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In the Pink   

Sailboat bottom job gone awry!

by Scott Fraser

Scott from sailboat Rubicons/v Rubicon and


Scott lives &sails aboard Rubicon a 31' Hunter.  He is currently in Key West.

Pulling your boat from the water and the resulting maintenance costs are always greater than expected, and this occasion would be no different; at least in this regard.

It quickly became apparent that I’d need to shave costs wherever I could, and that included how I painted the boat.  Needing to paint the hull, the bottom and the waterline/trim, I gave some thought as to the best order in which these should be painted.  With lunch in-hand, I sat staring at my dry-docked boat (1983 Hunter 31), contemplating the various strategies of painting one color before the other. No matter which order of events I fantasized, the outcome seemed the same, with neither dependant upon the other.  With the last bite of sandwich, I rose to paint the blue waterline and trim, to be followed by the red bottom, then the white hull.

Ahh…such are the follies of man; any woman would have figured this out right away.  Unlike building a shed, it’s not the order of events that are important, but more akin to laundry and the colors involved.  The blue waterline and trim came out fine.  So too did the red bottom paint.  The problem developed when it came time to paint the topsides and it happened to be a Sunday evening.  The weather was perfect and I was determined to paint the hull white before this day was done.  However, being Sunday evening, all the hardware stores were closed.  This was realized as I held in hand my only paint roller handle, already tainted red from being used to roll on the deep maroon bottom paint.   This, as well as my only metal drill-bit stirring-rod, had the dried remnants of highly mineral enriched red paint not only along their surfaces, but lurking hideously in every crevice seen and unseen as well.

With acetone and rag in hand, I took to fastidiously cleaning the equipment, fearing although the red paint was dry, the chances of it dissolving once the two-part epoxy paint hit it were pretty darn good.  I scrubbed, and scrubbed and scrubbed that red paint away.  With the tip of a nail, I ferreted out from the crevices those criminal pigments lying in wait to contaminate my virgin white paint.  Confident I’d removed all that could be eradicated of the redness, I dipped roller and brush in my bucket of fresh white paint.

Swish… swish… swish, I rolled white paint along the hull, grateful that I’d been able to keep to my schedule and save a few bucks in the process; at least for the first 15 minutes.

Like lava flowing from a volcano about to erupt, like the liquid footing of The Blob from the horror movie by the same name, like black ink seeping from an open tip pen through a shirt pocket, a twist of red began ebbing from inside the roller out along the its center rod.  Ever so slowly, it crept down along the brush’s plastic end cap, spiraling with the liquid white paint creating a fudge-swirl-ice-cream like mix, slowly slithering its way to the brush’s outer edge.

I can’t stop. This is two-part epoxy paint.  In a matter of hours it’ll have the softness of granite.  A few red spots be damned, I’ve got to continue.  At the brush’s very end, a red splotch began to materialize like a cancerous mole.  It began the size of a dot, seeped outward, quickly becoming dime- then quarter-sized.  I’d been so focused on watching the brush become infected I hadn’t noticed the red spots appearing, in unison, on the hull every six inches.

With these red splotches growing like a virus along my hull, best I could figure was to drown them in vast quantities of white blood cells, or in this case, white paint cells.  It worked.  The red spots began to dissipate, the virus antibodied, the boat inoculated.  I had rolled those infectious red splotches out of existence, but something else was happening; the virus was mutating.  I hadn’t eliminated the red, so much as I’d turned the white paint pink.  It’s epoxy; I can’t stop.

The boat became pinker, and pinker and pinker.

I’d made it to the second side by the time one of the drunken yard rats returned from his daily bender.  Blurry-eyed and stumbling across the now darkened yard, he still managed to take note of my rosy paint job, and without missing a stumble, muttered aloud to no one in particular, “Somebody forgot to tell that guy that sailboats aren’t supposed to be pink.”

The recoat time with this paint is 24 hours. Oh great! I’ll have my pink sailboat on display for an entire day!

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