Back in action

Reach was now smooth and fair and the color-matching looking promising with primer gel-coat.  The decision was to only apply coats across the back of the bridge-deck and the two sterns and match the color to the rest of the side hulls, since this gel-coat is high quality and still in good shape.

Now ready to commit to the final spraying of the sterns, the aim was to do all of ~five coats (2 primer & 3 finish coats, last 2 containing wax) at the same time to achieve a "wet-bond", as opposed to required sanding/keying of surfaces to bond if the gel-coat is left to dry in-between sprays.  Plus, you only want the wax-containing coat as the final 1 to 2 layers,since that will rise to the surface to seal the cured gel-coat and prevent further bonding.

At this stage, the finish/color-matching gel-coat that we thought was in-stock was nowhere to be found.  Being so close to completion, this was a momentum-buster!  The marina quickly ordered some more from the States and started shipment to Guatemala by plane and boat.  Unfortunately, there were so many issues with the air-shipment in each country (Hazmat & Customs) that the two shipments arrived at the same time, 3 weeks later.

The color-matching commenced again with the new gel-coat, adding in drops of yellow &/or black pigment in iterative adjustments.  

A smooth surface on the original hull was cleaned and experimental dots of the new mixes compared in dull light to see contrast and get a match.  This is very hard to see!  Some see these color differences better than others, so thank goodness Mark & Noé have sharp vision.  It turns out that polarized sunglasses also help!

Then came time for the final "paint" job and Saúl focused all of his effort on getting a good result, coat after coat.  Catalyst was added, the gel-coat filtered of particles to load into the pneumatic sprayer, and the spraying started.  

He only got the first two primer coats on the first night as the sun went down, so some sanding was required the next morning before the final three finish coats were applied.

There were many in the yard that stopped by to watch, interested in how this step would turn out.  

Once gel-coat is sprayed, it leaves a thick, matte-like surface, which then has to be wet-sanded down.  

The typical regimen is to start with medium-grit sandpaper

~then taper down to fine-grit paper~

sanding from 400 -> 600 -> 1000 -> 1500 -> 2500 grit.  

The finish gel-coat was worth the wait.  WOW - unbelievable how shiny the surface gets without even any waxing.  Even the guys were commenting on how well this gel-coat sanded and the relative ease and speed of achieving the finish.

Mark was very happy at how fair the hull sides were once shined up.  He shouldn't be surprised, he got them that way!

The only slight indication of a "non-factory" installation is seen in the edges that are curved down each side of the sterns.  

These were all hand-sanded and almost impossible to get a perfect geometric radius all along their length.  

The color match also turned out excellent.  No one (with the possible exception of Mark) could tell that there was any difference in gel-coat from the front of the boat to the sterns.  The sterns are a bit shinier than the original hull at this point, but when waxed it will all be the same shine.  

What next?!  Well, now the stern is currently being finished with epoxy & barrier coat, anti-fouling paint all around, hardware installed and we're ready to launch...!!  

© M&M 2019