Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The hull - what to do with the topsides???

The hull of my Alacrity has been painted several times over the years with the original gelcoat being a light greeny blue which seems to have been a popular colour at the time she was built.  It looks as though the dark blue paint on the hull now was simply painted on the gelcoat without any primer.  I have had lots of thoughts about the topsides and at first I decided I would just rub it down remove the loose paint and put a coat or two of Pre-Kote on then two coats of Toplac.

I started with the stern and used an orbital sander then cleaned it off.  I then rolled on the primer and tipped it off with a Jenny brush.  This worked well and I filled a few small scratches and imperfections before giving it a second coat.

I decided to carry on with this method for the rest of the hull, starting on the starboard quarter and then moving to the port side forward.  I was by then finding the hull to be in worse condition with lots of loose paint.  I was starting to think I needed to remove all the paint, but how?  I looked at paint stripping machines which the professionals use but they are just too expensive to buy and you cannot rent them, as far as I know.  I read lots about using a chemical paint stripper and that is still a possibility but in the end I decided I really wanted to get the boat in the water and sail.  The boat cost me £200 so it is silly to spend too much on her right now and it is something I can do later.

Picture below shows the state of the paint, layers of it and very rough.

Below is where I have sanded the port bow and primed.

Despite lots of sanding and cleaning off the primer still did not adhere very well in all places.  There are still loose patches where I sanded and primed and bubbles.  There are also some areas where the primer simply has not adhered to the old gelcoat despite sanding to key it in.  I am beginning to think there is moisture in the hull even though the boat sat in a garden for many years. The bubbles appearing do not have moisture in them though.  It could well have had condensation inside which may have had an effect.  I think I need to get a moisture meter to test the hull.

Strangely the below waterline hull condition looks good and no sign of loose paint, thank goodness!

Any words of wisdom welcome or ideas of how to remove all the paint down to gelcoat.  I may then have to epoxy the hull.   

More later when I find the solution...


  1. Hi Andy, I'm not an expert on these things but a couple of points that might be worth thinking over. Have you used anything to degrease hull after sanding and before painting. It could be that your primer is reacting to something from a previous coating. Old Silicon polishes are a nightmare when trying to paint cars.
    On an area where you are having trouble, try flatting with 120 or coarser wet or dry then, when dry wipeover lightly with a clean rag with some thinners on and wipe off straight away. Then try applying the primer again.
    You could also try warming the panel with a halogen work light before, during and after painting.. it has been pretty cold this last few days for paint. Goood luck and keep the posts coming. Cheers Phil.

  2. Hi Phil, thanks for your thoughts, you could be right about the gel coat as although I am using an abrasive wheel I could have missed some patches. I am concerned about the chalky nature of the gelcoat so I have a suspicion I will need to take the hull right back at some point and epoxy it. Too much work for now. though.

    I actually painted the hull about two months ago so it was much warmer than now. Even though I have the boat under a marquee there is a lot of condensation so I doube I will get much painting done for a few months or I will need a large industrial heater inside to warm it up.