Please select your home edition
Edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Superhuman
Product Feature
Allen Self Aligning Mainsheet Jammer
Allen Self Aligning Mainsheet Jammer
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine


Full racing risks
New for old cover
www.noblemarine.co.uk

A first-time varnishing experience for a Contender sailor

by Daniel Hollands 2 Apr 10:30 BST
Varnishing from bare wood - scraping back © Daniel Hollands

Daniel Hollands has sent in this account of his first attempt at varnishing from bare wood, with a useful level of detail for anyone else wishing to undertake such a project.

After sailing my Contender for a year at Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club, and then Bough Beech Sailing Club for their Icicle Series over the winter, my Contender's deck varnish was looking somewhat worse for wear. It was cracked in places and peeling around the shroud mountings.

I anxiously made the decision to re-varnish it myself. I have previously worked with gelcoat and marine paints but never with clear varnish and was unsure of the finish that I would be able to achieve. I opted for International Compass varnish for this project due to being able to apply multiple coats per day and its good reviews online.

After buying some paint stripper to remove the existing varnish on the deck, I quickly discovered that it wasn't going to touch whatever was previously applied to this boat. Out came the heat gun and scraper and, several evening's scraping later, the deck was free of varnish.

I then sanded with 120 grit up to 400 grit to remove any remnants of varnish and scratches, before applying my first coat of varnish diluted by 30% (as per the datasheet) and it looked fantastic until it dried... I was surprised to find that this first coat had dried almost completely matt with a few semi gloss areas. At this point I was questioning whether I had made the right choice doing this job myself.

As I had already started I thought I couldn't make it any worse so I then sanded the deck with 320 grit and cleaned it off before applying more varnish thinned to 10% for the next three coats. The final coats were applied after another sanding, this time to 400 grit and diluted by 5%. The finish had come out looking quite reasonable albeit with some significant orange peel.

I decided to purchase a polishing machine from Amazon as I've wanted one for ages but hadn't the project to justify it, and next day it arrived. I then took to my now reasonable looking deck with 600 grit and then 1200 grit wet and dry to flat it back completely.

I was quite excited at the prospect of using my new polishing machine; out to the garage I went. I used some Farécla G10 compound squirted on the deck with some water and a foam pad, and on turning the machine on, it promptly applied the polish to everything in the garage around waist height! After changing technique I was able to keep the polish on the deck and got several polishing sessions in, and the finish of the deck was beautiful.

I then applied several coats of Carnauba wax which improved the finish further and it came out far better than I could have dreamed I was capable of.

All that hard work has paid off, and she looks great, Dan! Remember we want to hear YOUR stories of boat repairs, renovations and invention too.

Related Articles

Yes I, am the Great Contender
David Henshall gets excited in an overgrown field One boat that is not so much of a barn find, but a 'back of the field' feature, is a Contender, which has lain undisturbed for enough years for the brambles to claim it as one of their own. Yet this is a class that surely is worthy of a second look. Posted on 28 May
Where there's a will there's a way
The past fortnight has proved that sailors are a resourceful bunch If there's one thing that the past fortnight has proved, it's that sailors are a resourceful bunch. The vast majority of the sailing world can't get out on the water, but it certainly doesn't mean we're idle. Posted on 5 Apr
Contenders at Datchet Water
The early signs of spring in the air With the early signs of spring in the air after what has felt like a long winter of non-stop torrential rain and more wind than you could wave a stick at, it was time for the Contenders first sailing event of 2020. Posted on 16 Mar
Contender Australian Nationals at RQYS
A small but quality fleet came together for the 10 race championship The 2020 Australian Contender Championships, hosted by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron during the second week in January have been won by Queensland's Geoff Fisher representing Darling Point Sailing Squadron. Posted on 13 Jan
Contender Inlands at Rutland
Largest fleet at the Symmetric Open Regatta The 2019 Contender Inland Championship was hosted by Rutland Sailing Club over the weekend of 19/20th October. The Contenders had a class start as part of the Symmetric Open Regatta and were the largest fleet present. Posted on 23 Oct 2019
Contender open meeting at Netley
With half the fleet camping in the field there was a recipe for disaster 16 Contenders travelled to Netley SC despite a forecast of calms on Saturday and storms on Sunday. It was indeed a weekend of two halves and the forecasters were pretty accurate. Posted on 11 Oct 2019
One Design or Two?
David Henshall looks at control (and abuse) of hull shapes over the years Science fiction and the Terminator movies introduced us to the notion of shape shifting, but in the real life of the sailing dinghy world, how IS a shape defined? Posted on 9 Oct 2019
Contender Nationals at Broadstairs overall
Stuart Jones wraps up an impressive series With the final day of The Contender Nationals came the relief of only two races after 2 days and 6 races in blistering winds. Overcast and murky with a forecast of light wind; the day began with lots of grumbling about aching muscles. Posted on 15 Sep 2019
Contender Nationals at Broadstairs day 3
The wind pipes up again! After the liveliness of the previous day on the water the fleet were looking forward to a much more relaxed affair, unfortunately the wind came up to 22knt with 2m sea at just about race time. Posted on 9 Sep 2019
Contender Nationals at Broadstairs day 2
A full-on attritional battle in big wind Day 2, more breeze seemed likely, a slightly murky day heralded a steady 15 knots and the inevitability of 3 races thanks to ill-informed democracy at previous AGMs. Posted on 8 Sep 2019