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Paint choices for trailered sailboat

2196 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CalebD
I just bought a Cal 21 which is in great shape, but could use a coat of paint on the hull. I know I'm going to have to strip the entire hull and do a good prime coat. And I've done a lot of reading, but can't find much specific information on a good paint for a trailered boat.

Right now it has the standard anti-fouling bottom coat. Above the bottom coat is plain fiberglass, I think. It's white, but I don't know how to tell if it's painted or not. And then about a 5 inch blue boot stripe.

I would like to paint it with a non-anti-fouling paint since it will stay on the trailer and spend no more than two nights in the water at a time. What I've found as of now is the Interlux VC Underwater Epoxy. What else should I look at?

Also, since I'm new at this what should I use to paint above the water line? I'd like to go with a dark blue and I'd prefer a quality one part paint.

And while we're at it, the hull has some minor dings and scratches. What would you recommend using to fill these. An epoxy/resin or some sort of filler product?

Sorry, lots of questions and I know these paint questions get posted a lot, but any advice is well appreciated.
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1981 gellcoat still hanging in there

While i can see taking off the bottom paint i would do my best to polish the hull gellcoat as unless its really bad it will look good again and be far better than any paint

Painting correctly is a long painfull job :)

Are member Mainesail has written a great guide about polish and waxing

Photos of Buffing & Waxing Photo Gallery by Maine Sailing at
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Yeah, I understand about the gelcoat, but unfortunately one side has several good dings and scratches that need to be filled and faired properly.

After some more thought last night this is what I've come up with:

Completely sanding the bottom coat off and cleaning with solvent wash. Then roughing the top boot stripe. Filling and fairing the dings and scratches. Two coats of Interlux Pre-Kote above the waterline. Then 2-3 coats of Interlux Brightside above the waterline and 2-3 coats of Interlux VC Underwater Epoxy below the waterline.

What do we think?
The one part paints look good and are easy to apply BUT but are easy to dammage compared to a two part paint

The issue with boat paint is once you paint its very hard to blend in future repiars compared to a car were you would just paint a door or fender

My decks dont look near as good as the hull BUT i know how much work it is to prep and how easy even two part paint is to ding compared to gelcoat so i live with it :)
I second Tommays that if your freeboard (outside hull above water line) is gel coat then that will last a lot longer then most paint jobs. If you have dings in the freeboard (which is where damage is most likely to occur) then you might consider repairing the gel coat in those areas.
Gel coat smells pretty bad as it as polyester based resin, which is not recommended to be put over an epoxy patch as it adheres better over a polyester resin then epoxy. If your scratches and dings are not too deep I think that a gel coat repair job would be more long lasting with about the same amount of work.
Here is a link to gel coat repair projects by Don Casey: Gelcoat Scratch Repair by Don Casey
If you can follow the directions and wipe your work down with Acetone before you apply it and pay attention to whether you are using a gel coat past or liquid that needs to be covered to cure you will be good for many years. Gel coat needs to be sanded smooth using very fine grit sand paper starting from #220 all the way up to #600 or above (300, 400, 500 etc).
It may not exactly match the color of your existing free board but it will over time if it is white. Prepping for a gel coat patch, applying, allowing curing time, sanding and waxing probably takes longer then painting but should provide a more durable fix.
Good luck
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