Fact is I fought against the "natural" finish on NIGHT RUNNER from day one. Doug and I both ordered half models. Doug wanted his varnished I ordered mine with a black hull. I thought that if Doug saw the boat with a black painted hull he'd cave and go for the paint. But no.
My problem with natural hulls is that the grains today is not as uniform as it once was. Grain differences can raise aesthetic havoc with the lines of the hull. I want a homogenius finish that will show of the lines I have designed into the boat and the best way to get this is paint.
..plus a cove stripe. Preferably a gold cove stripe. But, yes, agreed 100%.
..and I'm with you on the colour scheme on the half model you have for NIGHT RUNNER. Looks just fine to me. Maybe some day the owner (or a future owner) will get tired of the upkeep and give her the paint job she deserves.
For contrast here is my Australian buddie's boat ECLIPSE. It is very close to NR in general hull shape but painted dark flag blue. I think it is stunning. The hawse style anchor arrangement is now gone and replaced by a traditional roller off the sprit. And yes, No question, I do love posting photos of my beautiful, functional designs. " A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
Stunning - most certainly. But dark hull paint and timber can cause big issues in warmer climates (absorbing heat and causing the timber to dry out) and be almost as difficult to keep up as varnishing the thing.
Even wayy down south here in Melbourne, no one in their right mind has a dark-painted timber hull and the few there may be that do change their minds pretty quickly. We see topsides drying out and cracking just a little with standard white, so you can imagine what happens with black. The classic fleet in New Zealand have similar issues.
At least varnish (a soft one) flexes, I suppose.. but for those of us not fortunate enough to live in your mild climate, it seems white is the best compromise.
FWIW, I've gone for varnish above the rub-rail on my little ship simply because it's (a) easier to look after (b) doesn't get chipped and generally knocked about and (c) enhances her lines:
..and, yes, that headsail turning block set-up was a temporary arrangement.