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Old 08-05-2011, 18:59   #781
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

PSS. Now I'm reading that regular gelcoat--polyester resin--doesn't stick well to the WEST system epoxy. There is an epoxy gelcoat however--does it look the same?.
I will say the stuff on my amas looks to be sticking just fine.
The main hull of my boat is not new, it's 20 years old. The gelcoat/epoxy/paint or whatever the hell it is...looks the same as what's on the amas. I have some old correspondance from the original builder that he used the WEST system.
I really don't think it's paint. It's fairly thick. When sanded, there's a chalky residue. I have seen plenty of gelcoat boats, and this does appear similar.
I'm going to go back and read Mark Johnson's posts again......
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Old 08-05-2011, 19:27   #782
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

OK guys, last post for the night, I promise.
After re-reading things, seems like it comes down to this: I must know/find out if my amas are constructed of WEST system epoxy with epoxy finish, or polyester fiberglass with polyester gelcoat finish. I'm assuming the builder wa s experienced enough to apply the correct finish (he was a boat builder by trade).
Is there some kind of test I can do? Can an experienced eye tell by looking?
Thank you so much and I'm so sorry for all the posts.
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Old 08-05-2011, 19:33   #783
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Hi guys,
Other than the couple of odd Searunners that were built of cored polyester/glass, 99% are built of ply on frame construction. The older ones got sheathed on the exterior with polyester resin & glass fabric, and the interior painted or sloshed with preservative in the amas & wings. From the early 80s on, most Searunners were built in the WEST system. This meant that the exterior was sheathed with EPOXY resin and glass, with ALL interior surfaces epoxied, or epoxied & then painted in the cabins. (These are the better, "good ol boats").

If your amas and wings are epoxied inside, then it is probably a WEST system boat.

It is possible to gelcoat a "one off" boat, but almost NO ONE ever does it. What is normally done with a WEST system boat is to apply enough topcoats of epoxy over the fabric to bury the weave and give something to sand on without going into the THIN layer of fabric. After an initial sanding, a few more coats are applied and sanded to a smooth surface with no pits, humps, or lumps. Then it is primed with a 2 part primer, sanded, & painted with an LP paint, (EXCEPT BELOW THE WL, WHICH GETS NO PAINT!) This is IF it was a later model WEST system boat.

I THINK that what you have on there is primer, but it is hard to be sure. You can lay a rag on the hull, sodden with MEK, and cover it with a piece of plastic. Then tape it up there for 30 minutes, in contact with the hull. Now, rub it! IF it doesn't lift the material, then it is either two different layers of pigmented resin that you are seeing, OR it has been primed with a 2 part primer. (Two different colored layers). You should do this test below the WL, because IF it lifts the material, all of that below the WL needs to be removed anyway.

If it does lift the material, then it is a one part primer. (This information is combined with the above to discern if it is in fact, "not" a WEST system boat). If this "one part primer" is the case, you can't go over it with an LP paint anywhere.

You should have NO paint or primer below the waterline, and may need to sand off any paint or primer from the WL down, and epoxy barrier coat it well if the resin coating is thin..

Never epoxy over paint of any kind, and if you do have to apply epoxy, the surface must also be sanded to a glaze first, for a bond. Try VERY hard to NOT remove any glass fiber, it is thin!

There are exceptions to the "no primer below the WL" rule... Sterling's 2 part primer is urethane, and should NOT be used under the bottom paint, nor should most 1 part primers, BUT AwlGrip's 545 2 part primer, CAN be used below the WL.

When ever given the option, I'd use a good LP paint system like Sterling or AwlGrip. They cost a LOT, but may last 4 times as long. It comes out to be cheaper in the long run... but HAS to go on over "two part" primers, and THEY have to go on over "bare" polyester OR epoxy resin. (IF it turns out to actually BE polyester gelcoat that you have, it IS ok below the WL, and under 2 part primers & paints).

It sounds like you need someone THERE to go over what you have, who has built both polyester & WEST system, wood epoxy composite boats. Only then can you get concrete advise on what to do. The CF can't tell you all that you need to know here... It gets complicated.

A start is to read "The Gougeon Brothers On Boat Construction", And ALL of their instructional manuals. If the wife of the builder knows when the plans were bought, and under what name, you could call John Marples, and see if he ever talked with the builder and what that is on the hull. The # of the building plans will help here!

Good luck with it,
Mark

I spent YEARS working in boat yards, and none of the guys who worked there would know these answers as well as a custom boat builder. (Boatyard guys almost always work on production FRP boats).
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:03   #784
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleyAnna View Post
OK guys, last post for the night, I promise.
After re-reading things, seems like it comes down to this: I must know/find out if my amas are constructed of WEST system epoxy with epoxy finish, or polyester fiberglass with polyester gelcoat finish. I'm assuming the builder wa s experienced enough to apply the correct finish (he was a boat builder by trade).
Is there some kind of test I can do? Can an experienced eye tell by looking?
Thank you so much and I'm so sorry for all the posts.
Hi again,
The reason that it is unlikely to be gelcoat is this: As far as I know, all true "gelcoat" is polyester, and it is normally applied in production FRP boatbuilding by spraying it inside a mold, right before the glass layup. It is applied from 1/16" to as much as 1/8" thick in spots. Because the outside face of the material is up against the waxed mold, and the mold is "PERFECT", or close to it, the finished hull is popped out, needing no other treatment. This thickness is why a gelcoated FRP "production" hull can be mechanically compounded, and brought back to a shine, year after year, for over 20 years! It's thick. (10 X the thickness of paint)

Gelcoat is not like paint. It's viscosity is thick! IF you apply it to the "outside" of a hull, (rather than "inside" a mold), it would have to be about twice the completed thickness of what you want, then the acne like finish would have to be sanded down to a new, perfectly flat surface. Next you would have to sand with finer and finer grits, up to 400, and finish by compounding it out to a shine. THEN it would need no paint! This has been done, but is SO much more work, that it is normally only done to small repair areas, or VERY small boats. (dinghy)

Now... There are a number of high build primers , IE "AwlGrip", that go on thick, (but smoother than gelcoat). This is put on in multiple layers to get a build up to sand on, without sanding your glass sheathing. It sands REALLY easy, and getting a smooth surface again goes relatively quickly. THEN one applies 545 primer in 3 coats, and sands it with 320 grit. Now it is ready for LP paint.

The other possibility is this... Look at the photos I attach here: These are thickened epoxy that is troweled on. The purple stuff is a microballoon/silica mix, for strength, and the light colored stuff, "microlite", is low density, and not strong, but sands like Styrofoam. Your glassed hull could be covered with epoxy, thickened with fillers of different colors, for different applications. It could be of a thinner viscosity, and rolled on in multiple coats for proper millage. This would end up with an orange peel texture that has to be sanded smooth, then some 100% epoxy top coats, then sand smooth without going through to the filler stuff, and you are ready for paint.

One thing is a given. Since you have multiple colors and glass ghosting through, you can't sand & polish it to a shine, and omit paint, as if it was truly "gelcoat".

Once you determine what it is, you determine if it needs to be sanded lightly and epoxy coat, (X4) only below the WL...

OR, the same but epoxied all over, (X 3)...

Or, removed first, THEN the above! (IF it is poorly adhered, UV damaged, or a one part product that will not hold up).

Besides the solvent test, for adhesion there is the "cross hatch" test. It applies to any type of coating... In a sacrificial area, you make repeated cuts just through the coating, with a single edge razorblade. This is in a 2" X 2" area. The cuts are parallel, and 1/8" apart. Then do it again, but perpendicular this time, like Tic Tac Toe. You now have a LOT of little 1/8" squares. Then take the stickiest tape, like packaging tape, and press it out WELL over the test spot. Now jerk it straight up! Repeat it 5 or 10 times. If a bunch of squares pull off, you have BAD adhesion! If it is only one, you might have "goodenuff" adhesion. What you hope for, is NO squares pulling off!

Like I said, it gets complicated. If someone with the experience did these test, looked carefully at it, knocked on it, scraped it, smelled it, dug their nails into it, and sanded a bit of it, THEN they could give better advice as to your next move.

In my experience: There is no boat screwup as bad as poor adhesion, or putting the wrong product in the wrong application. Get these questions answered first, so you'll end up with a "good trip", rather than a "bad trip".

Mark

BTW... It is not 100% for sure, but if the inside of the amas, and ALL interior surfaces, have NO bare wood, and are either clear epoxy, or painted over clear epoxy, (you can scrape away a bit of paint to know), then it is 90% likelihood, a WEST system boat.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:47   #785
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

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Originally Posted by Ret-Tri View Post
Searunner 40 for sale at Sailing Texas Sailboat Classified Searunner 40, 1979, Offshore Cruising Trimaran, Seattle, Washington, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas

It's the Seafire mentioned by md7a.
Seafire was moored in Sandy Point, Washington not too far from where we kept our Searunner 31. She is (was) the most meticulously built and maintained boat I have ever seen. I was on board a few times and absolutely overwhelmed by her size and layout. In fact, seeing her was a major motivation in our building our Constant Camber 44 tri-same layout and arrangements. Her voyages were chronicled in their web blog "Travels with Seafire". I remember watching the real time positioning report when she sailed from Mexico to the south pacific, and back. FWIW, Seafire is a truly great boat and a fabulous deal to the right sailor. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:08   #786
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Mark,
Thank you SO SO much......
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:15   #787
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Just to give you an idea about the first owners/builders of Seafire.....the Seattle Multihull association gave them an award for "Cruisers of the year" but they had to award it in absentia because, you guessed it, they were out cruising on Seafire and couldn't be there to accept it.
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Old 09-05-2011, 13:32   #788
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Gelcoat is the pigmented outer coat of polyester resin that you find on fiberglass boats. Epoxy is a different chemistry of resin that is superior, in many respects to polyester, but one. It needs to be protected from the damaging effects of UV light by covering it with an opaque paint, preferably linear polyurethane. Mark has has some experience using aluminum pigments added to his outer coat of epoxy. I have used white pigments with moderate success, but the outer coat still needs to be painted. The "orange peel" is generally an error in spray painting where the paint doesn't flow out as desired. Sand it and respray, or learn to "roll and tip".

OOOPs! I didn't send this in time to see that there were more appropriate comments. I love this forum.
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Old 09-05-2011, 14:07   #789
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Hi Roy, It's been a while... Got any photos of your latest works of art?
M.
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Old 09-05-2011, 16:15   #790
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Thank you Mark and Roy--all comments very helpful. After learning these things, and looking at it again, I've figured it out. We've got epoxy, primer, and paint. Apparently the previous owner was OK with the looks but I'm being more picky. I think he hadn't finished below WL that's where the fabric is showing--he'd planned on more epoxy like Mark says. So, I will have to sand off all the paint and primer above to apply more epoxy. Then primer, then paint. No paint below the water line, however.
At this point, I guess I could finish sanding and just apply another coat of paint above.....hmmmm....and epoxy below......sounds much less time consuming....
I would love to take your advice about a real eye seeing it. However I don't think there's a boat like this around for hundreds of miles....
You guys are invaluable. Getting to work now, hopefully you won't hear from me for awhile, until I proudly post pictures!

BTW--one more thing-- I read on someone's blog that anybody would be 'crazy' to paint their boat other than white, when cruising in the tropics. He says the boat just gets too hot, then bad things happen with the wood or something. Is this true in your opinion? Would a light color be OK? I will stick with white if it's best. However, being a girl, I like to think about colors.
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Old 09-05-2011, 16:38   #791
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleyAnna View Post
Thank you Mark and Roy--all comments very helpful. After learning these things, and looking at it again, I've figured it out. We've got epoxy, primer, and paint. Apparently the previous owner was OK with the looks but I'm being more picky. I think he hadn't finished below WL that's where the fabric is showing--he'd planned on more epoxy like Mark says. So, I will have to sand off all the paint and primer above to apply more epoxy. Then primer, then paint. No paint below the water line, however.
At this point, I guess I could finish sanding and just apply another coat of paint above.....hmmmm....and epoxy below......sounds much less time consuming....
I would love to take your advice about a real eye seeing it. However I don't think there's a boat like this around for hundreds of miles....
You guys are invaluable. Getting to work now, hopefully you won't hear from me for awhile, until I proudly post pictures!

BTW--one more thing-- I read on someone's blog that anybody would be 'crazy' to paint their boat other than white, when cruising in the tropics. He says the boat just gets too hot, then bad things happen with the wood or something. Is this true in your opinion? Would a light color be OK? I will stick with white if it's best. However, being a girl, I like to think about colors.
Well, Henry Ford said his cars could be any color, as long as it was black. I think that the general consensus is that light colors, with white being the preferred, work best under tropical sunlight. The heat generated by darker colors will cook the life out of the boat and it's crew. We are planning on painting our CC44 a light off white, to hide any cosmetic flaws, and paint the decks a light tan. Unfortunately, the UV will bounce off a white deck, as well as the water, and pretty much fry anyone exposed to it. When my wife and I were in Barbados, we took a charter cat out for a four hour sail. We got bad sunburns, in spite of being under the bimini and slathered with sunblock. Another couple got second degree sunburns in that time. Not at all pretty. It takes some getting used to the power of the tropical sun, so light colors should be fine.
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Old 09-05-2011, 20:47   #792
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

My hulls and superstructure are Sterling LP "Cloud White", a slight off-white, and the decks are "Moon Dust". They gave been this color for over thirty years and don't get hot on my bare feet in our deep summers. The boat gets painted every 10-12 years. I'm preparing to do the cabin top and new dodger after I haul out. Mark, I've been working on a land-based project for the last few months to pay the bills, so not much has been happening with my boat, other than finishing little bits of older projects. The centerboard sits in the shop getting epoxy spattered on it while it serves as a storage table.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:23   #793
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

CharleyAnna,

Regarding paint... On my previous boat, (a Brown/Marples Seaclipper 28), I added just enough flattening paste to the paint, (AwlGrip LP), To give the boat an iridescent pearl semigloss. I loved the look, as it made everything look "perfect", but adding flattening paste to the topcoat takes a couple of years off of the paint's lifespan. It is the incredible shine of straight LP paints that make EVERY flaw pop out, so this type of paint cries out for a much higher level of fairness & smoothness... OR it will look pretty bad. For those who don't want to go to the considerable fairing effort, You COULD add flattening past to the paint. Here's how:

After applying several coats of GREY primer, (for it's superior UV barrier), and sanding with 320 grit to a glaze, you're ready for topcoat.

BTW, Under your white topcoat... grey primer's opaqueness, and ability to "shade" the boat 100%, will protect the epoxy better and actually make the interior of the boat a couple of degrees cooler in direct sun. (I did experiments on samples, and measured the temps, to confirm this).

TO "SEMIGLOSS" TOPCOAT...

Shake or stir ALL materials for about TEN minutes each! (If you have a 1 to 1 LP top coat ratio, like AwlGrip)

1 part "Flattening Paste" + 2 parts "base" = (3 parts)... STIR or mechanically shake WELL!

Next add 2 parts "catalyst / AKA converter". (this volume will now be 5 parts)... STIR or SHAKE WELL! This gives the proper 1 to 1 base/catalyst ratio, as you don't count the flattening paste.. Next add the correct amount of the "correct" solvent, and a few drops of accelerator, and you are ready to spray. (I find spraying to be easier than roller tip).

As I said... this "making semigloss", shortens the life of an LP paint job to the point that it might only last 3 X as long as a 1 part paint, rather than lasting 4 X as long. It does however hide the flaws nicely.

On our current Searunner, we went full gloss on everything except the nonskid decks. This is a good compromise, as the lesser reflection here looks better, and is less blinding! We WILL soon need to roll on a couple of topcoats here only, as it no longer sheds dirt, (@ 7 years old).

Next time, we will probably go for full gloss here too, for it's superior dirt shedding ability, and just live with the "glare".

About topcoat colors... IF you intend on cruising the tropics, which is where these boats are best suited, WHITE or your preferred OFF WHITE will be MUCH cooler. If you DO go with a color, in spite if this disadvantage, I'd go with a VERY light color.

We started out with the standard "Searunner contrasting cabin stripe" as drawn. (Having been a draftsman myself... I drew a number of options, but couldn't improve on the stripe that Jim drew.. NOR could I improve on the window shapes). This contrasting stripe is VERY important to Searunners, as it goes a LONG way toward hiding the "boxiness" of the cabins. The stripe needs to be pretty dark to properly contrast with the white, and we chose "Forrest Green". The reality, however, was that when we placed our hand on the inside of the cabin where the stripe was, it was easily 15 or 20 degrees HOTTER than the white painted portion of the cabin side. OBVIOUSLY it was heating up the cabin!

To remedy this, (8 years later), we used the perimeter of the old cabin side stripe and made a 1" wide "perimeter stripe", painting the middle of the old broad cabin stripe white. This REALLY cooled down the solar heater, and the "perimeter stripe" has the exact same effect of softening the corners & edges. I came to like it better!

Good luck with your project

M.

PS... You should have a copy of the plans, and when it comes out... the NEW version of the "Construction Manual". BE SURE you go with the "upgraded version" of the "A frame connectives", as the originals were under designed. They were re-drawn to correct this. If in doubt, John Marples can set you straight. IF you don't have the plans, BUY THEM from John. Consultation comes with this purchase, and that alone is WELL worth the price of the plans.
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Old 13-05-2011, 19:24   #794
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Best basic layout drawings I've found online of Searunner, Seaclipper, Constant Camber series.

Duck Flat Wooden Boats out of South Australia sells the plans and some SPECS have basic layout drawing, most are poor quality when enlarged beyond a 5x7" size. Still best I've found.

Here is an example:


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Old 14-05-2011, 15:05   #795
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Re: Trimaran (Especially Searunner) Owners

Yep, a Searunner layout on a longer WL, and a hull without stringers... NICE!!!

Mark
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