Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Perfect Finish

As winter marches on, the paint department works through the list of storage boats, giving them their annual maintenance coats of paint and varnish to prepare them for the sailing season. We talk to each owner and discuss what work they would like to do over the winter, and then each boat is moved into one of our two paint bays in turn, which are solely used for finish work. These bays are equipped with large exhaust fans, to change the air often, and are cleaned regularly, to keep dust down. The bays have radiant floor heat as well as baseboard heat, so the temperature can be controlled easily, and brought up or down rapidly, as needed for the finish work.

We currently have DJAKARTA, a 39-foot Concordia yawl, in one of the paint bays. Over the past few years, DJAKARTA has had many upgrades, and is rapidly becoming one of the finest examples of the design. This winter, the owner asked us to wood her topsides, to achieve a mirror finish topside paint job, with no trace of her tight seamed construction. In our experience, it often takes two seasons to obtain a true mirror finish; after the first season the paint job “settles,” and a few imperfections may still appear through the paint. However, after a hard sand and some fairing in the second year, the true mirror finish emerges.

Aaron, Shelly and Joee took blow torches to the hull with the skill of surgeons. It takes skill to remove only the old paint without scorching the wood and damaging it.  We use a paint remover for some jobs, but in this instance it would have damaged the painted floor in the building and been a much messier affair, and would have exposed the workers to more chemicals. In each of our jobs, we try to balance efficiency with making good choices in regards to our workers, our materials, and the environment.

After a round of fairing, the painters applied two coats of thinned primer to penetrate into the wood. Then, they applied four coats of primer as thick as marshmallow fluff to fill the grain, and faired the hull with long boards until the hull was a smooth as an egg.  After that, they filled any remaining low spots. The last step was to apply three coats on Epifanes “Gray Mist” yacht enamel.  The painters rolled and tipped the paint, with one person working the roller and another wielding the brush. DJAKARTA is finished a royal blue boot top, green bottom paint and a gold cove stripe, moons and stars.  
- Tom Kiley

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Location: Rockport, Maine, United States

Rockport Marine is a group of talented craftspeople who design, build and restore wooden yachts with unparalleled expertise.