Colour (and paint)

Colour is a completely superficial, yet absolutely crucial decision in any boat project that involves painting. The same boat can look completely different depending on hull colour, and to a lesser degree, deck colour. Having owned a white boat, a green boat, and a black boat, two with all-white decks and one with white-and-tan decks, I can say that I like a dark coloured hull, also that I like two-tone decks.

So – what dark colour to paint this boat’s topsides, and what off-white to go with for the non-skid?

On the Yankee 30 site there are boats in various colours, which is helpful for picking. Here is what ours would look like if we repainted the same colour it currently is, this is Moby Dick:

Looks pretty nice, but I think I still prefer a dark colour.

Here’s a couple of medium blues (Mae McGrath and Chelonia):

Dark green (Asylum):

Dark blue (Avalon):

Flag blue (Truant):

Black (Rosebud and Eagle):

My personal favourite of all of those pictures is the one of Rosebud at the dock (second from the bottom) – which is a black hull. Second favourite (possibly just because it’s not blue) is Asylum in dark green… And something that I don’t have a picture of (for good reason?) is a dark purple hull, like this Triton, Jenny:

Which looks perfectly brilliant! A purple Yankee 30 named Luna? Sounds good to me!

On the subject of what paint to use, it’ll obviously be a two part of some sort, and since I follow Tim Lackey’s work religiously (you can, too, at these sites: Lackey Sailing or Northern Yacht Restoration), I’m leaning toward the Alexseal line of products. That purple (“Aubergine”) colour came from them, and was a two-part acrylic, which is supposed to be virtually the same from a durability standpoint, but better for buffing out. Maybe I’ll just follow suit?

Update: Turns out that Jenny’s paint wasn’t Alexseal, it was AwlCraft 2000, which is AwlGrip’s two-part acrylic. And while I can’t find it on their colour chart, it’s apparently a standard colour. In the meanwhile I’ve been in touch with Alexseal who assure me that they can make that colour up for me, and have been very helpful and accommodating, which is reassuring and pleasing.

BUT (note the size of the but) – I have also discovered that System Three (well respected epoxy makers) have a two-part LPU (linear polyurethane, like AwlGrip or Alexseal) which is water thinned and cleaned. It doesn’t have as good a gloss as the others, but there is a glossy clear coat available that brings it close. My web searching for testimonials has found those who praise it high heaven and those who curse it – to be expected, it’s the web! There’s always a variety of opinion. I’m pretty keen on it for numerous reasons: it’s much less toxic to work with, even if you only count the fact that you don’t need nasty solvents for thinning and cleanup; it evidently has a great shelf life, even after opening, and it can be touched up; and I’m going to be painting on my own property, downhill from, but not that far from my food garden (200 ft?), so I’m not too keen on having nasty chemicals sprayed liberally about. The only hitch (that I’m aware of) is the gloss, and the availability of purple. I can get black, or dark (not midnight or flag, though) blue, but not midnight purple, which is what I was hoping for. They’ll do custom mixes, but only in a gallon size, which would mean I’d have to paint a lot more than just the boat in order to use it up!

Another update: I only just discovered that I have to go and check for comments on a regular basis – I’m not notified that they’re there, and there were some! So now they’re displayed below. That Jade Mist Green surely is beautiful, especially on Jakatan! What an amazing boat! I’m not sure it would be as impressive on ours, but green is definitely still in the running.

I’m definitely leaning toward the System Three product now, and am looking for a HVLP sprayer to apply it with. If anyone is reading this and knows where I can buy or borrow one at a reasonable price near here, please let me know.

With the System Three WR-LPU paint we’ll have to pick one of their colours or send them a sample and have them make it up for us. Here’s their colour card – not that much by way of choice in it. Of those, the green, two blues, and black are the only options I’d consider – other than that I’d have them mix me up some dark purple, like Jenny’s.


Your thoughts?

  1. Alexseal’s Jade Mist Green. At least that’s my plan for our boat, hopefully done this summer. I’ll be very interested to see how Alexseal works for you.

    Here’s a boat that was done in that color with white topsides.

    I’m going the same route. I exchanged a couple of emails with the owner and he mentioned that Bob Perry insisted on the bright white for the topsides.

    Good luck!

    Dave · 22.01.09 · #

  2. Chris,

    Actually, the “Aubergine” paint was Awlcraft 2000, not an Alexseal product.

    While Awlcraft 2000 is an acrylic resin-based paint, be aware that this is not a water-based paint, and still uses the same harsh solvent-based converters and reducers as traditional Awlgrip.

    Awlcraft is a good product; in this case it was chosen simply because the desired color was available in that line and not the others.

    — Tim · 23.01.09 · #