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Should I repaint my Yacht this Summer?

Like putting a reef in the main, the time to repaint your boat is the first time you think about doing it. A topsides repaint can be completed within two weeks and as such need not compromise summer and autumn use.
Maxi 1100 Stern view before and after yacht paint topsidesPinholes and cracking yacht paint

  1. How can I tell if a hull needs painting? Cracking, glazing, fading or pinholes on GRP; rust or corrosion on steel or aluminium; water ingress or rot on wood.
  2. Which type of paint is best? Polyester and acrylic urethanes both give the longest lasting gloss, the former favoured on larger yachts due to its superior film-forming properties.
  3. How can I achieve the ultimate finish? Always treat the underlying substrate first. Then a professional spray job in a dust-free environment will result in a better look and last longer.
  4. Can I get free advice? Berthon like nothing better than to ‘talk paint shop’.

CALL NOW FOR YOUR QUOTE +44 (0)1590 673312 or visit Berthon Yacht Painting for more details and information on what Berthon can offer you.

There comes a point in a yacht’s life when the original gloss and lustre has disappeared and cannot be reinvigorated without a more major intervention.  Whether the gelcoat is tired and cannot be brought back to life with a cut and polish or the previously painted surface has degraded, or perhaps the colour of your new yacht doesn’t suit your aspirations, repainting the topsides can be the only viable option.  Although this may be a daunting prospect, below are some tips from Berthon on how to ensure a successful outcome.

1 – Substrate Types – Gelcoat which has been cut and polished many times over the years and has lost its gloss may start to show signs of degradation, e.g. star cracking and crazing, pinholing.  A previously painted topsides that has been lovingly cleaned and polished and exposed to many hours of ultra violet radiation and fender wear will also eventually become dull and lifeless. Perhaps corrosion has set in by way of fittings? This is common with painted masts and spars. Or alternatively you could have a new yacht which is invariably sold with one hull colour that isn’t the right colour for you? (see below for the video of the Princess). In all cases having the topsides repainted professionally is by far the best option not only to achieve the optimal aesthetics but also adding value to your yacht.

Maxi 1100 topside paint at berthon

The gel coat of this GRP yacht was faded and chalky before undergoing the full paint treatment in Berthon’s dedicated state-of-the-art paint spraying shop.

2 – Topcoat Types – Once the decision to have the topsides repainted has been made, the question is what are your expectations for your new topsides? Topcoats come in a variety of types and there are a number of suppliers.  Top of the range polyester urethanes like Awlgrip and Alexseal impart the longest lasting and highest gloss and distinction of image and are used on the largest Superyachts.

Acrylic urethanes like Awlgrip’s Awlcraft 2000 and Jotun’s Megagloss AC provide very high gloss and distinction of image and come with the added advantage of being repairable and polishable.  Therefore those minor scratches and fender wear areas can be recoated and / or polished to obtain a virtually invisible repair and without the need to repaint the whole topsides area. But these finishes are less durable.

If you’re on more of a budget for materials, International Yacht Paint and Epifanes provide Polyurethanes and one component alkyd based topcoats which, when professionally spray applied, still impart a good finish.  However, their longevity will not be in the same league as the previous types mentioned.  In all cases the key to a successful job is in the preparation and application.  Ensure this is done professionally in proper climate & dust controlled facilities and your yacht will be lovely for a long time to come.

View our article on the exterior revamp on this funky Baltic 45 – Paint to Decorate

3 – Achieving the Ultimate Finish – In all cases the key to a successful job is in the preparation and application.  The condition of the underlying substrate needs to be understood and remedied using the correct methods.  Cracked and crazed areas need to be ground out and refilled and faired, in some rare cases additional glass cloth and epoxy may need to be added before refining with fairing compounds.  Pinholes can be a common feature of old gelcoat, as the process of polishing gradually removes the gelcoat layer revealing voids and air bubbles from the original lay-up. Ensuring that these areas are filled can required a two or three step process using tight screeds of finishing fillers and high build epoxy primers before final sanding and application of the undercoat and topcoat.

Attention to detail at this stage will ensure a beautiful result which delivers maximum value for money. A short cut will almost always show.

View our case study on the Princess P78 being resprayed before delivery

CALL NOW FOR YOUR QUOTE +44 (0)1590 673312

For more information on yacht painting and to view our paint spraying records please visit the Berthon Website – Professional Yacht Painting

HR 36 Before and after paint

Hallberg-Rassy 36 – Topsides painted by Berthon