[Amel Yacht Owners] Amel Deck Painting

James Alton

Steve and Liz,

   I like the solution you chose using the Awlgrip and will eventually paint my decks with the same brand of paint since it has served me well over the years.  In sanding off the gel coat,  it is important to realize that the thickness of the gelcoat may vary a lot.  I am pretty sure that the original tan gelcoat was hand brushed into the mold on my boat.  The thick and thin areas created by brushing are obvious on my deck.  This means that if you attempt to sand off all traces of a particular colour that you will end up with a surface that is not flat.   Damaged areas can be filled/built back up as needed.  Awlgrip is much more durable than any single part paint though it is a lot more work to apply.   I would only add the caution that while the fine Awlgrip additive works pretty well, to avoid the temptation to use the medium or coarse additives.  While the decks will seem initially more nonskid with the medium or the coarse, I have found that the paint will eventually chip off of the tips of the plastic additive leaving bumps of plastic that are quite slippery when wet.  Another solution to creating nonskid in Awlgrip is to add Colodial silica and roll the coating on. This creates a mixture that cannot chip off and leave slippery bits.  The texture can be varied to suit by adjusting the amount of additive and the rolling technique,  I would suggest doing samples if this method is used.  The Colloidal will act as a flattening agent which reduces the glare and shine of the finish so if you prefer a shiny finish another additive might be better.

   I also think that the faux teak deck looks pretty good on these boats and would like to retain the effect on my boat.  Amel IMO used good judgement in not using a real teak overlay deck on these boats.

James Alton
SV Sueno,  Maramu #220

On Oct 31, 2017, at 8:28 AM, flyboyscd@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

I'm un-hijacking a previous thread, and will talk a little about how and why we painted the decks on our 1992 SM. I agree with Bill Kinney that the SM nonskid (faux teak) is very good, and should not be changed unless you have a compelling reason to do so. I our case, we did.

The SM decks consist of 2 layers of gel coat. The 1st layer is white, and then you have the tan layer which is our non skid. At the time we painted our decks, Aloha was 24 years old, and had spent much of her life in the heat of the tropics. In some areas we had some fine cracks in the tan layer, and even worse, we had a few areas where about 1" chunks of the tan gel coat had completely separated from the white below. According to Joel Potter, this is fairly common on the older boats that have been exposed to a lot of heat and sun, and may have been due to Amel having applied the top layer of gel coat a little thicker than than recommended on the older boats. After 2 years in the Eastern Caribbean, I saw numerous older Sms with varying degrees of this same problem.

We knew the only long term fix would be painting the decks, but we wanted to retain the Amel look. I've seen a couple of other Amels with painted decks, but they had lost the faux teak look, and I didn't think it looked good. We had the work done in Trinidad, had a experienced painting contractor who was willing to work with me, and we have been extremely pleased with the end result. I have not had a single Amel owner not say the decks look better than original. The other advantage is they are a slightly lighter in color, have white stripes, and are much cooler to walk on.

What we did was very labor intensive, and the only way we could afford it was by choosing Trinidad which has a low labor cost with some very skilled workers. First, they spent days making a huge mess by sanding the entire layer of tan gel coat off. You have a lot of detail on our decks, and some ha d to be done by hand. Next they did the fine sanding, and eventually taped off everything outside the decks to prep for paint. Then the decks were sprayed with a white primer, followed by more fine detail work after the primer was dry. When that was done, the decks were sprayed with egg shell white awlgrip. Then they applied fine line masking tape to all of the stripes. Now the decks were sprayed with Castle Tan awlgrip mixed with a fine grit for non skid. After the tape was pulled, we had beautiful light tan decks with white stripes. I forgot to mention, prior to starting the painting, we removed the lid from the liferaft locker, and experimented with that to get the technique right. 

We have been happy with the outcome, and a year and a half later, it still looks as good as the day it was finished. Also, the non skid properties are better than the original decks. If anyone would like pictures, just send me your email, and I'll take some for you.

Steve and Liz Davis
Aloha SM 72
Santa Marta, Columbia for a few more days