My hull paint was in bad shape. From conversations with the previous owner I estimated it had been at least thirty years since it was last repainted, likely with Awlgrip, and it was starting to look pretty bad. In several places, particularly on the transom, the paint had failed completely exposing what I would learn was the original green gelcoat. I considered having one of the local shops paint it professionally, but the estimates were sky high, and it would mean interrupting other projects to move the boat to another facility. I also considered a “touch up” strategy on just the spots that really needed it, but quickly concluded this would only delay the inevitable and look terrible. Since the boat was already out of the water and the toerails were removed, this was the best time to repaint the hull for the long term.
Meanwhile, I was hearing good things about a new product called Alexseal. Andy Miller at Boatworks Today had been doing a series of videos using Alexseal paint with amazing results. It purported to provide the best attributes of both Awlgrip and Awlcraft: a paint that could be brushed, rolled or sprayed, and could be easily repaired down the line. Furthermore, Alexseal had just released a rolling additive that allowed the topcoat to simply be rolled on with no tipping. Based largely on Andy’s videos and advice, I decided to go the DIY route and paint the hull myself with Alexseal.
Initially, I had hoped that I could simply sand and repair the dozen or so areas where the last paint job had failed and paint over the previous paint job. I quickly concluded this was highly risky. As I explored the hull with a paint scraper, I found no end to areas where the previous paint was easily chipped away, exposing the gelcoat beneath, which itself had numerous pin holes and other issues needing repair. Relucantly, I decided to strip the entire hull above the waterline back to the gelcoat, fix the underlying issues, fair the hull, prime and paint. In for a penny in for a pound as they say! Thus, this project was as much a hull renovation as it was a paint job.
This is the first time I’d attempted a project of this kind or scale. I began in earnest in mid-August 2020, and applied the final topcoast just after July 4th, 2021. Most of the work was done on weekends, and if I could have worked “full time” it would have obviously been completed much faster. But either way it amounted to a significant amount of time, most of which was spent sanding something: the old paint job, fairing compound, primer, topcoat, or something else.
Before diving into the project log I want to thank Andy Miller at Boatworks Today along with Sonny Lacey at Coldwater Industrial Design for their sage advice and constant encouragement. There’s no way I could have finished this project without these guys.