Friday, January 2, 2015

Painting Meandrous

Happy 2015 everyone! With the New Year upon us, it's time to catch up on the blog and to get you up do date on what we've been up to over the past few months.

In our spare time, when we're not working on Phoenix, Bill and I busy ourselves prepping for life as live-aboard sailors. Part of that process involves tackling the sometimes overwhelming task of downsizing and parting with all of the "stuff" that accumulates over time.

Aside from finishing Phoenix, there are three big hurdles to overcome before we can really begin our cruising adventure. We accomplished the first just after returning from our 2 week trip -- we sold our sports car! The second big hurdle is getting Meandrous  -- our beloved Yorktown 39 -- on the market. The third will be listing the house, and hopefully that will happen this year.

Bill purchased Meandrous as a previously owned but never finished bare-hulled kit boat. He painstakingly designed, rigged the boat, built and finished the interior in gorgeous, old growth teak. Bill lived aboard Meandrous for several years on the Potomac and she was the first boat that I ever sailed. We have many wonderful memories with Meandrous, yet now that Phoenix is in sailing condition, it's time for Meandrous to have new owners that can enjoy her as much as we always have.

We want Meandrous to look her best when she meets her new owners, and we want to give her a proper sendoff, so we both agreed that it was time for a new paint job. Her topsides were in great condition, so the focus was on the deck and non-skid.

We used Awlgrip when we painted Phoenix and haven't been happy with how the paint holds up over time. Air pollution (specifically jet fuel from airplanes overhead and soot from our local coal-burning power plant) is not Awlgrip's friend. The pollutants quickly etched and ruined the surface of the paint. It also does not seem to be compatible with UV 4000 or other marine caulks, and the paint lifted and tore from the substrate in areas where we used UV 4000.

We painted Phoenix's mizzen boom a few years back with Interlux's Perfection, and we have been much happier with that paint than Awlgrip. So for Meandrous we decided to use Perfection in Mediterranean White.

As with any paint job, the quality of the finished product is directly proportional to the prep work, so the first step was the meticulous process of sanding and fairing. Much of the old paint was sanded down to the the gel-coat, and we used fairing compound to fill any cracks, voids or other imperfections.

Sanded to the robin's egg blue gel-coat, taped and ready for primer

Meandrous' cockpit ready for primer
Once we were happy with the prep work, the next step was taping off and/or papering all of stanchions, cleats, tracks, ports, deck mounts, etc. and removing all of the caulk from around the ports, hatches, and deck fittings. Then it was time for the primer. We used Interlux Primekote, a two-part epoxy primer that both fills and seals the substrate. We liked working with Primekote better than Awlgrip's High Build (filler) and 545 (sealer) primers. Not that those primers were bad per se, but the Primekote did the job of both Awlgrip products with fewer coats. Bill sprayed two coats of Primekote, and we sanded between coats with 120 grit paper. We sanded with 320 grit after the second coat, and it was time for the Perfection topcoat.

Starting to put down the first coat of primer

Cabin top and sides primed

Painting outdoors has it's challenges and delays, and we had to wait for the right weather window to spray each coat. The temperatures had to be above 50 degrees, we had to have enough time for the solvents to flash off and the paint to cure before the evening dew set up, and the winds needed to be light enough not to effect Bill's ability to spray the paint or to blow any debris into the wet paint. Since we were painting in the Fall we also had to worry about getting the job done before the leaves began to fall as well. Needless to say, timing was everything.

When the weather window was right, Bill sprayed the Perfection topcoat while I served as his trusty hose-tender -- keeping the air hose from dragging through any of the wet paint and carefully removing any bugs that flew into the paint with forceps.

Perfection Mediterranean White in the cockpit

Glossy finish

We were really pleased with the high gloss finish, and with the topcoat done it was time to remove the tape/paper and let the paint set up before moving on to the non-skid. Depending on the temperatures, it's recommended that you wait 24-72 hours before taping Perfection. Even though we added accelerator the Perfection (to help protect the gloss from the heavy dew), we wanted to give the paint ample time to harden before taping, so we were once again waiting for the right weather window.

We used KiwiGrip when we painted the non-skid on Phoenix, and we continue to be happy with it's performance. We decided to use it on Meandrous too, but this time we opted for gray KiwiGrip to contrast the Mediterranean White gloss finish. We followed the same application process of troweling on the paint, then using the loopy-goopy rollers to go over Meandrous' molded non-skid pattern. The gray was lighter than we initially expected but still gave a subtle contrast, depending on how the light hits it, and was still light enough that the deck shouldn't get too hot in the summer.

We hated to paint over the molded non-skid since it was so tenacious and we didn't want to fill the grooves with paint, but from a purely aesthetic perspective it needed a face-lift. To our pleasant surprise, the KiwiGrip settled and shrank into the existing non-skid pattern and really cleaned up the look while maintaining the tenacity of the original non-skid. Since the weather was relatively cool and we had to work in sections, moving around the boat took several days. We painted some "squares" in one area of the boat while allowing other areas to cure and harden enough to walk on them, until we finally made our way around to all of the "squares."

Forward section of cabin top taped and ready for KiwiGrip

Forward section "after" KiwiGrip

Working our way around the cabin top
With the non-skid finished, we were finally ready to prep and paint the ports, then apply the finish bead of caulk around all of the ports and hatches and really button up the boat.

It took three months to finish the job in its entirety, though we're really happy with how Meandrous looks now. Hopefully when we put her on the market in the Spring and she meets her new potential owners, they will love and appreciate her as much as we have over the years.

KiwiGrip done, ports painted and caulked
s/v Meandrous

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Meandrous looks brand new. Great job. If you wait til next October, you should be able to sell her at the boat show!!!!!