It happens to all boats, except perhaps those aluminum craft whose clever owners prefer they remain unpainted for various reasons, one of which is the low maintenance benefits of that decision. For the rest of us, it's just a matter of time.
As I learned visiting coatings companies, such as Interlux and Petit, the original gelcoat most fiberglass production and semi-custom boats get during their construction becomes porous over time. And then wax no longer keeps it clean and carefree.
For the dedicated owner who spends the time and money each spring and fall for a full detailing, compounding formulas and wax work, but only for awhile. These efforts can make a finish come back to life, well, sort of, and hopefully prolong the inevitable for a few more years.
But then it is just no longer avoidable. When you run your hand over aging gelcoat, and your hand comes off with a chalky residue, it is time to paint. If the silhouette of the previous owner's name and hailing port keeps coming through, it also is time to repaint. In the case of our 2006 Hunt 25 Harrier day cruiser, the dull, chalk-colored finish that was once bright flag blue is now dull and one can clearly see the boat name and hailing port of the original owner. There is no escaping reality...it is time to paint the boat's hull.
One can choose to paint in sections or the entire project all at once. There are good, better, and best choices for painting these days. One can opt for a professional paint job, or one-part or two-part DIY finishes. There are lots of options.
But consider this: A well-done and thoroughly prepped paint job can last up to 10-12 years for a two-part painting system, while a more affordable owner-applied finish may last 3-5 years when using one of the better consumer product lines.
On Blue Angel, I am going with a professional paint job. While it is more expensive than other options I might consider (except, perhaps trading the boat in for a new model), I feel the care and time required for the surface preparation is best left to professionals. In this case, we chose Composite Yachts of Trappe, Maryland. They are well-known area boat builders with loads of experience with the Awlgrip painting systems, and dealing with the many surface issues that might conflict with the nicest painting effort.
Personally, I have grown tired of Flag Blue hulls, so I want the boat painted in Stars & Stripes blue, which should look both striking and unusual in the sea of dark blue hulls around Annapolis. (A standing joke at local cruises is when a water taxi picks up a group in the evening to go back to their respective boats around an anchorage. One lady invariably tells to the driver that she has the dark blue hull. That gets a laugh from everyone, every time.)
By the time you read this, I will hopefully have delivered Blue Angel 30-some miles southwest to Cambridge, Maryland, and the marina next to Composite Yachts. I don't know if I will be able to follow the painting process closely, but it definitely is the start of restoring and bringing this great design up to current standards. And in doing so, we will fix and redo some issues we've discovered that will need to be addressed, so stay tuned as this story occurs.
Have a great week, and join me as I undertake a project that is a couple of years overdue. Blue Angel finally gets the paint job she deserves!
And I am not sure what happened to last week's post about learning from a dishwasher repairman. It's on the followingseas.media site but dropped off social media. Must have done something wrong. Check it out!