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Old 06-30-2022, 10:06 AM   #1
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Hull colors?

For anyone ordering or building a new boat recently, are you getting the hull in a color other than white?

I've always liked (and have generally owned) boats with dark hull colors, in blues or greens. I like the looks, but of course the tradeoff is the darker the color, the more maintenance it needs to keep its color, and the faster it fades. Despite being anal-retentive about waxing and usually doing it several times a season, I have never gotten more than 4 years out of a dark green or blue before it has faded to the point of needing paint (or a very deep compounding with temporary benefits).

Does anyone have experience with light colored gelcoats? Do they keep their color long enough compared with dark to be worthwhile?

Thanks!
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:57 AM   #2
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There is a reason why 90% of the boats are white. You have a good understanding of what happens with colored hulls. Bright light colors fade the worst. I have seen some light grays hold up well but not as well as white.

I have always liked navy blue hulls but have never been willing to spend what it takes to keep them nice.
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:54 PM   #3
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Our boat is white. 21 years old and still looks great with annual waxing. Also much cooler in the FL Sun than a dark hull.
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Old 06-30-2022, 02:11 PM   #4
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Hi Nick, I like the look of a dark navy hull on many hulls, especially the east coast lobster style day boats. The colored hulls definitely age out much quicker than white, at least in our area which is not Florida hot, but still fairly intense sun in the Summer. The only gel coat color that seems to have some decent UV resistance is the very light grey that is often used on Nordhavns. We were actually considering that for our build, but defaulted to the standard white. Also easier to repair.
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Old 06-30-2022, 05:52 PM   #5
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IMO there is a night and day difference between dark gel coat and painted hulls re maintenance, chalking & fading.
How many only buy white cars because others only "last" a couple like years before needing compounding and excessive maintenance? Maybe paints decades ago but moden paint systems w clear coats are a whole different story.
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Old 06-30-2022, 06:16 PM   #6
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A lot is just taste. I like traditional white.

Agree with easiest to repair.

I would not put much into a heat issue, but ...

In the chilly PNW a dark hull might absorb a bit of welcome heat. Further south that would not be welcomed.
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Old 06-30-2022, 06:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
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IMO there is a night and day difference between dark gel coat and painted hulls re maintenance, chalking & fading.
How many only buy white cars because others only "last" a couple like years before needing compounding and excessive maintenance? Maybe paints decades ago but moden paint systems w clear coats are a whole different story.
The OP is asking about a new build, so its gel coat, not paint.
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Old 06-30-2022, 07:46 PM   #8
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There was an article in PMM some years ago about post curing of the fiberglass hulls when they had a dark color on them. Donít remember the specifics.
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Old 06-30-2022, 08:03 PM   #9
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<<The OP is asking about a new build, so its gel coat, not paint.>>


We bought a new Selene 55 in 2008. We chose a flag blue hull as on option. It was painted with Awlgrip. So new builds with colored hulls can be painted, too.
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Old 06-30-2022, 08:06 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone!

I agree that painted hulls with any of the modern finishes (Awlgrip, Awlcraft, Alexseal) seem to last much longer and be much less maintenance than gelcoat. I've accepted that the next boat, if done in a 'color', will eventually need painting.

I can't bring myself to paint a brand new boat. I've been obsessive about waxing previous dark hulls, which is 1) hard if you do it yourself and I'm too old for that now, and 2) expensive to have it professionally done frequently enough to make a difference.

I've given up on the idea of a dark color. I'm trying to figure out if a 'light' shade of blue or green would hold its finish long enough to be worthwhile before painting (with a reasonable but not crazy amount of waxing). In my experiences a dark hull seems to only last 4-5 years before needing paint - would a pastel color last longer?

The alternative is as @Fletcher500 suggested, a light gray, which to my eyes is more interesting than 'white', but something like 'Stars & Stripes Blue' that really speaks to me.
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Old 06-30-2022, 08:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endeavor GB 32 View Post
<<The OP is asking about a new build, so its gel coat, not paint.>>


We bought a new Selene 55 in 2008. We chose a flag blue hull as on option. It was painted with Awlgrip. So new builds with colored hulls can be painted, too.
Regards,
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I didn’t realize people painted new builds, thanks for the clarification. I believe I know which brand Nick is thinking of for his build. I haven’t heard of anyone from this mfg. getting theirs painted at the yard during the build, but I could be off on that as well.

Nick, one other gel coat color I have seen and was also considering for ours that may last is an ice white/blue. I am not describing it very well. A very light shade of blue that almost looks white at some angles. With a blue boot strip would be sharp.

Edit: check out the video that Doug just posted of the 43. I only watched the first 10 minutes, but it looks like the hull may be the ice blue color I am trying to describe. Or, it’s an optical illusion and it’s white.
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:05 AM   #12
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I think Hatteras painted their new boats.
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Old 07-01-2022, 04:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I think Hatteras painted their new boats.
That's true. Always have. "Hatteras white" is (or used to be) a stock color for Brightsides paint.

Dark hills tend to magnify any imperfection. I've heard rumor that at least one well respected builder refuses to paint their hulls dark for that reason.

Peter
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher500 View Post
I didnít realize people painted new builds, thanks for the clarification. I believe I know which brand Nick is thinking of for his build. I havenít heard of anyone from this mfg. getting theirs painted at the yard during the build, but I could be off on that as well.

Nick, one other gel coat color I have seen and was also considering for ours that may last is an ice white/blue. I am not describing it very well. A very light shade of blue that almost looks white at some angles. With a blue boot strip would be sharp.

Edit: check out the video that Doug just posted of the 43. I only watched the first 10 minutes, but it looks like the hull may be the ice blue color I am trying to describe. Or, itís an optical illusion and itís white.
Bill, thank you very much!! Yes, it is indeed a Helmsman for which I've signed a purchase agreement (details to come soon!).

Thank you for the suggestion! I'm going to check it out and ask Scott about it!
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:23 AM   #15
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I think the majority of bigger luxury boats are painted hills, that gives the builder a chance to long board the hull sides in problem areas and get it nice and flat.
I did an awlgrip paint job many years ago, custom color, deep red, kind of black cherry color. After three coats of color I mixed color and clear together for the top coats.
The clear really extended the longevity of that paint job. It was almost 15 years before it needed any attention.
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:54 AM   #16
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There's no reason a new boat can't be painted (and as some mentioned, Hatteras and others do it). The biggest reason to use gelcoat is just to keep cost and effort down, as you can just take the finish it comes with out of the mold and run with it. Paint requires extra work after it comes out of the mold.



That's the same reason most builders don't glass the hull/deck joint together. No big deal if you're painting it, but if you want to use a fresh out of the mold gelcoat finish, you'd have extra work to do after glassing the joint together.
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:20 AM   #17
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Hard to beat white.



Question: With new builds, assume the paint over the glass, and not bother to gel coat.... how well does paint do over gel coat Suspect fine?


As for paint, the Formula boat came with poly urethane paint, not sure which one but the one I had looked brand new. My plane is painted with Poly urethane, Emron, and look like new after 20 years. The stuff lasts, but very hard to fix a ding, which boats get all the time.



It it weren't so figgin expensive, I'd paint over with a poly urethane, but afraid to even ask the price.


Yes, white and you can accent with whatever accent strip you wish.
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:52 AM   #18
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Regarding Gelcoat vs. paint, I still think the repair aspect during the life of a boat is an important factor to consider. I have some core samples of our boat, so I have a general idea of the gel coat thickness in various areas. If one is using their boat alot and traveling into different marinas etc, some road rash is going to occur even for decent boat handlers. Boats that stay in the harbor and only exit and return to the same slip not so much. Or if hit by someone else, which did happen to us in a different boat, twice actually. The larger thickness of gel coat provides more material to sand and work with than paint. It is also easier to match as far as the color.

Surprised to hear some of the larger big boats are painted when new for the reasons I noted above.

Back to our boats; say 30 to 60 ft., roughly what percent of boats are gel coat vs. paint for new builds?
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Old 07-01-2022, 08:58 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
That's true. Always have. "Hatteras white" is (or used to be) a stock color for Brightsides paint.

Dark hills tend to magnify any imperfection. I've heard rumor that at least one well respected builder refuses to paint their hulls dark for that reason.

Peter
Selene? Due to previous “print through” issues awhile back (now reportedly resolved so I am not implying they have a problem). Or were those gel coat?
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Old 07-01-2022, 11:36 AM   #20
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Nathaniel Herreshoff I believe said

There’s two colors for a boat - white and the wrong color

Still matching white is a PIA. Truly an art to get it to look right initially but harder still to have it match years later. When we did our new build asked for a few cans of gel coat. Opened that up a few years later and it didn’t match any longer. I’ve found only two or three people who could get a match that still matched years later. Fortunately our needs have been minor and the mismatch only visible to my eye or when I point it out. I’ve never seen a paint repair for a dark color that didn’t look obvious unless a large area is done.

So if I every build another boat will opt out. Build in Al and leave it bare except where bare feet or hands will touch it or immersed in water. No maintenance. Same aluminum oxide dull grey for ever. Even a patch will match after a few months.
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