When buying a pre-owned trawler or motor yacht, it's easy to be turned off by the exterior looks of the boat. However, I'm not proposing that it be dismissed. I inform buyers to gage how good the used trawler or motor yachts been maintained by how she looks. If the gel coats all beat up and the brightwork is in terrible shape, I normally find the rest of the boat the same way. It's simply an indicator. But a dull outside isn't a terrible thing either. The gel coat on a used trawler or motor yacht is there for a single purpose, to make the yacht look good. It has no other function. The gel coats worst enemy is the ultraviolet rays of the sun. After 5-10 years exposure in the tropical Florida sun, almost all gel coats begin to dull and chalk up. Not even intense polishing will take the gel coat back to the luster when it was new. So when you find a used trawler or motor yacht that has a dull outside but the rest of the boat is up to par, there is a simple way to salvage her. How can we do that, by painting her? When we purchased our trawler the Patricia Ann, she was in very good shape, but her gel coat was dulled and there were a few minor fiberglass nicks here and there. Professional painting of a used trawler or motor yacht is no inexpensive task. You can plan on about $1000 a foot to have it painted professionally so that was unthinkable. I started to explore the procedure of performing the painting myself and read as much as I could about what paint would be best and how to do it. At the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, I talked with spokespeople from Interlux. The rep told me that both the Interlux brand of topside paints and the Awlgrip brand are very synonymous in preparation and practical application. Interlux, even so, is formulated for the do-it-yourselfer. So my choice was made, Interlux Perfection, two part paint was the way to go. Without going into detail about what the directions state, let me just say that although working with two-part paints looks frustrating, it's really very simple to do. Just stick to the directions supplied with each can of paint and you'll get the hang of it immediately. I selected the roll and tip technique of practical application as spraying in a marina was impossible. It's easy to do once you practice. I practiced on a scrap piece of glass until I had it down pat. Instructions are supplied by Interlux. Here are a couple of pointers. Begin your project by separating the used trawler or motor yacht into workable sections; that way the project will not overwhelm you. I selected the port bow pulpit on the Patricia Ann to start my plan. Preparing the surface to be painted takes about 3/4 of the time you will spend on your project. A bad surface will create a bad paint job. Start by cleaning the gel coat with thinner. This will rid the gel coat of any silicon that may have been applied that will make the paint lift after application. The next step, take a little hammer and check out the entire area to be painted, taping to find any voids below the gel coat. When you find them and you will, grind them down with a Dremel tool. You don't want to spend the money and time to do a good paint job and have voids open up later on. I used the West System epoxy resin with the fairing filler to repair the voids I found. Follow the directions provided to make the resin simple to use. Sandpaper them flat after the restored spots have dried. Rinse the dust off with water. The hard part is not over yet? Now we must tape the region that's going to be painted and take off any hardware to cause it go easier. I applied the 14 day painter's tape in stock at Lowe's or Home Depot for masking. Now it's time to paint. I used a 4 inch foam roller and the best 2-1/2 inch natural paint brush I could find, also in stock at Lowe's. Mix just enough paint that you can use in 2 hours, for me its 1/2 quart. The paint is pricey, about $85.00 a quart and you don't want to be throwing any away. Only apply paint when the outside humidity is 75% or lower. Be certain there is no chance of rainfall. The paint takes about 5 hrs. to fully harden. Be careful to complete your paint application no later than noon to provide complete drying. If dew settles on your paint, the moisture will turn the high gloss to a dull finish. I use a window between 10 AM and noon to paint. All said and done, it took at least 600 hours to prep and paint the Patricia Ann. We used about 1 gallon of West System resin and 12 quarts of Interlux Perfection to paint two coats on her.