When we bought Emerald her deck and coachroof had previously been painted using Awlgrip paint. It weathered well but in the last few years had begun to look worn, scratched and faded. We have made a few epoxy repairs to the deck which had to be painted to protect the glue from UV but on the whole the paint is only cosmetic. We would prefer the underlying gelcoat finish but it would be a mammoth, filthy job to return to that. So we will be stuck with painting every 4 to 5 years to keep Emerald looking smart. Colin painted the non-slip moulding during the winter in Lagos now the white sections of bulwark, cabin sides and top needed doing.
Being frugal types the painting is a job we have to do ourselves. We had planned to do it during the winter at MdR and ordered tins of Hempel Brilliant Enamel (a polyurethane single pack enamel) in Off White from SVB Chandlery who shipped it to MdR for only €7 delivery. Not as tough a paint as the original Awlgrip but easier for us to do little repairs and upkeep along the way. However, the sand-dust, wind and weather didn’t give us a usable window so we decided to hole up for a week or so in Vlicho, Greece with its easy access to chandlerys for supplies and water for cleaning.
We hadn’t reckoned on it being so hot though, which made the job much harder, getting up early to beat the highest heat of the day which caused the paint to lose its flow, needing us to work quickly to ensure it left a smooth finish. The heat also bubbled up thunderstorms on a couple of days giving us a section of painting to rework and much more welcome, an unplanned day off.
First was clearing the sections to be painted of diesel cans, anchors and various other useful deck stored equipment. Then a sand down with wet and dry paper followed by a wipe with white spirits to remove any dust. The most time consuming job was masking up all the areas not being painted – there are an awful lot of fiddly shaped fittings and mouldings on Emerald’s deck! Finally the painting could begin, the first coat covering up all the blemishes, the second coat leaving a lovely glossy shine.
Nine days later and it is with a great feeling of achievement to see Emerald looking smarter than she has in years and taking pleasure from giving some love to the old girl who looks after us both so well. After all, as some anonymous sailing salt said: cruising is just boat maintenance in paradise!