Skipper Tips

Painting and varnishing on your sailboat

Den Lille Søstærke (from Hempel)

Wooden parts can include the tiller, the deck, doors and cupboards.

Revarnish old teak

  1. If previous varnish, use heat gun and (soft!) scraping to remove old coat
  2. Sand down; some recommend to use coarse grain (100) to open up wood fibers
  3. Wipe down teak with acetone to wood oils from surface for a stronger bond
  4. Apply one of:
    1. two-component varnish
    2. epoxy + varnish
    3. two types of varnish

Random varnishing tips

Tip 1:

Epoxy will need to be top coated for UV protection. New formulations of epoxy offer some, quite limited UV inhibitors with the epoxy, but they still need to be top coated. I see no advantage to epoxy coating your tiller, unless it double duties as a hammer too. Single part polyurethanes work well, though not as hard, nor as durable as the two part varieties. A minimum of several coats, which can be applied in a couple of days. Some brands also permit chemical bonds (no sanding between coats) which can be a great advantage.

Tip 2:

My wood minded marina mates have all settled on the varnish method of a third/ a third/ a third. One third thinners (for penetration into the base timber)/ one third wood preservative (to actually protect the timber)/ one third marine varnish.
Add as many cosmetic marine varnish finish coats over this as you like over. You've protected the timber already, sealed it, preserved it. Gloss is for you, that treatment is for the wood. Varnish only will last half a year, ten percent varnish in thinners, then an overcoat of neat varnish might do two years. Wood is actually the hardest material to keep nice in terms of effort and cost. But so worth it.

General tips

Some general tips for varnishing (in Danish):

Epoxy and varnish

This is a quicker method if you don't mind epoxy:

Two types of varnish

More traditional approach:

Maintain glass fiber and gelcoat

Step 1: clean

Whatever you do next, start by washing off coarse dirt with water and high-pressure if you have it.

Next, how to get rid of algae, stains and grime. People have different approaches, but I generallhy like a cheap option that doesn't damage the boat. I'm paying for chemistry, not branding.

Option 1: toilet bowl cleaner. Be aware: some people warn against using bleach on glassfiber and I will have to research this some more before trying it:

Option 2: Oxalsyre:

Rodalon says "use Rodalon". No surprise there:

Step 2: wax

After you made the boat purrty again you will need to wax it, so the boat will stay purrty.

Option 1: Hempel ship wax:

Google "boat wax" to find a bargain.

Repair gelcoat

How to repair "spider" cracks according to:

  1. Wash and then wipe down gelcoat with acetone:
  2. Use dremel tool to open up crack all the way down to the glass


Heal rubber parts

To maintain rubber parts, spray them with silicone spray:

Change port lights, i.e. windows

Here is a guide in Danish:

Also, check one of these videos for ideas:-

VHF Tips

VHF radio language manual:

VHF practice test

VHF real test:

Outboard motor

My engine (Danish manual):