Building the Eun Mara "Skerry"

Painting the hull

Eun Mara main


These pages describe painting the outside of Skerry's hull, the last activity before the great "turning over". Early in my planning I made some decisions that affected my approach:

  1. Much as I like the synthetic oil Deks Olje ("DO", used to my great satisfaction on my previous boat), I did not want to use it on Skerry's hull because:
    a) I want to use DO on the upper works. Using it on the planks as well would, to my mind, be "too much timber".
    b) I don't like the very light colour that my hoop pine planking takes on with DO. Deciding early-on that the planks would be painted saved my having to worry too much about finish (filler colour, etc) during the planking process.
  2. Instead, I would seal the planking with Senseal primer, which is our local brand of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES), and then paint it.
  3. I would use DO on the upper works (including the sheer strake) because it looks good and is very easy to maintain. I'll probably go with a 50/50 mix of parts 1 and 2, which gives a satin finish.
  4. The plank colour would be dark green, which I felt would show off the DO timber nicely.
  5. I would also use DO on the outer stem, keel and stern, rather than painting them the same as the planks. Reasons were:
    a) These are made from jarrah, a particularly nice-looking (and costly) timber. There was no way I could bring myself to hide it under a coat of paint!
    b) As DO is very easily touched up I would have few qualms about running Skerry up onto sandy or pebbly beaches. I do this just about every time I float Grebe (my Tammie Norrie) on our local lakes, and every now and again I just dab the forefoot with DO to touch up the scuff marks.
  6. Skerry will be a day-sailer, so I would not worry about special antifouling below the waterline. Instead, I would just continue to use the top-side paint all the way down to the keel.

So, the overall approach would be:
* Senseal CPES primer to seal the planking.
* International Paint's "Brightside" polyurethane finish over their Prekote undercoat for the planks.
* Deks Olje elsewhere.

These two shots show the CPES primer on one side, and the white ("out of the tin") Prekote undercoat on the other. As per Senseal's advice, the undercoat went on while the primer was not fully cured to enhance bonding.

I applied the Senseal with a cheap wide bristle brush - very easy. The fumes were bad in my garage (even with front and rear roller doors open), but I found a face mask with an organic solvent filter worked OK.

Applying the undercoat with a brush was very slow. Instead I applied it with a cheap foam roller, then smoothed it out with a good quality brush.


As per the suggestion on the tin, I mixed 10% of the green polyurethane top-coat with the second coat of undercoat. Easy enough to do, but in retrospect I don't think it helped the application of the top-coat.


I planned to apply two coats of Brightside "Sea green" top-coat. After the first coat (right side in the above picture) I decided it was too light for my liking. For the second coat (left side) I mixed in 10% Brightside black, which gave me very close to the colour I was aiming for. Also, as I did not want a high gloss finish, I mixed 25gm of "Norglass flattener" (a very fine silica powder) into the 1 litre tin, which transformed the high-gloss Brightside to a very pleasing (to my eyes) satin finish.


Here are both sides finished in the darker green, and the keel and sternpost done with Deks Olje. You can see how the Norglass flattener has softened the gloss. Again, the paint was applied with a roller and smoothed out with a brush as I went along. The waterline band is just Brightside black straight out of the tin (left side completed; right side marked out as described below). The sheer will also be done in DO, but not until construction is approaching completion.

In summary, the eventual sequence was:

  1. Many applications of Senseal primer (keeping it wet).
  2. Two coats of Prekote undercoat, the first applied onto the partly cured primer and the second tinted with 10% of the top-coat.
  3. Two coats of Brightside "Sea Green" polyurethane. A 1 litre tin just completed a coat with a little left over. For the second coat the 1 litre tin was mixed with 10% black and 25gm of Norglass flattener.
  4. Deks Olje #1 (matt) synthetic oil for the stem/keel/stern.


Like most people nowadays, I assume, I used my laser level to mark the waterline; two traverses at different heights to mark the top and bottom edge of the strip. As I traversed the laser around I marked the spot with pointed pieces of masking tape. (The up and down points indicate the top and bottom of the strip.) The next step was to use the points as a guide for putting on the full lengths of masking tape, after which the pointed bits were removed and the paint applied.