How We Gave Carina Vela a New Paint Job

When we brought Carina Vela home in the beginning of September, she looked like a robins egg with her light blue hull and black boot stripe. The 32 year old hull was anything but smooth. The past 10 applications of paint had been chipped, pitted, and scratched beyond belief. This issue posed the problem of removing such a large amount of paint. Another problem was that the previous paint was Urathane, which is hard as steel once it cures. So, with palm sander and 60 grit sand paper in hand, Dad went to work removing/smoothing the paint. After nearly twenty hours of dust flying around the boat (Dad wore a ventilating mask), and going through three boxes of sandpaper, the hull of "Carina Vela" was as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Now Carina Vela was ready for her new paint. Only a few weeks earlier we were at BoatUS to see what deals we could find and to buy some teak sealer. While up in the clearance loft we spotted a large supply of paint. We figured that it would take about two gallons of Eurathane to cover the hull of a thirty footer with two coats of paint. We got an extremely good deal and bought all three gallons of ZSpar Mirror Coat that they had on the shelf. We also bought a gallon of Mountain White for the cabin. We did not want too white of a finish on the hull, so we settled on using Hatteras White. Our goal was to apply a VERY shiny finish which would offset the golden brown hue of the teak.

A window in the weather was chosen for the application and the process began. The day before painting, the stainless steel rubrails and the bootstipe were taped using 3M's fineline masking tape. If you plan on undergoing such a task as painting, fineline tape should be the only choice for masking. 3M makes the best tape for this application, as it can be left on the boat for up to 3 days and will not wick the paint when you remove it. Painting a boat can be accomplished by one person, but it is best done by three. You have a few options when applying Eurathane on a surface this large. To achieve the best finish it is possible to use a spray gun, but this poses a few problems. First of these is the fact that Eurothane is very harmful when inhaled, and can even be fatal. In order to spray, it is necessary to use an air-feed respirator so that no paint particles are inhaled. Second is that a paint booth must be set up or the paint must be applied indoors. This, as well as wetting the ground around the boat, are to ensure that dust does not get mixed in with the paint. The second, and most used procedure, is to use the "roll and tip" method. This is the method we used.

This is where the two other people come in. Using the roll and tip process, the first person applies the paint in three foot sections using a large foam roller. After a three foot section is rolled on, the second person goes up and, using a high quality bristle brush, lightly brushes in single strokes from the nonpainted to painted part. The roller then applies another three feet, and the process continues like this until the entire boat is painted. The theory behind this technique is that the roller lays on the paint, but there are small bubbles in it after this. When the person with the brush "tips", they are essentially flattening out the paint and removing any imperfections which occured using the roller.

It takes a little bit of practice to master this technique, but when you see your face in the mirror-like finish of the newly painted hull, it makes it all worth the effort!!

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