Repainting the Widget

Move cursor over picture to see before and after pictures.

Old Paint Job

Through the years, the poor "Widget" has suffered from numerous bumps and grinds. When I had the boat re-fiberglassed after a storm had "slammed" her into another boat, I made the mistake of mounting the anchor on the bow with the chain attached. Since the "Widget" was at a dock, when boat wakes would come into the cove, the chain would bounce off of the bow. This is like hitting the bow with a "ball hammer". The results were numerous small areas where the gelcoat was knocked off.

Old Paint JobNew Paint Job

My original repair was poor, to say the least. I tried using a "Gelcoat Patch Kit" but could not seem to match the color, nor get it very smooth. After sanding, applying the gelcoat, sanding and applying gelcoat, I finally bought a can of epoxy paint and tried to spray paint over my mistakes. As you can see (to the left) it looked like camouflage. On the right you can see that the paint job hide my original mistakes.

Old Paint JobNew Paint Job

Also, when my son and I were taking the "Widget" out of the water for the season, I did not want to go to the effort of putting the motor on, since it was a short distance around a dock to the boat ramp. Using the boat hook and a paddle, we tried to work our way over to the boat ramp around the one dock between us and the ramp. Unfortunately, there was a bit of wind and it pushed us into the back end of a 50 hp motor tilted up behind a pontoon boat. This caused the scratches on the side of the hull (see left).

When I took some vacation and went to see my friend Jerry in Port Charlotte, FL I decided to take one week to work on the boat and another week to sail the Charlotte Harbor area. Although I had to cut my trip short a week, I did get to work on the boat, which included painting.

The first order of business was to sand off the poor repair job that I did and also to fill the gouges with Marine-Tex. Then we sanded again to ensure a smooth finish. We used an orbital sander with very little pressure so as not to remove all of the gelcoat. This was a long and laborious job which took a few days.

We then went to the local Marine store and bought paint to match the hull color. I was amazed that the paint was exactly the same color as my 15 year old hull color. We did not even paint the complete hull, and you could not tell where the new and the old paint met.

I had read about the "roll and tip" method of painting and decided to use this method over using a sprayer, since I did not want to repaint Jerry's house when we were through. We bought the three part, U.S. Paint product. This included one quart of AwlGrip Paint (H8002 - Cream), one quart of reducer (T0031 - Slow drying reducer for brush applied epoxy primers and urethane topcoats) and one pint of Awl-Cat #3 (H3002 - Brushing Topcoat Converter). We also bought a foam roller and high quality paint brush.

When we got back to Jerry's house, we mixed up some paint according to the directions on the can. Unfortunately, our first batch was a bit thin and did run some, but we wiped it up while it was still wet. Jerry would apply the mixed paint with the roller (which would leave tiny bubbles) and I would follow with the tip end of the brush (tipping) to remove the bubbles. When we were through, I looked at the hull and was disappointed with the streaks that the brush (tipping) left. I figured I would have to let it dry, sand it and then try again.

After about 4 hours, I went to look at the boat again and was amazed at how the paint had leveled out. No streaks at all. I was amazed and thankful that I did not have to start all over again. We tried to save the left over paint in a glass jar, but once it is mixed, it hardens so we learned to mix only what we felt we could use at one time.

It took two days to apply two coats, waiting 24 hours between applications. I was very please with the results (anything would have been better than it was before) and was very please that the colors matched so well. A few things I learned:

All in all, I was very please with the results and am very proud of the way the "Widget's" hull looks. Now to attack the topsides.