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Old 04-23-2013, 08:13 AM   #1
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WWYD - hull finish, trailerable trawler

Last year my wife and I purchased a 1991 Nimble Vagabond. The Vagabond is a small (20ft) Ted Brewer designed "pocket trawler." We keep the boat on a trailer at the house and pull it to one of several large lakes in South Carolina or on the SC/GA border. After almost 40 years of sailing, I'm really enjoying a more relaxed cruising style.

The boat has off-white topsides and what I call Hunter Green (a dark green) gel-coat on the hull. The previous owner had the boat buffed out and polished prior to listing it and a decent job was done. There are few, if any, scratches on the hull and everything is very fair and smooth. The issue is that, as you would expect with a 22 year old boat with dark gel-coat in the South, there is uneven fading in the substrate of the hull gel-coat (light colors are much more forgiving in this regard).

Searching and reading on the subject, it seems that there’s not much that can be done about the substrate fading (as opposed to surface oxidization) other than refinishing in some manner. The options range from thorough sanding and de-waxing before having new gel-coat professionally applied (might cost as much as the boat is worth!) to prepping and painting with 100% acrylic exterior house paint (quite a subculture advocating this on the web) and everything in between. My only experience with DIY boat painting was some years back when I repainted the hull and topsides on an aluminum StarCraft inboard using one-part polyurethane “enamel” (in quotes, because I’ve read articles by a couple of chemists who say polyurethane is not really an enamel), foam rollers and brushes. I was very pleased with the results – the paint job looked nice and was very hard and durable.

Now – the WWYD part. What would you do and why. The bottom (below the waterline) still has good antifouling paint on it and I do not plan to address that right now). Keep in mind that this is a trailerable boat and I don’t have the resources to have gel-coat professionally applied. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Rob
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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I'd sand it well and use 2 coats of Interlux "Precoat". Consult w Interlux if you intend to use 2 part coatings or other unconventional finishes. It brushes and sands beautifully. White if your'e going to paint w a light color .... and I'd recommend that as well.

Rob your Vagabond's fwd windows look remarkably like my Willlard's.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:13 AM   #3
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I'd sand it well and use an excellent primer. White if your'e going to paint w a light color .... and I'd recommend that as well.
I really like the color scheme on your boat, Eric - much less of the dark green to absorb UV and heat. What type paint would you use?

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Old 04-23-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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I'd sand it well and use 2 coats of Interlux "Precoat". Consult w Interlux if you intend to use 2 part coatings or other unconventional finishes. It brushes and sands beautifully. White if your'e going to paint w a light color .... and I'd recommend that as well.

Rob your Vagabond's fwd windows look remarkably like my Willlard's.
Eric - I either didn't read thoroughly or we crossed postings. Thanks for your input. On the front windows, it's interesting that the Nimble Vagabond's big sister is the Nomad...
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Topsides are rarely if ever regelcoated. They are painted. The following are some products and techniques that you can use:

Interlux Brightside- a single part marine acrylic (I think) that can be rolled and tipped or sprayed. It will last quite a while but not forever.

Automotive Acrylic- the same as above but cheaper

Interlux Perfection- A two part polyurethane made for DIY rolling and tipping. Looks pretty good (slight brush strokes) and will last longer than Brightside

Awlgrip, Imron- Professional sprayed two part polyurethanes. Will last as long as Perfection but will have a smooth finish. Requires extensive prep for ultra smooth finish.

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Old 04-23-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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Each year a re paint sections of the Eagle. I been using Interlux one part Brightside. Brightside is a polyurethane that covers and flows well and easy to blend/match. Sanding, priming, and fairing is 80+% of the work. If you want to go lighter then most of the green would have to be sanded down/off, and several coats of primer. The final top glossy coat is applied thick enough to cover the dull primer so the hull is glossy. You might use 1+ gallons of primer and only a quarter of gloss.

The lighter/whiter and duller the paint the less the eye can pick up defects. A white primed hull is like looking into a blizzard, apply a gloss coat the eye can pick up the defects, and if you added color the more the defect will show. Plus white is easier to match and repair than dark colors. The lower part of the hull I use semi gloss rather than gloss as it does not show the dinks and defects as much, but still reflect well.

This summer I will paint, roll and tip, the Portuguese bridge, port salon sides and the hull above the rub rail. Next year when pulled the hull below the rub rail will be painted using a semi gloss. Last time it took two people 4 hours to paint, roll/tip, the entire lower hull, and I think 3 quarts.
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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I would sand, 2 coats primer, lightly sand and then roll/tip Petit Easypoxy. I know from experience it works well. I will be doing it again in May on a new build skiff I'm working on. Any of the popular paints from Rustoleum to international will yield excellent results. My preference is Easypoxy and don't feel the need to try every new 2 pack product that comes out. My primer of choice is KILZ . A fiberglass dealer told me to try it ( I had my doubts) about 15 years ago. Its been my choice ever since. I'm sure that the yachting establishment will be totally offended (my apologies!) What works,works.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:29 PM   #8
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I have had great results with both EasyPoxy and Brightside but the new International "Perfection" product is no more difficult to apply than the single part products like EasyPoxy of Brightside has a harder surface & lasts much longer in high UV conditions; much better than the original gelcoat did. The lighter the color you choose the longer it will last in high UV conditions. Many great custom boat manufacturers use International products on their new builds.
If your boat has ripples or imperfections that you dont want to take the time to fair out, a lighter color will help hide them, so will the addition of some flattening agent to the paint if you are not impressed with the "wet look".
Stick with one manufacturer (washdown, primer, paint, thinner, even rollers), painting a boat is so labor intensive that scrimping on materials is not cost effective.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:00 PM   #9
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I would sand, 2 coats primer, lightly sand and then roll/tip Petit Easypoxy. I know from experience it works well. I will be doing it again in May on a new build skiff I'm working on. Any of the popular paints from Rustoleum to international will yield excellent results. My preference is Easypoxy and don't feel the need to try every new 2 pack product that comes out. My primer of choice is KILZ . A fiberglass dealer told me to try it ( I had my doubts) about 15 years ago. Its been my choice ever since. I'm sure that the yachting establishment will be totally offended (my apologies!) What works,works.
I have also used Petitt, a one part Easypox which also a polyurethane. Some body told me Interlux and Petitt are owned by the same company and they are basically the same. I stayed with Brightside as they also made the thinner and brushing liquid which thins down, extends drying time in warmer temps, and in improves the flow.

If it does not come out to my satsifaction, then I lightly sand and do it over again. Anyway its the primer that is the real protection not the pretty top coat. Protect first and then make pretty!
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:49 PM   #10
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I'd do what Eric suggests in post #2 to start with. Not sure what paint I'd use, though. We use Brightside for a lot of things on the boat, inside and out, but I don't think I'd want to use it on a hull. It's not a particulary tough paint although it is tougher than the now-discontinued Toplac which had superior application properties to Brightside.

I think we would be inclined to use a tougher, two-part paint. And for the hull we would absolutely for sure spray it (or have it sprayed). We've used the roller-tip method inside the boat with very satisfying results. But we would not use it on the hull, particularly a dark hull like yours if you're going to stay with the dark green. It will show every wobble in the paint, every streak, every tiny ridge.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:19 PM   #11
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" It will show every wobble in the paint, every streak, every tiny ridge."

Only when the light is wrong/right.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:12 PM   #12
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" It will show every wobble in the paint, every streak, every tiny ridge."

Only when the light is wrong/right.
Correct, but with a curved hull like the OP has, the light will always be wrong/right on part of it. And if there is uneven paint or ridges it will most likely bug the hell out of him even if nobody else sees it.

Spray it.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:39 PM   #13
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Marin,

Prolly good advice but I'm just not that fussy.

Painted my OB skiff w a brush and I'd like it a little better than that. Roll and tip w a little more care should top the first coat. Used Brightside and even a second coat should top the first.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:42 AM   #14
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While "Roll and Tip" is a great technique and with practice a fine finish can be obtained ,

a trailer sailor could simply be shot by the local body shop.

You do the prep, most of the work, and supply the paint.

IMMERON OR ALL GRIP is OUT for a body shop as the fumes are deadly and they will not have the protective suits or remote air supply required.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #15
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Rob, love your Vagabond! Do you know how many were made? And your hull looks like a typical Nomad hull..LOL FADED!
I had mine painted about 8 yrs ago supposedly with Awlgrip but it did not last long..about 3 yrs! Not sure what I will do the next time.
And Eric, those windows are made by Wynne Enterprises Inc. I think the all the Nimble line used them. They apparently are used on a lot of boats.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:38 AM   #16
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Now the WWYD part. What would you do and why.
OK, two answers:

First, if you don't really care that much about the value of your boat: The simplest thing to do is to do nothing. The boat is perfectly usable as-is. The next step up is to slap on a coat of semi-gloss enamel. Again, this will "work" perfectly well.

However...

Doing this will certainly not enhance the value of your boat, and in the case of a coat of enamel it will actually degrade the value of your boat.

So my second answer, if you care about the value of your boat: You have a beautiful little cruiser, designed by a great Naval Architect and built by a respected builder. The hull is in excellent condition. You plan on keeping it for a while. So, you would like a hull finish that will enhance your enjoyment and value. In that case, especially given how small this boat is, I would be highly recommending that you get a professional, sprayed-on, two-part finish such as Awlgrip. This really will leave you with a "better than new" finish, and the actual cost for a small boat such as yours should be relatively small.

My next step would be to find a few local boat yards who have experience spraying two-part finishes to give you a quote. That should be a good starting point.

By the way, just as an example, I'll point you to the thread on the Albin 25 for sale. Take a look at the difference a really good paint job made to Daddyo's boat: Albin 25

And also by the way, I'm not advocating this approach for every boat. I have a 50 year old wooden boat, and I quite happily paint it with semi-gloss enamel. But here's Welch's Rule On Boat Finishes: a boat finish only has to look good while standing one boat length away. 14 foot Chris-Craft? Has to look good from 14 feet. 25 foot Nimble? 25 feet. 60 foot trawler? Stand 60 feet away and enjoy. Just don't stand 14 feet from my boat and criticize the varnish work :-)

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Old 04-24-2013, 09:29 AM   #17
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Nimble1,

My Vagabond hull is #5 (1991) out of 115.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:23 AM   #18
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OK, two answers:

First, if you don't really care that much about the value of your boat: The simplest thing to do is to do nothing. The boat is perfectly usable as-is. The next step up is to slap on a coat of semi-gloss enamel. Again, this will "work" perfectly well.

However...

Doing this will certainly not enhance the value of your boat, and in the case of a coat of enamel it will actually degrade the value of your boat.

So my second answer, if you care about the value of your boat: You have a beautiful little cruiser, designed by a great Naval Architect and built by a respected builder. The hull is in excellent condition. You plan on keeping it for a while. So, you would like a hull finish that will enhance your enjoyment and value. In that case, especially given how small this boat is, I would be highly recommending that you get a professional, sprayed-on, two-part finish such as Awlgrip. This really will leave you with a "better than new" finish, and the actual cost for a small boat such as yours should be relatively small.

My next step would be to find a few local boat yards who have experience spraying two-part finishes to give you a quote. That should be a good starting point.

By the way, just as an example, I'll point you to the thread on the Albin 25 for sale. Take a look at the difference a really good paint job made to Daddyo's boat: Albin 25

And also by the way, I'm not advocating this approach for every boat. I have a 50 year old wooden boat, and I quite happily paint it with semi-gloss enamel. But here's Welch's Rule On Boat Finishes: a boat finish only has to look good while standing one boat length away. 14 foot Chris-Craft? Has to look good from 14 feet. 25 foot Nimble? 25 feet. 60 foot trawler? Stand 60 feet away and enjoy. Just don't stand 14 feet from my boat and criticize the varnish work :-)

Scott Welch
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Scott,

Thank you (and everyone else who has responded). I do care about the value of my little boat but, as stated, it is still perfectly usable. Being landlocked, there is only one real marine fiberglass and paint guy in a 20-county area and he charged me $1,400 for some fiberglass work and bottom paint at the back of the keel. He does excellent work, though. I will contact him and see what he would charge, both with him doing the prep and with me doing it. Otherwise, real boat yards are at least three hours away in Charleston or Savannah. I like the "one boat length away" concept...

I finally took a few minutes to create an album and upload a few pics of the boat: http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/m...albums102.html

Rob
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:52 AM   #19
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What counts in the selection of paint is weather and how the boat will be used.

For a long cruise like the loop marine enamel would be first choice as it can so easily be patched or blended.

A boat kept in a slip will not suffer the rough times rafting overnight at lock entrances , or inside locks with vacationers , some that start drinking before breakfast!

Inside a Rideau lock a 50 ft boat may have 3 or 4 different little boats tied on , that tie on before you can offer to place a fender between their rub rail and your hull.

The more use a boat gets , the more repairable the surface coating needs to be for the boat to look good.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:02 AM   #20
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My vote would also be Easypoxy. It seems to have far more paint solids in it then Brightsides. I did just paint my foredeck with Rustoleum marine paint and it was very easy to work with and covered well. It's available at Home Depot for less then $15 a quart. I don't know about durability yet but it has survived the 1,000 miles of anchoring that I have put on her so far.
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