We have epifanes over cetol on Mandy (#32). My head varnisher thinks this may be overly labor intensive when cruising. Any suggestions as to comparative labor savings with painted bulwarks rather than varnished?


 I have Sterling, 2-part, linear polyurethane on the outboard side of my bulwarks for looks and Z-Spar enamal (color a good match for the off white of my gel coat decks...will look up the name if you need it) on the inboard sides figuring that it is that side that will get kicked and whacked a lot.  Enamel is much easier to touch up than LP.  After 5 Great Lakes years, everything is intact and looks good.  There are a couple of pictures of the boat in the gallery.

                                     Whitewings III

If we’re truly talking about cruising, paint 'em. We tried everything during the course of our 8 year live aboard and the only thing besides paint that held well was Bristol Finish. Oil was nice as long as you like tinkering with it regularly. Varnishes(we’ve tried 'em all)are great but if you’re in the tropics, you have to stay on top and be willing to sand and recoat every year…seriously. The Bristol Finish held up well for 2-3 years if good prep and application was utilized. Paint 'em. Ray, sv Whisper

I’ve been keeping my bulwarks varnished in the tropics for 15 years. Starting from bare wood build up about 8 coats. That’s the hard part. Every six months lightly sand and add a couple more coats. I have used several different varnish products. All worked okay except Epiphanes Wood Finish. The hot sun destroyed it very quickly. Recently I have been using McCloskey ManO’War. Its available at home improvement stores. I have been very happy with it and is much cheaper than marine store brands. It runs $16/qt or $45/gal.

Ron Thompson
S/V Ho’okahiko