Triton #680 | Friday, September 12, 2008

After a day away from the project to allow the hull paint plenty of time to cure before continuing with the related work, the owner and I returned to work on striking a new boottop and preparing it for its white paint.

Most Pearson Tritons, and many other production boats, incorporate molded scribe lines demarking the top edge of the bottom paint (which I will refer to for the remainder of this log as the "waterline"), and sometimes portions of the boottop.  In this instance, the owner's hull work and fairing had eliminated a top scribe mark, originally delineating the top edge of the production boottop, but the lower scribe was still in place, and he had applied bottom paint up to this line.  This was also the line to which we taped and masked off for the hull paint earlier. 

The plan was to strike a new top edge for a boottop above this existing line, while maintaining the current waterline location.  To that end, after checking the boat's side-to-side leveling (right on), we prepared to strike the new line in my usual way, using horizontal athwartships boards fore and aft set to the correct height to support a tensioned string along the length of the boat, from which marks for the new stripe could be set.  Beginning with the boards at the height of the waterline at both stem and stern as a reference, we then moved each board up 2-1/2"--the visual height chosen for the single boottop--and strung the line between.

Immediately, it was clear something was off:  the string touched the hull less than 2-1/2" higher than the existing waterline amidships at our reference station.  Further investigation revealed that the existing waterline was hogged--higher amidships than at the end.  Therefore, this line was useless as a reference or for any future use, and would have to be re-struck as well.

After consulting several photographs of the boat at various stages of her line, from the owner's original survey photos to some pictures of her afloat from her last sailing season, to various boatyard photos, we determined that the waterline should be higher than that original location to begin with, and at length eventually we settled on a new height for the waterline, from which we could then strike the boottop. 

After double checking the relative heights of the existing "corners" of the old waterline (stem and stern) to ensure that the initial errors weren't related to one end of the boat or the other, we secured the horizontal boards in the correct location and struck a new waterline somewhat above the old--3" in fact, which more closely equated to the way the boat had been painted during much of her life. 

I won't describe the process in detail again here, as it's a matter of record elsewhere, but the owner marked the position of the string on the hull while I maneuvered the string to accommodate the boat's curvature.  Eventually, we'd marked both sides of the new waterline, and I applied masking tape according tot he marks, and finally by eye to clean up the tight curves beneath the counter.


Continuing the process, we raised the boards 2-1/2" to match the desired thickness of the stripe, and repeated the process in order to strike what would be the top edge of the boottop.  Then, the owner lightly sanded the paint within the new taped lines to prepare it for painting, while I cleaned up some of the detritus from the line striking and prepared masking paper and plastic in order to cover the boat against overspray.



After covering the hull with plastic, and covering the newly exposed space beneath the new waterline and the appropriate washing/cleaning/tacking, I applied three coats of Alexseal snow white paint to the boottop late in the afternoon, leaving it to cure overnight.





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