Preparing for New Topside Paint

We made it across the ocean purely by sail, with an electric motor, and most of all, without a diesel motor! While we felt accomplished by this feat, Wisdom was looking pretty tired.


Since we never motored, and instead were under sail the whole journey, we were also heeled over the whole time. We usually sail at around 10 to 15 degrees of heel, and that means that our topsides go into the water on the leeward side. This has never been an issue, even in the pea soup waters of the Chesapeake Bay, because they were never under the water for very much time. We would sail by day and anchor by night, most importantly, we would dry out by night.


Our topside paint was old and beginning to peel, making the surface porous and prime to grow fouling growth. Being heeled over with the topsides under water for days on end the paint grew some nasty fuzzy fuzzies. We knew we needed more than just a good washing; for it was time to repaint the topsides.


Labor in the Azores is very reasonable. 6 years ago, I painted the topsides myself because the cost of having the topsides painted was prohibitive! I received 3 estimates, all ranging around $20,000 to paint the topsides. Needless to say, I painted it myself for a grand total of $800 in materials.

Maddie and I were planning on painting the boat ourselves, until a worker in the yard offered to paint us for € 2,000. We quickly discussed the offer and decided that I could go back to the states and work as a Dentist for the same amount of time that it would take for them to paint the boat, which would pay for the project but be a lot less taxing on my body. The decision was made, and a handshake agreement sealed the deal. I now owed Paulo € 2,000 and he owed me a bright white hull.


Painting is easy, but prepping the topsides is where the real labor lies. The first step for Paulo was to sand off all the old paint and take the hull down to the gel coat, which in our case, was a lovely shade of Fighting Lady Yellow.

The long and laborious project has begun, which has snowballed into a long list of projects that are going to take place while we are on the hard.