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  #1  
Old 09-17-2003
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Blue Hulls

They sure look great, but what are the negatives? Also why are some boats Awlgripped, which is essentially a paint or coating over the gelcoat, while other boats have the color in the gelcoat? And what are the differences in quality between the 2 methods?
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Old 09-17-2003
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Blue Hulls

Colored gelcoats have a short life, 3 or 5 years or so, then they all fade. If its a light color, say sky blue or tan, you may not notice the fade too much. Dark colors fade very strongly. Better builders paint their colored boats from the getgo. Poorer builders let the unfortunate buyers pay to paint them when the gelcoat inevitably fades.
My lesssion learned - when I bought a 1977 red C&C at the start of the 1981 season the gelcoat looked pink. Several days of compounding, sealing, and waxing restored a gorgeous dark red color. After a month in the water, the boat was pink again! Only waxing it every few weeks could maintain the original red. The next year I had the boat awlgripped - I see that boat every now and then, after 20 years the Awlgrip red looks almost as good as new.
Run, don''t walk, from a boat with a dark gelcoat!
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Old 09-17-2003
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Blue Hulls

Putting pigment in the gelcoat actually makes the plastic "be" that color for the full thickness of the gelcoat. Gelcoat is much thicker and tougher than just about any paint. This means that nicks and scratches won''t show up as easily on a gelcoat finish. Eventually even gelcoat surfaces will be oxidized by the sun''s rays, resulting in a "cloudy", "dusty", faded or mottled appearance. Darker colors tend to have this happen faster than lighter colors. Reds seem to deteriorate very quickly. Whites, more slowly. This is another reason most fiberglass boats are white. Because gelcoat is relatively thick, oxidation can be compounded or buffed out a number of times over the years. We had a Soling that kept its shiny gelcoat surface (white) for more than 20 years. At some point, however, the gelcoat cannot be brought up to snuff, and it''s time to paint. Awlgrip or imron or other similar two part polyurethanes are the paints of choice because they are tougher, shinier, and longer-lasting than just about anything else. Despite these qualities, they are still not as tough, shiny, or long-lasting as new gelcoat. A new boat delivered freshly awlgripped would make me wonder why.

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Old 09-17-2003
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Blue Hulls

Dark colors are really hot down below. My current boat is dark blue and it is substantially hotter in the cabin than my prior white boat. Dark colored boats tend to need more frequent washing of the topsides because of salt build up on the hotter surface.

Jeff
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Old 09-17-2003
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"A new boat delivered freshly awlgripped would make me wonder why... "
- no need to wonder, here is a quote from the Hatteras Yachts webpage (http://www.hatterasyachts.com/paint.cfm):
"All exterior fiberglass surfaces above the water line are painted. First, we sand the entire exterior, then apply two coats of primer, re-sand the surface again, and finish by applying three coats of polyurethane paint. This process has several advantages:

Produces a high sheen finish
Provides UV resistance
Requires less exterior maintenance
Retains luster without continuous re-waxing
In the event of any damage to the boat, this finish is also easier to repair. Unlike a porous gel coat that may yellow or oxidize over time, this finish retains its color and is much easier to match."
Apparently this builder of high-end, quality yachts has been painting their boats, even the white ones, for some 20 years...
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Old 09-18-2003
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Blue Hulls

Exactly my point - it does make me wonder why. Gelcoat produces a high- sheen finish that is more durable than paint. In most cases (light colors) UV protection is unnecessary. (20-year old gelcoat that''s been kept clean & polished still looks good. If they''re calling gelcoat porous, perhaps they need to reformulate their mix. Anything exposed to the elements will oxydize - including paint. The fact that it is easier to match paint than gelcoat perhaps speaks to the more frequent need to repaint if that has been used. IMHO that perhaps it is cheaper for them to paint the boats than it is for them to keep their molds shiny, and that the marketing department is busy making a virtue of necessity in their literature.
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Old 09-19-2003
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Blue Hulls

With proper care blue gel coat will chalk in 3 years. Imron or Awlgrip will chalk in 10 or more years. You pays your money and you makes your choice. The bigest problem occurs when you have blue paint over white gel coat. This is extremely dificult to repair. If you are set on a blue hull (they are pretty) then the only way to go is paint.
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Old 09-19-2003
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Paulk
I think you''ve missed what Hatteras does - when they paint the hulls and deck, they are painting over gelcoat! The entire, exensive painting process they describe is incremental and additional to what many builders do. They could add pigment to the gelcoat formula for probably less than $100 and deliver a colored hull - instead they likely spend $100-200/foot to paint the gelcoat.

IMHO givenr the years of universally faded colored hulls, builders who still deliver boats with dark pigmented hulls are a class action suit waiting to happen.

As the prior owner of an Awgripped boat, I''d take a painted white hull in a second, and its the only way to go for a colored hull.
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Old 09-19-2003
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Blue Hulls

Can''t argue with a lot of the info.

One thing I think most people might not notice and wasn''t mentioned is that a dark blue hull is much easier to see in the fog over a white hull. When you''re out sometime in the fog, take a look around and you''ll notice it.....its pretty obvious. One old timer told me that''s originally why most of the Maine boat builders had those nice blue hulls..


Personally I think a dark blue hull looks very nice!! But I''m not sure I''d want to maintain one over the years....same thing with a teak deck. Plus I think its much easier to to fix a gel coat scratch than a dark painted hull scratch.
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Old 09-21-2003
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Blue Hulls

I was considering painting my hull blue. but I decided agaibnst it for the heat reason and the maintenance. and 30 years later, my off white hull still looks fine. not great, but fine.
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