Every once in a while Gable Enterprises gets to tackle a complete makeover of a boat. These are the jobs that are very gratifying when all is done because of their intensity throughout the entire long-term project. Recently, Gable Enterprise traveled to the Bahamas to complete a total repaint of a Buzzards Bay 25. This yacht is owned by Dave and Louise Devaney. It was designed by Hershoff and built in Maine in 2002. She was planked in cedar and totally stripped down to this planking when we arrived to begin work.  

The Process Explained:

Hull Preparation: Upon arrival it was evident that the builder had taken great care in completing this yacht. Her seams were tightly fit and much care was taken to seal each seam with a sealant compound. The wood was of the highest quality as I could only find 3 small knots in the entire hull and the grain was very straight in each plank. One problem however, was that because a one part primer had been used under the waterline, water was able to permeate into the wood. So, when the wood was stripped, salt was actually trapped into the wood which kept the wood "wet" because it holds moisture even after 1.5 month's of drytime. We decided to start freshwater bathing the hull 3 times a day to remove the salt which in turn would remove the moisture. It took 3.5 weeks to get enough salt and moisture from the wood so that we could put an epoxy sealer on the hull. After 3.5 weeks of drying and wetting we sanded the entire hull with 80 grit using a machine D.A. ( Dual Action ) sander, followed by an alcohol bath to ready for epoxy sealing. The moisture can be seen as the dark area in the epoxy sealing picture as the dark area below the waterline.

Deck: The deck was actual completed first so the hull could be freshwater bathed and dried while work was still ongoing. We removed "all" of the bronze hardware, and cleaned all oxidation from everything. Since the deck had a layer of glass over the wood, we were able to sand all the paint to a hard surface. Once to the glass, we faired the entire deck using a Micro-balloon putty. Once again we faired using fartrock where needed and D.A.'s. The deck was then epoxy highbuilded, then sanded in the same manner described above. The teak toerail was sanded to 120 grit prior to epoxy primer sealing the edges, this way we wouldn't have to sand the teak after the deck was painted. We would then risk damaging the new paint job. Then 3 coats of epoxy primer was applied. This was sanded to 320 grit grit and all the shiny areas were sprayed on the deck. Graystone Awlgrip topcoat was used for deck shiny and nonskid. After the shiny was sprayed we taped off all the nonskid areas and radii were applied to all the corners so no sharp paint edges were apparent. Fine-Line tape was used for all taping where nonskid was to be applied. Sanding of all the nonskid was done with 120 grit using a D.A. when possible and handsanding in all the corners. Ultra-fine Scotch pads work well for scoring any areas next to the fine-line tape without harming it. After complete tape and paper of all the shiny areas, Proprietary nonskid spraying techniques are then used. All paper and tape are removed to reveal the deck respray complete. All hardware was then remounted using 5200 sealant. Since the deck was completed well in advance of the hull we chose to visqueen everything from the toerail in. This kept all overspray and dust from the completed deck.

Hull Sealing, Fairing, and Priming: The sealing process was done using West Systems epoxy resin thinned out 10% for the first 2 coats. This enabled the resin to be absorbed into the wood rather than floating on the surface. The final 3 coats of epoxy resin were applied at the supplied ambient viscosity. This changed as the day grew warmer so we had to work fast using smaller and smaller batches. After all 5 coats of resin had cured out then we sanded with D.A. 80 grit again, then wiped the substrate down for our initial fairing. Fairing was done using cabosil and micro-ballooons for fillers. Micro-balloons or ( Phenolic ) doesn't soak up or hold moisture like a micro sphere or Q-cell filler. However, for the average repair facility, Micro-balloons can be very pricey, so don't waste them at all. Gable Enterprises faired the hull using their proprietary techniques, but basically we filled the hull 2 times fairing between each fill using a boat sander or " Fartrock". Fartrock as it's called got it's name because it's basically pumice stone that smells like rotten eggs when it's used. It's my opinion that "Fartrock" is far superior to boardfiles or straight files because, when used properly, it actually shapes itself to the hull rather than always being flat. Boardfiles are better when sanding a flat part of the hull. But for the rounds, curves and bustles, there's nothing better than the old boatsander. After the 2nd putty fairing we sprayed the hull with 3 coats of highbuild epoxy primer. While fartrocking this highbuild we were very careful to make sure we didn't sand through the highbuild. When doing your final fairing, you never want to sand through the highbuild because then you would be sanding 3 different materials that had different hardnesses, ( Epoxy resin, Micro- balloon putty and Highbuild paint ). After the highbuild, we primed the entire hull with 3 coats white epoxy primer. This primer was sanded out to 320 grit D.A. and then we were ready for our final paint.






Final Topcoat: Preparation is 95% of a paint job, we've all heard that before right? Well in this case, it wasn't. Since the color of "Louise" is very unique, a custom match had to be done to get the exact pigments that we wanted. Awlgrip was chosen for the topcoat, so they supplied us with the pigment chart and named this newfound color Gable Green. Wow, there was a color named after me, ha. Upon opening the base, I found that the base color was much thinner than Awlgrip "normally" was. In fact, when spraying activator and Gable Green base were mixed in equal amounts, the Zahn cup measured the viscosity at 15 seconds. Normal Awlgrip is mixed at approximately 18-20 seconds and sprayed at 16 seconds. So I was to soon find out that Spraying Gable Green was 100% of the paint job. Because of the avalanching that kept happening upon the application of the 2nd coat of paint, we sprayed the boat a total of 3 times to complete the job correctly with many lessons learned along the way. We laid out a 2.5" boot stripe and sprayed the boot with Forest Green Awlgrip. WOW! Did Louise look great, especially after her name was sprayed on her stern.


Bottom: We applied 5 coats Interlux Epoxy Barrier Coat primer to the bottom as the fairing process was complete. This was sanded to 120 grit and then we applied 5 coats Trinidad special black bottompaint. After 2 days of curing, this was wetsanded with 220, 320, 400, 600 grit and "Wow", did it shine before it hit the water. While wetsanding, it's very important to use a rubber backed pad and use 2 hands. The motion used sanding should vary from fore and aft to 25 degrees off centerline holding the longest part of the pad with the flow of the water at all times. The motion used wetsanding directly effects the performance of the boat. Laminar flow is very important, especially over the foils.




To see the full size images of this project click here