxy filler - I varied the colour so I could see what I was doing as the work progressed. Anyway, it's all gone now...

Same for the decks too, where I have had to remove car body filler. And gel coat non-slip too. That was damaged and unsightly, and there was water under some of it. Nasty stuff. All gone, all ready for paint - 

I was fortunate to find a high build epoxy paint which is perfect for giving the boat a very durable and waterproof coating. I found it in a navy surplus yard. It's the sort of stuff that is used on ship's hulls, before the antifoul goes on. Leigh's Epigrip. I recommend it! Easy to apply as well as giving a tough finish. And as government surplus, it was £2 a litre. Cheaper than domestic emulsion! I bought the lot, 200 litres - enough for two coats on my topsides, three coats underwater (in preparation for the Coppercoat), and three coats underwater on the catamaran next door. (That's the catamaran next door, on the right of the image above). I was delighted with the bargain. My neighbour was quoted £5000 for the paint system for his boat.

No paint sticks better, is more durable or waterproof than epoxy paint. The one downside of epoxy is that it is vulnerable to UV, so it needs covering. The usual argument between yachties is whether to use one-pack or two-pack polyurethane paint. Both types are tough and expensive. Two-pack is tougher and more expensive. They give a shiny high gloss finish, which I have concluded has a dubious value. Shiny, it shows up every inconsistency in the hull, and so people spend forever filling and fairing before using this paint. And when the paint is damaged, it's quite a bit of work to again, fill and fair and repaint, and polish the patch in back to perfection.

I've concluded life is too short for that kind of perfection. I'll forgo the shininess and the expense and the upkeep ( I NEVER want to have to polish my boat!). The final coat will be domestic acrylic paint. The epoxy will protect the boat from moisture and abrasion, and the acrylic will protect the epoxy from UV. I haven't decided yet between Dulux and Sandtex, but the whole lot will cost me £30-40 instead of several hundred, and it will all be painted in a day. Scrapes will be touched up in minutes. And for the non-slip areas of the decks, same stuff, except I'll use the textured masonry paint. Cheap, easy to apply, durable, and since I've used it before, I can also say it sands away just fine - when it comes to recoating, the aggregate doesn't build up.

Painting. After all the work and preparation, it's a pleasant and easy job. All that work and preparation, now sealed up and hidden away. :)

Maybe my boat just wasn't yellow enough! Sorted!

Update: Leigh's Epigrip is brilliant. For epoxy paint, it is cheap. It is easy to apply. and after 2.5 years of hard use, I can say that it is very hard wearing. I've had places where a rope has been sawing across the deck (something I tend to avoid, naturally) and the top paint has gone, but howhere has the epigrip been worn through.

I used Dulux Weathershield gloss paint on the topsides and it is fine. A little wear and tear and scuffing, but it hasn't even dulled, here in the tropics. The Dulux salesman recommended that I used something else. He told me it wouldn't last. It has! One day, not soon, I'll give it all a quick sand and another coat. Maybe an afternoon's work, for several more years of looking fine.

I used masonry paint on the deck. Smooth everywhere, then textured where I need non-slip. It's OK. In places it has scratched off, where I have dragged something heavy across the deck. Eventually, it began to chalk, which doesn't matter much except the chalkiness contaminated the rain water we collect from the coachroof. So I have overcoated that with latex paint (available in the US, not sure what the equivalent would be in the UK). This stuff too is cheap, water-based stuff. It has stopped the chalkiness. One day, I'll give the whole of the decks and cockpit another coat. No rush though. And it will be cheap, it will take less than a day to do, and will last a few more years.