Sunday, 11 October 2015

Hull and Topsides finally complete!

I eventually finished all of the painting on the topsides yesterday and must admit to underestimating the length of time this part of the project would take, this was partly due to this being the first boat I have painted from top to bottom, but also the paint system I used was not the standard paint you would apply by hand so this was always going to be a learning curve both for me but also the suppliers who where extremely helpful in offering advise when needed.

The advantage of this paint is its durability, it was designed for the commercial markets for use on ships etc, but normally applied by spraying as opposed to rolling.

The main issue I came up against was the inability of the paint to self level as much as required, I could have used International Perfection which is also a 2 pack paint but is designed for grp boats although four times the cost!

All said and done if I had to do it again I think I would have bit the bullet and gone with the International paint if only for the ease of application and finish.

After several coats it was aparent that the rolling and tipping method of painting was not going work as the paint would not self level as much as needed.

I experimented with applying different amounts of thinners which helped but still the brush marks would show through, I found that adding 20% thinners made the paint much easier to apply and helped improve the brush mark problem.

I came to the conclusion that the only way forward was to sand it back flat again before applying a final coat by roller without tipping off with a brush.

Again this was hard work as well as time consuming but worth getting a good base for the final coat, I found that I could go as rough as 180 grit disks on the DA sander which left an acceptable smooth surface.

At this point there were two options open to me, either apply a final coat with the roller and accept the finish without tipping off, or once cured sand back with 1000 grit and compound the boat with a mop head and medium grade compound.

This I knew was possible as I had tried it on one of the earlier coats and finished with a surface almost identical with gelcoat, this I preferred as the finish was not as glossy.

So for the time being I decided to accept the orange peel finish that you get with rolling and if I decide by next spring I want to flatten it back I can do so without too much work.

This photo was taken immediately after the final coat so the orange peel effect is obvious although it did reduce considerably by the next day.

The only jobs left to complete was to mask the boot top and paint as well as applying the transfers I had ordered from
Funky Monkey boat names for the boat name and port of registry.

I also decided to remove the stainless steel trim that covered the deck join on the transom as I had managed to get paint over it despite the masking tape that was applied.

Making the boot top line took some time to complete but I was quite happy with the results once painted, and for this I used international Toplac which is a single pack paint and self levels very easily.

So if only for my own records the details of what was used as follows:
Jotun HB 2 Pack primer
Jotun Hardtop AX Topcoat - 0.5litre = 570g with 130g Catalyst best mixed with 140g Thinners No 10 - 1 litre per full coat, sanded between coats with 320grit, to sand back completely use 180grit.

In total I applied 6 coats of topcoat although some would have been lost with sanding, to apply a full coat with rolling and tipping it took approx 3 hours, to just roll the paint this was reduced to 1 hour 45 minutes.

I am now taking a sigh of relief and looking forward to the next stage, although think I will have to review the job list and strategy as I have not managed to start on the deck and cockpit which I had hoped to complete this summer but obviously didn't happen.

Will leave you with some before and afters...


  1. Looks good Neil! We definately need to learn more about all the different paint options. Did not know there is such a wide variety. Haha so much to learn! What would you recommend us to you (knowing that we have less time:)? Best wishes, Else

  2. Hi Else, firstly I would check that you really need to paint, quite often if a boat hasn't already been painted it is possible to bring back a great shine to gelcoat if it is dull and chalky, this is done by compounding/buffing with a machine polisher and liquid compound.

  3. Hi Neil, looking really good. A lot of work and a great result :-)

    Bert Jan Meinders

  4. Thanks Bert.....was worth it in the end I guess.

  5. Hi Neil and congratulations on the great job you've made. I've also been considering of painting the topsides of my Avance 36 at some stage – have been practicing with a 505: Have to admit that International Perfection is expensive.