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Old 18-08-2016, 16:41   #1
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Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

I'm looking at a boat and am about to submit an offer, my hesitation is the boat is black and I'm going to be sailing and living in the tropics. I wanted to know if anyone had experience with the heat and whether it would be that big of a problem. Another thought would be keeping it clean and if the saltwater would make it more difficult to keep looking nice.
I love the look of this boat and the black hull, mast and covers are very sharp.
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Old 18-08-2016, 16:54   #2
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

You'll find the answer to your question here: Boat color options

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Old 18-08-2016, 17:01   #3
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

Hi there I have lived aboard my black ketch in the tropics for 14 years now so guess I know the +/- of black. Yes the boat does get hot some times you cant touch the inside of the hull but my boat is steel so it cools down quickly to water temperature. Usually in the tropics you will get sea breeze in the afternoon ( Just in time for sundowners) so all hatches open boat will cool pretty quickly. Yes you will have to spend a bit of time to keep it looking good but I think that a black boat really stands out from the crowd.
I usually spend time in a marina for the cyclone season here in Cairns Aust. so have aircon for that time but don't have to use it when on the hook.

Good luck with your offer Cheers
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:03   #4
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

I owned and lived aboard a black boat for two years in FL and the Caribbean. Painted it white. When I painted it I left a 8-10" black trim stripe because I thought it looked good.

On a sunny day on the inside of the boat it was very easy to tell where the black stripe was on the outside. I could move my hand up and down next to the hull and the black area radiated heat like an electric space heater. No kidding, no exaggeration.

That being said, if it's the perfect boat and a good deal you can live with it biut be sure to get a big, well made boom tent.
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:08   #5
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

In the Sea of Cortez we couldn't stand barefoot on the grey nonskid on our deck, while we could on the white. It's not ideal but hey...a boat is a compromise.
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:19   #6
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

A black boat anywhere warm enough for you need much sun screen is definitely an issue. Even composite boats that are dark colors soak up lots of heat. And it's easy to dig up a chart showing the temperatures which various colors heat up to when exposed to direct & indirect sun at various ambient temps. With the differences being nothing short of astounding, even just between white & a light cream color.

Consider this, ever come close to burning your feet on a beach with tan sand on a day which was at most, warm. Let alone when it's 90 deg. F. Then compare that to trying to walk across an asphalt parking lot on a warm day!

One boat which I was hired to crew on regularly, was a well built (professionally built), post-cured epoxy boat which was black. And she was purchased on the E. coast of the US in March. Then the owner & some of the crew hopped onboard, & took her down through the Panama Canal, & brought her up to San Diego. Arriving in the 1st week of April. And in the month she was in the Caribbean, she developed several football sized blisters in her otherwise gorgous topsides. No doubt due to her color, as she'd lived for many years on the E. Coast of the US without issue prior to that.

And if you go to www.ProjectAtticus.com you can read the tale of a young couple who purchased & restored a boat down in the Florida Keys. And that despite having limited finances, they figured out fairly quickly that her black hull needed painting in a lighter color.

Plus, the easiest way to see the answers for yourself is to get a thermocouple, & lay out some color samples in the sun on a warm day. Then take some temperature readings.
That, or lay your palm onto a black car which has been parked in the August Sun somewhere for an hour or three, & do the same with a white car.
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:26   #7
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

I would doubt you would notice a difference. Maybe a scientific digital thermometer could... but really... you and I? On a Blind RTC? I doubt it.

If everyone tells u a black boat is hotter you will sweat more... but Pavlovs dog does too...

Buy what you want and learn to be man enough not to worry about .2 of a degree

If its your wife who gets hot, I know a great solution
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:44   #8
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

When the paint on our white boat need redoing I went with first green brute I thought it looked nice. We found that the boat was noticeably hotter, especially later in the day when the sun was lower and shone more directly on the hull. Some years later we went back to white. And we're in Michigan.
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:49   #9
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

Mark J I dare you to go out on a 30 deg. C day & stand for 3min. on both; a patch of (light grey) concrete which has been in the direct sun for several hours, & then do the same in an (black) asphalt parking lot.

Hint: have a friend standing by to take you to the Emergency Room for severe burns on your feet. Mostly from the asphalt.
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:57   #10
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

Bought a dark red boat once. Painted it white ASAP.
Black is beautiful only up North, Norway or Alaska.
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:00   #11
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

It can work in your favor too. Once somebody has gotten to the tropics in a black boat, they are ready to sell. All you have to do is get it north again, or just sail all the time so you don't get so hot.
Here is something for wannabe cruisers; A 44' BLack Pearson Countess sold for $18,000 down on the Rio and as far as I could tell, it was in sail away condition because some guy from England flew over and took off in it.
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:10   #12
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?



And I totally agree! Had a red boat with light grey non skid once. That did me. These days I only buy white cars, too.
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:11   #13
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

"One boat which I was hired to crew on regularly, was a well built (professionally built), post-cured epoxy boat which was black. And she was purchased on the E. coast of the US in March. Then the owner & some of the crew hopped onboard, & took her down through the Panama Canal, & brought her up to San Diego. Arriving in the 1st week of April. And in the month she was in the Caribbean, she developed several football sized blisters in her otherwise gorgous topsides. No doubt due to her color, as she'd lived for many years on the E. Coast of the US without issue prior to that. " Uncivilized


Excellent example, Uncivilized. If you have a solid fiberglass boat, the hull is unbearably hot in the Tropics and it will quickly fade and become chalky in the intense sun. If it has a cored hull, so much the worse since the intensity of the heat on the black hull WILL cause delamination of the skins from the core material irrespective of the quality of the layup. When we hauled our boat one year during the Summer in South Florida, our rudder--painted with black Petit Aquaclean, delaminated in several spots and required a complete rudder rebuild. A friend in Naples, Florida bought a 38 foot Searay with a black hull at "a great price" and sold it a year and a half later because of the oppressive heat generated by the hull. A dark colored hull with a sprinkling of teak, bronze or stainless is a beauty beyond compare. But, unless you live in Northern climes, it is an exercise in futility and a hot day in the ballpark.
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:24   #14
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

If you want an idea of the effect of dark colours, this is from the West System website regarding 410 fairing filler:

"410 Microlight™ is the ideal low-density filler for creating a light, easily-worked fairing compound especially suited for fairing large areas. Microlight mixes with greater ease than 407 Low-Density filler or microballoons and is approximately 30% easier to sand. It feathers to a fine edge and is also more economical for large fairing jobs. Not recommended under dark paint or other surfaces subject to high temperatures. Cures to a tan color."
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:30   #15
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Re: Black boat and the tropics, a good idea?

I am well aware of the differences that darker temps absorb. I've lived in Phoenix AZ for many years, hence my hesitation. I'm actually very resilient with heat having worked in it for most of my adult life, I would however like to be cooler in my next life.
Thank you for all of the info, and am still interested in more responses from those that own darker color boats.
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