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Old 13-06-2013, 12:08   #16
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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Everyone knows they are white so they don't sink.
And when they do they are much easier to find on the bottom.
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Old 13-06-2013, 12:25   #17
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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And when they do they are much easier to find on the bottom.
+1 ROFL
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Old 13-06-2013, 12:29   #18
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

When salt spray evaporates, it leaves behind salt. Salt on white is less visible than other colors.

Steve (A fool who painted his boat black )
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Old 13-06-2013, 12:29   #19
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

Mine is a kinda nasty early 80's Catalina beige sorta color. I wish it was white, as I dunno how I'd ever match the color for repairs.
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Old 13-06-2013, 13:43   #20
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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White is most common because it is most practical. It absorbs less heat, and scratches and scuff marks are less visible.
That makes sense, although if you live in the northern latitudes, it seems like one would prefer to conserve as much heat as possible. I wonder how much difference that really makes though. I once went from a black car with a dark interior to the very opposite, and didn't notice any difference in temperature when out in the sun.
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Old 13-06-2013, 14:54   #21
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

Stand on the deck on a hot summer day in bare feet and you can feel the difference.

Also, most boats that come in other colors are high end models. A glossy dark gelcoat really shows off any imperfections in the hull.
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Old 13-06-2013, 15:20   #22
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

Ours is a light blue, not so different from what it seems 99% of bimini are. It's oxidized a lot so it looks kind of like a dirty blue now. I suppose we'll run a buffer over it sooner or later and get a better look. We eventually want to get it painted white to minimize the issue. Although, those boats with navy blue hulls look pretty sweet.
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Old 13-06-2013, 15:21   #23
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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That makes sense, although if you live in the northern latitudes, it seems like one would prefer to conserve as much heat as possible.
If you live that far north/south for that to actually matter, your sailing season is only about 6 weeks anyways. But you do get that 24 hr sunlight...

But the real reason that boats are white is because it makes all us pasty Caucasians look tanned.
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Old 14-06-2013, 14:28   #24
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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Question from someone with very little knowledge of boat construction.

If I understand correctly fiberglass is simply plastic with glass fibers for additional strength (or carbon fibers instead in some cases).

So why are boat hulls always white? Is there a reason other than aesthetics? I've seen some powerboats in other colors, but I don't recall ever seeing a sailboat with a fiberglass hull other than white, although I could certainly be wrong. Still, while there may be exceptions, white is still overwhelmingly the dominant color.

Is there any reason other than preference? I would love to buy a boat in a unique color, but that doesn't seem to be possible without painting it.


Reasons are numerous. White pigmented gel covers faster and lasts longer than other colors, because gloss white reflects the most UV and therefore receives the least amount of UV damage. Dark colors chalk up much quicker for this reason, and because much more pigment must be used in the gel to obtain the color. Warm colors like red have very little pigment in a clear base, and therefore require careful application of much thicker than normal gel to achieve coverage. This can lead to problems due to excessively thick gel. Heat absorption is also a key issue, as it is a primary cause of print through. This happens because the resin in the glass /resin matrix shrinks faster than the glass, leaving the glass weave clearly visible at the surface. This process is dramatically accelerated by dark colors. Walk some docks and find stock white fiberglass boats with a dark stripe or stripes, of some vintage, and inspect them carefully from a low angle. You will soon see severe print through in dark stripes, but none in the surrounding white hull. You will also note some boats have a "sunny side" that is worse.
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Old 14-06-2013, 14:37   #25
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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Topsides dont get much direct sun light so they can be any colour you want. But I notice that most sailboat owners are stunningly conservative and only want what everyone else has. Ours is a red. So was Moitessier's. Black would be good too.
Moitessier's Joshua was steel.
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Old 14-06-2013, 14:44   #26
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

I ordered my boat white so it would match the Marine Tex epoxy putty when I have to fix dings.
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Old 14-06-2013, 14:52   #27
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

Is there a actual color that matches? Sounds brilliant.
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Old 14-06-2013, 15:11   #28
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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Is there a actual color that matches? Sounds brilliant.
Yes, but Marine Tex will yellow over time, so at some point it's good to apply gel coat.
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Old 14-06-2013, 15:44   #29
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

I've almost got enough together to go in the yard for about a weeks worth of gellcoat patching and fiberglass work.
wondering if i use gloss white enamel, how much dark blue would make a ice blue/bluewhite? or would light blue mixed in work?
(i'll be lucky to afford rustolem so buying ice-blue allgrip's a tad bit out!)
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Old 14-06-2013, 15:46   #30
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Re: Question: why are fiberglass sailboat hulls always white?

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UV damage and temp.
There is this old saying, there only 2 colors to paint a boat, black or white. Only a fool paints his boat black.
Nat Herreshoff said that and of course he was right.
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